lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Librarian Pithani)
[personal profile] lilfluff
This a Flashfic based on a prompt from [personal profile] ravenswept's 30 Days of Flash Fiction Meme

My 30 Days of Flashfic Index Page

Day 16b - Write a scene on horseback

Yes, Day 16b, I have actually done two for this prompt. This one, and another posted on my LJ account.

Content note: This one is darker than the one posted on LJ, although pretty tame compared to other fic I've seen posted. An off page death, slavery, and implied off page abuse.

Setting: The as of yet unnamed colony world, Eastern continent, an uncertain amount of time (probably decades) before the other pieces from days 1 and 10.

Title: Family Politics



The first thing Jayce felt as he woke was the urge to lose his breakfast. The ground refused to hold still and his body ached. Every moment reminded him more and more of the one time he'd sampled his Uncle's liquor cabinet with his cousins.

"I know you're awake kid, no point in pretending.

The voice was stern rather than harsh but that was little relief when he didn't recognize it. Slowly he opened his eyes, the light thankfully not as painful as that half-remembered hangover. The brown head of a horse before him, explaining the unsteady feeling, the blue-green of the forest all around the string of horses.

"What...?" All at once everything rushed back in an instant. The desperate call that woke everyone. Waiting for news from the family's main house. The power going out. The horrible thunder and flash of the stun grenades that lead the attack. Seeing one of his cousins cut down when he tried to draw his pistol. Each remembered moment feeling more real than the forest around him. "I'm, I think I'm going to be sick."

The man behind him muttered a curse. Grabbing a fist-full of his shirt's back and his bound wrists, shoving his head out to the side. "Then be about it boy."

Jayce barely heard the words. The memories and sudden swing to the side enough to bring up everything and leave it covering a mass of bushes. Once he started he couldn't stop, his belly still twisting, coughing as dry heaves continued. After a few coughs the man let his wrists go and gave him a few good thumps on the back before pulling him upright again. A firm grip holding his head as a canteen was held to his lips.

"Rinse and spit, then drink."

Head clearer he looked around again. How long? Blinking he tried to pull up his clock. Nothing. Closing his eyes he tried again. Nothing would come up, not the clock, not journal, not anything. After a minute he heard the man behind him snort.

"Don't bother. Really kid, think. Are we going to grab you, cuff you, and carry you off only to leave you with your augments? You really think we're that foolish?"

"Fu-- ow!"

"Watch your mouth, kid, before I decide you're one of the brats."

Jayce closed his eyes again fighting back a shudder. Trying not to remember some of the stories he'd heard about raiding parties. Tried not to remember some of the things he'd laughed at when some prisoners were brought by the house. Suddenly the thought of prisoners being turned over to entertain field hands was much more frightening than entertaining.

"How many others..."

"Made it out? Hardly anyone got hurt bad where we were. Chairman Burns had to end the feud before it attracted more trouble. That doesn't mean he wanted to kill kin."

"Didn't have to come in like that."

"Yes, we did. Look kid, you seem decent enough. But even if you aren't one of the family princes that doesn't mean you can ignore reality. If we didn't come in like that there would have been blood everywhere."

Apparently taking Jayce's silence as acceptance he continued. "Look, it isn't my job to make you like me. My job is making sure the family is safe. Your Uncle Nichol tried to split the family. That puts everyone in danger. Chairman Burns didn't have any choice.

"I don't like hurting kids, so don't do any stupid and force me to hurt you. You going to behave?"

At Jayce's nod the man patted his head, "Good boy. Look over that way, back of the gray horse."

Jayce twisted a bit to look wondering what the man meant. A younger boy was slung like a saddlebag across the horse's back. One glance at his hair and he knew. Red so bright it was almost orange. His eyes froze, watching until the boy turned his head. Even with the boy looking the other direction he could tell, that hair, the dark red collar. For the first time since waking Jayce felt his first touch of hope.

"Izzy." He only whispered it, but it was almost as if he heard it. As soon as he said his name Izzy turned his head to face him. The younger boy's eyes going wide as soon as he spotted him.

"It was kind of cute the way you tried to cover him when we came in. I figured if you were going to try to protect your pet you probably weren't too bad. Left the rest of the servants and slaves back at the house but it seemed a shame to separate you two."

"What are you going to do with us?"

"If you behave, nothing. But the split is over. Chairman Burns is the head of the family. Nichol is dead, fool shot himself rather than accept he'd lost. Didn't have to be this way, Chairman Burns said to take anyone we could alive. But he's going to need examples."

Jayce tried once more not to shudder. "That's a funny way of reassuring someone."

"Think kid. He needs to show the other families the fight hasn't weakened him. So he will need examples. If you want to be a fool then he does whatever it takes to break you. Believe me, whatever you think you can be broken. Then you will be paraded in front of others as a warning and proof that no divisions remain in the family.

"But you've got a chance. The adults who sided with Nichol are screwed. Only question is how screwed. You're young enough to have a chance. Keep your head on straight, do what you're told, and show your uncle the Chairman respect. Do that and you can be a much happier example that there are no divisions left in the family. You might even be allowed to keep that pet of yours."


A few notes:

Izzy is actually named Isaac, but people thought it was cute he had trouble saying his own name as a little kid and now he's stuck with that as a nickname. :)

As for why Jayce is concerned about Izzy, that might come up later if I do more with him.

The comment on augments: The folk on the eastern continent use technology access as part of how they firm up class divisions. Part of that is access to 'augmented reality' technology. Those in the upper class families have implants that allow for things like virtual screens without needing glasses or fancy contacts. Imagine having access to something like Google Earth, but with no need to pull out even a cell phone to use it. Just a quick command to pull it up and it's as if there is a holographic screen floating in front of you. Those managing to hold onto a middle class status have limited access to the AR networks. The lower class's and slaves are barely allowed access to computers (and then only to the degree it's felt it is needed for them to do their jobs). Access to AR systems is pretty much right out. The founders were firm believers in the maxim that information is power and sought to restrict it as much as possible to themselves.

Date: 2011-07-06 12:48 pm (UTC)
aldersprig: (Cali)
From: [personal profile] aldersprig
*perk* Intrigued. Liking this setting.

Date: 2011-07-08 08:19 am (UTC)
kc_obrien: A gold ballpoint pend with a black quill feather. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kc_obrien
Wicked awesome. Certainly hope that more comes of this. :-D

Date: 2011-07-12 06:13 pm (UTC)
meridian_rose: pen on letter background  with text  saying 'writer' (Default)
From: [personal profile] meridian_rose
That's quite a complex world you've outlined already. I love the idea of the augments.

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