Soon after Every Gift
The rebuild of their wedding-house was almost complete, which was good, since their wedding was less than a week away. All that was left were the final pieces of the roof.
The problem was, given the tight space of the street, even expanded, and the neighbors to three sides who had had enough of construction, thank you very much, a conventional crane was out of the question. Ropes and pulleys would work, and, indeed, were working, but even with a five-pulley system, the going was slow, hard, and painful. But they were doing it, Katyebah and Larzhal, with the help of a few of their closest friends.
And then Larzhal’s uncle Bantas showed up with a… device, at the same time that Katybah’s aunt Gelah showed up with some sort of contraption, one of them snorting steam and the other one farting smoke, glittering brass and solid iron, both making noises like a boiler that had seen better days.
“Dueling devices?” Katyebah was joking, although she wasn’t sure it was actually a jest. “Larzhal…”
“It’s all right, my lovely Katye.” He kissed her forehead, cheerfully helpful in that manner nobody else would have been allowed to be. “They can’t do much…”
“To our home?” She did not shout, because she did not want to upset the neighbors any further, but it was close.
“How long do your Aunt Gelah’s machines normally work for?”
“Perhaps an hour. Your uncle’s?”
“Perhaps two. So we ask them to take turns.” Larzhal smiled. “Three hours ought to finish the roof, and I’ll call a carter to help them get everything home when they’re done.”
“I knew I was marrying you for a reason.” She kissed him, in full sight of the next-door neighbor. Perhaps they would be gifted with curtains for their wedding.
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