[LMB] So, did you miss me?

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Sun Jun 30 15:18:52 BST 2019

Sorry, was lost in r/l for a while.

But, back to the novel.... the travellers go on....

They meet up with Dag's niece, who shares his charisma - it certainly works
on Arkady, as well as on most young males around her, including the trainee
she's taking North. Dag's building his patrol, and his family.

They collect Whit, Berry et al at Alligator Hat. Whit's now collecting horses.

They've practically got a full patrol.

And Dag isn't in charge. He just makes sure that it's all going well.

Whit shows them his crossbow, and Dag explains the new world to Arkady, and
the reason things are going to change: "...but if they can turn out twenty to our one, it wouldn’t matter if a few broke or didn’t work quite square. They could just swap out, and still be miles ahead..."

He also explains the value of money to Arkady, a man who's lived in camp and had
all his wants and needs covered for him, all his life. Money that stores value, that
allows travel, and trade, and wealth, and power.

The party grows; they pick up the least well-prepared settlers ever, a rather
unprepossessing family who are desperate and determined.

And Remo, Neeta  and Tavia - with news that they can go back, they've won on all points.
Options, choices...

Sumac, a good and dutiful niece, helps Arkady decide to go north with Dag. She's
very fond of Dag, and they are so good together, fellow-patrollers and fellow-survivors
of their family. And she's great with Arkady, too - both of them are strong and definite,
knowing what they want. And don't want. This trip has rewarded Arkady in so many ways.

With Dag, Arkady, Sumac, Remo, Barr, Neeta, and the rest, there's plenty of patrollers.
And the river travellers. And the farmers. And a blacksmith who's going to be at the
forefront of invention. A sample of their society as a whole.

So, after we get to know them all, see how they work together, and find out a bit
about them - enough to make us care what happens to them all, the action hots up again.

Dag is still working with walnuts - now Fawn, Whit and Berry all have slightly different

Neeta tries to seduce Dag to go South with her. Ick.

And then, on a nice sunny day, they meet a mudman. The patrollers are
instantly on alert, they kill it fast, and Fawn explains things to the farmers.
But a mudman means a malice. Sumac elects Dag as Captain. Nobody else even
questions it.

The farmers have some problems with the concept of 'drop everything and be
ready to run'. You can't take an anvil with you, or a wagon. They get fed, water the
animals, and wait. Dag organises his assault team, and makes plans.

The fight is exciting, breathless, and finally triumphant. Whit joins in - so the
walnuts do work, and farmers can help fight malices too. Another small lesson
for the wider world to learn.

Afterwards there's a lot of cleaning up, nursing the sick, explaining things, and
a lot of young patrollers who are now experienced malice-killers.

There's a few odd things, which should have brought more questions.

Why was a sessile malice running away?

There's been no traffic from the north, but if that was due to the malice, why were
there no mind-controlled humans in the group, only mud men?

Why did Bo see giant vultures flying at night?

I really think the patrollers should have wondered a bit more, at least about the
first two questions.

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