Tag Archive | character: kael

A New World 21: Preparations

First: A New World
Previous: Drinks

Kael let Mr. Vibius show her where “her quarters” was after the meal.  He gave her a key that she wouldn’t (she hoped) need, told her a bit about the area, and then left to close down the museum.

She looked around “her quarters.”  Someone had taken some effort to do what she presumed was modernizing on the rooms, including a bed that looked wider than she remembered and thus a little tight for the space, but it was – or it had been – Joaon’s sleeping quarters.

They had not been his first.  She had built the room for a woman named Glerine, but she had, after five years of serving Kael, run off with a fur-trader who presumably had a more interesting life than a woman cloistered high in a potions tower. Continue reading

A New World: The Hoija

First: A New World
Previous: Two Kael

Everyone knowing about the Hoeraija is your fault.

Kael raised her eyebrows at this scholar, this Dennor. (Hightower.  Had his family been potion-masters? That was something for another time.)

“I beg your pardon?”  she demanded archly.

He flapped his hand, amused.  “That’s ‘your’ fault.” He dropped quote marks in the air. “Your namesake.  Because she settled among the Hoija, because she built her tower there – here, because she, foremost among the old wizards -”

“Wizards?”  Her potion provided a meaning, but it wasn’t one that made any sense to her. Continue reading

A New World: Two Kael

First: A New World
Previous: Dinner, and Things to Chew On

She ate her food slowly, but with gusto.  It may have been only one long night to her, but it still seemed like a long time since she’d had a taste of home.

Dennor Hightower was staring at her.  She looked up from her food and waited, patiently.

“Kael,” he repeated slowly, “is not a Lerienoijen name.  You said Lerienoijen.  How many scholars know that word?”

“I don’t know.  How many?”

“I know three.  One of them is me.  And I’ve never heard of you.” Continue reading

A New World: Dinner, and Things to Chew On

First: A New World
Previous: The People

The lay-out of food was almost exactly as Kael remembered it, with the addition of what had to be a couple modern foods.  Everything was set up on one long table, with three tables for eating at – Joaon had built one of those tables by hand, she remembered.  She could still see the adze marks.

There were several people sitting at the tables – the gift-shop man and a woman in a smock and loose pants, another girl in the same outfit as the gift-shop man, and one person who caught Kael’s eye immediately.

They were not wearing clothing that marked them as part of the staff, but they were so utterly the epitome of Hoeraijen handsomeness that they – he, had to be male – took Kael’s breath away.  He was wearing what she thought were modern clothes, sitting by himself at the end of a table, and he was reading while he ate. Continue reading

A New World: the People

First: A New World
Previous: Taking Stock

Half Yordiy off was better than she’d expected to get, if she was being honest, and all she had to do was draw up a safer version of things she’d been doing for years.

“Thank you, Mr. Vibius.”  He reminded Kael strongly of the people she had known before she’d become a potion-mistress and ruler of her own domain.  She knew how to act around him, but that didn’t make it the least bit pleasant. “You said the food was on the third floor?”

“Yep.  It’s always there.  I don’t get it, I really don’t, but it’s always there.”

Kael suppressed a smile.  Jaoan had been working on that for years.  She wondered how long it had taken him to perfect it.  “Thank you. If nobody is here to ask me about potions, I will go and eat now.”

“You’re really taking this seriously.”  He looked at a small glowing piece of glass for a moment.  “There’s three people in the museum, but they’re taking their down  in the Lives of the Ancient Natives and Potions Then and Now displays.  The Lives one really gets a lot of attention,” he confided. “People like going through how people lived back before, uh,” he coughed, “before the modern era.  We get a lot of yelling, too.” He smiled grimly. “People who say there’s no way things could have been like that.” Continue reading

A New World: Taking Stock

First: A New World
Previous: An Arrangement

Caron and Hallsey had left, leaving Kael alone in her tower again but with far more to think about.

She had, she realized, spoken more words to other people today than she probably had in a week back in her old life.

And she knew nothing about the world outside.  She was only managing as well as she did because of the translation potion, and when that failed her, she was going to be left looking blankly at people while they talked about matters that were ancient history to them and still far in the future for her.

She inventoried her ingredients slowly and began a list.  Some of these things were incorrectly labelled; she added a tiny notation to the bottom of each label in her own script.  Some of them were getting stale. A few were missing altogether. Continue reading

A New World: An Arrangement

First: A New World
Previous: Experimenting with History

Kael looked between Caron and Hallsey, wondering exactly what she’d said that was getting her such strange looks from both of them.

“Are you offering… to teach us?  On something like a regular basis?”

“But not potions,” Hallsey added to her friend’s question.  “But like… how to find out history?”

“That depends.”  Kael was feeling out her answer as she went,  but she was pretty sure she was on the right track.  “Do you want to learn potions, history, or both?”

“Are you for real?” Caron stared at her.  “Are you really – I mean, what would you charge?” Continue reading

A New World: Experimenting With History

First: A New World

Kael cleared her throat.

“Assume for a moment that I am who I am pretending to be.”

They both turned their attention back to her.  It was Caron who spoke first.

“Okay.  So.” He hemmed uncertainly. “You want us to pretend that you’re Kaelingrade Torrent-Step.  And… that you lived for a thousand years?”

“No, no, that would be silly.” She smiled broadly at him.  “Let’s say that a potion went wrong and I suddenly landed here, in this tower, where I was, ah, pretending to be someone pretending to be myself.”

“Okay,” Hallsey leaned forward.  “This is a fun game. So you don’t know anything that happened in the last… oh.   Like the, um, colonization.”

“Conquest,” Caron offered. Continue reading

A New World: Building Potions

First: A New World

“All right, all right.”  Halsey sighed.  “Let’s go on.  I think we have enough for the paper – I mean, we can’t write a paper on this place for Mr. Catalon, anyway.  He’s going to blow his top.”

“We at least have to see the rest of the museum.  Come on, maybe they’ll show us something interesting like where all the tools were or something.  And then we can work out what we’re going to write for class.  I mean.  We could do something on the conflicts between the displays and the book?  And then say, since we weren’t there, we can’t tell?” Continue reading

A New World: History is in the Eye of the Beholder

First: A New World
Previous: Made In the Ikitem Peninsula

A map.  She wondered if there were maps anywhere in this place.

The next couple floors proved not so helpful – informative, but not for what she wanted at the moment.  There was a diagram of what a typical house would look like in the time of  Kaelingrade Torrent-Step, which was remarkably accurate but made her wonder what people lived like in this day and age.  They even had a couple different rooms mocked up.  She was pretty sure the bedroom had come from Joaon’s home, the place he had lived before she had taken him in.

There was an explanation of potion-making that relied a little too heavily on the mundane properties of some of the reagents but explained, in detail she would need to go back and read, how certain inventions of the modern world had build off of the foundation of potion-masters like herself.

It was strange to walk up floor after floor of what she had built as, essentially, a barrier against the world and see her whole world laid out in details.  What people ate.  What people wore.  What people did. Even what people defecated in – which was an interesting one, and she was going to have to discover that sooner or later.  

This tower, she realized, had been set up as a monument not just to her, but to her whole world.  It was an explanation of what had come before.

“That can’t be right.”

A voice on the stairs sent her moving for a hidden passage that appeared covered by a display on pottery.  She moved as quickly as she could, finding the display pivoted the way the cabinet she had once had her did.  

“It’s a museum, Halsey, I don’t think they’re just going to lie to you.”

“Not lie, no, but they might get something wrong.  I mean look at this.  That has to be some sort of error.  Think about what they said in history class.”

The two voices sounded pubescent, one male, one female.  Halsey was the female voice, the one who thought the displays were wrong.

Kael should get up to her potions room, but she stayed a moment to see what was “wrong” about the displays.”

“You know what Mr. Catalon thinks about the natives.”

“He’s a history teacher, Corin.  He can’t go around lying about history!” What if I was wrong?

“I don’t see why not.  History is in the eye of the beholder, right?”  The translation spell was still working, because Kael heard a whispered take the bait.  Corin, it seemed, was trying to prove a point?

“That’s beauty.  History, what is it… oh, yeah, written by the winner.”

“That’s right!  And we won the invasion!  Right?” Come on, come on, don’t make me use the big stick…

“It wasn’t an invasion…” Halsey sounded uncertain now, a why wouldn’t it be?  They were savages, right, but… lingering behind her words.

“We came in, we took their land, we set up our own government.  So uh.  We probably wrote history to suit us.”  Now even Corin sounded unsure.  “They didn’t have anything interesting, so they needed us, that sort of thing. You know.”  

Kael knew all too well.  Her own people had done that twice in her lifetime – in her first lifetime.  The second time had been the reason she had retreated to a tower in the wasteland .

“Yeah.”  Halsey’s tone was thoughtful now.  “Do you think… do you think it’s really all lies?  What else do you think is lies?  I mean.  If they lied about this, then they don’t really have to tell us the truth about anything, do they?”

“That’s, uh, that’s a little extreme, Halls.  I mean.  Yeah, they probably lied about the Red War, too.  I mean, wouldn’t you?  But that doesn’t mean, like, they’re making up presidents or anything.” What have I done?

These two, if they made it as far as her potions room, were definitely going to be interesting.  

“Okay, so.  Let’s look at this again.  They’re not making up presidents here, they’re just saying how these people lived.  So why’s it wrong?”

“You sound like Mrs. Hosmer,” Halsey complained.  “Okay, so they didn’t have the sort of technology to build stone buildings.  They lived in mud huts and they weren’t using steel or even iron tools yet.  No mining, we’ve never found any mines.”

What?  Kael should get upstairs.  But she stayed to listen, wondering what other lies these children had been taught.

“So we haven’t found any mines.  What about metal tools?”

“I… haven’t heard of any?  There weren’t any found in the Kasfour dig, I know that.  Some stone tools and some really nice glasswork.  They were really good with glass.”

Kasfour?  She needed a map.  Why hadn’t she asked the nice young man down in the gift shop for a map?

“Okay, so that’s a start.  We don’t know if they had metal tools.  But isn’t this tower supposed to be pre-colonies?  And it’s definitely stonework.”

“By magic.”

Well, she wasn’t wrong.

“So?  What’s wrong with doing things by magic?  The warships and colony vessels we sent over were magic, too, weren’t they?  And we had the mages.  They just had potions-masters.  I mean… How do you build a tower by potions.?”

Very, very carefully.  Kael had far too much to do.  She was going to need to find a way to leave the tower without risking getting “fired.”


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