A Long Road Chapter 4 Ficbit – Considering Options

Cousin Renshu glanced down at the map; then back up, squaring his shoulders. “We don’t have swords, and we’re not strong. But some of us are cultivators. And this land doesn’t have any. If spirits attack us, we have the ghost whistles. If humans attack us – some of us have staves. Some have bows. Leave us a few talismans for backup. As long as we’re careful, we should be okay.”

Wei Wuxian tried not to bite his lip, turning to Wen Ning. “You trained them. I haven’t seen people here really fight….”

“We never wanted to hurt people.” Wen Ning met his cousin’s determined gaze. “But they can fight.”

Wei Wuxian nodded once, accepting that. If he didn’t believe Wen Ning, who could he believe?

Wen Qing traced her fingers over inked lines. “We should probably stick to what the locals call roads, for the elders. This says Nottaway has two; one heading north, one east.” She stared at them, and glanced where the peddler’s unhelpful ghost had been. “Which should we take?”

“Good question,” Wei Wuxian reflected. “Both of them head toward Haven. Eventually.” He slipped out one of the less local maps to compare the two; these kingdoms put north at the top, so odd. “The north road stays in the Pelagirs longer.”

Wen Ning drew a deeper breath, as if that took weight off his shoulders. “I’d like that.” He started, and ducked his head at their sudden looks. “It feels more like home? But….”

Wei Wuxian put a hand on his shoulder, relieved. “No, that’s important. We need someplace most people will leave us alone. You heard what our last ghost said about the Pelagirs; locals think this forest is monstrous. Spooky. And it’s not any worse than home!”

“Better.” Cousin Renshu rubbed fingers over a fist. “We haven’t met a fierce corpse yet.”

“But if we did, you could handle it,” Wei Wuxian said confidently. “We’re used to dealing with twisted dragon lines and yao. People around here aren’t. If we stick with the forest we’re more likely to find a place we can defend, that we can make safe – and that no one else will want.”

“In a foreign kingdom?” Cousin Renshu looked to Wen Ning. “What if they find us?”

“If.” Wen Ning smiled.

Oh no. That was Wen Ning expecting him to be brilliant.


A/N: It’s a good thing I have this chapter worked out, getting Gateway to Fiction finished, up, revised, re-upped, has eaten a lot of post-writing time. (Not to mention there was a plumbing leak Thursday, which is getting the last touches on fixing it today.) Hoping to get some more worldbuilding posts written soon, though!

21 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 4 Ficbit – Considering Options

  1. Good thing Valdemar has an open door policy for peaceful settlers (not that the Wens know that at the moment ) If then can work with a place no one wants that’s even better.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If someone told them that, they’d have a hard time believing it. After all, these are people who were supposed to be protected from death and mistreatment even if they were in a prison camp… and you know how that worked out.

      They’re going to want a lot of defenses before they feel safe in trusting people.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It might actually make them even more nervous. Nothing good has ever happened to them because they were supposed to be left alone.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. /“We should probably stick to what the locals call roads,/

    “What are these ‘roads’ of which you speak?”

    “Well, when people want to get somewhere, and can’t fly, they tend to walk. When people walk they crush plants under their feet. When lots of people want to go to the same place, they tend to crush a lot of plants all on the same path. Sometimes people will modify that path to make it easier to travel on. These are called roads.”

    “Amazing! What will mortals think of next!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Currently have been rescheduled twice as to when they’re going to finish it. So. Yeah. That’s eating another day, given I have to be on-call to take the dog out on leash at any time.

      We asked them if they could do it in the morning so there’d be 2 people here to juggle dog, they assured us they would – nope, both times they promised. Argh.

      Edit: And. They rescheduled. Again. After the whole day was blown.

      *Tries not to have homicidal thoughts….*

      Liked by 3 people

      1. We live in a time when there’s such a glut of lawyers that you have decent chance of out-lawyering a professional just by studying what the law says in your case (because no-talent slackers get parked into law and passed through connections rather than study, so the percentage of idiots is higher than ever; however a good lawyer who is paying attention will still outclass an amateur), and a good plumber can charge triple per hour what a lawyer makes, because there’s such a shortage.

        If there’s any parents reading this, get your kids to go to a trade school and pick up a skilled trade. It’ll be a good backup if college doesn’t work out, and if things fall apart then knowing how to work with your hands will be more important than 99% of white-collar labor.

        That said . . . clear water, gray water, or black water plumbing?

        Any other plumbers around that you can trust?

        Any chance you can look up what needs to be done and manage it yourself?

        -Albert

        Liked by 2 people

      2. If there’s any parents reading this, get your kids to go to a trade school and pick up a skilled trade. It’ll be a good backup if college doesn’t work out, and if things fall apart then knowing how to work with your hands will be more important than 99% of white-collar labor.

        We’ve had electricians and an HVAC install; first came with one guy he’s training, second brought TWO OF THEM.

        And their companies are still looking to hire more.

        Also? Even if someone only does enough of the trade to find out they really freaking hate plumbing, electrical, etc?

        Then you can still do basic stupid stuff where it’s a $5 part and 10 minutes of work, rather than paying $75 minimum.

        They’ll teach you to read the directions in the proper manner.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Example from our electrician thing:
        our house has a grandfathered outlet that is 5 ft (horizontal; 7 diagonal…and yes, it’s UP) from a sink. The repairs cost $120 bucks.
        But.
        If they put the outlet back in the wall, it HAD to be to ungrandfathered code standards.

        …which would be $500 at the end.

        Instead, I got enough training from the Navy to be comfortable fiddling with the @#$#@@# setup until the combined light switch and outlet worked. I’m STILL not clear on WHY it works, it doesn’t fit my mental diagram, but it’s safe and it works.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. It makes sense that the Pelagirs would be more comfortable for them and staying in a place no one wants to go is good for sneaking and not getting caught. So excited to see how this turns out ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. No real roads means that not only aren’t there any people using wagons for transport, there aren’t any large animals like bison or elk or horses. A place with only “roads” might be using pack animals for transport, which happened over quite a bit of England up to nearly modern times. This area seems to be quite deserted.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m getting Oregon Trail flashbacks. Luckily most of them are cultivators and they have a trained doctor with them, so I guess no one is going to die of dysentery

        Liked by 6 people

      2. If the only people needing to fast travel through are Heralds, most of the time, lack of paving for the roads needed hinder them overmuch, and it reinforces how the Pelagirs are a barrier against anything unfriendly on the other side.

        Been a _long_ time since I read anything in Velgarth, but I don’t recall any real detail given to what was west of the Pelagirs. The Hawkbrothers were slowly fixing the tainted land until the Second Cataclysm (and Lackey’s quality was dropping sharply enough that Owlflight was the only post-Cataclysm novel I ever read, an experience that left me saddened), but it was very much unmapped as far as the stories up until then were concerned. I think the k’Leysha showed up to be an even woker-than-thou group from the far west, but that was about it.

        Essentially, the west region of Valdemar is a backwater with no trade and little travel. Of course, Wen is still south of Lake Evendim, if they’ve reached Nottaway. If they stay on the road, north to Deercreek, that avoids all the Hawkbrothers. How much do the sects know of the Hawkbrothers?

        Do they know about the Star-Eyed beyond ‘Major goddess, don’t piss Her off’?

        -Albert

        Liked by 1 person

      3. They’re avoiding the Hawkbrothers, at least for now. (Thankfully. That confrontation would be extremely messy and violent, and I don’t think Wei Wuxian would be the one who lost. He does defend himself.)

        As for the Star-eyed – mostly just that she’s the Shin’a’in’s Goddess, and they’re not on the Plains, so why would they worry about Her?

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Fun with Google — The surname “Specke” or “Spetz” is from the Middle High German word “specke,” which means “corduroy road” or “wooden bridge.” (So probably “log roadbed” or something like that.) Specker is a surname for someone who makes a specke.

      Liked by 1 person

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