Revelations and Speculation
When he returned to Vin’s room it was obvious that Vin was still asleep unfortunately it was a restless sleep well on its way to a nightmare.
Quickly he moved to the bed starting up a calming babble of reassurance he had perfected during this last year. Experience had taught all of the Seven the folly of waking the young tracker without warning; they had found that even in the deepest sleep Vin would respond to danger in a drastic manner. As Ezra usually had the night patrol of midnight to dawn and the tracker started his patrol at dawn it had become a matter of necessity for Ezra to find a way to wake the younger man that didn’t end in Ezra ending up pummeled black and blue or at the point of a gun or knife. Thankfully it had not taken Vin’s sleeping mind long to start recognizing Ezra’s voice and wake without the drastic reaction he gave anyone else. Ezra found it quite an ego boost that he could wake the tracker without the excessive drama everyone else encountered, even if he had the sneaking suspicion it was his distinctive southern accent and calm tone of voice that reassured the younger man of the lack of danger, the past year of being woken by Ezra in this manner helped a great deal in reassuring the trackers sleeping mind that it was safe.
Just like last time Vin shrank from Ezra’s presence, a fact that brought a fleeting frown to Ezra face before he forced a calmer expression in its place. The flight or flight response Vin had on being woken usually settled on fight, the simple fact that his unconscious instinct at present was now flight told Ezra that no matter how calm a facade the tracker was attempting to project, Vin was not handling the rape at all well, probably about as well as Ezra did all those years ago. Which as Ezra admitted meant Vin wasn’t handling it at all.
“I would have preferred you slept longer but as you were in the throws of entering a nightmare, I thought it best to rouse you from your slumber before it took a deeper hold.”
“Thanks, Ez, reliving that even in my dreams ain’t something I want to experience again. Hell! That dream hardly started and I’m soaked in sweat from the terror of it.” The slight tremble in the trackers voice and his sweat soaked hair gave Ezra a good indication of the horror he had interrupted.
“Perhaps it is time we gave some thought about how to brace your broken bones and newly realigned back while you have a bath. There are a few brace and cushioning charms I was taught in ‘Equestrian Healing’ that should suffice. I do have to warn you that they are extremely temporary in nature lasting little more than a half hour before they fail. They were designed to temporally support a broken or sprained leg of an equestrian familiar until they can be gotten to Healer of Magical creatures. The only other choice is the Petrificus Totalus spell which while extremely effective in keeping bones straight in a medical situation is perhaps not he best to use during a bath as your body would not be able to bend or move at all.”
Vin’s paled, “Don’t really feel up to bein’ naked in front of another body, I trust ya, Ez, but I just don’t think I could stand it.” He said softly the tremble in his voice told it’s own tale.
“Your reaction is perfectly understandable in the circumstances, years ago in the same situation even the Healers who tended my injuries made me uncomfortable to the point of terror.” Vin paled as he realized Ezra had endured something similar. Ezra was quick to reassure him, “It was long ago, my friend, I told you only so you know I understand much of what you are feeling at this moment.”
Vin reluctantly nodded.
“I understand what you are feeling all to well, my friend. Just as I realize your reaction to the thought of being disrobed in front of myself is probably exacerbated by the fact that you are attracted to me.”
Vin’s face flamed with embarrassment and he looked away.
Gently, Ezra cupped the blush filled cheeks and forced the younger man to meet his eyes once more. “The attraction is thoroughly mutual, my young friend. In hindsight it is now quite obvious that you turned your romantic attentions from Mr. Larabee to myself a few months ago. It was only my lack of understanding of the undercurrents that had changed the direction of your relationship with Mr. Larabee that confused the issue. I believed you and Mr. Larabee would inevitably become a couple which took you out of the market for a lover, these last few months I believed it was my own willful desires mistaking the situation as I truly believed you were spoken for.”
“How’d ya think that?” asked Vin confused, “I didn’t start courtin’ ya until the chances of me an' Chris ever bein’ a couple were long over. Didn’t start courtin’ ya on the rebound or as a whim, Ez. Made sure my feelings for ya were real not just some way to get back at Chris. Already been there and done that with Charlotte and we both know how well that turned out. Didn’t even start tryin’ for ya until I was sure, didn’t want to risk our friendship on a whim.”
“As I said, Vin, I had not realized the change in the direction the friendship between Mr. Larabee and yourself,” said Ezra with a wince at his blindness these last few months.
“My own fool fault then,” sighed Vin in disgust before he tried to explain what had happened, “Chris started courtin’ Miz Mary with serious intent long before I started courtin’ ya for real.” Vin snorted, “Ya always so good at just working things out, guess I just expected ya to work out what was happenin’ like ya usually do.” He sighed hindsight showing where it all went wrong. “Chris had him a hissy fit when he realized I’d turned my eyes away from him in your direction. Ez, ya always been real good at workin’ things out so guess I took for granted that if Chris worked it out you must have.” He apologised.
“I probably saw but my own emotions did not let me understand, although if I had seen a hissy fit as you call it from Mr. Larabee I might have been more inclined to believe it wasn’t my imagination and wishful thinking at play these last few months.”
“Was damned lucky he didn’t lose it in front of the entire town, bad enough he did it out at the cabin in front of Bucklin. Stupid ol’ fool thought I was trying to make him jealous, told him straight out I was just as attracted to ya as I was to him and since he done chose Miz. Mary months ago, he had no right to stop me finding someone else to love. Ain’t ever seen Chris so stunned before, ol’ Bucklin didn’t help none as the entire argument had that dang fool in stitches. His ‘Junior’s right Chris or do you expect him to spend the rest of his life moonin’ over ya like a lovesick calf?’ didn’t help any either.” Snorted Vin in disgusted remembrance. “Bucklin’s been right amused these last few months what with Chris acting like love sick fool around Miz Mary one minute and glaring like a bobtail with his tail in a bear trap whenever I attempted to court ya the next.”
“Yet I have felt no further animosity from Mr. Larabee towards myself these last few months?” mused Ezra.
“Way ya was ignoring my interest even I was startin’ to think I misread the lay of the land and ya weren’t interested in men. Cause Chris weren’t jealous of ya, Ez, were at first but he quickly realised he had no reason from the way you weren’t noticing my courting, couldn’t blame it on ya when it were obviously all on my part. Bucklin’s the one who’s been driving me mad these last few months with his courtin’ advise, I’ve had to remind that ol’ fool more an once that the Muggles weren’t too understandin’ of two men being together due to religion and other things and I’d rather not get hung for his amusement before he quietened down and went back to harassin’ JD about Casey instead.”
“Mister Wilmington is also a Wizard?” questioned Ezra startled. “And I was definitely interested in you even without my knowledge of you being a fellow Wizard I was very interested, I was merely blind to the true nature of your relationship with Mr. Larabee these last few months.”
“Yeah! Ol’ Bucklin’s a Wizard that’s how he and Chris became such good friends, they met at Wizard school, but what with Bucklin bein’ three years behind Chris they never really ‘came friends when they was young their ages bein’ against them getting close. They met up about ten years ago and became fast friends them three years ain’t a as big a gap to adults it is to children. And what do ya mean about Chris and me? It were obvious Chris and me weren’t headed that way no more, he’s been courting Miz. Mary somethin’ fierce these last few months.”
Ezra flushed in embarrassment, which had Vin’s eyes widen, and his own cheeks flamed red.
“Shit! Ezra! I know Bucklin has a filthy mind what with his telling Chris to just marry us both Wizard style and make himself a Triad-Bond but I thought that were just Bucklin being Bucklin.” Said Vin his blush still in evidence. “If ya was thinkin’ that without knowin’ about the Wizard part the whole town must a been gossipin’ fit to bust about the three of us.” The horrified outrage in Vin’s voice quietened Ezra’s own embarrassment and brought out his own amusement at the situation.
“It is not that bad, most Muggles would not even contemplate such an eventuality most did not even see the possibility of Mr. Larabee and yourself, they only saw Mr. Larabee courting Ms. Travis. I, on the other hand as a Wizard, find Triad-Bonds are not as outrageous a concept as it is for Muggles and I did know Ms. Travis was a Squib from a old Wizarding family, the possibility was not as outrageous as you think when you take that into consideration. Mary Travis obviously wanted Chris Larabee the easiest way for that to happen was to take both you and Mr. Larabee if he could not chose, a perfectly reasonable solution by Wizarding Bonding laws, if she could talk you both into such a Wizard marriage as I believed you both Muggles. A Triad Bond is a solution most Witches would enjoy, Mr. Tanner, for you are a very handsome man.” said Ezra in his own defense.
Vin blushed, “Before Chris found out about the Unicorns and my family, I think Miz. Mary might have been planning that until she found out I was Magical. Seen young Billy do some Magic during a nightmare one afternoon Miz Mary were teaching me my letters. At first I thought him the Muggleborn and I’d have to explain Wizards to her but Miz Mary weren’t surprised Billy made stuff move when he had a nightmare she was more surprised at me pulling out a wand to stop the chest of drawers crushin’ her. Heard all about her being a Squib and the Travis all bein’ Wizardin’ kind that afternoon. Don’t really want to think that of her but can’t think of no other reason she went from really friendly to cold following her finding out I were a Wizard. I guess she suddenly realized what my being a Wizard and her a Squib meant if Chris married us both.”
“I see! Yes, I fear I do see what happened. Most Squibs suffer a feeling of inferiority due to their lack of Magic and can be quite vicious when faced with a threat to what little social standing they have. As the Squib wife of a Wizard she has some social standing despite her lack of Magic, as long as her children are Magical she is treated with some degree of acceptance if not outright approval for her pure blood family and station. You would have been perfectly acceptable in her eyes if you had been a non Magical Muggle because as a Squib from an old Wizarding family she would outrank a Muggle in such a marriage. Unfortunately for that plan you turned out to be a Wizard and that would have relegated her place in a Triad-Bond as second Bondmate to yourself due to her lack of Magic. I fear the moment you produced a Wand, Mr. Tanner, you went from possible husband to rival.”
“Took me a while to work that out, finally realized it weren’t too different from teepee politics amongst the squaws. Don’t matter if it’s just her and Chris, or if I was Muggle she’d be head squaw in the teepee and I’d be expected to defer to her. My being Wizard changed that, she realized since I was Magical I would outrank her in the eyes of the Wizarding world in a Triad-Bond so I became her rival.”
“I fear you are right in your deliberations of her motives, while I cannot really blame her for tenaciously holding onto what little social standing she has in Wizarding society, I can fault her morals. As a Muggle your situation in such a Marriage would have been socially unbearable, Wizarding society would have treated you as little better than a pretty catamite for Christopher and Mary Larabee’s amusement.”
“What’s a catamite?” asked Vin with a frown he didn’t know that word.
“A young man kept for sexual use usually by an older man.” Said Ezra, making Vin pale. “You must understand, Vin, while I had thought the three of you headed for a Triad-Bond I believed both you and Mr. Larabee were both Muggle which would be acceptable as Mary Travis as a Squib would outrank you both but on the whole be a fairly even marriage. Mary Travis’s plan was not so benign she knew Mr. Larabee was a Wizard an as a Muggle in that situation you would be a toy not a husband.”
“Oh Hell! Guess I weren’t mistaken with the way she was eyeing me when she thought nobody could see,” said Vin with a sigh. “Started feeling like a working girl in some of them cathouse’s Adrian use to drag me to before I convinced him it weren’t the type of company I was interested in. Always felt sorry for them girls bein’ sized up to see if they were worth shelling out money for,” Vin shuddered, he hadn’t recognized it at the time but Miz. Travis had been eyeing him the same way the men who raped him did just before they stripped him that first time. “Thought I were mistaken as she never really did more than look and after I saved her with my wand she stopped giving me those looks. I must admit it were a big relief when she turned cold and dropped the lessons saying she were too busy to continue.”
“I’m sorry, Vin.” He said softly.
“Not your fault, Ez, doubt it would a come to that decision anyway, Chris’s head is one messed up place. Took me a while to figure out just how messed up he is. He ain’t really in love with Miz. Travis, he likes her and is more than a little in lust with her but it ain’t love. Him and me wouldn’t a worked he ain’t comfortable with the thought of two men together, no way would he have accepted that triad Miz. Travis was aiming for at the time, think he was almost relived when he found out I wasn’t full human it gave him a better reason to run than my just being Wizard. I guess being half Muggle and raised around Muggles can mess a being up something fierce, Chris’s Wizard side was telling him another Wizard was acceptable but them Muggle sensibilities he got from his Pa and the people around him kept telling him it were wrong.”
“What of yourself, Mister Tanner, you also have lived most of your formative years around Muggles yet you do not have the same prejudice?” asked Ezra intrigued.
“I always knew I weren’t Muggle so had that distancing me from what the white Muggles kept telling me was the right way of things, plus when Ma died I went to live with Grandpa Red Hawk amongst the Comanche, so didn’t encounter the white Muggle view of the world even then. Ya got to understand Ezra the people that’s the Comanche and the rest of the Tribes don’t really see a mortal white man when they look at me, to them I’m spirit made flesh and blood what I look like is second to what I am. Grandpa had been their Shaman for a long time so they were use to having spirits walking around in mortal flesh able to be hurt. Grandpa died when I was eight more than three years after Ma which was longer than he expected but the Comanche kept me didn’t matter that I looked white they knew what I was. Started out sort of adopted by the Chief Running Deer and his squaws but that didn’t work out to well. They had six kids of their own and I weren’t use to making my needs known always having been an only child, they kept forgetting me as I were too quiet compared to the rest of the kids. Moon Wolf, the new Shaman who’d been Grandpa’s apprentice, and his Guardian mate Stalking Cat, who was Running Deer’s brother, started noticing I weren’t doing to good amongst all them other kids. Lost a whole heap of weight and started getting sickly. Had them a talk with Running Deer and I ended up in their care when Moon Wolf pulled out the need to train my Magic argument and as I was more spirit than man he was the best to look after me. Liked living with them a whole lot better, got me two doting Pa’s to look after me and spoil me rotten,” smirked Vin making Ezra laugh.
“Moon Wolf started teaching me Shaman Magic and Stalking Cat taught me to hunt and track and all the rest of the things a Guardian needs to know, I ain’t a Guardian but I come closer than most everybody else. Ain’t much privacy in a teepee so probably knew about what adults did with each other a whole heap more than most white boys did by the time they were old enough to start thinking about such things. Knew it could happen between two females or two males as easily as the more normal male and female. Moon Wolf sat me down about a month before the white folk took me from them and made sure I understood the difference between love and sex. Also told me if someone tried forcin’ me it weren’t either of those two things. Told me he’d a spirit dream that told him I needed to know about these things even though I weren’t grown enough to be needing it for a while. So I guess I were already pretty set in my ways and knew different by the time the white Muggles got hold of me when I were twelve. So all that right way of thinking those white folk who claimed they saved me from the heathens kept trying to drum into my head just slid off as if I was slicked with grease probably ‘cause I already knew better as both Wizard and Comanche and Moon Wolf at least sat down and explained it all instead of just telling me how to think and feel or I’d burn in hell. Thankfully I had me enough sense to let my Slytherin side hide that I didn’t agree with their teachings or the canings would a been a lot worse, learnt to keep my mouth shut and act respectful and obedient when dragged to church to learn about the white man’s god. Weren’t as if I had a chance to put any of it to the test either, none of the girls in the area would have even thought of lookin’ at me that way an orphan boy raised by the Indians weren’t somethin’ they wanted to soil their reputation with and none of them boys would have even dared think like that the way the preacher kept his beady eyes on the look out for such potential sin, especially from me as I was Heathen raised.” Snorted Vin.
Ezra winced at Vin’s casual mention of canings knowing it was probably the least of what he endured from someone attempting to civilize what they thought was a white child raised by heathen redskins.
“Escaped when I was fifteen, knew if I didn’t get away they’d end up burnin’ me at the stake ‘cause my Magic was playing merry hell with everythin’ around me by then, ended up runnin’ for the Kiowa as they were the closest of the tribes in the area. Grandpa Red Hawk told me to do that if I ever needed a safe place, claimed a proper Shaman or Medicine Man would recognize I was spirit born and give me shelter even if they weren’t Comanche and he was right. Stayed with them a few more years until I encountered Adrian and Miz. Elsebeth who were visitin’ the Kiowa Shaman I was stayin’ with. Ol’ Spirit Fox, the Kiowa Shaman, was a sneaky ol’ bastard returned from a hunting trip to find he’s negotiatin’ them takin’ me as apprentice to train me proper as what I was interfered with the Shaman trainin’. Claimed I needed to control the Wizard before I could control the Shaman. Took a while to convince them seein’ I weren’t a little kid as I was gone seventeen by then which was when most Wizard are finishin’ their trainin’ not startin’ it. Broke my arm when some of the Shaman stuff went crazy round me and the whole Unicorn milk thin’ and my family nature came out. Next thing I know Miz. Elsebeth were havin’ me registered as their apprentice and draggin’ me to New Orleans by portkey for wand shopping and a visit to the Healers about my back.”
“A cathouse, Mister Tanner? I’m surprised, in the time I have known you I doubt you have actually visited such an establishment.”
“Ain’t really my thing but Adrian were pretty insistent I come with him when he found out I ain’t ever been intimate with someone. He went all French and swearing, seems eighteen and a virgin were almost blasphemy in his eyes, didn’t help when I told him I thought I might like boys better.” Said Vin with a blush of embarrassment and a grimace at the memory of being hustled off to one of Adrian’s favourite cathouse’s to lose his virginity and get trained on pleasing a woman.
“He sound’s like Mister Wilmington.” Smirked Ezra.
Vin snorted amused, “More than ya think, sometimes I’d swear Bucklin must have Frost Giant blood despite him not having the Frost Giant white hair and storm grey eyes that marks most Frost Giant descendents.Adrian attracted the ladies as easily a Bucklin, Miz. Elsebeth claimed it were from mixing Frost Giant and human the resulting babies were a little bit like Veela attracting the opposite sex when they got old enough. Cause Bucklin being black haired and blue eyed don’t mean he ain’t got Frost Giant blood back his family tree somewhere, to explain him being like the Honey in a Honey trap to the ladies around him, Miz. Elsebeth’s daughter didn’t have the colouring she took their Pa’s colourin’.”
“Mr. Wilmington is tall for a human but not outlandishly so but it would certainly explain a great deal.” Offered Ezra thoughtfully.
“Certainly puts a whole new slant on him and Inez if it’s true, Inez is full human. The attraction magic ain’t as powerful as a Veela ya can resist them easy if ya try it’s just most people don’t try unless they have a reason to, like marriage or being in love with someone else, the working girls liked Adrian because he made them feel good Buck’s the same way. Miz. Elsebeth claimed she made the men around her worshipful that’s how she knew her husband was the one for her, seein’ he was full human Wizard and he quickly stopped trying to worship her instead they fought like cats and dogs arguing over every little thing.” Smirked Vin. “Said that was a sign of true love for Frost Giants if they actually fight them it’s really love.”
“So it is entirely possible her reaction means they are both in love if he has Frost Giant blood.” Mused Ezra amused at the possibility.
Vin smirked, “It’s been real amusing watching her take the wind out a his sails every time he starts.”
“Indeed, Mr. Tanner, how else does Mr. Wilmington emulate a Frost Giant descendent?”
Vin frowned then grinned, “Frost Giant’s are real clannish if they don’t have blood kin around they adopt what they call Heart Clans. He musta adopted Chris years ago when they met up again after school, he told me how them both bein’ Wizards gave them a common ground when they met working the same cattle drive, them three year separatin’ them in age weren’t such a big deal as adults.”
“The knowledge they were both Wizards surrounded by Muggles would certainly create a bond that would seal such a friendship.” Mused Ezra seeing how the two extreme personalities became friends, these western reaches were a wild and dangerous land and without the Wizarding Enclaves in easy reach many Wizards and Witches were forced to hide amongst the Muggles to obtain the basic necessities of life which made identifying a fellow Wizard or Witch extremely hard, recognizing a fellow Wizard from school would have created a bond from the start as they would not have to hide their innate Magical nature from each other. Ezra had only known of Judge Travis as a fellow Wizard and then only because he made a point of identifying Wizarding authority in the areas he visited. Judge Orin Travis’ might obtain most of his income from his Muggle appointment but his real power as a Wizard came from being the Supreme High Adjudicator of the Western Reaches of Wizarding America.
“Yeah! Must have been nice knowin’ they were both Wizards from the start, wouldn’t a known about Chris if I hadn’t caught him whittlin’ a wand now and then, didn’t put two and two together until he started storin’ wand cores in a hidden room in his shack. Got me this itchy feelin’ that was like to drive me crazy every time I entered that ol’ shack. Ended up getting cranky and tellin’ him to make his damn wards stronger. As ya can guess us being both Wizard kind were pretty obvious after that. Chris done told me about Bucklin and the Judge, already knew about the Judge from Miz. Travis.”
“Mr. Larabee is a Wandmaker, I would not have suspected that in a million years, few have that gift and in even fewer families does it breed true.”
“Comes from his Ma’s family who were related to a real old Wandmakin’ family a few centuries ago on his great grand Ma’s side, his Ma ran of with his Pa who was a Muggle, she’s the one who started teaching Chris to make wands but she died before he got his invite to Salem. His Pa tried not sending him but his Ma’s family made him let Chris go. They took him as apprentice during the summer, his Ma had been trainin’ him from birth so he got his Journeyman papers quick once he finished Wizard schooling.”
“Most wandmaker’s are well known by reputation, Larabee isn’t a name associated with the craft,” mused Ezra.
“He’s known by his Ma’s maiden name they apprenticed him under the Draken name.”
“Christopher Draken! Mr. Larabee is Christopher Draken! Good Lord! Draken wands are highly sort after the family is as old and as famous as the Ollivander’s of England for wandmaking. The rumour mill said Christopher Draken was dead as he hadn’t sold a wand in years.”
“Sarah and Adam’s death almost destroyed him, plus wanderin’ gunslinger weren’t really designed for makin’ wands either. The decision to make that shack of his was a big step towards him healin’ from the loss of his family. The shack and the land he bought gave him a place to store the wand wood and Magical cores a wandmaker needs for his craft. Bucklin was almost in tears when he found out Chris was makin’ wands again, seemed he hadn’t made any since his family died so Bucklin thought it a sign Chris had finally decided to live.”
“Like the rest of the town I had wondered how Mr. Larabee could afford the land he purchased on the paltry dollar a day the Seven are receiving for our services, not to mention the breeding stock he recently purchased. Knowing he is Christopher Draken one of the most sort after wandmaker’s in the America’s certainly explains why he doesn’t seem to want for money even if he isn’t extravagant in his spending. But as interesting speculation on Mr Wilmington’s family secrets and Mr. Larabee’s Wizarding talents and reputation is, we seem to have gotten completely of track we were discussing ways to brace and cushion your legs and back so you may bathe.”
“Vin, the fact that we are both attracted to each other does not mean a sexual relationship is necessary to enjoy each others company. I have suffered the same fate as yourself in the past so know in intimate detail a significant amount of the emotional reaction you are suffering at the moment. A few hours is not enough time to recover from such an assault many never recover, even after ten years I still flinch if touched without warning I have been surprised you have let me touch you it speaks of an innate trust of myself and my intentions that is quite humbling,” said Ezra gently, once again cupping Vin’s face in a gentle caress to show exactly what he meant.
“Ez, I may not trust ya not to rip me to shreds with words when ya drunk but I know you’d never try to force yourself on anyone even when ya drunk as a skunk. I ain’t a child, Ez; I told ya I know the difference between rape and sex, same as I know the difference between sex and makin’ love. When ya touch me it's love not sex and so far removed from what them bastards did to me I ain’t got a reason to be afraid of ya. We both know ya ain’t gonna force intimacies I ain’t ready for.”
“And disrobing in front of another person is one of the intimacies you are not ready for, it is not as if it is something either of us willingly did in the past. While you cannot bathe in the long johns you are presently wearing there is no reason you cannot use one of Adrian Le’Herne’s extremely large shirts to maintain your modesty, while you are at your ablutions I shall search these wardrobes and drawers for something more suitable to make leg and back braces from I shall probably have to alter whatever I find to a new configuration it that is alright with you.”
“If ya find somethin’ I ain’t got no objections. I asked the Children if they wanted Adrian’s stuff sent on like Adrian did Miz Elsebeth’s but they said Adrian’s wouldn’t fit them without a lot of cutting down, so they told me to cut it down for myself or give it way. I ain’t really got around to doing anythin’ with it. Even Bucklin, Josiah and Nathan would look like kids in Adrian’s clothes.”
“Is it possible Mr. Wilmington is related to them, I doubt there are many Frost Giant’s in America?” asked Ezra. Pulling out a large shirt from the dresser that would probably reach Vin’s knees. Then searching for something he could turn into a body brace for his damaged friend.
“The Le’Herne’s weren’t all giant the fact of the ones who survived only Miz. Elsebeth, Adrian and their great aunt Jessica had the giant blood, the rest of them were all-human. I think Adrian and Miz. Elsebeth would have known of any other Frost Giant children in American they’re real clannish. None of Miz. Elsebeth’s kids survived but Jessica eventually had a daughter named Annabelle she’s slightly taller than Miz. Elsebeth was her Ma being closer to the giant. Adrian sent her Miz. Elsebeth’s stuff as they’d be a little small but still fit her and wouldn’t take much adjustment.”
“What of Mr. Le’Herne did he have any offspring?”
“Not that I know of, Adrian never got hitched, liked the ladies a might to much to settle down that way, although he did ask one or two to marry him over the years from what he said when he overindulged in the fire-whiskey but they all said no for some reason, last one he actually tried marrying was over thirty-five years ago Adrian swears he had her ready to walk down the isle with him when Terakan’s almost killed her in the crossfire and she gave him back the ring. It’s possible Bucklin might be descended from some kid Adrian didn’t know he had but that ain’t a subject I’m inclined to bring up given the nature of the women Adrian kept time with, Bucklin might try shooting me for besmirching his ma, grandma’s or even one of his great-grandma’s good name, given Adrian’s age any of them is possible. See Adrian tended to visit Muggle cathouses claimed most Muggle working girls just charged him extra for his size not turn him away, had him a few favourite places he tended to revisit, but given he was in his second century if he did leave any kids behind on one of his visits, he wouldn’t have known about it given the extent he and Miz. Elsebeth travelled after the massacre dodging them Terakan’s, it would have been a few years between visits to the same cathouse, time enough for one of the girls to have a baby and move on. Goblin’s are still having fits about Adrian’s will, he left a whole pile of bequests to his favourite Muggle working girls tracking down a century worth of his favourite Muggle’s so they can give them or their heirs what ever Adrian left them is driving them grumpy little Goblins crazy. I’d show you his memory book but the Goblin’s got it as it’s the only way they have of tracking them girls down, the book has drawings of his favourite girls and something that belonged to them so the Goblin’s have something to find them with, it’s just taking a while because the book’s so thick and some of them girls are real old by now,” smirked Vin. “The one’s he actually proposed to are in colour, they have a thousand Galleons waiting for them when they get found, the rest are just pencil drawings but he still left them a hundred galleons each.”
“What if the Ladies themselves are dead? Do their heirs get the money?” asked Ezra fascinated finally settling on a set of extremely large winter underwear to transfigure, the sheer size of the giant undershirt and winter leggings would work in his favour.
“I think the money gets halved in that case. I was never really interested enough to find out the details. It was Adrian’s money so it was his to give away, ain’t as if he didn’t leave the bulk to his real heirs, the Le’Herne survivors and all the kids they raised. Hell even I ended up with something and I weren’t one of the Kid’s he and Miz. Elsebeth raised just their apprentice. I almost had a heart attack when the Goblin’s told me I got left the tent and everything in it, at least they didn’t leave me money, the tent and the House Elves were bad enough.”
“House Elves!” gasped Ezra shocked.
Vin blushed, “Weren’t my idea, Miz. Elsebeth left me all her Seer stuff as she claimed I have the gift and the Vortigue House Elves, which were wilder than normal House Elves and blood bound to the family by some ol’ blood Magic that would cause them to die when the last Vortigue did. Miz. Elsebeth claimed she had been accepted as a Vortigue by blood Magic on her marriage day but when she died so would all the Vortigue House Elves. Miz. Elsebeth had her a book on House Elf binding hoping to find a way to save the little critters. She hadn’t found a way before I turned up. The only out for that binding was for the Elves and everything bound to Vortigue blood to be bequeathed to a Liege Lord if they had no other blood heirs. That didn’t really help at all as the Vortigue’s were Princes of some sort and didn’t have no Liege Lord on record. The Goblin’s pointed out a way around that little fact. Seems while the Vortigue’s might not have no sworn Liege Lord, the Le’Herne’s did as they had been sworn to the Siren Oberon as their Supreme Battle Commander since before Atlantis sank and they hadn’t ever broken that oath even when they took service with mortal rulers it was as mercenaries not vassals, which meant as a Le’Herne-Vortigue she could personally bequeath the Vortigue inheritance including the House Elves to a member of the Court which would solve the problem. Trouble was she had to personally hand the inheritance scroll to the member of the court she chose and preform the new bindings to seal the transfer of Vortigue to the new heir.”
“Which is impossible as the Siren Court is time cursed, it is impossible to tell when they will appear and it is often centuries between visits.”
“Yeah but as a Unicorn Lord I had a chance of becoming part of the Court.” sighed Vin.
“If I remember rightly a Unicorn Lord or Lady must swear service to the Emperor as Liege Lord and Battle Commander in a blood oath before they are listed as part of the Inner Court. It only works if they have a certain level of Divine blood anything below that level will not activate the Court Magic. No one is sure why that level was set but it is an absolute. Those of Elven or Siren blood have their own test if they survive the test of Life-Fruit which proves they are Sidhe they have the same right to choose service.”
“No one ever mentioned Divine blood kept calling it Chaos Energy.” muttered Vin, “The Goblin’s did the test and it seems I ain’t got much human in me at all, even Ma’s side didn’t contribute hardly any human. Grimblehall said it was probably the only way Ma and Pa could make a kid; I know Ma lost two babies before me, ended up making a potion to help make me because of that. Grimblehall claimed it must have been genetic viability potion, that would a stopped any babies who would miscarry from being made. He said the potion could have gone two ways either matching all the human and filling the gaps with the Chaos Energy and Elven or it matched the Chaos Energy to the Elven and added enough human to fill the gaps, pretty obvious which one the potion chose.” Muttered Vin.
“I take it you successfully preformed the Court Magic to the Goblins satisfaction.”
“Couldn’t let them poor House Elves die,” said Vin simply. “Not as if it was a big deal, the Goblin’s fuss a bit more and the Le’Herne’s like bowing to me but that’s about it but now if I die without a blood heir the Vortigue House Elves automatically belong to the Siren Court, which makes them pretty safe from the death geis as the Court’s mostly immortal even if I’m not.”
“And when the Oberon turns up?” asked Ezra.
“I’d probably have to obey him if he gives me orders but odds are I’ll be long dead before he shows up again I ain’t immortal, Ez,” said Vin reasonably. “Thankfully, Miz. Annabelle understood House Elves ain’t something you could have while travelling Muggle. We made us a pact, she said she’d keep the House Elves for a couple years until I settle down Wizard enough for House Elves, she also promised to teach them English so we could understand each other when that happened. That’s one of the reasons I made the house, they ain’t really happy away from the family they’re bound to and that ain’t the Le’Herne. They keep wanting to come live with me.”
“How many did you inherit from the Vortigue estate?” asked Ezra curiously.
“There were only six Elves left and they were getting real old, Miz. Elsebeth said they couldn’t have Elflings after Miz Elsebeth’s husband died because of the death geis on them, told me those six were the last of them they’d only been Elflings when her husband died the rest died of old age. But that obviously don’t apply no more as Miz. Annabelle said the three Lady Elves all had an Elfling this year, I guess that means they weren’t to ol’ to have babies. So now I got nine House Elves according to Miz. Annabelle. She sounded a might frazzled in her last letter I think she’s a bit old to be dealing with Elflings, remember what they were like from when I’s little always wanting to help ya and more trouble than a whole passel of Unicorn foals and that’s saying something. That’s another thing I gotta do, have the Goblin’s send Miz. Annabelle the letter I wrote telling her the house is ready with a map so she can send the House Elves to me before she ends up killing the Elflings as the little critters are probably driving her crazy trying to be helpful.”
“I have never encountered Elflings, the nanny my father obtained after the Anyanka incident was quite elderly and mother attempted to sell her the moment father’s will probated. She was extremely stubborn and loyal and told mother she did not belong to her as she was bought for me and the Goblins agreed. Mother loathed her with a passion but that did not stop her from making use of her services until she died when I was away at school. It rankled Mother that Mitty always saw to my comfort first and could not be sold.” smirked Ezra.
“We had Elves before Ma died but they weren’t the normal elves, real shy did most everything at night only a few of them let themselves be seen during the day once they were grown. Ma said they weren’t really House Elves but Brownies their wild cousins as they wore clothes, seemed Belladonna’s house elf was a Brownie as her ancestors had never been Magically bound to a family and she found herself a wild Brownie from somewhere to mate with which meant she and her descendents served us because they wanted to not because they were bound or owned. Guess they’d still be down Moonpath Valley living wild as they couldn’t come with me to the Comanche or they followed the Unicorn to help with the foals.” Mused Vin. “Wonder how they’re coping with the Le’Herne living in the Valley if they’re still in Texas, might ask Miz. Annabelle if any of the Le’Herne seen them?”
“You gave your Valley to the Le’Herne?” asked Ezra startled looking up from where he was cutting and sealing the giant under garments into a new configuration.
“Sorta weren’t as if I was using it or intended to, ain’t as if the herd’s still using it. I hadn’t even been back there since I was five, until I showed it to Adrian and Miz Elsebeth it was just sitting there empty. Miz Annabelle’s kids wanted to settle down and try crossbreeding white buffalo a separate Magical breed of Buffalo with another Magical creature to make something new and needed a permanent place for a ranch. Since I had the Magical land already warded and it wasn’t being used I ‘came their partner in return for the use of the Valley don’t know if I’ll ever get any profit out of it but it did let the Le’Herne’s finally settle down in one place. The Valley has some major wards around it, I think Belladonna’s mate did them and they make it a fortress. The rest of the family aren’t in much danger their adopted or pure human but Miz Annabelle and her kids have Frost Giant blood her ma being Adrian and Miz Elsebeth’s great aunt. Demon’s won’t go near the place unless forced which repels the Terakan who are mostly Demonic which makes the Valley the perfect hiding place until the kids stop looking like Frost Giants in a few generations. Ez! What the heck? I ain’t wearing that it ain’t got no crotch!” objected Vin horrified at the leggings Ezra had just turned into a type of chaps only made from flannel.
“Relax, Vin, the undershirt which will be your back brace is long enough to cover your lower regions and button into place this way you are covered but also can tend yourself if you require the chamber pot. It is not as if you will be walking and on display.”
“It may cover me and let me use the chamber pot without help but it still ain’t decent, Ez.” Objected Vin blushing, there were just to many gaps even with the shirt buttoned in place covering his lower regions. The longjohns he was wearing at the moment was bad enough the way they had been stiffened into braces and hugged his body showing it of as if he was naked the new one was even worse. “Tell me true, would you wear that?” he demanded pointing at the thing Ezra had just completed.
Ezra flushed, “Not without a nightshirt over the top.” He admitted.
“Adrian was over seven foot tall close to eight, if I try wearing one of his nightshirts I’ll look like I’m drownin’ in it. The shoulders will come down to my elbows.” He snapped.
“The shoulders will be easy to fix with some tucks in the shoulder section and you won’t be walking so the extra length won’t matter.” Said Ezra looking for the nightshirts, the extra warmth was probably a good idea anyway he doubted Vin had the reserves to fend of the cold on his own. With that in mind he added some of Adrian’s thick winter socks to the pile. Vin would just have to face facts in his condition he would also not fare well against any illness he was exposed to and keeping warm was essential.
“Hell Ez, I’m gonna look like a kid.” Moaned Vin horrified, in Adrian’s nightshirt he was goanna look a kid and a sick kid at that, Nathan and the others would turn into fussbuckets if he looked that helpless.
“We’ll see how you go after your bath.” Said Ezra non-comittedly.
“Damn!” said Vin pouting.