The Hunt, Part 5

Last week we left Jay and Elsa arriving at the trading center. Here they learn that it’s been set up for the best way to separate one’s finances from them, either honestly or dishonestly. Using their disguises they are slowly developing a picture of the networks the raider clans and their collaborators use. Yet to any who might see them they are no more than traders plying their wares. It can make them targets, and this is their true purpose.

By becoming targets, and with the advantages they have, they hope, in the end, to bring some payback to the raiders and those who assist them. And with each discovery they continue to build their database on each one they discover. (If this is the first time here you can find part 1 under December 2015, and the rest under January 2016, or short stories – all in the sidebar on the right) And for your reading pleasure is part 5:

Again, back at “The Deeps”, they reviewed the Intel they had added to their files. Both of them laughed when they looked at the footage of their introduction to one of the buyers of gems, (They carried personal cameras that recorded all their actions.). Even though, at the time, Jay hadn’t been too happy. When Elsa had approached one of the shops that appeared to be doing quite well, and the proprietor saw her approaching there seemed to be a look of distaste on his face. It appeared he had just eaten something quite disagreeable. Elsa remembered that kind of look from the past and then glanced at Jay with devilment in her eyes. He had shaken his head but she just couldn’t help herself. She walked right up to him with an innocent look and asked, as if she was new to this, “Do you purchase semi-precious stones?” In the corner of her eye she could see Jay wasn’t happy with her, but she was tired of the attitude she was seeing around her. In truth she probably knew more about gems because of their study back in “The Deeps”, and, of course, growing up around them, than this merchant or any of the others would in two lifetimes.

With a haughty expression he asked, “Why would I want to deal with the likes of you?”

She smiled a wicked smile saying, “Oh maybe because I have what you want, and I’m not talking about intimate relationships between the two of us.” She could see the shocked expression from her blunt response. Such a thing from a woman was unheard of after all.

“And what is it that you could have that would interest me . . . and I’m not talking about what you suggested.”

“Is it not true you deal in these stones?” Here she pulled a couple out of the small pouch she had been wearing around her neck on a leather cord. When she had dumped a couple out she made sure that others within the pouch were visible. She saw a change come over the buyer and inwardly smiled. Greed seems to always win out in the end doesn’t it? Well, his attitude just cost him, because I’m only going to show him, but not offer to sell any to him. “And I thought you were the type who was interested in such items as these, but I can see that you won’t deal with a woman so it’s your loss. There are plenty of others here who will be interested in what I have to offer . . . and don’t go where that statement can take you or how you may want to go with that.” She turned and put the stones back into the pouch and said to her servant, “Come we will not deal with this one.” And with that the two of the left the shop.

She could see that Jay was angered by the way she had handled the situation. Because of the roles they had set up he couldn’t say anything. Still she knew once they had left she would hear it. “Okay, I know, maybe I came on a little strong”, she whispered, “but he was such an ass and deserved it. Still I think I accomplished what we set out to do. I’m sure you saw that there were a couple of others who were in the shop whose eyes grew large when they saw what we, or I had. I think if we head back out to the plaza area that we will be approached by some of his competitors, and the word will be going out making us ‘persons of interest’ to certain people we are trying to locate.”

“Maybe so, still we don’t need a reputation where everybody in this world will shy away because of you and your attitude. Yeah, I know there are many in this world who think the only thing a woman is good for is producing the next generation, or to take care of one’s needs, but most aren’t that way and you know it. Again, I know we find more that are like this in the more established markets and higher end items. I suspect, as the archives have shown us, that some women are drawn to wealth and what it offers. In a sense they are exactly what these men think women are. So it is no surprise that they have such an attitude. Look we – you have to be approachable.”

“And what is that supposed to mean? Am I to grovel at their feet because they feel so superior? Never happen. When our world came apart and somehow we both survived I vowed never again would I submit unless it is on my own terms. Yeah, I know, if I was to fall into the same situation I did earlier I’d have no choice. I’d be raped and beat up until they were through with me and to be able to escape a second time would probably never happen. Look, I’m sorry, but he just set me off. I promise I’ll be good.”

He had trailed behind like he was supposed to in this role and their conversation had been kept low and private. Suddenly they were back at the plaza and to his surprise it had to be close to midday. While the sun felt warm and comfortable at the moment, especially since they had been in the shadows created by the buildings, with a cool breeze that had whistled down the narrow pathways, soon it would become hot. “We need to find a place to sit and see if you are right about this.” He looked around and found an area that had been roped off. Inside were a number of tables and chairs. They were sitting under a small copse of trees. When he looked closer they appeared to be cottonwood trees. He had always loved the sound of the wind blowing through them. The sounds were soothing causing him to relax. He could see that Elsa had seen them also and with a nod of her head they went over to the entrance which had a gate across it. Both saw someone standing next to the gate with a table in front and inwardly both shook their heads. The trading centers were obviously a place to make money and everything had a price. Even entering this area would cost them.

Looking expectantly at them the man stated four copper bars to spend the afternoon. She looked over at Jay and said, “Pay the man. I’m looking to get out of the sun.” Jay pulled out the necessary fee and both entered, found a table that was both isolated, and still visible. So if any of the other buyers came looking they’d be easy to find.

And that was exactly how it had gone down. In the end, she had been right and others came looking. In the end they had sold their supply of stones furthering their reputation. In the end they had performed the same routine at four other trading centers. And in each case they were able to identify more who were either part of the raider clans or had to be working for or with them. Ahead of them was a lot of work necessary to begin to unravel the underground network where the raiders sold their stolen items. While it was possible the clans only traded among themselves, they both doubted it. And some of the rumors they were now hearing were disturbing. Both hoped that these rumors would prove false in the end but knew within their own hearts that they were probably true. Making the nightmare that Elsa had lived through mild in comparison.

The rumors spoke of slavery and the slave markets to the east in an area of flat lands and rolling hills. A place where the grasslands went on forever, and men, women, and children were the commodities. Yes, as property to be bought and sold – to be used up, and once used up, to be thrown away as worthless, as a broken tool, or trash. The only way they would ever learn if these rumors were true would be to follow the routes inland, to see for themselves. But for now they had other plans. Maybe if they were successful in their plans of revenge, then, and only then would they find their way to where these markets were rumored to exist.

It had bothered both to realize that there were some out there who appeared to be honest merchants but were actually – and they had discovered the term while studying – “fences” for the clans and made the stolen merchandise legitimate items to be resold to unsuspecting people. Again, through their studies, they had found that this was something that appeared to be common no matter what part of history they searched or studied. What was it about society that led to ones who lived this lifestyle? Did they not realize the suffering that the ones who had originally owned this stuff had gone through, or did they not care? Both wondered how one could not care. Yet, what had happened to the two of them, and more so to Elsa said that there were many who didn’t care at all for others. And so they pressed harder in finding the small clues, and began to map out the routes, the trails, and they began to track the ones they either suspected, or knew to be part of the underground network. And to the surprise of both of them it had turned out to be huge. Much more than just the two of them would ever be able to cover or handle. Still in the end they wouldn’t give up.

* * *

After reading that the two were successful at the trading center we get up close and personal and follow them through the trading center, and learn a little more of the times, the societies, and the depth of the raider clan networks. We end here back at “The Deeps” where the two are continuing to develop an overall picture of the operations of the raider clans, their methods, and the trails they travel. They also learn of the possibility of slavery and it is a worrisome thing. Next week we continue The Hunt with part 6. Have a great week, and God Bless! (fdbrant.com)

Advertisements

The Hunt, Part 4

Last week we left our two traders leaving the roadhouse and heading off in the direction of the trading center. As we’ve learned from an earlier post the location of this center isn’t that far away. Still the owner witnessed others who seemed interested, and were following the two, leaving him with a bad feeling. Yet, we, as the readers of this story, are privy to information that’s not available to the players in this story. So we know the true identity of the gem trader and her servant.

This leads us to the why’s and this week we begin to explore the real reason behind their roles and what they hope to accomplish. And by having the technology available that hasn’t existed in centuries they have an advantage over any of this time. Since there are only two of them playing this dangerous game they truly need that advantage. Without it there would be little to no chance for success, and like what the owner first thought about what would happen to them, probably, and in the end, would be exactly their end. (If this is the first time here you can find part 1 under December 2015, and parts 2 and  3 under January 2016, or under short stories – all in the sidebar on the right.) And for your reading pleasure is part 4:

After Elsa and Jay left the roadhouse they went as far as necessary to give the appearance of heading off towards the trading center. The day before they had scouted the area for a place they could pull off and be completely hidden and still watch the trail. First they rode past and then carefully backtracked covering their returning tracks, dismounted and tied their mounts back and away from the main trail. Elsa turning to Jay asked, “So how long before you think those two will show?”

He shrugged. They were carrying what would have been considered a tablet back in the past. They had left a small camera with a transmitter back at the roadhouse. And while the range wasn’t great it wasn’t necessary. As they left he had activated the camera and pulled out the small device, watching as they trotted away. Sure enough, in a short period of time both saw the two from the bar begin to follow. They were no more than ten minutes or so behind them. Still once they had left, all four of them, Jay and Elsa suspected the two would have slowed down so as not to overtake them anywhere where it might be inconvenient, and require an explanation. “I suspect any time now.” And almost before he got the words out both of them heard approaching mounts.

Both pulled back deeper behind the brush and watched. After all, what they were hearing might not be the two that were supposedly following them. This was the main route into the trading center and as a result it could be others who were heading there. Still it was early, and if both wanted to be honest they really felt it had to be the two. In a short time, and as expected, it was the two, and the suspected clan members continued on, unaware that they were the ones being watched. After the dust settled Jay and Elsa looked at each other and smiled. Jay made sure the tablet had recorded the images of the two for future reference as they continued to develop their list of known clan members and collaborators. They headed back to their mounts and began to follow the two. Their plan had been simple, and so far it had worked. They had identified two additional members of the raider clans. It wouldn’t be long before they would be out of the range of the one small camera and its transmitter, but from what could be monitored there had been no others that had left the roadhouse. So they felt safe that there were no others behind them who could box them in between two groups. And that camera, it had a solar power source, would continue to record until the memory was full or they came to retrieve it.

They kept their horses at an easy gait with Elsa commenting, “It’s becoming a beautiful day. I admit it was a bit chilly for me at first but invigorating to say the least. And that damn semi-auto pistol I’m carrying was really cold when I strapped it on under my outfit.”

Laughing Jay said, “Yeah, I know. I could hear you yelp. Not to change the subject, but to change the subject. I wonder if those two ahead of us have figured it out yet. Or have they taken off figuring somehow we were running our mounts and they are trying desperately to catch up.”

She smiled a wicked smile, “Don’t know, don’t care.”

 

Just ahead in a rather large flattened area forming a large bowl sat the trading center. Like all cities, villages, and towns of the time it had a defensive wall around it. As they approached the wall grew in size – at least it seemed to – and once they were even with it they had to crane their necks to see the top. Shaking his head Jay said, “Must had taken a long time to build something like this. Hey, maybe it’s one of the reasons this area is so flat.”

With other thoughts running through her mind Elsa just nodded absently. She – they had never been in a trading center of this size – could feel the excitement building within her. Still, she suspected that in comparison to “The Deeps” it, over all, would be a disappointment. No one here could be aware of their true past, and all the differences between then and now. And since they had been away trying to track down the clans, and their underground, the differences had become more apparent. Still, this would be more people together in one place than either she or Jay had ever been around. It meant that they would be facing clan spies, let alone the normal thieves, pickpockets, flimflammers, and other scum of their world along with legitimate businesses and people trying to earn a living. To be honest, she wasn’t sure if she was ready for this, let alone to be able to carry out her role.

Jay could see that Elsa was far away and deep in thought. He reached across and touched her on her arm and saw her jump slightly. He smiled when she looked across to him with irritation. “Come on sis, we have to be alert. Once inside of these walls we have to be even more so. And I suspect the two who were following us are here and will be looking for us besides all the rest of the bad that is here. We’ve got to concentrate.”

She smiled, and once again nodded. He was right. It definitely wasn’t the time to daydream or not concentrate on the tasks at hand. They approached the gate, and here it narrowed forcing the ones coming and going more into crowded areas making it easier for pickpockets to work their trade, and for the ones guarding easier to control the masses. Jay could see the guards were being careful, studying the crowds, and there were crowds, and any who were riding such as they were. Eventually it came their turn to pass through the gates and with a stern look from the guards they were inside. The area immediately opened into a plaza with tiles laid in a mosaic – forming patterns that one’s eyes tried to make into something familiar. In the center was what would be called a fountain from the literature studied back in “The Deeps”. The only issue was the fact that it simply was more of a tank, made of brickwork of course, without a flowing or spraying fountain. He wondered how it was kept filled since there didn’t seem to be any obvious source.

Behind this and towards the far end of the plaza were a number of pathways leading to the different sections and just before them appeared to be a large sign like structure. It lay in the shadows making whatever was on it illegible. So they walked their horses over to it and found a map of the trading center complete with images directing any to their destinations. Elsa smiled, “Smart.” Jay had to agree. It made it much easier than fumbling around. Still at the moment he couldn’t respond as an equal since here he was simply a servant. As they studied the map he saw the area they wanted was to the right and down a pathway named Simmons Way. Then both of them got a whiff of cooking foods and noticed that all along the edge of the plaza were eateries, and carts. And it had been a few hours since they had eaten breakfast and both heard their insides rumble and their mouths were watering. Again Elsa said, “Smart. It’s obvious this place has been here awhile and they have figured out many ways to separate one’s earnings from them. Should we be tourists and imbibe?”

Quietly, since they were surrounded by the crowds Jay said, “Probably. I really don’t know how long we will be here, and once we begin to negotiate with the buyers I don’t know how long that will take.” Then with a louder voice he asked, “Madam, would you care for some of this food that is being offered?”

Both were avoiding signing at this moment since they didn’t know if there were others who might know this language of the deaf. Elsa responded, “Yes. There seems to be a lot of choices. You know what my tastes are; go find me something to tide me over.” She handed Jay a small bag that carried the currency of the day (He still had the larger sack underneath his shirt). He dismounted, handing the reigns to her. She followed on her horse with Jay’s following along. He looked over the delicacies before deciding, bartered with the cook, and then brought the meal back to Elsa. As he stood there with her on her horse he looked around in a casual fashion and after searching the crowds located the two who had attempted to follow them. He looked up at Elsa giving the appearance that he was asking if the food was okay, and alerted her to his discovery. She gave a slight nod acknowledging she understood and located the two herself. She realized that there seemed to be at least one other with them. So the spies grow. Oh well, what did you expect? For the raider clans to do what they do they have to have a rather large network.

* * *

Now if this trading center doesn’t remind you of a modern-day mall then you really haven’t been paying attention. Of course part of the differences lie in the fact that here they do both buying and selling. And anywhere there is commerce going on, then the other businesses, such as eateries, places to purchase drinks, and even places to relax will spring up. In a sense, other than when we were at Sandy, we begin to see the masses who are living during this time. And, of course, we are beginning to touch upon the networks of the raider clans and the real reason for Jay and Elsa to be here. Next week we continue The Hunt, with part 5. Have a great week, and God Bless! (fdbrant.com)

The Hunt, Part 3

Last week we learned the true identity of the two who had stopped at the roadhouse. This was followed by looking back on one of their earlier failures, and how they came to be traders of the semi-precious stones. And while they have learned a lot since being in “The Deeps”, there is still much of the old technology that is well beyond their understanding. Still, at this time in their lives, such is unimportant. They are well into tracking down the unknown and hidden networks the raiders and their collaborators use.

This week we learn more about their personal training and plans, but of immediate interest is the fact that they are still at the roadhouse, even though we briefly touched on their success at the trading center. They must remain in character otherwise they will have no way to confirm their suspicions, (Part 1 can be found in the sidebar under December 2015, with part 2 under January 2016, or short stories). And with this introduction is part 3:

This was their second foray out as sellers of semi-precious stones, as mistress and servant slash protector. They knew from the knowledge of their town that they had better stay with these semi-precious stones. Yes, there were stones of much higher value, but they didn’t really exist in this part of the world. Both knew that when their town traders would return they would discuss the more valuable stones that came from foreign lands. And even though there seemed to be rare finds that was the problem, they were rare. So if they had arrived in one of the trading centers with a large amount of these stones they would immediately fall under suspicion. Besides the ones they were selling were the ones they knew best – which meant, in the end, they knew what the market value would be.

One of the things they studied at “The Deeps” was bartering, and the ability to buy and sell, getting the best price. There they practiced buying and selling whatever came to their minds, at times bordering on the ridiculous. And after their first failure they also studied and practiced the art of disguise, acting, and the ability to carry out the roles they had chosen. Now in the rented room both sighed a sigh of relief. With the walls between rooms being thin they really couldn’t really fall out of character. Still it wasn’t an issue. Another lesson they had acquired while they had been searching the archives turned out to be important in this endeavor, and that was sign language. So while they continued to carry out their roles they signed to each other.

Elsa: “So what do you think? I know with the brief time I was inside the bar there appeared to be two who might be part of the clans.”

“So servant, unpack my bag. I need to get out of these travel clothes and into something comfortable!”

Jay: “I was in there less than you were, but I agree. It wouldn’t have been the two at separate tables sitting against the back wall where they could watch the door would it?”

“Yes, my lady. I’ll get right to it. And what outfit would you like to change into, if I may ask?”

Elsa: “Yes, the very two. They perked up the minute I entered the room and while they tried to hide it they both seemed very interested.”

“I don’t know . . . just pick something out. Not my finery of course, that’s for when we are in the trading center . . . After all one must keep up appearances.”

Jay: “Yeah, I noticed the same thing. I suspect they have left, or if not, will soon. But before they disappear to wherever they will be going, and I bet they will leave separately, and I suspect our gear that’s with the horses will have been searched.”

“Will the blue one work?”

Elsa: “I’m sure you’re right.” She looked down at what passed for a bed and shook her head. One thing for sure it didn’t take long to get spoiled. Their ancestors surely had it better.

“Look at this bed. Is this supposed to be something someone of my class is to sleep on? And yes, I think the blue one will be fine. After that you can retire to your side of the room behind the barrier.”

Jay: “So I guess we might want to be on guard tonight just in case one of them wants to search the room. From what I could see the owners seem to be honest. At least they are trying hard to make it a go. And the rooms are clean and neat.”

“Will there be anything else?”

Elsa: “That’s always a possibility, still we really haven’t revealed anything to anyone as of yet. It’s only been the way we are dressed and the way we act. I’m sure it will change once we have completed our first trip to this trading center. In fact I suspect that the only information our informants can make is we may be potential targets.”

“No, that will be fine.”

Jay: “And by keeping it small, not that we could be more than two, it means if we are attacked, it should be by a small group, and not the full attacking clan, which is a good thing. A small group we can handle, but anything larger than four or five might become a real issue. Still by booby trapping our camps we’re probably as safe as we can be.”

“Yes, madam. And if you need anything further . . .”

“Yes, yes, I’ll let you know. Now please withdraw.” She could hardly keep from laughing. Yes, she, the younger sister, bossing her older brother around, like she was their parents, or maybe the leaders of their town. Still, what they were doing was serious business, and both hoped the results would be worth the effort.

Jay, smiling because he could see the way Elsa was thinking by the smirk on her face, just shook his head, turned around and headed back behind the screen. She’d pick her own change of clothes, and he was sure it wouldn’t be the blue ones they had discussed. Still, for both of them, since they were middle children, to be the one in charge like this was so very different.

 

“I hope everything was to your satisfaction . . . ah . . . madam?” Jason wasn’t sure about this one. She and her servant were so different. And what really bothered him was the fact that neither he nor his wife had been able to figure out the difference. Yet both of them had left them nervous, and from the way both had acted around them there seemed to be no reason for this nervousness. Yeah they balked at paying up front but only for a moment. And after overhearing the conversation between them last night (With the thin walls in was impossible not to.) they had been quiet causing no trouble or problems. Still he would be glad when they were gone. Funny thing, when she had made that brief appearance in the bar she seemed out-of-place and genuinely apologetic. Still he couldn’t help but notice the interest two of his regulars paid to her and her servant.

Breathing out loudly she said, “Yes, yes it was all good. I’ve slept on worst beds and the roadhouse was as quiet as one could expect.” Here she paused for effect, “And I guess if it came down to it I would spend the night here again. Still only time will tell if I happen to be by this way again. It’s all according to how well I do in the trading center and what price I can get for the stones I carry. After all there is more than one of these – ah, trading centers and roadhouses – around.” She turned to her servant and asked, “Is all prepared, and are we ready to be on the trail? I want to be where we need to be early so we can be heading back.”

“Yes, madam, the horses are prepared and awaiting us outside at this very moment. All I need to do is to place your pack on yours and we can be off.”

She turned back to the owner with that dazzling smile. “Are we finished here?”

He bowed and responded by saying, “Yeah, yes ma’am we are done here. May your journey be successful.” He watched as they headed out the door and once the door closed he went to one of the closest windows (real glass and expensive) and watched as they mounted and headed out towards the trading center. Trading in stones, he thought. I wonder what kind? He was about to turn around and leave when he noticed a movement outside and waited, curious as to who might still be around. The two had been the only ones staying the night and the children were at breakfast so this had to be someone else. Eventually he saw the two who he suspected were part of the clans and in a leisurely fashion began following the woman and her servant. Now what? Am I finally going to have some proof that my thoughts about them are correct? Or is this just a coincidence? He shook his head, coincidence or not, seeing them head out left him with an uncomfortable feeling. He wondered if the two would make their destination, but in reality they were too close to the trading center and doubted these two suspected clan members would have time to waylay them.

He felt someone come up beside him and knew it was his wife. She asked, “What has your interest this time of the morning? Oh, and by the way your breakfast is getting cold.”

He turned and smiled saying, “Nothing, oh nothing really. Just caught some movement, was curious that’s all.” He reached out and hugged her and together they headed back to the kitchen where the family ate their meals. They had a full day ahead of them even if no guests arrived.

* * *

So, is it coincidence, or is it something else? For the owners of the roadhouse they will never know. Still, and in the end, they might be the last to see the young woman and her servant alive. At least from what they know of the two. And there is no way any of the players – the two possible clan spies, and any who were at the roadhouse, could know who these two truly are. Next week is part 4. Have a great week – God Bless! (fdbrant.com)

Published in: on January 16, 2016 at 7:12 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Hunt, Part 2

First off let me say that the new year is now with us, and may it be a better one than the one that is now completely in the past. It seems that the years are moving into the past much too quick for me. Still, as we all are aware, time waits for no one and time moves on. And since it is now in the past I hope your Christmas time was warm, happy, and full of family and friends.

This week is part 2 (obviously) of the new episode that has been added to the unpublished book Unexpected, Unplanned, and into the Unknown. This week we learn who the two unknown travelers are and what their true purpose is. Yet, even this early into the new episode or short story we have seen an increase in the ones living in this time, learning of their plans, hopes, and dreams. Many times when we walk into a small business browsing all that is displayed we don’t think about the owners, the time and effort they’ve put into their business or all the problems, their hopes and dreams, or whether they are successful or are close to failure. We enter ignorant of all of this and if we see something that catches our eye maybe we make it our own, and by doing so, help this one continue on. With the roadhouse we have been privy to much of what is normally hidden, giving us insights we wouldn’t normally have.

And it is the same for the ones who use what the business provides. Yet, being who we are we have a tendency to make conclusions based on what little information is provided. And last week the owner felt, with what he knew that these two visitors would become victims sometime in the near future. It could only be that way. Once the two leave the bar and close the door he has other worries. And this week after being up close and personal with the owner we now move our point of view to these two obviously naïve people – at least this is the belief of the witnesses. And with this overly long introduction is part 2:

After closing the door Jay smiled. “It looks like you did a great job. Even I could have been taken in by the way you acted. I’m sure everybody in there, and I know you heard the cat calls, thinks we are fools, and I’m only here because of your demands. Did you notice any that seemed too interested?”

Here Elsa smiled. “Yeah, I noticed a couple in the shadows – not that the room was anything but shadows – that immediately perked up. And while they tried to hide it, they even glanced at each other. I think the leads we’ve been following so far are correct, and this is one of the places they spend time trying to locate targets. So are we going to spend the night here, or pull back and camp? In truth I’d prefer a night in a bed. Yeah I know what is in these places could hardly be called beds – especially since ‘The Deeps’. Still they are not the hard unforgiving ground, and I’d prefer not to have to spend another night that way for a few days.”

“I can understand sis. Yeah, let’s do it. We have enough of the bars we use as currency to do it. Besides it will help with the illusion of our wealth. After all, we are gem traders . . . well you are, and on this outing, I’m just your humble servant and protector. Besides you said we were staying the night anyway. Next time we’ll have to become a couple. One thing for sure we couldn’t pull off a parent – child relationship. We’re too close in age.”

This brought laughter from Elsa. “Now that’s funny, besides being impossible.”

“Yup. Still being a married couple will be almost as difficult to pull off. And this is why I like it this way. I mean, and don’t take this wrong sis, I don’t think I’d want to be in your bed to maintain the illusion we are married. I think you’re beautiful, but that’s just a brother’s pride.” Here he stopped for a moment and had a mischievous smile, that she recognized immediately. “I know that it would be easy to misinterpret that statement, but let’s be honest family does look at things differently.” He paused for a moment with a more serious look. “Still, from the reaction you got from the ones drinking in there they thought so also. Still . . . it could be the beer talking.”

Trying to change the subject, since there continued to be a bit of teasing in his comment, and still answer, she said. “Yeah, that’s true. Still with what I’m wearing, and I have to admit it’s rather tasteful, after all, these clothes show off the best of me.” She knew this part of the conversation would have to play itself out.

“Now I thought your mind was the best of you. Are you trying to say your nice curves are the best part of you?”

She shook her head as she pushed him, “Males!” Was all she said. Still inwardly she smiled. He had always been good at teasing her, but she could sense a brother’s pride there also.

Both had pulled far enough away that what they had been saying couldn’t be overheard. The two of them headed, with their mounts, to the stables and found one of the owner’s children there, paid the fee, and had the two horses taken care of. Jay then stated, “We’ll be here early in the morning for them. Will they be ready for us?”

The boy, who refused to give his name, replied, “Of course, most that stay leave early so we are used to having the animals ready.”

Jay nodded in reply knowing that most preferred to remain anonymous – it made it simpler that way. The two of them turned and headed for the door that would lead to the rooms. And with a quick glance over his shoulder Jay took the large pack and hefted it to his shoulder, While Elsa carried a small bag. As they headed for the door the two glanced quickly at the entrance to the bar and could see the door was cracked with someone looking out. The two continued on unconcerned – or so it appeared, and entered through the second door. Once inside they looked at each other knowingly but said nothing. Looking ahead of them and their surroundings they saw a well-lit desk ahead, and to the left a small eating area, with stairs to the right and a second floor where all the rooms were located. The two had guessed, from the size that there were probably a dozen rooms. Still it was also obvious that the owners were surviving – barely.

As they approached the desk an older woman came out and greeted them. She must have been the wife of the one who stood behind the bar. They made the conclusion from the similarity of family. The boy who had stabled their horses looked a lot like the two. She smiled and asked, “And what can I do for the two of you?”

“I need a nice room for madam, and it must have two beds. I cannot leave her unprotected. I do not require much but she does. Do you have such a room?”

She smiled before answering. She like her husband could sense the wealth this young woman had, “Of course. We’ve faced those kinds of arrangements before. Although with an unattached woman, and one of wealth, she usually has other women with her, with servants staying in the next room. While this is unusual, it is not that it hasn’t happened before. Such a room has dividers inside so that privacy can be maintained as required. Still such an arrangement does cost more. You can afford such can you?”

The young lady looked at the woman in distaste. “Of course I can afford such a room, and it’s an insult that one has to be asked!”

The servant turned to her shaking his head, “Madam please, she doesn’t know us or you, so it is a valid question.”

Sniffing loudly she answered by saying, “I suppose so. Still it gets old to being asked that question all the time.” She then nodded in agreement, although it was obvious she really hadn’t wanted to, “Okay we will take such a room . . . and I suppose you want payment in advance?”

The owner’s wife smiled, “Yes, since this is the first time here. If you return to where we know you then other arrangements will be made.”

With a grimace she looked at her servant saying, “Pay her what she asks.”

From around his neck he pulled out a rather large bag that was attached to a leather band and looked expectantly at her, “How much ma’am?”

* * *

Once in their room and sure they were alone Elsa laughed as she whispered. “Did you see how big her eyes got when she saw that bag? I think our reputation will be everywhere by the time we leave tomorrow.”

“No doubt about it. Look let’s take the time one would take to inspect a room, and then go get some food. Maybe this one will be better than the last one. I swore they were trying to poison us there. Yet, the rest seemed to be enjoying it.”

Elsa shook her head. “It wasn’t that bad. And I suspect with the passel of kids I saw here putting on a good meal is normal.”

“Yeah, probably true, but one never knows . . .”

“Quit it Jay. We aren’t in ‘The Deeps’ where we can get anything we want. It’s back to what we grew up with.”

Again, he laughed. “Yeah, I know sis, still one can always hope.”

* * *

Leaving the Trading center and heading back out. Both felt they had done a good job of establishing their reputation or her reputation as gem traders. Of course back in the time when “The Deeps” had been constructed what they were trading would have been close to worthless. All the gems they were trading were synthetic – fakes, but in this world such things didn’t exist. When they were trying to come up with some way of tracking down the raiders and their networks they had thought and discarded lots of ideas. And in the end it came down to what they knew. Their village had dealt with semi-precious stones for generations and even though they hadn’t realized it, because of their age when the village was destroyed, they had absorbed a lot of knowledge on the subject. Plus it was only the two of them, and they had no plans on adding any others to the mix. The stones they created would be easy to carry.

Once they had established what they were going to do, now came the problem of getting the gems. One thing for sure they were not equipped to go mine them themselves. So off to the archives they went. It was here they learned about artificial or synthetic gems. It seemed their ancestors had been growing them for all sorts of uses. Many of the uses, even after all the time they had spent at “The Deeps”, were still well beyond comprehension. As an example of this was the use of these gems in the building of lasers. The only thing they could get out of what lasers were was concentrated light. And why any would want to concentrate light was beyond them. Still, if they survived, there might be a time where much of it made sense.

So, they spent time on learning the processes of creating synthetic gems, and once they had they created a good supply and began to build who they would be. One of the earlier times out they had joined one of the caravans and after a short time realized they would have to fine tune their aliases. On this one trip they remained who they truly were – brother and sister. Still they had changed their names, their location, and how they came to own such a supply. It had been a nervous trip, since, and by the time they had reached one of the trading centers, the majority in the caravan believed they had stolen the gems and were trying to find a place to sell them. So once they had arrived they quickly separated themselves from the caravan and disappeared back into the wilderness. They really had no need to sell the stones other than to begin to establish their worth as traders, making them interesting to the raiders. And once back inside “The Deeps”, they breathed a sigh of relief and began to work harder on who they were to be.

* * *

What better way to hunt than to appear to be of interest to the ones Jay and Elsa were interested in. Still they learned that becoming someone else wasn’t as easy as it first appeared, requiring additional time and work on their part. Yet what they are doing is a dangerous game. They have only each other to fall back on, and other than that no support at all. It is their hope that with the knowledge and technology at their disposal they will be successful. Have a great week, and come back for part 3 – God Bless! (fdbrant.com)

The Dark Ages

Personal Opinion: I try to stay away from politics and what’s happening in this nation. It might seem like I’m ignoring the problems and conditions of this nation and the world, but I don’t see it that way. I’d rather sit back and look at the overall situation, avoiding the flash news that tries to influence the way I think, and the way I will decide some issue. Yet, when it becomes as it has, I finally must speak out, as I become more and more alarmed at the trends which I see are arising. I see this nation dying right out from under me and that scares me to death. If we go down where in this world can we go to find the freedoms that we had, (purposely past tense) here? I know of no other nation on this earth where I can go. After all, we are stuck here on this little planet with no escape at this time in our history. So as we begin the new year I present to you my personal thoughts, opinions, and views. And as the reader you have the right to agree, disagree, reject the writings as hogwash, or see what I see. For me, it is all I can do. Next week we will be back to the short story, The Hunt:

It appears that in this country we are entering the dark ages. In the recent past my wife pointed out to me that in the state of California they have recently passed a law stating that it is no longer required that anyone in high school pass an exit exam or anything similar. It basically stated, if you, as a student, show up, then you get a diploma. It doesn’t matter whether you sat on your behind and did nothing,  failed every class, and generally wasted everybody’s time, you were there so here’s your diploma.

What this stated to me was how much in control of this country the Socialists are. It has been stated that knowledge is power, so the axiom to this has to be, illiteracy allows one to be manipulated, and under control. This method was used throughout the dark ages of Europe where the supposed elite were educated while the common everyday citizen was illiterate. This allowed the Church, the aristocracies of the time, and the monarchies to dictate, and control all aspects of people’s lives. And when you look at the situation here in this country, at this time, it is easy to see similarities to those times.

Socialism and Communism is all about control, and we can see that plainly when we look at this present government. We have a president who has been more of a dictator, or king. If he doesn’t like the way a law is written that came to his desk, even though he had no power under the Constitution to change it, other than vetoing it, he will rewrite it and sign it into law. If laws have certain dates they are to go into effect, he changes it. Then he’s written laws and pushed them on the unsuspecting public, all well beyond the power of his office. And Congress does nothing.

And while I’m on the subject of Congress, did you know that they recently voted on a law that would allow a foreign power to come into this country, occupy it, and take all the weapons that the Second Amendment protects? It seems to me when we look at history that a nation was normally occupied by a foreign power when they lost a war. Yet, we have seen Congressmen willing to do just that, to turn over our sovereignty and freedoms, to circumvent our very laws so they can get their way. And what truly sucks was how close the vote really was. In the past such acts would be considered treason. But it seems, for now, that it’s business as usual. (U.N. resolution #2117) 46 of our senators voted to pass it.

Unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. Both major political parties have been infiltrated heavily with the Socialist Doctrine, and like two sides of the same coin it doesn’t matter which side you see, it still is the same coin. So whether you elect a Democrat, or elect a Republican, you get the same. What they say during their campaigns to get elected means nothing, and when they are elected into office, nothing changes except a furthering of distance from the laws of this land leaving them behind to do as they please – in other words, the Constitution of this United States of America.

We’ve seen unbelievable budgets being passed that puts this country further behind in its debt obligations, and no desire from any to stop this insanity. We see the government support illegal immigration into this country by giving them everything they need to live here. It’s no wonder Social Security is broke when the government gives freely, to these illegals, our hard-earned money. If you add the benefits together that they receive and translate it to an hourly wage it would equal to a wage of over $30 an hour. Free schooling, free medical, free meals at the schools for their children, welfare and housing, SSI,  and yes your social security benefits – none of which they deserve. By our very laws, which our government are required to enforce yet ignore, these illegals are to be deported and returned to their countries of origin. Instead they are given all these freebies including such things as driver licenses, voting rights, (really?), WIC, food stamps, and so much more that we hard-working Americans cannot get.

With these trends it is only a matter of time when the whole mess implodes, and the darkness that we are beginning to see will spread and cover this whole nation leaving it as dark as a starless, moonless night. Making this once powerful country no more than a third world welfare state having to depend on the rest of the world for support – at least the parts of this nation that will survive this quagmire. And if you think that any of this will not happen, then you haven’t studied your history or know that history has a tendency to repeat.

Solutions? Personally I have none. With a lawless government in control, (And I mean this because of the failure of our government to follow the laws of the Constitution.) who can stand against them? Is this so different from the USSR at its height, or Germany during the Hitler era? I’d say overall that the answer is a simple no. And not only has the government become Socialist, but the same has infiltrated our schools and are bringing up our next generation to be this way and expect to be governed this way.

One of the goals of such organizations is to eliminate religion, and you can see the attacks made presently against the predominant religion of this country, Christianity. Again the Socialists and Communists know that atheism and making the government the predominant religion brings the people further under their control. The Catholic Church, during the dark ages, knew this well, and used its considerable power to maintain control, not only over the people, but the monarchies of the time. The overall goal here is to make the government the only place any can turn to for anything, making those in control the elite. Total Power Corrupts Totally.

Can any of this be stopped at this late date? Again, I don’t know, but one thing for sure we cannot depend on the two major parties to bring about the required change. Maybe this is why the one person who is outside of the political machines has been doing so well in the polls. Still we see the goal of the parties is to place their chosen in the coveted position. We do not need two families, (no different from the old monarchies in reality) controlling the office of the president.

We are coming closer and closer to the time when there will be only one candidate presented for office. If you do no believe this look to the Democratic party and see who they are presenting. A known Socialist, and a second, and that’s all. How long will it be until even two will be considered too many?

Then we have this, (I’ll be providing a link): Here is an attack on the First Amendment and the rights it grants the citizens of this country. Losing this right would mean that if you disagreed with what the government was doing and spoke out you could be arrested and put into jail as a political prisoner with no recourse, and probably no speedy trial. And while it wasn’t a serious attempt, it shows the ignorance of the American People and especially college students. Again it would be pushing this nation closer to the old USSR. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/12/16/yale-fail-ivy-leaguers-caught-on-video-clamoring-to-kill-first-amendment.html

This was followed by the announcement that the DHA was looking at several states with the possibility of invalidating their government issued ID’s, (Driver licenses, State issued IDs,  and such) as invalid for travel requiring passports to move between states. Passports? Really? Are we Europe where there are many countries and each autonomous to the other, or are we the United States of America where traveling between states without papers is one of the freedoms we enjoy? Yet, if this comes about we are looking at a further loss of freedoms, and coming oh so much closer to further control by the government, since this, once again, is coming from the Federal Government, and is pushing us further away from the vision of the founding fathers, and definitely would be outside of the Constitution.  And while they push, “It’s for the safety of our air travelers”, we become more under the control of this government. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/12/29/terminal-confusion-dhs-push-could-make-some-ids-invalid-for-flying.html?intcmp=hpbt1

Again, as I have stated throughout this post, I have no answers, or ideas as to how to turn this around back to the way this nation is supposed to be governed. The last really strong leader who believed in the Constitution and the people was Ronald Regan. An actor who became governor of California, (and we won’t even discuss what’s happened to California) and who then served two terms as President of this United States of America. All I can do, through what I see, and of course, present this as personal opinion, since it is, and let you, the reader, decide. Let you, the reader, check out the facts and see if what I’m stating is accurate. Because in the end one cannot bring change. One still can bring forth ideas, show facts, and begin the processes of returning this nation to its roots, back to sanity, and away from the lawlessness this Federal Government has shown. But in the end is takes all of us.

 

%d bloggers like this: