[LMB] TSK - Going Home

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 25 16:55:46 BST 2019

They stagger into Blackwater Mills, which joy of joys has a good Inn, and
a bath-house. Trips like theirs make you really appreciate the simple joys
in life.

And the party is starting to split up: Sage, Calla and Indigo are heading off
to Tripoint. Vio and Grouse, and the children, are staying in Blackwater - they'll
do better there than trying to start farming somewhere. k

A Lakewalker patrol makes a detour to hear the bat-malice story, and the
Captain likes the idea of walnutted farmer helpers. He's so short-handed he
likes the idea of any kind of helpers.

When Barr's leg is able to travel they leave the heady delights of Blackwater
and move on. Soon Barr, Remo and Rase head off for Pearl Riffle. Finch and
Ash split off as well. They'll drop some letters off at West Blue.

In this world, there's a desperate need for a reliable postal service. Literacy
isn't total, but it's widespread all the same. And people are spreading out
more. There'd be a huge market for people wanting to keep in touch with all
those younger sons who moved away to start a new farm, all those daughters
who married and moved away from their parents. Lakewalkers are missing out
on a huge chance here; the couriers could be making good money if they
became a general postal service.

Oddly, Sumac isn't heading off to camp, she's going with Dag and Arkady - to
get Arkady settled. And she's got that sparkle in her ground...

Ohhh lordy I wish we could see how it goes when Sumac takes Arkady home
for a visit.

Oddly, it's Barr who seems to have learned and changed the most. Of course,
he had further to go to become a decent person. Remo is still the worrier, and
not really aware how much he's learned and changed. Barr seems to be more
self-aware of it all.

Even Whit acknowledges how much he's learned - mostly from Dag - and how
fortunate he was. Old Patroller can't help but teach anyone in range.

Clearcreek is home, even though they haven't been there before. The concept
of Home is so strong, it has great power. The homestead is cobbled together
from - basically - flatboats. Or definitely in that style. There's enough bits and
pieces for Dag and Fawn to have a few bits of their own in the jumble.

And  then we jump a few months ahead. Fawn is happily making medicines,
based on all those notes she took in her little journal, while all those
Lakewalkers ignored her in Arkady's camp. Nattie-Mari is gurgling happily.

And Barr turns up, coming to Dag and Fawn to give him some advice, again.

They catch up a bit; the doctoring is going well, and Lakewalker makers are
coming for walnut training. Ideas are spreading, slowly. Patients are a mix
of farmer and river-men, which is good because that river carries news a
very long way.

Sumac will be having the baby soon - Arkady is torn between joy and
terror. Sumac spends most of her time looking after the horses, like her
mother, but for different reasons.

Whit and berry are off down the river. Whit is still wheeling and dealing,
he has an amazing talent for it - both Whit and Fawn blossomed so much
after leaving home.

Sage is having a ball in Tripoint, learning all the time, planning on having
his own place one day. (Wonder if he'd like to set up his forge at Clearcreek?)
Indigo is working with horses, has a wonderful touch for that. Calla is
working with a midwife in Tripoint, and training one week a month with
Lakewalker healers. One more little victory.

Remo went to Hickory Lake camp, and was snaffled up by one of the Crow
girls. That'll sort him out.

Barr just learned the hard way that all those instructions about keeping hands
off the farm girls were good advice. He didn't, and now there's a half-Lakewalker
child with his eyes, growing up as a farmer.

Fawn gives him both barrels. He really doesn't understand what he did to
that young woman's life, and how she panicked and suffered.

Barr's actually been thinking, about someone else. But even with Dag's
advice, there's not much he can do but watch, and wait. Maybe with
puberty the child will get Lakewalker powers. Or not.

Meanwhile Dag has everything he'd never dared to hope for. Fawn, a
baby and the hope of more, amazing work, and he's changing the world.

There's such a difference between his life, and his emotional life, now
to the way he was at the beginning. Of all of them, Dag has changed
the most.

Journey's end.

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