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Twenty-Two: Confidences in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Revelations in the Bear Empire

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Carrone was spending far too much time working on the way that the bedroll lay.  It wasn’t like they had room to rearrange things, considering that their little cave was barely big enough for the two of them to sit up in and lie down in together. And he’d already cleaned up all the cooking supplies and re-packed them. t this point, it was clear that he was doing anything he could to postpone either looking at her or lying down next to her.

Deline would have bitten her tongue, but she was already holding it very firmly between her teeth.  He would say something or he wouldn’t. She’d already said too much.

Eventually, he scooted in to the bedroll closer to the exit.  She raised her eyebrows at him as he finally looked at her.

He cleared his throat. Continue reading

Twenty-One: Revelations in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Surprises in the Bear Empire

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Deline wished for some sort of storm, some intrusion – even a beast or another bounty hunter.  If she closed her eyes and tried, if she prayed her hardest, would a Bear show up from The Bear?

It was unlikely.  She took a few breaths and smiled at Carrone, although she thought the smile was as shaky as she felt.  

Damnit, why did this matter?  He’d already tried to kill her.  He’d already saved her life. He already hated her for using magery.  And she already wasn’t all that fond of him for trying to kill her, along with everything else.

“I haven’t lied yet,” she told him slowly.  “My name is Deline.” Continue reading

Twenty: Surprises in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Disputes” in the Bear Empire

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They walked – catching rides from local farmers twice – until the sun was just threatening to disappear behind the mountains. By the time they clambered into the slight curvature of the hill that made something that could, with generosity and broad definitions, be called a cave, they had been trading bad jokes and worse stories for more than an hour, started when Carrone told her one about a bear – the animal sort – that walked into a tavern.

“Can you…” He waved his hands.  

“I can.  Are you sure you want me to?”

He pointed at the sky.  “It might not be planning on one of your stupid man-killer storms, but it’s going to do something tonight, and I don’t want to sleep wet.  Or bug-eaten.”

“I don’t, either.”  She dug into her bag until she found everything she needed; he, in the meantime, laid out the bedrolls (there was just enough room for the two of them pressed against each other in the dubious shelter they’d found) and then dug around for cooking supplies. Continue reading

Nineteen: “Disputes” in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Lies and Murder in the Bear Empire

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They didn’t sleep well, but they drowsed for several hours, until the sun began to sneak over the horizon and Deline, at least, was tired of pretending she could rest.

The storm, which had come back twice during their restless sleep, seemed to have passed by the time they made it downstairs and into the small town.  Deline wasted a few minutes wishing over the carriage system, but even if it was safe for them to risk, the carriages wouldn’t travel if there was risk to the horses.

Their provisioning was quick, since there were only two stores in town.  It was at the second one, while Carrone was making faces at Deline’s purchases, that the shopkeeper aimed a sharp look up and down both of them. Continue reading

Eighteen: Lies and Murder in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Captive in the Bear Empire

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Carrone was eyeing Deline oddly.  “You don’t like killing. The Deklegion paper-pusher told us you were a mass-murderer.  Then you put a blade to me and offered to leave me in the cabin.”

“I have killed a grand total of… three people and seven animals in Dekleg, not this trip, in my life, and two of those people were actively trying to kill me at the time.  I don’t like killing people.”

“But you would have slit my throat.”

“Sometimes…”  She sat down on the edge of their makeshift bed cross-legged, “the mission is more important than what I want.  And if I don’t make it home, the mission fails.” Continue reading

Captive in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Teamwork in the Bear Empire

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“So that’s how you did that knot.”

“What?  Oh, yes.”  Deline tightened up the last of the spell-rope knots around their would-be murderer with a yank.

“Do they teach that in spy training in the Empire?”  Carrone shifted the blade he was holding so that it was in a slightly less threatening position against the assassin’s throat.

“That’s at least three assumptions.”  She sat back and looked at the woman, who glared balefully at her over the thick gag of rag and socks.  Dirty socks; Deline was not in a charitable mood.

“Hunh?  I guess it is.  Are you going to give her the—”

“Hsst.”  She looked down at the woman.  “You have three choices.” Continue reading

Thimbleful Thursday: Parts and Points

“You, uh, really take trying out your product seriously, don’t you?”

The man was nervous. Sheen’s workshop did that, got people thinking about all the pieces coming to life, or about all the meat parts they still had.

That was, however, no excuse for rudeness.

“Mmm?” Sheen made like he didn’t know what the guy was talking about.  

“Your, uh, your arm?”

He’d actually said it.  Sheen marked a point in his favor.  

“This?” Sheen sent a thought through the wiring and detached his metal arm — mostly composites and ceramic, but “metal arm, meat arm” sounded cooler.  “Does this—” he waved the stump “—  look like something I did to myself?” Continue reading

Teamwork in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: An Inn in the Bear Empire

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A movement somewhere outside her window woke her in the middle of the night.

It’s the storm, she told herself, but Carrone had woken, too.  The noise from the storm had settled down to a quiet rainfall. There was very little wind at all, no sounds of sleet – but something had scratched across their wall.

The walls were more secure than they had been, but it wouldn’t stop someone from –

She rolled to one side of the bed and off as Carrone did the same on the other side.  The wrong side, too close to the wall. Just as they rolled, a dart went flying over the bed – it would have hit Carrone in the neck, if he hadn’t moved. Continue reading

World Building June Day 13 – A Diagram?

In the post I did yesterday, I mentioned a Jackal house, a “very small building on the outskirts of town that has only the bare necessities to survive,” in the Bear Empire, reserved for those who are taking advantage of the charity/kindness of others.

If you’ve been following on my Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/aldersprig/posts?tag=boom), you may have noticed that I’ve been drawing little maps and floor plans in Excel and Paint.

So when I was like “tiny building, bare necessities….”

Of course I had to draw it.

And I might have mentioned that I’ve been taking all-day Administrative Excellence classes on Wednesdays.

This leads to a lot of doodling and drawing.

So uh.  There’s a reason I draw these things in Excel usually, and below you’ll see both versions.

A “Jackal House” in the Bear Empire, as it might look.  Fire is a required necessity for survival.  Windows are not.

As the sketch shows, a stack of firewood outside the house on the windward side provides more firewood and also insulation.  The high-pitched roofline provides protection. 

 

 

World Building June Day 13 – Money and Mooches

It’so June WorldBuilding So I’m building Worlds!  Aerax/Expectant Woods over on Patreon, and Bear Empire and a new thing here!

(mostly Bear Empire now, though I’ll make sure I at least post everything I wrote on the Ezra IV Colonies)

13- What type of economic structures do they follow?

As a whole, the Bear Empire works on a mostly-capitalist structure; that is, people sell goods and services for currency to buy other goods and services.

The exceptions to this are as follows:

* There are still large portions of the Empire (mind you, not lovely portions or anything, but portions) where land is free.  As long as you have four adults or more willing to agree to live there for at least five years, the local governor will build you a house and a barn and give you up to 200 acres (although in many cases measuring those acres is complicated.  Ever measure horizontal land up the side of a mountain?).

* Taxes to the Shire, the [governor-area] and the Empire cover first and primarily infrastructure, but a portion is put aside every year for the following:

– relief for areas stricken by famine or disaster (inside the borders or, to a lesser degree, outside of them)

– Aid for the poor

– basic reading, writing, and religious education for all children from weaning to prepubescence.

This last one is new and still controversial, since it did require a raise in taxes across the board.  

* Within any town or shire, if someone has come upon hard times, there is a “10% rule.”  That is, rather than tithes to the church, people put aside 10% of their goods and harvests as they can, and will give, generally, 1/3 of that to any they encounter who have come on hard times

(on the other hand, if someone is known to abuse that charity, there is a thing called the Jackal House, a very small building on the outskirts of town that has only the bare necessities to survive. If you find yourself escorted the Jackal House, you can know that you have tried the patience of a town and stretched their 10% further than they are willing to accept.

The primary manner one gets out of the Jackal House, save from moving to another town, is by performing some act of service for every member of the town. )


 

Questions? Thoughts?  Tell me!