Dragon Knights Fan Fiction ❯ Inside Tetheus's Head ❯ Chancer, Charlatan, Competent, Calculating ( Chapter 13 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Okay, Welcome to Chapter 13, lucky for some. Is it lucky for Tetheus, though? He got a respite last week, but a nasty surprise is waiting.

It's funny how things go. I was all smug at Cernozoa's last line, 'Of course. No man could write like that.' since, after all I'm a woman. Then I realised that I haven't actually written the book, yet it was almost as real to me as it is to them. It's times like that when you need to study the diagram again. (The diagram explains the difference between dreams and reality. It's illustrated in Father Ted, a sitcom. My favourite Father Ted bit has to be Ted showing Dougal some toy cows and saying, "The cows here are small, the ones out there are far away. Small. Far away.")

Ack, I've gotten down to the monsters under the bed and I've realised that it's all in past tense. To make it easier for myself, I'm switching to past tense from now on. I apologise for any jarring this causes, but now that A Suitable Bride's finished, this would be the only present tense fic that I'm writing and trying to remember which tense I'm writing in, when I tend to work on several simultaneously, is extra hassle I don't need. If everything's written the same way, I've no trouble and I was doing this to learn how to write. So, from this point on, Tetheus is a past tense fic.

warning: Tetheus, the Black Dragon Officer and Head of Security, has a mind like a sewer.

italics are his thoughts.

summary: Cesia, the Hack Fortuneteller arrives. Will she expose Tetheus as the villain behind the scandalous novel sweeping Dusis?

A cold wind blew down the streets, rustling litter, ballooning skirts and threatening the modesty of their wearers. It created miniature waves on the puddles left by this morning's rain and nudged a flow of water from an unclogged downspout, onto the head of a hat-less noble. As he cursed the weary peasant, still poking at the drain, high on his ladder, it stole the words out of his mouth and threw them at the feet of a poor cripple boy, huddled up beside a gaudy tent, on the green. It tormented him a little, freezing his skin with its cold fingers, before stealing up the trouser-leg of a certain frosty Dragon Officer.

Ah! It's bloody cold! Why do I have to stand out here, in line! with a bunch of no-good, gullible fools? Look at these pathetic morons, risking pneumonia and a nasty cold, just to see a travelling fortune-teller. Why am I here? Why did I bother? How'd I get dragged into this mess?

"Isn't this great?" asked the hooded fool beside him, interrupting his moody introspection. "It's like we're waiting to meet a ... oh, I don't know. Someone important. With presents. It's like, yes, like your birthday. I'm glad we snuck out."

Tetheus sighed and wrapped himself in his warm, woollen coat. Only you would find this entertaining. He looked up the line at the series of giggling girls, impatient nobles, earnest farmers and eager Dragon Fighters. Dragon Fighters?

His companion squealed "So, do I really look like a commoner in this? Do I?"

Tetheus shook his head. "Why are we here again?" he asked frostily.
"Well," said his friend, matter-of-factly. "There's been no fortune-teller in the castle, since Salazar died and I don't know when Cesia'll turn up. We need to know if there's anything dangerous, or important, that we don't know about, but should. We simply can't wait for her, we need guidance."
"You have got four advisors, your Majesty," Tetheus pointed out. "We've kept you up to date on everything and the castle's been safe, hasn't it?"
"Well, yes," Lykouleon admitted. "But don't call me that. Someone might hear and it's not proper that we're going to a fortune-teller that everyone can use."
"Why do we need one at all?" Tetheus whispered.
"We need to know what sort of unexpected things to expect," said Lykouleon staunchly. "We need a fortune-teller. We've always had a fortune-teller." He squirmed uneasily, under his concealing cloak. "Not having one is creepy. There are certain things they do that you or Alfeegi couldn't."
"Like what? Hunt the monsters from under your bed?"
"Oh, please," smiled the Dragonlord. "They live in the wardrobe, as well you know."

Luckily, most of those visiting the fortune-teller entered in groups. Each visit was long, though. Lykouleon hid quietly under his cosy cloak, thinking of important questions to ask the fortune-teller, while Tetheus watched the line, trying to recall the Dragon Fighters names and deciding if disciplinary action was in order. Now, I don't need to worry about exposing myself. If I just talk to them back at the castle, my reputation for knowing every deed done by the fighters will grow and that'll keep them in line. Hmm. But are they actually doing anything wrong? I may have to leave it with a cutting remark, rather than menial labour. Pity, there were some nasty jobs I could do with free labour for. He widened his scan to the rest of the winding line and counted those in front of him. How long will we be waiting? If that lot are together and those two are with each other and that one goes in with her, then we're here for another hour, at best.

"This is ridiculous," he finally said. "If you just spoke up, we could barge to the head of the line, as we usually do and no-one would complain. I've a myriad of things to be doing, back in the castle." Finding a hot whiskey and downing it in one, for instance.
"Be calm, Tetheus," Lykouleon muttered sagely, from under his hood. "Everything that's urgent will be dealt with by Ruwalk and everything else can keep."
Everything can keep, but I'd prefer if they kept for something even slightly more interesting.
Lykouleon muttered something. Huh? Sounded like, "I want to test this girl." Good lord, he's not found his first victim for Dragonlord loving, has he?

The line moved forward in stops and starts. Group after group entered the tent and left wide-eyed and goggle-mouthed. Those at the top were always eager and excited, probably due to side-effects from exposure. If someone succumbed while in the queue, then at least I wouldn't be waiting as long. Eventually, a pair of Dragon Fighters entered the tent, leaving only some small children, clutching their pocket money and obviously hoping to learn of their future. Why would you want to narrow down your possibilities at this stage? Tetheus towered over the miniature humans and leaned forward, for a little extra looming power. The kids cowered away from him, but didn't quit the queue. However, Tetheus noticed a gap in the tent's material and stretched up to take a peek inside.

The cripple boy called up, alarmed, "Hey! You can't do that!"
Tetheus ignored him and sniffed the air. "There's a weak demon aura in the vicinity," he said. He looked at the cripple then and sniffed more obviously. "I think it's coming from this direction."

The boy swallowed hard. He smiled uneasily and grasped ahold of the bottom of the tent. With a final cheeky grin, he lifted the material and rolled into the tent, slamming it back down again after him. Tetheus walked over to where he had been and made to grab the canvas, but a shake of the Dragonlord's head stopped him from following.

Tetheus returned to Lykouleon's side and peered into the tent, once more. The boy was nowhere to be seen, but the Dragon Fighters were talking to someone that was obscured from Tetheus's sight. Tetheus strained and he could just make out the words they spoke.

"Cross my palm with silver", said the obscured figure, holding out a heavily jewelled hand. Rings sparkled on every finger and numerous bangles reflected light from the dim lamps on the table. I didn't know that telling fortunes was so lucrative. I guess when you con the gullible, you may as well do it for huge amounts of money.

As one of the Fighters reached out to place something in her hand, the second grabbed his arm. "No! Not my Grandfather's medals," he shouted. "Where did you get those? Give them back!"
"They're made of real silver, aren't they?" said the first, shaking him off. "I don't have any silver items, you've no others. What else do you want to do?"
"Not use those!" said the second, attempting to grab them. "They're more precious than any fortune. They're an heirloom and they're mine!"
I can't remember their names, was it D - something, or S- something? Oh man, sometimes my memory is just swiss cheese. I was talking to them, I hired them, chewed them out for the first time, when I was bored.... What are their names?

"Do you remember how long we waited in line?" said Dee, firmly. "If we don't use them, then it was for nothing. I don't want a wasted journey and you were the one that really wanted to come."
"I know," wailed Ess. "But they're not mine, they're my family's and besides, only one of them is real silver."
"Which one?" asked Dee, bringing the medals closer to Ess.
"This one!" exclaimed Ess, as he grabbed the entire lot from Dee.
"If you simply place it in my hand," said the fortune-teller, interrupting their squabble with the merest hint of impatience, "I can use it to divine your future. It will return unharmed ... for a gratuity."
"All right!" said Dee, digging into his pocket. "We'll go halves then."
Ess happily pocketed his precious medals, except for the one that he placed in the psychic's outstretched hand. Her fingers closed over it and she murmured appreciatively. "Oh, there are good vibrations from this object. It will give a strong telling." Her other hand flicked out and the fighters each deposited some coin in its palm. This hand disappeared more quickly, then reappeared holding a dirty glass marble, which she placed in a stand in the centre of the table. As it slotted into place, it started to glow. She waved her empty hand over it theatrically, then emitted a low guttural moan. The fighters were suitably impressed.

"I can see that you had lost something dear to you, but you've now found it. You're still very worried about it, though," she said, somehow speaking through her nose.
"No," said Dee, puzzled.
"Yes!" exclaimed Ess.
"I sense, yes, I'm being told that someone close to you, a grandfather? Was he, in the army?" she asked Ess, breathlessly.
"Yes, he was!" he said, drawing closer to the shadowy figure. "He..."
"He was a great hero," she said, interrupting him. "He brought great glory onto your family's name."
"That's true!" said Ess, excitedly. "I..."
"You followed in his path," she murmured, her voice soft and mysterious.
"Yes!" he squealed, before turning to an amazed Dee. "How did she know that?" he asked, while tugging at the collar of his uniform.

Tetheus snorted disgustedly and stopped watching. Lykouleon eyed him, curiously.

"What did you see inside?" he asked.
"A charlatan," Tetheus answered softly.
"You're a cynic, Tetheus," he answered. "Wait and see."

The two dragons emerged, like all the others, mindlessly wittering on about the phoney fortunes delivered by the charlatan and gasping at her so-called insights. I truly weep for the future of the Dragon Tribe. If it's in the hands of mindless, gullible fools like these ones, then we're doomed. I have got to train the Dragon Knights properly. If they hang out with morons, then they might pick up their stupidity. It's frightening how it spreads. The gaggle of children waddled in next. It wasn't long before they came out again, one excited, one bored and two looking quite frightened. Then it was Tetheus and Lykouleon's turn.

They both had to duck down, to fit under the opening in the tent. The dull light of the day was instantly extinguished and they had to wait until their eyes adjusted. The low lamps were now unlit and Tetheus wondered if the charlatan had scarpered. The overwhelming scent of strong incense wafted over from the only light-source, a cheap tin burner on an upturned bucket. Good grief. What are they trying to cover up? Are they hiding bodies in here? The Dragonlord shifted his stance and Tetheus reacted similarly. Does he expect an attack?

Suddenly, the lights flared up and Tetheus saw a mass of clothing emerge from a slit in the tent wall. There must be a second room beyond that. Actually, this area is smaller than you would expect. Thin hands emerged from the bundle and beckoned them to sit at the now-illuminated centre table, where three chairs waited. The Dragonlord cautiously walked forward and sat down, his eyes on the fortune-teller. Tetheus followed his lead. The fortune-teller, her face hidden behind a mass of veils, lifted her voluminous skirts and sat with them. As she sat down, Tetheus raised his head, alarmed. The woman was soaked with the unmistakeable essence of a demon aura. It's faint and there's something else in there, too, but that hag has a demon taint. This isn't safe. He reached under the cloth, covering the table and found Lykouleon's hand. He squeezed it tightly and Lykouleon squeezed back, running his thumb over the tips of Tetheus's fingers. Fool! We're in danger! If she turns into one ugly wench, then I'm running and you can kill her. That's my warning. The demon-hag settled her hands firmly on the table, palm down. I'm sorry Raseleane, I did everything that I could. Here, come cry on my shoulder.

She spoke, with a husky voice, "You wish to learn what is unknown? To pierce the veil and see your future?"
"Yes, I do," said Lykouleon. "My name is Lyle and this is Tekk-chan," he said, as he pointed at Tetheus.
The veil shifted focus to the stiff-backed Tetheus. "I'm really very loveable, when you get to know me," he said, in a monotone.
She dismissed him then and returned her attention to the Dragonlord. "What method would you like me to use?" her husky voice moaned. "I am skilled with the cards, with the palm and with the crystal ball. I also have knowledge of several other, more obscure divination methods."
"The cards will be fine," said the Dragonlord. His voice betrayed no anxiety and he seemed perfectly at ease.

The Fortune-teller nodded. Her hands were covered in so many rings and bangles, that very little flesh was visible. Her body was swathed in so much cloth, that her shape couldn't be seen. Her voice was deep and husky and it was the only part of her that was unconcealed. I don't like dealing with her. She's hiding too much. The fortune-hag reached into a velvet bag and pulled out thick and well-worn cards. Ah, poor Raseleane, still mourning? Alcohol deadens the pain, you know. Can I get you some port?

The cards were shuffled and then Lykouleon touched them, to infuse them with his essence. The demon-witch slowly dealt out some cards onto the table, face down. She waited a moment, before turning over the one furthest to the left.
"You have had a lot of struggles in your life, but you have overcome them," she rasped.
"That's true," said Lykouleon, simply.
Why, you're so tipsy, Raseleane. Here, let me put you to bed.
"You are happy with your life now," she said, as she turned a second one over.
"Well, nothing's perfect, but it's pretty good."
My, my. What frilly smalls, Raseleane.
"I see," she said, turning over another grimy card. "Now, your future. I see a new love entering your life."
"Oh," said the Dragonlord, smiling. "I'm married."
The fortune-teller didn't miss a beat. "I mean, of course, that your union will shortly be blessed."
Lykouleon's smile faded a little as he replied, "But, she's barren."
The veiled witch glanced down at the table. "Uh, um, ah! See this figure here?" Lykouleon stretched forward to examine the smudge on the card. "I missed this, but it's very significant. A dog! The cards say that you should get a dog, to ... fill the emptiness in your life."
"Oh," said Lykouleon, before he turned to Tetheus. "I think I'll call him Crewger."
Why, Raseleane? What do you mean? Are you sure? Well, take me, but think of the Dragonlord. He'd want it that way.

The other cards turned over, one by one. The witch spoke less-surely now. "You're kind and generous, people often feel they can take advantage of you. Those that do, miss the steel."
Lykouleon said nothing. A card turned over.
"You're in a position of authority. People look up to you."
"I see a connection with royalty. Do you work in the castle?"
Lykouleon simply smiled and asked, "What else do you see?"

The final card turned over and she swallowed hard. Tetheus leaned forward, but the card just seemed to be meaningless squiggles. The colours used were dark, except for the vivid reds. Oh Raseleane, I can't possibly take the throne. Let me just comfort you in the one way I can. Lykouleon waited, unmoving, completely uncurious, for her interpretation.

"I see trouble. The path ahead for your house is treacherous and the outcome is uncertain. You will have to depend heavily on others. One of them will not appear trustworthy." A sudden rush of words came flooding from her, then and her confidence grew. The raspiness of her voice, also changed and she spoke more softly and eagerly. "A scandal has swept, or is sweeping your life. You're trying to minimise the damage from it, but the true and lasting effect of this scandal will not be apparent for many years. Gossip and careless words may be insubstantial, but can rock the foundations of the mightiest of houses. Many competing voices offer solutions, but some suggestions will only fuel the flames. Choose wisely. Remember how people react. You know the depth of a human heart, so trust your own counsel before others." She swept a hand theatrically up to her brow. "Now go, I am weary. I have no further knowledge for you."

Tetheus and Lykouleon stood, bowed and left. The sore light hit their eyes and they blinked, until the pain faded. The queue still waited outside and they were jostled, as the next impatient set of customers entered the tent.

"She's a demon," muttered Tetheus, sharply.
"Did you notice anything else?" asked the Dragonlord.
"There was something else there," he admitted. "The hag's definitely a demon, though. I'll get a squad of Dragon Fighters and we'll take her down."
"I think we can trust her, Tetheus," Lykouleon replied. "I like her. See if you can find me a dog."
Oh, I'll get you a dog, alright. The strongest, damn, demon-dog I can find! You, you, maddening Dragonlord! ... I need stronger insults to use on Lykouleon. I'm buying a dictionary and finding out exactly how irritating you are.

On arrival at the Castle, a runner nodded to Tetheus. "I have the parcel, sir," he said, holding up a brown paper package.
"Great!" said Lykouleon and he grabbed the packet and started to tear into it. "Thank goodness, I can't tell you how much I want this." A joyful sigh wracked his body. "I may have been a bit hasty, but Kharl's exceeded my expectations. How many do you think he sent me?"
"Uh, my Lord?" Tetheus coughed, as he attempted to rescue the parcel from Lykouleon. "That's the package I'm sending out to Kharl, with the request for you-know-what. We won't be getting anything back from him, for at least a month."
"A month?" said Lykouleon, not resisting as Tetheus scooped the package from him. "I can't wait a month."
"You'll have to," he said, examining the packet for damage, then re-tying it and handing it over to the runner.
"But, I already told her that I wouldn't wear the collar again!" he said desperately, tears welling in his eyes. "Isn't there any way to speed it up? I can't wait a whole month!"
Collar? ... Raseleane, what do you want me to do? Wear this? Okay? Am I a bad dog?
"I'd better go back into town and get something for Raseleane. Chocolates, or a pretty dress and some nice flowers. I'd better buy out a jewellery shop, too. Goodbye, Tetheus," he said, running off.
Woof! Wooof! Awoooooo!

The cosy study was filled with only the closest confidantes of the Dragonlord, as Tetheus delivered his interim report and latest theory on the identity of the mysterious Keigh Hay.

"... and so I believe that it must have been a young girl, who could not understand why her advances to the Dragonlord were rejected." He turned to Raseleane and bowed deeply. "Someone inexperienced, who does not yet understand the true strength and meaning of love." He strode around the room, expounding sternly. "The focus on Ruwalk, the detailed description of his bottom, shows an equal obsession with him. I don't know if she made a similar advance to him, or not, but we can see that she did not suffer the same despairing rejection from him. Yes, indeed, these points and a few others, show that a woman must have written the novel. A final gesture at the situation that she's leaving. Revenge on a bitter experience. I don't think she's still employed at the castle, since she couldn't be that open and vindictive and still look her friends and bosses in the face. Still, I think all the venom came out in this book and I don't think there'll be any more written. She's been cleansed, so to speak."
"So you think we should just let her get away with it?" asked Ruwalk, incredulously.
"She's not here, anymore," pointed out Tetheus. "Do you want to waste Kingdom resources trying to find her? Plus, prosecuting this poor, innocent, clue-less girl will strike a bad note with the population. They'll think we're trying to cover up the degeneracy of the castle with a witch-hunt."
"Innocent?" laughed Kai-Stern.
"Most of the positions referenced are physically impossible," said Tetheus. "I think it's obvious that the girl's inexperienced and working from imagination alone. She's probably only thirteen years old."
"It's rather well-written for a thirteen year old," said Raseleane.
"The publishers have editors and ghost writers to tidy these sorts of novels up," said Tetheus. "Most of them are inexperienced also."
"Interesting," said Lykouleon, rising from his chair. "I can see that your points make sense, but I'd like a second opinion."

He strode to the door and opened it. A meek-looking girl, tarted up in one of Raseleane's cast-offs and looking most uncomfortable stood at the entrance. Her long hair was heavily laden with jewels and ribbons, so that the extra weight pulled it almost to the ground. Her fringe was bleached an unattractive blonde. Another toy of Raseleane's? The Dragonlord led her inside and presented her to the room.

"This is Cesia," he said. "My new fortune-teller." He looked at her kindly and spoke softly to her. "Cesia, my dear. I want you to work with Tetheus on the identity of the author of a certain book. He'll fill you in."
Fortune-teller? Shit! If she's any good, I'm screwed! Why'd I have to write about her? He looked her over, before stepping forward. She looks nothing like my Cesia. What a wet rag. Outwardly, he betrayed nothing, merely bowed and took her hand. "We may as well start now." When he touched her, the comforting presence of the Dragonlord stopped masking the incredible demon aura of the child. She's strong. Looking at her, it seemed oddly familiar. The demon-hag. It's her! I'm safe. This hack'll never finger me.

As he walked her to her room, Tetheus grew more and more confident. It'll be easy to lead her in the direction I want. She makes her "predictions" by telling people what they really want to hear, after all. Why else, when someone comes to hear of their future, does she concentrate on their past? She won't get away with bland pleasantries here. Still, I'll wait until she backs me up on my book and the furore dies down, before exposing her. She may seem harmless, but Lykouleon's strangely dependant on her kind. There's no telling how drunk she'll get, when she realises the extent of her influence. They reached her room and Cesia showed Tetheus inside. A lot of Dragon Fighters visited her. How long was she camped in the town? She could have found out a lot about the castle in that space of time. She could be more intelligent than I've given her credit for. I'd better be careful.

Tetheus closed the door behind him and Cesia scuttled over to her luggage. Two simple bags lay on her bed.
"I'm sorry, I'm not fully unpacked. I only just got here," she said, pulling various items from the larger bag. "If you just wait a moment, I'll set up."

Tetheus nodded and surveyed the room, while she prepared. It was a mid-size room, with a nice view, slightly larger than the guest rooms, but nothing like Tetheus's own suite. Lykouleon must have planned a long stay for her. Everything was decorated in neutral tones and remained completely unpersonalised. Of course, she's just moved in. I can't use the room to unravel her personality. I'll have to watch the stuff she unpacks.

While he was looking around, Cesia had laid a square of cloth on the ground and placed a crystal ball in its centre. She was now frantically going through her things, looking for something.

"Dammit!" she said. "It's not here."
"Lost something?" Tetheus said mildly. Now that's a bad first impression, if ever I saw one.
"Please, wait a moment," she said, flushed, as she settled herself on the cloth shawl. She placed her hands on either side of the crystal ball, not touching it and concentrated. The ball glowed, then rose slowly, between her hands. As she raised it up to her chest, her hair flew backwards, as though a great wind was blowing from the glass. She remained like that, for a few moments, then slowly lowered the glass again. Her hair calmed down, until it rested loosely once more, on her shoulders.

"Is there a blonde girl, who runs the castle?" she asked Tetheus. Shit! She's for real. Shit!
"You mean Cernozoa?" he asked, in a steady voice.
"I guess so," she said. "Can you tell her that the mirror Shay found, belongs to me?"
"Certainly," he said. Tetheus walked to the door and called out to the first maid he saw. He gave her Cesia's message and returned to her side, with wobbly knees. "That was quite impressive," he said, settling himself on the ground.
"I don't like to do it," she said, tossing her bound hair. "Ow!" She pulled a few of the trinkets out and ran her fingers through the freed hair with a sigh. "It gives me a headache and it messes up my hair. Besides, I don't often need to be that accurate," she explained to Tetheus. "Most people who come to me, don't really want to know about their dull futures. I tell them something pretty and they feel much better than they would, if I told him they'd end up just like their dull and boring parents. When you provide a service, you have to make sure that customers will return. They want to hear puzzles, minor quandaries that they can overcome, thanks to my help. I could be a good fortune-teller and speak exactly what their cards reveal, but then I'd be a poor one."
"Makes sense," said Tetheus. "Now, about the novel..."
"Yes," she said. "About that." She turned on the floor, to face him fully. "Look, it's obvious to me, that whoever wrote this is a big cheese around here. I don't intend to make any powerful enemies. I don't care who wrote this, but I do care about the future. My future. Let's just pick someone who can't defend themselves, someone inconsequential and pin the whole thing on him, or her. Then, I don't annoy anyone influential and you get to be the hero, who solved the mystery."
"Sounds good to me," agreed Tetheus, quickly.
"I just have one question," she said, interrupting him, as he rose to leave.
"Really?" he asked, turning back to her. "What is it?"
"What actually happened to my predecessor? Ruwalk was cleared of her murder, wasn't he?" she said, from the floor.
Tetheus nodded. "Can you really imagine the best friend of the Dragonlord being convicted of murder, though?" he said, with an arched eyebrow. "It was very dodgy. None of us were ever invited to the inquest."
"Us?" she asked, leaning forward.
"The other Dragon Officers," he said darkly. "The inquest was held before the Dragonlord and an unknown board, whose members were never revealed."
"Oooh," she sighed, eagerly. "What do you think really happened?"
"Ruwalk was found with the body, but I don't think he meant to kill her," he replied. "Something shady was definitely going on, but we never found out what. I'm betting that a kinky sex game went tragically wrong."

Cesia smiled, "I can actually see that happening." She perkily stood up and led Tetheus to the door. As she showed him out, she said, "Tell the Dragonlord that I'm setting up a ritual to beseech the spirits for guidance. I'll have an answer for him, sometime tomorrow." She yawned, raising a hand to cover her mouth. "Late in the afternoon," she continued.
"Is there anything you need for this ritual?" Tetheus asked. "Tea? Milk? Chocolate? A full evening dinner for two?"
"I could do with some grapes," she said, resting her head against the open door. "Some dinner tonight and maybe a full-fur coat, but that can wait for a bit. No sense in being greedy, this early on."
"I quite agree," he concurred. He stood back, deftly bowed to her and marched quickly off. I don't need to get rid of her, quite yet. Interesting woman.

This was long, mostly due to the tent-psychic bit. I can't believe how long that stretched on for, but I needed everything. The entire html file is over 30kb, which is a lot for me.

It was raining this morning. Not when I left the house, oh no. On the way into work, it started to trickle, then lash. My trousers kept it out, until all the rain that flowed down my jacket got through. Then, the damp patch started to widen. By the time the car splashed a puddle over me, my socks had already gotten soaked, from the top down. Yep, my shoes were completely waterproof, but got soaked from the inside, by my socks. The annoying thing is that I have waterproof trousers and considered them, briefly, this morning. It's summer! It wasn't raining. Aieeeeeeeeee!

So that's the end of this arc. We're back to once-off stories next chapter. It'll be either about Kitchel, or the retro number that's been playing in my head. I'd plot for this one worked out, but the next chapters are vague. I'm not sure when the next update'll be.

I recently had a fic cull. Tetheus survived it, but there are other stories that won't be updated.