The Dark Half of the Sun (The Young Ancients: Timon)

BOOK: The Dark Half of the Sun (The Young Ancients: Timon)
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Orange Cat Publishing

Titles by P.S. Power

 

Young Ancients
:

(Tor)

The Builder

Knight Esquire

Knight of the Realm

Ambassador

Counselor

Slave Line

 

(Timon)

The Dark Half of the Sun

 

Dead End:

A Very Good Man

A Very Good Neighbor

A Very Good Thing

A Very Dark Place

 

Keeley Thomson:

Demon Girl

Keelzabub

Mistress of Souls

 

*Christmas of the Vampire

(Related Universe Novella)

 

Gwen Farris:

Abominations

Monsters

 

The Infected:

Proxy

Gabriel

Cast Iron

Proxy: Reunions

 

The Lament:

Without Rhythm

 

Other Places:

Shortcuts

 

Stand Alone Titles by P.S. Power

 

Crayons

 

Unrelenting Terror

 

 

Young Ancients

Timon Book One

 

 

The Dark Half of the Sun

 

 

P.S. Power

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter one
 

 

 

 

 

"And remember Timon, it's up to you to bend to the ways of the outer world, not the other way around. If you run into trouble, we're always here for you. Don't forget that. You have your Fast Craft, so we expect visits.
Regularly
." His father looked down at him with a large, proud smile, then held his pipe between his teeth again. It made his voice tight when he spoke, but more familiar than not. "You have everything you need?"

Tim smiled back, knowing that his da meant well and was even giving him good advice. The speech was one he'd heard before, when he'd started running goods and messages for the family company, Two Bends Delivery. It was a simple enough job, once he knew where to go, but the advice had been more important than it sounded like at first. Different places had different ways of doing things and not all of them were very nice. In the last two years he'd seen a man being beaten to death for stealing a chicken and another drowned while tied to a large rock, for having sex with his wife's sister. That wasn't all he'd seen, of course, but those things had left an impression on his young mind that wouldn't go away.

He'd gotten out of those places by not getting involved. It wasn't the bravest thing ever, but he wasn't overly large for his age, and was only turning twelve the next day, so no one really expected him to take on a crowd of angry villagers or anything. No one had ever even suggested it, which was a good thing. It was going to be a rule of his own new business after all.

Don't get involved. Not in any open fashion at least. If he was going to do anything it would be well hidden and away from the eyes of anyone that might know him.

His da patted his shoulder again absently, as if not knowing exactly what to say. "You're... a bit young for this Tim. You could wait a few years, if you wanted. The normal age to go off to one of the special schools is fourteen, and some don't start for a year or two after that. I know that you're eager to get out and start your own life, but... Well, we're here for you."

"I know. Things... Haven't gone well between me and ma for a bit. It's best for me to leave now, I think, before one of us says something we can't take back." It was getting close already. His mother had driven his older brother away, which would have probably been a temporary thing, except that a few days later they'd gotten word from his Uncle in Austra that an army of assassins were after him. That meant he'd had to run away and hide. It was inconvenient in several ways, though the most important one was that Tor was in constant danger and no one knew where he was, or if he was even still alive.

That meant things weren't all that comfortable at home anymore. Besides, he was starting his own life now, young as he was. It didn't mean he didn't care for his family, but moving across the Kingdom didn't have the same weight now as it had even a year before. He could make the trip in a few hours and be back at school the same day if he wanted. That was thanks to Tor. A lot of the things Tim was able to do were.

So was the fact that he had to
pay
for his schooling, even though he'd won a scholarship for it. The note from Countess Printer that had come a week before, directly to him, had come as a surprise, but apparently Tor had told her that he'd pay for it
himself
. That meant spending most of the gold he'd been saving and getting some new work fast, because he didn't have anywhere near the kind of funds needed to pay for school. Seventy-five gold per year. He had fifteen in a little case in the back of his Fast Craft. It was part of why he was planning to leave for school nearly a week early. Not to get the lay of the land, but so he could go around begging for work.

That would make him look good, wouldn't it? His father had offered to pay for it, which they could actually afford now, but the problems with his mother had kept him from accepting it. She'd hold it over him as a threat if he did. A kind of 'do what I say or I'll bring you home' situation. It was the kind of thing she loved to do after all. So that had been turned down, much to everyone's surprise. Then a similar offer came in from Count Thomson, his brother in-law. That one was without strings, as far as Tim could tell, but even though the man was wealthy it seemed crass to take his money like that.

So it was off to work instead. He slapped his da on the shoulder and moved to leave without talking to any of the others, figuring that he really would see them all again soon enough. Tiera ran out of the holding warehouse, where they kept the packages, followed by his mother, who stood well back, looking at him, concerned, but a little displeased at the same time. He smiled and waved at her, trying to be kind about it. She gave him a nod in return then stepped back inside to continue working. She managed the delivery service and really did a good job of it. Most of the employees even liked her well enough. She was pretty decent with other people, as long as they weren't her male children.

It was a thing not lost on his sister who shook her head at him, making her pretty black hair move a little in the breeze.

"Morons. Both of you. Really, if you're going away you should clear things up first. At least lie and tell her you'll miss her or something." She didn't sound as bossy as usual, which probably meant she wanted something. There was a distinct pattern to how his sister did things like that. First an insult, then a request. For some reason it normally worked for her too, which didn't make a lot of sense.

That portion came in the next breath as she looked at the Fast Craft, which he'd sized to take him and his gear, leaving a seat for two others, just in case he got a fare at all. He could make the craft grow with a thought, but the shining mirror surface of the outside looked pretty good on the square he had it. To make it bigger meant moving it into a rectangle, which wasn't as tidy. A floating cube just said something to anyone that saw it. Class. Style.

His sister didn't waste a lot of time, that not being her way. "Can I get a ride up to the Lairdgren school in a week? I can fly, of course, but it would make a better impression if I came in one of these. No one else will be."

"I... suppose, if I'm not too busy. You'll have to trade for it. Say... Pilot for me if there's a need soon? The King mentioned using my service for sending delegations to other lands for instance. I know you can fly one, so, what do you say? Deal?" He held out his hand, but she gave him a quick hug instead.

"Of course silly. I'd do it even if I didn't owe you anything. Pilot's fee, plus making contacts with the kind of people that can afford to fly... That would totally be worth it." She smiled at him, her eyes looking just a little misty. It started a similar reaction from his own, so Tim turned to his craft and climbed in.

He pretended to be checking his gear, doing a last check on it all. He had some copies of various magical items that he'd made, all on silver, since that was his favorite metal, most of the original designs belonging to his brother. He had permission to make them, and, he presumed, sell them as well. It was hard to ask right now, with Tor missing, but he doubted it would be an issue. Not as long as he did good enough work. That was harder than it seemed, since Tor was so good not everyone could copy his stuff. Timon had managed to make shields and clothing amulets, plus a small handful of magical houses, but only the first kind that were all the same and couldn't be changed, just put up and taken down. He had a few other things too, but didn't know if anyone would buy from him yet. He was a builder, having made his own working design, but he was too young for anyone to take seriously. That was probably fair. He wouldn't have trusted magic from him either, after all.

After a few seconds he smiled and turned back to Tiera, reaching up to grab the handle and pull the swinging door down. It looked like rich black leather inside, except for the silver buttons and control knobs. Most of those were for show, since you could control the whole thing with one hand unit and some mental commands, but making things look too simple would have people thinking it was easy. It
was
, but people didn't want to pay as much for things that seemed that way.

Before he pulled the thing down he looked into his sister's brown eyes, knowing they were a lot like his own. In looks he took after his mother, like she did. Same color hair, similar eyes. If he put on a skirt they could be sisters practically. At least he was starting to get a bit of a square jaw. It wasn't pronounced yet, but he thought it would be as he got a bit older. Not too much, he hoped, but enough so that no one would ever think he was a girl.

"I'll be back, the day before school starts. Will that work for you? They both start on the same day, but I'll have classes..."

"That's fine, if I land in the courtyard on the first day in this thing it might look too much like I'm
trying
to make an impression. Instead of just being impressive. There's a difference." She smiled then, as if making a joke, but it was just the truth. People could think
anything
about you, so it paid to kind of guide them toward what you wanted. Go too far though and jealousy would shine through, getting you attacked. It would definitely pay for his sister not to shine too much more brightly than she already would. Just being pretty and a Conserina would do it. Sure she was sixth in line for Lairdgren, but going to a school owned by the Count, in his own county, would be enough to get her into trouble, Tim figured.

Tiera was aiming to be popular, which fit her personality pretty well. For his part he didn't expect that really. He was going to be the youngest kid in the school, which probably meant the smallest too. Really he was planning out strategies to get past the name calling and shoving already. His shield would stop the physical stuff well enough, but the emotional abuse would probably be as bad. He'd deal with it when it came. This was too good a chance to pass up.

"See you then. I'll try to get in a little early." He had a watch, which rode in his pocket, lacking a chain yet. It was a new thing he'd spent a bit of his gold on before he knew that he was being expected to pay for everything himself. There was a small flash of irritation toward his brother for that one, but he let it go. After all, he could do this. It would be difficult at first, but if he was careful and worked hard, it should be alright.

Tim lowered the door until it clicked firmly, looking at his sister still, even knowing that she wouldn't be able to see him in the early morning sunlight, not even with the shade provided by the surrounding pine trees. Two Bends, named for an old river that had shifted several times, having a lot more than just two bends in it now, was pretty much in a forest. It was a lovely place, but in a homely kind of way. The buildings on the main street were new and impressive enough and the new school was sharp looking, being a magical building that Tor's wife had donated to them. It was the thought of her that decided where he was going first.

She had to be worried out of her mind at the moment, Tor having just vanished one day, after killing a whole bunch of assassins who'd sworn to destroy him. The why of it all was a little loose as far as Timon could tell, but then, the fact that no one had shared much with him yet wasn't that surprising. He was one of the "Ancients" but so young that it didn't really count yet. He'd age, but only for a few more years and then he'd look that way for a long time until he gained the ability to control how old he looked. No one had told him that, but he'd seen his own mother do it and noticed Count Lairdgren looking as young as fourteen and as old as thirty or so. When he'd asked his mother about it she'd put him off, saying he was too young to need to know things like that, as if it were some kind of a secret, or something to be kept from the masses. More likely it was a way that she planned to use to control
him
in the future somehow. He could figure it out on his own, if he needed to. Really his ma should have figured that part out by now.

Ali though, was just a normal woman. She wasn't even that much older than he was, having just turned fifteen a week back herself. That... He should have made an effort to visit with her then. She was family after all. Honestly he'd forgotten about her, worried about how he was going to pay for school.

It was shameful really. He didn't
feel
that shame, but he knew it was what he was supposed to experience, so he pulled the control element straight up and oriented to the south, then east just a little. Timon would need to make corrections, but it was a route he was pretty familiar with, having flown it scores of times for package deliveries. With a tiny bit of pressure on his right hand he started to move, speeding up smoothly without any sense of motion at all. It was due to the way the craft moved through space, organizing everything on the tiniest level to move forward as one.

The scenery below him moved quickly, compared to flying using a normal rig, and the lack of air hitting his shield meant the ride was quiet. Too silent really. He liked having a bit of noise. Just like he enjoyed when things were exciting and active more than doing repetitious work. Oh, he could do it, and had to good effect, but it wasn't his favorite thing.

The world was pretty enough to keep his interest as it moved past and he noticed first Galasia to the far east of his position and then, about fifteen minutes later the Capital, shining like a white jewel, with the expanded Wildlands Station above it by about two hundred miles. He ended up flying almost directly over it, half tempted to land and see if Sara Debri was still working there.

She was... wonderful. Tim smiled, knowing that pursuing her was hopeless for him, because of his age. He really liked her and had even sent a few letters off to her mother, suggesting that he'd marry her, if she wasn't taken when it became legal for him. It was... not exactly a joke. He really would grab her up if she was available at the time, but he didn't hold out any real hope of it. For one thing she was one of the merchant class. It would be a big deal for her to marry someone from the nobility, but kind of frowned on in royal circles. Not that he cared that much about what other people said. Not yet at least. That would probably change as he aged and made business contacts himself though.

BOOK: The Dark Half of the Sun (The Young Ancients: Timon)
8.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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