Excerpt from Work in Progress: The Price of Power

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This is a piece from the middle. I woke up early this morning and did almost 1000 words, the most I've done in a sitting since we lost Ziggy. First draft here, so not likely to be the final form


The elder children's turns ended with a touch against them, so Ilora and Esteban would have a chance to heal before continuing. I might have been a spouse of a Great Family, but I was still their Mom, and they were still my kids. I made sure they healed themselves fully and correctly, and that they filled their energy reserves back to full while they were waiting for their next turn. And I helped them watch and learn from their elder siblings. See how Esteban never lets up? He's making Daddy work to beat him. Four phrases later, Asto allowed Esteban to score a touch on his thigh, before the riposte slashed Esteban across the cheek, ending his turn. Had it been a real duel, Asto's weapon would have sliced Esteban's head in two and disrupted brain function. The kids knew what was at stake - there was no crying about the Game of Houses or the preparation. They were ready to offer Esteban help with healing, but it wasn't necessary. He immediately clamped down on the blood vessels on the left side of his face He'll be as good as new in just a few minutes, I told the others, while Ilras was taking his turn. I helped wipe the blood away while counseling Esteban, just because a touch is a chance to drain your opponent doesn't mean every touch is a good touch. What good is something they can heal in two seconds if it lets them kill you?

Yes, Mama, Esteban replied, in a tone of infinite patience, letting me know he'd absorbed the lesson already, thank you very much. Silly Mama. He had a competitive instinct Ilora lacked, for all her sunny personality. My first pregnancy had more than its share of challenges, including a duel that would have killed me if Esteban hadn't been a part of it. I worried less about Esteban than I did the others. He'd be ready for adulthood in plenty of time.

Asto's splinter wasn't taking breaks longer than necessary to change blades for a new opponent. He didn't have to breathe, and he could draw plenty of energy via matra to keep himself going. And the splinter had all of my husband's knowledge and skill. But he knew the kids were still kids. After three turns each, he called a halt, and the kids cheered. Play with us, Mama! they all demanded.

I was confused for a fleeting moment, until Asto told me, I promised to teach them Natural State Survivor after three rounds.

Well, it wasn't often Mama got to do something fun as part of being Mama. They didn't have to ask a second time. Natural State Survivor it is!

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on July 23, 2018 5:17 AM.

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