This story contains magic and references to Addergoole but no slavery, sex, or violence.
This takes place during the apoc, ~2012-2013
Out There, the bombs were falling, and the people were screaming and fleeing.
Bethesda stretched, reaching for a set of eyes near the road. She had a feeling, as she did sometimes, that someone was coming who she should let in.
Not every refugee made it past Bethesda’s threshold, of course, or she would be over-flowing with people and nowhere to put them, nothing to feed them. She had to pick and choose, which was frustrating and sometimes enraging – both to her, and to those she left behind – but necessary. This war made for a lot of hard choices.
There, in the crowd, her senses told her there were four – a mother, a child, a young man, and a terrified girl in her twenties. Bethseda whispered the Words, and opened up a door for them. Would they take her hospitality? Not everyone did. Not everyone appreciated it.
When she had first Changed, she had been miserable. She’d been in pain for weeks, of course, hands and legs, bones and skin shifting, stretching, until she was a tiny cottage, not remotely human anymore, except in mind, except in spirit. She’d finished her four years at school – near school, at least – and learned everything she could in that time.
One of the things she learned is that she was growing, and would continue to grow, possibly forever. Another thing she learned was that she had a great-grandmother who was now a castle, which gave her hope.
She learned that she could use Words. That she could still feel. And that, while she no longer had a body in the conventional sense, she still had ways of interacting with other people, even intimately. After all, her great-grandmother the castle had made children.
And she learned, slowly and with a great deal of effort, that, like Baba Yaga’s cottage (but with better legs), she was mobile. Slowly, very slowly (her legs were shorter), Bethesda could move. And, as she grew, she learned how to move her property with her, which had to be, she admitted, the strangest thing, a house walking through the city with a yard like a skirt hanging around her, covering her underpinnings.
Once she had these refugees, those who would stay, she might move again. This city didn’t seem like a good place to stay much longer. She opened her gate, and welcomed them into herself.
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