I stared at Vain and Laughter for a moment, while I collected my
"Has she told you anything?" I asked.
He shook his head, then grinned. "When a hot chick says follow
me, I follow."
I frowned. "That 'hot chick' is your mother."
It was Vain's turn to frown, then he looked at Laughter. "She's
not my mother."
"No. But she is my wife."
"So, that makes you my father?" The boy was quick.
I bought him drinks and told him the whole, sad story. I
introduced him to Caitt and his brother, who still hadn't chosen a name
yet. Since Laughter was busy with her war, I took the boys to the
library, to see if I couldn't help with the naming process. Now, of
course, Laughter's library is filled with a lot of Shakespeare. And, of
course, my son would gravitate to Romeo. Given his old man's track
record, it was a decidedly poor choice. So, I threw out some place names
from his birth Shadow. He liked Dakota. I smiled and told him it was the
name I had worn while there. He asked if I would mind if he used it. Not
at all, I answered. My firstborn finally had a name. I had managed to
accomplish something constructive that day.
Ulysses apologized to me that evening. He looked so sincere, I
didn't have the heart to be angry with him. Besides, we had both been
assholes, and we knew it. Now, if only Laugher and I could make up so
My wife showed up in the middle of the night, covered in blood.
Most of it didn't appear to be hers, so that was okay. I had the servants
draw her a bath, and made sure that she had clean clothes. She crawled
into bed a while later and was soon fast asleep. I know this is her war,
but it's hard to just step back and do nothing for her. Ah well, if she
wants my help, she'll ask.
I tried to return the Jewel to Random the next morning, and I
discovered that Vialle drank him under the table the night before. His
description of the event, 'she drinks like a fish,' prompted me to throw
the Jewel at him. Of course, it bounced off the card and connected with
my forehead, instead. I got Random's permission to keep it for a bit.
I spent the rest of the day working on a sweat lodge with my sons.
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