02/09/2020 Snippet, ANSTEORRA RANGERS.

Had to backtrack. What’s the point of an adventure story without adventures? Which is to say: “other people in deep sh*t, far away.”


In a bit of bad luck, when the Rangers found the wagon there wasn’t anything actually wrong with it, except that the teamster was bad with horses. Mike had been hoping for a lost wheel and maybe even a strategic sprain or two among the refugees. Anything that would convince a bunch of stubborn elves to stop trying to save the family gimcracks and just get.

But they weren’t getting. “It’s all we got,” said the teamster, who called himself Malma Jefferson. “If we lose it, where are we?”

“Alive,” said Mike shortly. “This ain’t an argument, Citizen. It ain’t even a discussion. We got room on our horses for all y’all” — husband, wife, three kids — “and we’re putting them on you and getting the Hell out of here.”

The wife (she was called Gertrude, which at least was more normal) had already worked that out for herself and was busy packing thankfully small bundles for the family. Which was why Mike wasn’t pushing it still harder. Yet. And, damn, he could see the guy’s point. He knew that the Imperium was going to be openhanded when it came to resettling the elves, out of both simple Christian charity and naked self-interest. Malma Jefferson didn’t, not really.

His wife did, though. “Get on the yarush horse, Malma,” Gertrude snapped. She and the children were all clutching their bundles; Malma’s was pointedly at her feet. “We don’t have much time left.”

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