Vas’ World has a landing page here.
This comes after The Sea And Sky.
Caliber was a little annoyed at their new planet.
They were all a little annoyed at their new planet, to be fair. It had any number of flaws and not nearly enough positives to counter them, far too many deadly problems and none, so far, of the things that sometimes made new settlements totally worth it.
Gentor, despite its scorching temperatures, had had garithite, which made several cancers visible in very early stages. The lovely and deadly Elrodre had produced Elriers Rouge, which prevented most forms of skin cancer. Kincaid, with its naturally-exploding plants and shrapnel-generating animals, had been found to have crustacean-like critters with shells naturally strengthened with tungsten. This planet? This planet couldn’t even grow grapes.
Caliber had brought all of his carefully-packaged rootstocks, filling up a good portion of his weight allowance with them, and then carefully tried one varietal after another. None of them would bear fruit, not here. Taking Armanie’s word that, once they were settled, they could afford to look further abroad, he had packed the surviving plants back up, and begun looking for a substitute for the short-term.
There wasn’t that much time to devote to it. Every member of the team had duties, just to survive. They hadn’t been able to get everything off the ship before it sank, so much of what they did, building themselves shelters, exploring the planet, planting and harvesting food, had to be from native materials with MacGyvered tools. It was slow-going, much slower than a standard colonization ought to be.
Still, Caliber found the time. It helped that his botany degrees dovetailed his hobbies and career, that he could test each food for edibility and then again for ferment-ability, so that he could gather plants on “work” time, and then, in the evening, in the hour of private time they each had before they slept, he could work on his wine-tests.
He was beginning to despair – they had found grain-substitutes, dye-substitutes, leafy-green substitutes, but no fruit-substitutes, nothing that made a decent wine (although he’d managed a very impressive beer that was very popular with the rest of the colonists.) They had been there for months, the season was beginning to turn chilly and damp. Was he going to be reduced to being a brew-meister and not a vinter?
Armanie proved, not for the first time, to be his salvation. Coming back from an exploratory run deep into the jungle, she thumped down on his desk a wide armful of plant matter. “Try this,” she demanded. “The stalks are edible if not tasty, but there’s something like berries, too.”
“Berries…” They were almost grapelike, he noted, noting, also, that she had brought a full bush, roots and all. He ran one of the rich, juicy things through his instruments and then, going for the empirical test, popped one in his mouth.
“Marry me,” he blurted out. “Oh, Armie, this, this is heaven.”
The team leader smirked happily at him. “You brew up some wine,” she told him, “and we’ll talk.”
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Autumn lay back in the warm July sun, staring at the clouds. “I don’t need wine and roses,” she said, mostly to herself. “I’ve never been the sort of girl that asks for that, or the sort of girl that men give that to.”
She swallowed a small lump of bitterness at the feeling. “And I don’t need love songs; the boys that sing them are generally silly, anyway.”
There had been the one, a beautiful bard with a voice like a dream. He had written music for her, sung to her after lovemaking, brought her roses, brought her wine. He had been something else… but he was the sort that didn’t travel well, and she was the sort that never stayed in one place.
“I heard a song the other day,” she continued, to the silence near her. “Something like ‘I don’t need the whole world… I just want to be the only one you love.'” She laughed shortly. “Hypocritical, wouldn’t it be? But sometimes,” she turned to look at him, her heart in her throat. “Sometimes that’s what I want, Tatters.” Or at least a name to call you by.
“Lady Fall.” His eyes were serious, though his tone was light. “What you want of me, you have but to ask.”
“You and I both know that’s a lie,” she countered angrily. “Don’t I deserve better from you than lies, at the very least?”
He flinched. “It was not my intent to lie to you, but simply to…” He gestured, and his tone changed. “I wanted to give you the roses and the wine that you want, though you say you don’t. The poetry. But I have never been a grapes and thorns sort of man, I’m afraid.” His tone changed again, as if he was dialing himself down. “I’d give you romance if it was in me, Autumn.”
He paused, as if looking for the words. “I can give you mead and leather, if that’s enough.”
She studied him for a moment, her heart twisting. “If that is what you have,” she answered, wondering if she was lying, “than that, my love, is enough and more than.”
The song she is misquoting is The Band Perry’s “All Your Life.”
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Good morning! It’s a cold grey day and I have a lot of writing in front of me, and a lot behind me as well!
The Sweet Rose of Morning (Did not Xpost)
For the Last Call:
Laying the Foundation (LJ)
The “A” Shelves (LJ)
Stories of the City (LJ)
Step on my Tail (LJ)
Tir na Cali
Window Shopping (LJ)
Down in Kitty Town (LJ)
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/277659.html. You can comment here or there.