There wasn’t so much a war anymore, as far as they could tell.
They didn’t get any TV anymore, local or cable or anything else. The radio they heard these days was sporadic at best, and there would be weeks where there wasn’t anything at all.
But they hadn’t seen a returned god in several months, they hadn’t seen an army soldier in the last month, and they hadn’t seen another Ellehemaei in a couple weeks. They had gotten a couple human refugees – they were a standing house with a standing wall and hedge, burning lights and smoke in the chimney – but the girls fed and equipped them and sent them on their way, if they were over eighteen, and added them to the child collection, otherwise.
Baram liked it that way. He liked the quiet, and he’d found that he didn’t mind all the kids around. Liked them, actually, if he was going to be honest… and he had space in his head to be honest, now.
(Which might have been because of the children, actually, something else he said only in his own head.)
There wasn’t so much of a war anymore… but there wans’t so much of a world anymore, either. That bothered the girls, Baram’s angels, and it bothered the children, but it didn’t really bug Baram all that much. He had his family, he had his house, and nobody bothered them here.
“Boss! Someone’s at the door!” Alkyone’s voice echoed through the house. “Trouble, I think.”
“Trouble.” Baram liked his armchair. It was soft, and comfortable, and normal. But he levered himself out of it before he was finished saying Trouble? “Kids?”
“Got ’em.” Viatrix slapped the Swish-boy on the ass. “Aloysius, get the kids and take them down to the safe room.”
“Yes ma’am.” Jaelie’s boy did have some use, at least in a pinch.
“Sword.” It wasn’t the first time they’d had unwanted guests. Baram took the sword from Viatrix’s hand. “Jacket.” He shrugged it on. He was tough, all the way through, but there were things, they’d found, for which it didn’t hurt to have an extra level of protection. “Stake.” They weren’t vampire hunters… but they’d hunted vampires. “Okay. Door.”
Via swung the door open… and Baram shifted the sword into a guard position.
“Oh, come on, is that any way to greet an old classmate?” Ardell and Delaney stood on his stoop, leaning on each other’s shoulders and looking like they’d stepped out of a leather magazine.
Barm shifted his feet a bit further apart. “Yes.”
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