Snippet Sunday #11

A little more from Hard Time this week. Some Knights of the Air arrive in Windish. I gotta issue a Vandis Warning.

*

“Hold still, dammit!”

Lukas blinked, turning away from the park to the bank of nice houses in neat trees. He knew that voice, he was sure of it. A thin shriek followed.

“If you held still, it wouldn’t—get back here!”

A tiny Ishling, dripping wet and buck naked, shot out from beneath a wide cypress just ahead and leapt into the road. Aunt Kirsten clutched her chest in alarm; the baby dodged wagons and walkers and pigs, squealing with mirth. Mud splattered, traffic ground to a halt, and Vandis Vail himself stood at the edge of the street with his sleeves rolled up and his jaw working.

“Oh, dear,” said Adeon. Maybe it was Lukas’s imagination, but he thought the tulon smiled a little. “Guthlaf, please help me catch that muddy baby.” There went Adeon, silver horsetail swinging, into the crowd of people and wagons. Guthlaf let loose a deep sigh and slouched behind him.

Vandis shouldered across too, until he simply gave up and blasted himself into the air, above the heads and tops. A few of the Ish scattered away from him, more from his flight, as he passed slowly over the street. His head went back and forth slowly as he scanned for the baby. “Tai!” he kept calling. “This is not fucking funny! Tai!

Once she saw that nobody was likely to go anywhere, Aunt Kirsten simply stormed across a yard planted with maples and ferns along with the thick conifer that supported the house, beckoning to the rest of the Knights. Lukas followed right away. The rest trailed her over with varying degrees of deference for the foliage.

There were more important things than somebody’s ferns, no matter how pretty. It wasn’t like he was trying to crush them, but he wasn’t trying not to either. Luckily, it wasn’t far to the cypress the baby had come from, and by the time an enraged old lady came to the edge of the deck, squalling at the insult to her plantings, Lukas and Aunt Kirsten were just stepping off her lawn. The rest of the Knights hurried after, heads down.

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