OT: Young Mind Takes Flight

on March 6, 2011 in Other Tales


The blocks were kept in a very large cast iron roasting dish that had lost its lid and found a new purpose. Next to it was a three gallon bucket that now housed a variety of toy figures of various sorts. The boy had set out to build a fortress, but thus far he’d pulled more items out of the bucket than the pan, as he had someone new to introduce them to.

“…an’ this one’s called Sky Knight,” he said, holding up an enaction figure of a young man wearing a bulky and improbably shaped armor and a backpack with wings on the side and funnels on the bottom. “Because he’s a knight of the skies. That’s like the night sky, but different. He’s my favorite because he flies.”

“You’re fond of flying, are you?” the man in black asked him, and the boy nodded enthusiastically.

“Da takes me up sometimes,” he said.

“In the ships he works on?” the man asked, and the boy nodded again. The man marked something on his tablet. “Do you ever have dreams where you’re flying, Aidan?”

“Yes,” Aidan said.

“I’d like to hear about them.”

“One time, I dreamed I was the captain of a ship, sailing across the sea to Magisteria, or even farther to the Westering Lands,” the boy said. “And another time I dreamed I was Sky Knight.”

“Do you ever dream of wings?”

“Sky Knight has wings on his backpack thingy,” Aidan said.

“I mean the kind that move and flap.”

“You mean like a dragon has,” Aidan said.

“That’s right,” the man said.

“You want to know if I dream about dragon wings because I’m part of a dragon,” Aidan said. “And you’re afraid I’m going to turn into one.”

“Why, what an odd way to put it,” the man said. He forced a laugh that could hardly have sounded less natural if it had been assembled from a kit. “No one is afraid of you, young man.”

“Some people are,” Aidan said. “They don’t say so, but I can tell.”

“Can you smell it?”

“No,” Aidan said, laughing much more convincingly. “Smell it? No. You can’t smell fear.”

“Some people can.”

“Maybe if they’re dogs,” Aidan said, and he let out a couple of yipping barks.

“How do you know if people are afraid of you, then, if they don’t say it?”

“I can see it in your eyes,” Aidan said. “When you look at me.”

“Yes, well, um… I have some divinations to take, so why don’t you play with your… just… I believe we’re almost done here,” the man said.

“Alright,” Aidan said.

The man took a few steps back and watched Aidan at play. He pulled a short, slim wand out of his pocket, pointed it at the boy, and then moved it around in a circle a few times. He frowned, pointed it at a flowerpot and gave it a flick, then returned his attention to Aidan. He spent several minutes making various gestures with the device, pointing it at various parts of the boy’s form and tracing various symbols in the air in his general direction.

Eventually he nodded to himself, put the wand away, and made another note. He then produced an oval-shaped clear crystal with beveled edges giving it the appearance of a flattened diamond. He peered at the boy through it several times, putting it down to make notes in between.

The man wasn’t specifically observing Aidan’s private game, but as his attention was on the boy he couldn’t help being aware of his actions. His facility with block-building was impressive in both the scope of the structures he could erect and the speed with which he did so, but it seemed to him as though there were something inherently disorderly about the boy’s creation.

He didn’t expect a five-year-old boy to have a grasp of classical architecture or anything like that, but by the same token he felt that simpler structures, being more stable, would come naturally to a small child.

Aidan produced castle walls that looked both sturdy and mostly straight using mismatched blocks. He didn’t seem to hunt for blocks that would fill the gaps, or to plan things. He just glanced at the blocks in the pan, grabbed one, and placed it without any hesitation.

His towers, rather than having four corners on each level consisting of similar pieces, had a haphazard look where one level might be a single thin pillar supporting a plank with three columns made out of square blocks spaced so as to be perfectly balanced and supporting a broader platform on which he constructed something that looked like a ring of standing stones, or a carousel. The whole thing went from narrow to wide and back again like a series of irregular hourglasses stacked on top of each other.

The fact that he was building these improbable structures on a carpeted floor was even more disquietingly impressive.

While his building prowess seemed more improbable, the man was also unnerved by the way Aidan played with his other toys in the midst of the building. In his own home, with his own sons, the man from the ministry would have insisted they play with one thing or the other, a set of building blocks or their toy soldiers. He understood that Dell Harris ran a less orderly household, and he did not judge… officially… but there seemed to be something fundamentally chaotic about mixing playthings.

It wasn’t just blocks and soldiers, either. It was blocks and soldiers from a conventional set of imperial army figurines, the much larger and more detailed enaction figures from what seemed like more than one television program, and other toys, some of which even seemed to have been intended for girls. Aidan paid no heed to the fact that they were built to varying scales and showed no respect for what they were meant to signify. Indeed, to judge by the dialogue he put in the various figures’ mouths, the proud imperial soldiers were being employed as an invading army of gnomes.

The man didn’t know to approve or disapprove of the gnomes-in-imperial-armor being scattered so easily by the swooping figure of Sky Knight, who alone among the assembled multitudes seemed to have the privilege of playing himself in the unfolding drama. When the boy added a hellhound with an anti-magic shell and immediately one-upped himself with a behemoth that quite improbably fed on anti-magic hellhounds, the man felt he’d had quite enough child-like imagination for one day.

“Please excuse me, but I must go have a brief word with your mother,” he said to Aidan, who was so engrossed in his worldbuilding that he didn’t appear to hear. “I think I have everything I need.”

He passed through the entrance hall and dining room into the kitchen. The house was quite a modest one for a hero of the empire and the daughter of a lord, but he supposed it was an impressive one for an airshipman and the daughter of a farmer.

The hero of the empire was out for the morning, having walked into town early in order to take in the sights of market day. The farmer’s daughter was in, and so she was the one who the man from the Ministry of Internal Diplomacy had to deal with. The ministry agent found it odd and more than a little discourteous that a man would shirk his responsibilities so.

He didn’t know it, but such things as the sights of the market were always more appealing to Dan Harris when official visitors were expected.

Dell Harris didn’t mind this one bit. She’d been given the impression early on that in the eyes of the imperial government, young Aidan was more Dan’s son than hers. She was just coincidentally the woman married to the half-demon who’d taken it upon himself to raise a quarter-dragonling. Even after he’d started absenting himself from the official visits and referring all reflections and letters on related subjects to her, the black-suited ministry men had often treated her like a go-between, asking her to relay such-and-such information to Dan or to ask him about his intentions.

“So, anything new to be concerned about?” she said to the ministry man, handing him tea in a mug.

“Is there any chance your husband will be home soon?” he asked. “Perhaps this is a conversation best had with both of you present.”

“Oh, to be sure,” she said. “It’s hard to ask me if I wouldn’t like to step out of the room when it’s just me here. That would leave you talking to yourself, and I gather that’s not properly ministerial behavior.”

“I did say both of you.”

“And I believe you believe that’d be an improvement over me,” she said. “I’m the boy’s mother, legally. I’ve as much a stake in him as his da does, legally. We can talk about how things shake out on other levels if you’d like, but I don’t know how any but the legal part would concern you.”

“Surely you understand that this is not as simple as an ordinary adoption,” he said.

“Surely you understand the meaning of the word ‘mother’,” Dell said. “You had one at some point, didn’t you?”

Have,” the man said. “She is quite vigorous for her age, I assure you, and I do take your point. Very well.” He sighed. “The false aura has… decayed… much more quickly than we would have ordinarily expected, in a case such as this.”.

Dell’s eyebrow twitched up just a little bit.

“Oh, aye?” she said. “And just how much do we ordinarily expect it to do, in a case such as this? In the normal course of events?”

“Your point, again, is well-taken,” he said. “And in fact, it would seem you have hit the difficulty square on the nose. The use of a false aura is well-documented, but in most cases such a facade is employed by a wizard or other entity who wishes to maintain it himself, or placed by an external agent on a mundane individual who has no power to resist it.”

“Aidan shouldn’t have any power to resist it,” Dell said. “Not until he comes of age. Unless the aura’s a threat?”

She’d been suspicious of it from the beginning. As far as she was concerned, the protections put in place by Aidan’s father should be sufficient. She wasn’t as uncomfortable with minions of the emperor as her husband was, but she didn’t necessarily trust them, or their judgment.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “As I’ve said, the use of false auras are well-documented. They do nothing to change the underlying nature of the being, nor affect him in any way.”

“And being a quarter dragon doesn’t change this?”

“No class of beings has made more extensive use of false auras than dragons and dragonlings,” he said. “Research suggests they may have invented the technique.”

“So if it’s not a threat, what’s causing it?” Dell asked. “Could this ‘decay’ be caused by someone snooping too closely?”

“Oh, no,” the ministry man said. “Certain ways of piercing a false aura will damage it, but that damage would manifest differently than what we’re seeing. And we would have noticed.”

“Is it beyond consideration that someone could be stealthy enough to pierce the aura in a way that looks like natural ‘decay’ and evade your detection?”

“I think not,” the man said stiffly.

“But how would you know?”

“Well, obviously, we couldn’t know if someone were skilled enough to slip in the back way, as it were, but I would be very surprised if anyone had such a capability but was not able to cover his tracks completely,” the ministry man said. “It would be like some perfect thief somehow infiltrating the emperor’s palace, and then re-painting a wall to cover the spot where his fingers smudged on it.”

“It’s been three months since his last check-up,” Dell said. “So this might have happened at any point between then and now, or it might have been happening gradually all along.”

“The latter, I believe,” the man said. “It actually began sometime before the last examination, and after the one before that. My predecessor noted what he thought might have been the beginning of this trend, during his last visit.”.

“Oh? He didn’t note it to me.”

“Well, it’s hard to conclusively, er, conclude anything from a single moment in time,” the man said. “But because he had made a note of the possibility that the aura was degrading, it gave me a frame of reference to build on.”

“He might have mentioned the possibility to me,” Dell said. “I’m only Aidan’s mother, after all.”

“This has been established,” the man said. “Even though it might have been premature, perhaps he might have said a quiet word to your husband on the subject, if the man weren’t so devilishly difficult to get a hold of.”

Devilishly?”

“I… ah… beg your pardon, madam,” he said. “It is a common turn of phrase, isn’t it?”

“You do know that your predecessor predecessed because of complaints I lodged against him, don’t you?” Dell asked.

“I hope you note that I’ve told you now that we have confirmation that it’s happening on a large scale and that it’s significant enough to mention,” the man said quickly.

“See, and I was perfectly willing to believe that you were telling me where he hadn’t because you thought I’m entitled to know what’s happening with my son,” Dell said. “So, is there anything you’ve noticed this time that’s too insignificant to tell me about? Any quiet words you would like for me to pass on to my husband?”

“I’m not sure I like your implication,” the man said.

“Well, I’m bothered by implications, too, so we’ve got that much in common,” Dell said. “Anyway, if it’s not been caused by anyone peeping or prying… and he’s not resisting it with some dragony trait because it’s a mortal threat to him… what exactly does it signify that the aura is fading?”

“Again, I must emphasize that it’s not a threat, but.. well, I believe it may… you realize, of course, this is all very preliminary,” he said.

“You realize, of course, I had the last bloke sacked,” Dell said.

“Er, right,” the man said. “In any event, it is too soon to say for certain, but I believe the lad’s dragonish heritage may be in play here.”

“But you said dragons practically invented this stuff,” Dell said. “So shouldn’t his nature be compatible with it?”

“If he wants it to be,” the man said. “The will of a greater dragon is a powerful thing, and Aidan is only two generations removed from that sort of power. On some level, perhaps he resents the aura as an intrusion. Or maybe he wishes to flaunt his true nature. His own will may be eroding the spell prematurely.”

“He shouldn’t be able to do that though, should he? His own father’s will would oppose that, and it would have to be stronger.”

“The nature of the imposition that ‘Ironstaff’ laid upon him prevents him from shifting form. It does not fundamentally alter his underlying nature, which is why the false aura was deemed necessary for him to pass as a boy… a human boy, that is.”

“So you think Aidan is weakening the aura.”

“It’s within the realm of possibility, yes. Most likely he’s not aware he’s doing it… it might be something like scratching an itch, absentmindedly.”

“And you said that ordinarily, if a dragon or similar were operating under a false aura, they’d maintain it themselves?” she said.

“Yes,” the man said. “This is where things become difficult, when dealing with a small child with no magical training.”

“I can’t see why,” Dell said. “If he can erase the false aura without even meaning to, he ought to be able to sustain it, if we ask him to.”

“That’s a wonderfully simple solution,” the man said. “But the ministry does not actually require you to propose solutions for this. We have men who are experts in their fields whom we may call upon to address this problem.”

“The next three words out of your mouth are going to be ‘in the meantime’, aren’t they?” Dell guessed.

For the intervening duration,” the man said carefully, “we will need to increase the frequency of the examinations from quarterly to monthly, so that we may get a better sense of the aura’s rate of failure, and re-apply it more quickly in the event of total erasure.”

“What a joy,” Dell said. “And what if this is a… what do you call it, a fluke? I mean, if you don’t know what exactly has caused it, you can’t possibly rule that out.”

“No, we cannot,” the man said. “If that is the case, then the monthly visits will quickly reveal that fact.”

“Good,” Dell said. “Is there anything else, then?”

“Nothing that warrants immediate discussion,” he said. “Not because I’m holding anything back, of course. I will need some time to analyze and synthesize the results of my divinations. The data will, of course, be included in my report to your husband.”

“I look forward to reading it,” Dell said.

When the man had left, she went into the living room to find Aidan placing his little imperial soldiers at various points on a vast block tower that he’d made using all of his blocks. At its highest point, it was taller than he was… not higher than he could reach with his arms, but she had a hard time picturing him stretching to reach it without knocking over some of the protruding bits.

Well, she told herself, it was possible he’d done the center first.

“Aidan, darling,” she said. “I’ve a bit of a big-boy job I need you to do, or try to do, if you think you’re able.”

“Okay,” he said immediately.

“You know that false aura thing the government wizards put on you? It seems they’re not very good at their jobs, and they’re having a hard time making it stick…”


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63 Responses to “OT: Young Mind Takes Flight”

  1. Hey, everyone… I’ve talked about this before, and now I’m doing it: I’m auctioning a signed copy of the very first copy of book 1 of Tales of MU that was ever printed, ordered as a proof copy from Lulu.com when I first set up the print editions. Details here.

    Current score: 0
  2. drudge says:

    Of course the blocks won’t spill.

    Dragons are far too orderly for such indignities.

    Current score: 1
  3. Prospero says:

    “an’ this one’s called Sky Knight,” he said, holding up an enaction figure of a young man wearing a bulky and [B]improbably[/B] armor and a backpack with wings on the side and funnels on the bottom.”

    Current score: 0
  4. Prospero says:

    heh, HTMfaiL.

    Current score: 0
  5. Zoquara says:

    “You know that false aura thing the government wizards put on you? It seems they’re not very good at their jobs, and they’re having a hard time making it stick…”

    HAHAHHA…. Imagine, gov’t not being very good at their jobs….

    Also:
    “I like forward to reading it,” Dell said.

    I believe ‘like’ should be ‘look’?

    Current score: 1
    • Rey d`Tutto says:

      I thought it was the government’s job to be inefficient. That assumption allows me to predict the methods and materials chosen for any government contract…

      Current score: 0
  6. Lakanna says:

    I’d assume that this is just draconic willpower. He wants the blocks to do something, and so they do. He doesn’t need to search for a block, it’s just there. He doesn’t need to keep the structure upright, it just stands up. If Embries can simply make a statement and his will makes it absolute, solid fact, I’ll bet a quarter-dragon can (at the very least) make a few blocks stand still.

    Current score: 1
  7. Frelance says:

    young man wearing a bulky and improbably armor and

    missing word

    we will need to increase the duration of the examinations from quarterly

    wrong word

    “I like forward to reading it,” Dell said.

    ditto

    Current score: 0
  8. pookiedoodles says:

    don’t know if you have people on the lookout for mistakes but {“I like forward to reading it,” Dell said.} seems like it should be look forward… hope this is a help and not an annoyance!

    Current score: 0
  9. Morten G says:

    Yay! An antimagic hellhound! Now if I could only remember where it showed up last.

    Current score: 1
    • ElectricHarpsichord says:

      “When the boy added a hellhound with an anti-magic shell and immediately one-upped himself with a behemoth that quite improbably fed on anti-magic hellhounds”

      And I’ve got my dinosaur, that eats force-field dogs!

      Current score: 2
      • sanityoptional says:

        It’s off to jail with you, One-eyed Bart!

        Current score: 0
  10. TJ says:

    She’d been suspicious of it from the beginning. As far as *whe* was concerned, the protections put in place by Aidan’s father should be sufficient.

    I guess “whe” should be “she”

    Current score: 0
  11. Mackenzie says:

    I absolutely love the character of the mother. She is such a mother!

    Current score: 0
  12. Spike says:

    “When the boy added a hellhound with an anti-magic shell and immediately one-upped himself with a behemoth that quite improbably fed on anti-magic hellhounds, the man felt he’d had quite enough child-like imagination for one day.”

    +1 for the Toy Story reference…

    “Ya can’t touch me, Sheriff! I brought my Attack Dog, with a built-in force field!
    Well I brought my dinosaur! Who eats force field dogs!”

    Current score: 3
  13. Sally says:

    LOVE the Toy Story 3 reference!!!
    “a hellhound with an anti-magic shell and immediately one-upped himself with a behemoth that quite improbably fed on anti-magic hellhounds”

    Current score: 0
    • sanityoptional says:

      Actually, the scene in toy story 3 was a reference to the original toy story. toy story 3 is practically made out of nostalgia.

      Current score: 0
  14. cnic says:

    I think I actually found a typo:

    “See, and I was perfectly willing to believe that you were telling me where he hadn’t because you though I’m entitled to know what’s happening with my son,” Dell said.

    I think “though” should be “thought”.

    Current score: 0
    • fka_luddite says:

      “think” rather; “thought” would require “I was entitled”.

      Current score: 0
      • Not really. If I think you’re entitled to something, five minutes later what I thought at the time is still that you are entitled.

        Current score: 0
        • beappleby says:

          I’m not sure that’s right.

          I think you are entitled.

          I thought you were entitled.

          Unless you mean the literal phrase: I thought “You are entitled.”

          Current score: 0
  15. Author_Unknown says:

    Good read. Bonus points for the inclusion of Mechknights. Doubly so for making Mack’s most loathed Aidan’s most liked. I could see both of them on the ethernet arguing about the merits of Sky Knight. I have to wonder who would win the argument.

    Current score: 0
    • Nice catch on that. Wouldn’t it be something if they were actually -regularly- facing off on some weavesite or perhaps Aidan being a fan of Mack’s fanfic or something along those lines. A little ‘small world’ stuff.

      Current score: 0
      • beappleby says:

        Keep in mind that Dan (Aidan Sr.) is only a few years older than Mack. Aidan in this story, which I assume is generally concurrent with the latest ToMU arc, seems pretty young to be “facing off” online.

        Current score: 0
        • Fair enough; I’ve seen some very precocious younger folk, and mechknights is a kids show. I’d imagine their version of the net might actually be easier to use too. Even if Aidan isn’t using the weave himself, Dell or Dan could be finding fanfic stories (and checking them for appropriateness first) for him for bedtime stories if he’s a huge mechknights fan.

          Current score: 0
  16. Potatohead says:

    Dell Harris is awesome.

    Current score: 1
    • Emmy says:

      She is! I like her more each time she shows up.

      Also, I sort of feel bad for The Man From The Ministry’s wife and sons now.

      Current score: 0
  17. Zergonapal says:

    I really don’t think draconic will would work on inanimate objects like they do the will of another being.
    After all why would Embries bother to put up detectable wards if he could just exude a sort of null-zone about himself that would prevent anyone from approaching or observing him without his leave?

    Current score: 0
    • Embries is a noble/greater dragon. So the detectable wards are ‘fair warning’ for anyone smart enough or observant enough to notice them. They aren’t a failing, or a note that he’s not as powerful as another dragon whose wards might not be detectable, just his are ‘honorable’ He could well have other non-detectable wards on top of those so long as he gives ‘warning’ he’s within his personal honor requirements.

      Current score: 0
  18. Kaila says:

    I do like Dell.

    Could you imagine her disappointment if Dan was there, so she missed out on a prime opportunity to snark at the agent of the authority that makes their lives difficult?

    You tell em, luv.

    Current score: 0
  19. Lunaroki says:

    Typo Report

    He peered at the boy through it a several times, putting it down to make notes in between.

    Extraneous “a”.

    It was blocks and soldiers from a conventional set of imperial army figurines, the much larger and more detailed enaction figures from what seemed like more than one television programs, and other toys, some of which even seemed to have been intended for girls.

    Should be just “program”, singular.

    The farmer’s daughter was in, and so she was the one who the man from the Ministry of Internal Diplomacy who had to deal with.

    Extra “who” that doesn’t need to be there.

    The ministry agent found it odd and a more than a little discourteous that a man would shirk his responsibilities so..

    Extraneous “a” again. Also, should either be just one period at the end or three.

    “The false aura has… decayed… much more quickly than we would have ordinarily expected, in case such as this.”.

    Should either be “cases” or “a case”.

    Current score: 0
    • fka_luddite says:

      The farmer’s daughter was in, and so she was the one who the man from the Ministry of Internal Diplomacy who had to deal with.

      Extra “who” that doesn’t need to be there.

      Neither “who” is needed, but the first is not inappropriate.

      Current score: 0
  20. Xi'Cree says:

    Man I love Dell. Those last lines were made of gold.

    Current score: 0
  21. 'Nym-o-maniac says:

    I am quickly growing to love the Harrises. Aidan’s clearly a precocious child, Dan’s good-natured but sharp-witted, and Dell- well, she just doesn’t take shit from anyone, does she? In the few stories we’ve seen them in, they’ve all just been fantastic. As others have said, I’m not sure if I want Mack to meet them and see how good a life a half-demon truly can have, or to never meet them and thus avoid dragging them into the various dramas that come with being involved with the main character.

    Current score: 0
  22. Miss Lynx says:

    Not to sound like a broken record, but like everyone else, I love, love, love this family. Dell is awesome and so is Aidan – of course, it doesn’t hurt that he has the same name as my son, so I keep picturing my Aidan when I read about him. I could pretty easily see mine as being part-dragon himself. Or possibly something more overtly mischievous, like a pooka.

    The one thing here that startled me was that the man from the Ministry actually found it weird for a small child to random mixing all kinds of toys together in a bizarre and improbably make-believe game. My initial reaction to that was “Dude, have you ever met a child?” Mine has known to enjoy hearing or creating stories that combine Thomas the Tank Engine, various fairy tale characters (Goldilocks and Little Bear are his favourites*), Lego minifigures of various sorts, Tango from And Tango Makes Three (the oft-banned kids’ book about the baby penguin with two daddies) and Batman.

    * Apparently they got to be friends after that whole home invasion thing blew over. Also, Goldilocks has superpowers.

    Current score: 1
    • fka_luddite says:

      We’re pretty much told he wouldn’t allow such behavior in his children.

      Current score: 0
    • figure the field of government the ministry fellow is in pretty much criminalizes imagination, so why would he allow his children to do something so uncouth eh?

      Current score: 0
    • The Dark Master says:

      Order is something people created once they became self-aware. Seeing as how kids are not self-aware it isn’t all that surprising that they behave in chaotic ways. Its the natural state of things.

      Current score: 0
      • Kevin says:

        I have seen some very self-aware kids (some as young as 3 years old) so I would not say order comes from self-awareness as it does the headache chaos causes in adulthood.

        Current score: 1
  23. Rin says:

    Pure speculation here, but even if the man was introduced as being from the Ministry of Internal Diplomacy, I’m getting a rather Law-ish vibe from him. Law’s purpose of course has already been stated as not so much being about upholding the law as it is about fighting/preventing/counteracting chaos, which certainly would explain why he wouldn’t even allow for a child’s chaotic play.

    Current score: 0
    • bramble says:

      Could be equivalent agencies in the two countries – remember, the Harrises live an ocean away from Mack and her friends.

      Current score: 0
      • Rin says:

        Oh, right! I actually did forget about that.

        Current score: 0
  24. Dante says:

    Love the family, but getting the feeling it’s possible that Aidan Senior/Mackenzie’s father is up to mischief. Supported by pure speculation.

    Current score: 0
  25. Jani says:

    You know, i kinda feel bad for the government dude.
    He’s just trying to do his job and their making it needlesly hard on him.
    Altough, to be fair, i have no idea how things have worked previously, or how his predecessor had acted, or how they treated Aidan, maybe he has a good reason to avoid them, but imo, when it concerns your adopted son, you should atleast try to meet the local MIBs face to face occasionally.
    Let’s face it, half demons and quarter dragons are dangerous (but then again, so is any trained mage/wizard, again something i’d think governments would keep a close eye on), so it would seem to me to be the first sensible thing for any stable government to keep an eye on them.
    But, again, that’s from my limited perspective i get from this story, wich might not be enough for a full understanding of the situation.

    Current score: 0
    • drudge says:

      I think the part she’s giving him a hard time for isn’t keeping tabs in itself(not entirely anyway), so much as they never pay any attention to the human in the picture.

      Current score: 0
      • I am pretty sure that is at least part of it, along with a dash of them treating her as less important because she is a woman and Dell gets prickly about it because she isn’t ‘just’ anything.

        She’s a mother in everything but incubation and blood to the boy but they seem to treat her like a second class citizen which must rankle a human. Especially one who while the rank of her family wasn’t high, was above peasantry; while she isn’t the sort to not get down and get dirty doing the work herself, expects and generally receives more respect than she is being given by the representatives of the empire.

        Current score: 0
        • drudge says:

          I dunno, I’d probably treat Dell as less important in their situation too, if only because:

          A. she’s the only one that couldn’t shoot magical fireballs at me if she gets pissed off.

          and

          B. If her birth father gets involved, we can only expect a few relatively minor legal issues at worst, as opposed to a universe hopping immortal who again, can shoot magical fireballs if pissed off.

          Current score: 0
      • beappleby says:

        I figured it was just because she was a woman, didn’t consider it might be because she’s only human.

        Current score: 0
    • hoppy says:

      If you can’t stand the MIB’s guts and have trouble not being adversarial with them some times avoidance is the best policy, better to avoid them than make a enemy which comes back to haunt you.

      Current score: 0
    • 'Nym-o-maniac says:

      The impression I got is that Dan is avoiding them so they can’t ignore Dell in favor of him. He seems like the type, anyways.

      Current score: 0
  26. p says:

    Is Sky Knights motto “To Infinity… and Beyond!” ?

    Current score: 1
  27. Zathras IX says:

    A love of all things
    Mechanical and kewl runs
    In this family

    Current score: 0
  28. Sephra says:

    I’m starting to get confused with all these Aidans/Dans. Who is the kid, is this Mackenzie’s brother’s adopted dad? How many Aidan/Dans are there, two or three? Or is the adopted dad of this story her brother? So confused!

    Current score: 0
    • The dad in this is Dan, Mack’s brother. Aidan is the 1/4 dragon Dan and Dell adopted.

      Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      There are two Aidans. Mackenzie’s older brother Aidan goes by the name “Dan”. He married Dell and they later adopted a part-dragon boy whom they named “Aidan”. Dan is Aidan’s “dad”, the half-dragon from the previous story is Aidan’s “father”. (Quotes to show that is how the characters have referred to them.)

      Current score: 0
  29. dagnammit says:

    Its been a long while since i’ve commented, but this has to be one of my fav’s. I’m not smart enough to know why, but the interaction of the characters and honesty between mother and son at the end had me. A little bit like having me at “hello”)

    Superb!

    Current score: 0
  30. alexander says:

    He plays with his toys like I used to. Mega blocks and legos and technics intermixed with gijoe and barbies and tiny dolls and transformers and random figures.

    Current score: 0
  31. […] “They say the aura is fading,” Dell said. “They don’t know what it means, or what to do about it.” […]

    Current score: 0
  32. carson says:

    Rereading this shortly after having several meetings with my daughter’s school regarding her IEP was illuminating.

    Current score: 2