Harry glanced up from his spellbook to look at Hermione when he heard the coins stop clinking against coins, “Have you finished counting yet?”
Hermione upended the enchanted bag that Willow had given her to try to get the last couple of coins out, another five coins fell out. “I think that’s the last of them.”
“How did we do?”
Violet smirked as she looked around at the mostly empty tower floor. They had set up some beds and a bathroom but hadn’t gotten around to fully customizing things beyond that. “You mean other than owning the top three floors of our tower?” She would have considered that a fair trade for the work they had already done though the coin was a nice extra.
Hermione turned to look at Harry, “I’m a fan of the condo, they paid us back in full plus twenty percent on the initial investment. They also tossed in two hundred gold each for services rendered.”
Harry grinned, “I’ll consider that a win.”
“Same here. The best part is that Bodewhin said that she would create a pocket world for us if we wanted one. It would give us a chance to raise magical creatures if we wanted to, either that or use it for food.”
Violet said, “We should probably bring up the idea of going back to our old world and grabbing some supplies. There are a couple of magical creatures and plants that I wouldn’t mind having. A pocket world gives us the ability to make sure the stuff doesn’t spread.”
Harry smiled, “That’s actually a good idea.”
Hermione said, “I’ll bring it up at the meeting today.”
Harry glanced around the massive empty floor. He wasn’t sure what they were going to do with all of the space. The tower was two hundred feet by two hundred which meant that there was a lot of space on each level. Especially when you considered that each level was twenty feet high. They were considering splitting at least part of the floors into two levels so that they could use the space more efficiently. “I wouldn’t mind picking up some books on basic house remodeling.”
Hermione smiled, “That could be fun. I wouldn’t mind picking up a couple more books on charming objects.”
Violet chuckled, “Any excuse to pick up more books.”
“Now that we have a place to store it I want a library.”
Harry had a feeling that they were going to have to put in a rather large library.
Buffy looked at Xander with a pleading look, “Do you think you can design the city?”
Xander shook his head, “I could muddle my way through it but building whole cities isn’t my area of expertise.” He looked at Rand, “How good of a city planner was Lews Therin?”
Rand shrugged, “He was an artist, a musician, an author, a scientist and a couple of other things but he wasn’t a city planner.”
“Rats.” Buffy looked over at Hermione, “Any ideas?”
Hermione looked over the people gathered in the building they were using as a planning center. “I think we should recruit some outside talent.”
Buffy frowned, “Like who?”
“Like some people that design cities for a living. My world has people that know about magic, it’s possible that there might be someone that knows about city building and magic.”
Xander chuckled, “And if we’re really lucky we’ll be able to find someone that knows about using magic to create buildings and is also good at city planning.”
Buffy said, “It would also give us a chance to stock up on various science books that we didn’t grab in our rush to get here.” They had mostly taken laptops and electronic libraries because they were easier to bring with them.
Rand smiled slightly, “Would it be possible to visit?”
Hermione glanced at Rand then at Willow, “What do you think?”
Willow shrugged, “If we can get the portal to work I don’t see why not. We could make a fieldtrip out of it. I wouldn’t mind showing the girls some art museums or libraries.”
Rand smiled, “I think they’d like that.”
Buffy was looking forward to eating out at a restaurant that served some other types of food. The food was great at the inn but the variety wasn’t all that great. “I’m all for enjoying civilization for a bit.”
Willow smiled slightly, “I’ll gather the materials I need then we can start. It shouldn’t take more than an hour.”
Xander smirked, “In that case we should collect everyone that wants to go.”
For perhaps the first time since Egwene was brought back she was happy that she was in the body of a child. It didn’t look quite so ridiculous that she was clutching Harry’s hand while looking around at all of the strange buildings and people with wide eyed wonder. The horseless carriages speeding along were strange but different enough that it was just something that she had to accept. The clothing was perhaps more shocking because it was almost but not quite right in some cases and horribly off in others. A lot of the girls were wearing the bottom half of a short dress then a shirt like a man might wear only with the sleeves cut off. Most of the rest were wearing outfits that Min would appreciate while a couple were wearing strips of cloth that would scandalize a Domani. She glanced over at Min, “How are you doing?”
Min smiled slightly, “It’s a bit strange to see so many different people all mixed together.”
Harry chuckled slightly, “You’ll get used to it.” The people looked rather normal to him.
Rand looked around at the buildings and the people. “It reminds me a little bit of the Age of Legends.”
Mat smiled as he watched a cute girl walk by in what amounted to less than a foot of cloth. “I could get to like this place.”
Egwene stared at an almost naked teenaged girl as the girl walked past talking to some small black box that she was holding up to her face, “Is that normal?”
Aviendha was finding it hard to tell who was a threat and who wasn’t. They were dressed strangely and none of them seemed armed with any weapons but maybe she just wasn’t looking hard enough. It was strange that so many people could gather and have no need of weapons.
Hermione smiled as she watched the girl’s cute behind, “It’s fairly normal for this part of the world in the summer.”
Willow grinned, “Eye candy.”
Eldrin looked over at Bodewhin, “We can’t take her anywhere.”
Bodewhin giggled, “Mom would kill us if we dressed up like that.”
Eldrin shook her head, “No, but our bottoms would be plenty red.”
Willow reached down and ruffled Bodewhin’s hair, “Maybe when you’re back to being a teenager we‘ll have to see.”
Buffy glanced at Harry and whispered, “So, which way to the wizarding world?”
Harry shrugged, “I’m not sure actually. We never actually made it this far in our trip.”
Hermione said, “According to the guidebook the entrance should be on the next street over.”
Harry gestured, “Lead the way.” They had decided to start with a magical location for their shopping needs as they had no problems taking gold or silver coins and rarely if ever asked questions about clothing choices. The group followed Hermione down the street and through an out of the way ivy covered archway.
Rand could feel the magic in the air as he walked under the arch and through a garden hedge that opened up into a busy market place. “Where do we start?”
Harry made sure that he was still holding Egwene’s hand, “I think we should hit a place that sells ice cream first then we can look for plant seeds, potions ingredients and books.”
Eldrin smiled, “Ice cream sounds good.”
Willow snickered, “If I didn’t know better I would assume you really were seven. I should never have conjured some ice cream for you.” She smiled at her to show that she was joking.
Eldrin stuck her tongue out at Willow.
Hermione chuckled as she led the group through the maze of the market. It was almost enough to make her miss Diagon Alley. Still, Florida had much nicer weather and there was less chance of being harassed by ministry flunkies. Kill a couple of dark wizards that were prominent members of the so called ‘elite’ and governments got really bent out of shape. Even though they had won against Voldemort they had still lost.
Elayne sighed, “It makes me wish I was going with them.”
Leah shook her head, “Maybe when the twins are a little older.”
“I know, it just feels like they’re having this grand adventure without me.”
“They probably are.” Leah smirked.
“That’s not helping.” Elayne sighed.
“It’s not the first adventure they’ve been through without you and it won’t be the last.”
“It‘s just weird knowing that coming back in time stole my children‘s birthright.” A part of her still thought of herself as the queen of Andor even though her mother was still the queen at this point.
Leah glanced at the large crib in the corner of the workroom, “You’re looking at it backwards, coming back in time freed them of the responsibility of running a broken and divided country or of knowing that their mother could live for a thousand years while they waited bitterly for the throne. If things work out your mother will enjoy a long fruitful rule. Hopefully Andor will prosper and your alternate will find someone that makes her half as happy as Rand makes you. Maybe you don’t get to be queen but you get to live for centuries possibly thousands of years if you want, that’s something. With your talents your family will never starve. That’s more than most people have in this world or any other.”
Elayne glanced at the crib that held her children, “I guess you have a point but it still hurts.”
Leah chuckled, “You’ll get over it.”
“I should get back to work on figuring out the rest of the paralis-net.”
“Actually can you look at making some of the daggers that make you invisible to shadowspawn?”
“What are you planning?” Elayne was curious where Leah was going with her idea.
“I’m not planning anything yet but eventually we’re going to want to go on raids to the blight. Having shadowspawn not be able to see us would help with that.”
“I’ll fit it in.”
“Thanks. I should probably go check on how the girls are doing.”
Dawn asked, “You wanted to talk to me?”
Cadsuane looked away from the Emond’s field chora tree and back to Dawn, “Moiraine mentioned that you’re hiring teachers.”
Dawn smiled slightly, “We are. We don’t have enough qualified teachers right now. We’ve got a couple of dozen battle trained channelers, Moiraine, Verin and a couple of others that are able to teach a variety of different fields but that isn’t really enough to teach the vast group that we’re trying to train. We’re willing to pay in gold or magical items if you‘ll agree to help teach.”
Dawn nodded, “We can either have the girls turn something you want into a seed and have it empowered or you can empower it yourself for that personal touch. We could also give you one of the ones we already have.”
“What do you consider fair price?”
“At this point we’re willing to offer you several things, the chance at a longer life, a seed for every week that you teach if you want and a ter’angreal for every month that you teach.”
Cadsuane raised an eyebrow, “A chance at a longer life?”
“The oath rod drastically reduces a person’s lifespan. We have one. If you remove the oaths you have sworn and wait several weeks you should grow younger. You would likely have another five or six centuries ahead of you if you didn‘t swear the oaths again. If you did swear the oaths again then you would likely still have a few more centuries ahead of you.”
Cadsuane frowned, “That would explain why the Aes Sedai of old were said to live longer. Do you have proof?” The oaths had never really made much sense to her, most people knew that Aes Sedai could spin truth on it’s head and for the most part they were right. She might not be able to blatantly lie but there were enough ways to get around that oath as to make it practically worthless if a person wanted it to be. The oath against using the Power as a weapon except against darkfriends and shadowspawn was questionable at best being that you could make walls of air to trap someone while your warder caught up then cut off them down. To most sisters the idea that that was a weapon wouldn’t occur to them and thus not be prevented. The last oath against making weapons was a bit suspect in that you could very likely create a weapon for someone if you were convinced that they were going to use it to only kill shadowspawn.
“I’ve heard of various groups of channelers that live longer than Aes Sedai, Elayne has ran into some of them.”
“In that case, would you agree to an angreal upfront, a seed for every week, a ter’angreal every month and one of my choosing every six months within reason and ability?”
Dawn smiled slightly, “I’ll agree to give you access to the oath rod upfront and the angreal up front but we can reclaim the angreal if you don’t work at least six months.”
“I can agree to that. I think you’ll like working for us.” Dawn gestured toward the building where they kept the angreal. “Let’s get you an angreal and then I’ll show you to the towers.”
Dawn smirked, “You’ll see.”
Egwene stared at the shelves filled with books, “There must be thousands of books here.”
Harry smirked, “You should see the muggle library or perhaps not, we might never get you out of it.”
Willow grinned as she picked up a yellow and black book, “Enchanting Household Appliances for Dummies.”
“Add it to the cart.” Harry was grabbing a copy of any of the books that looked at least halfway interesting that they didn‘t have which was just about everything. Just looking at the titles he knew that a lot of the stuff wouldn’t be sold in Britain. The book ‘One Hundred and One Illegal Spells From Around the World’ wouldn’t have seen the shelf over in Britain because of the ministry‘s death grip on the various Diagon Alley businesses. Apparently American wizards had no real issues with printing books where the stuff in them was illegal to use in other countries and possibly even their own country. He was particularly amused by the section of the store that sold books on CD. He couldn’t see the English Ministry allowing that either. He looked through the list and found that they were all copies of old books that had been scanned so that they could publish the old books that weren’t worth reprinting but might have some interesting stuff in them. He grabbed a copy of every CD title that the store was selling.
Egwene frowned, “It makes me wish that I had a way to record weaves this easily.”
Willow chuckled, “Xander had a warped idea that might actually work fairly well for recording weaves.”
“Jedi holocrons are items from a story in my world.”
Harry looked over at Willow, “We should have a movie night.”
Willow chuckled, “That sounds fun. Anyways the holocrons are basically a storage device that records memories and has an intelligent interface that can teach you what is stored inside.”
Harry stopped as he realized something, “If we can find a book on enchanting pensieves then I bet Hermione could probably come up with something. If nothing else you can use my pensieve to collect memories of various weaves and use it to view them later.”
Willow glanced toward where Eldrin and Bodewhin were looking through a book and giggling. “We should probably pick up more of those if we can find them.”
“They’re generally speaking rare and valuable but we can look and see what we can find at the magical instruments store down the way.”
“Sounds good, I should go make sure the girls aren’t getting into mischief.”
Egwene snorted, “There is probably as much change of them staying out of mischief as there is in getting Hermione out of here within an hour.”
Harry sniggled, “I doubt the girls are that bad.”
Aviendha watched the various people walking past. “I think your world might be even stranger than the Wetlands.”
Hermione chuckled as she watched a boy on rollerblades skate past, “It takes a bit of getting used to I guess.”
Rand looked around the plaza, “From what Harry said, I would have expected more cloaks and robes.”
“It’s a lot warmer in Florida than Britain.”
Mat stopped working on his second ice cream cone long enough to reply, “It’s almost as bad as an Ebou Dar summer.”
Bodewhin was glad that she wasn’t in a thick wool dress as she would have probably fallen over from the heat hours ago. “Do you think we can bring back an ice cream maker?”
Hermione tapped the side of the crate she had packed the shrunk books in. “I picked up a couple of books on creating ice cream using non magical methods and magical.”
Eldrin frowned, “It seems strange that people would hide magic away.”
“One of the many reasons that I would rather be in your world. Still, I wouldn’t mind having a permanent door here so that we could visit occasionally.”
Rand smiled slightly, “A little taste of home.”
“Exactly.” None of them were sure how hard it would be to set up a permanent gate. The portal to get here hadn’t been that hard according to Willow so maybe a permanent gate would be possible and maybe it wouldn’t. They would have to wait and see what Elayne and Willow could come up with.
Eldrin looked toward the building that Willow and Harry had went into. “How long do you think it will take for them to find someone willing to help?”
Hermione frowned, “I’m not sure. We got the name of this place from the assistant at the bookstore. Even if we can’t find someone that can help us here, they probably know where to go.”
She yawned, “Good because as interesting as the trip has been so far I’m getting tired.”
Hermione smiled as she saw Harry, Egwene and Willow walk out of the building with a goblin that was carrying a briefcase. “It looks like they’re done.”
Mat frowned as the group got a bit closer and he noticed that the midget with them didn‘t look quite human, “The guy with them doesn’t look quite human.”
“That’s because he’s a goblin. They’re wicked good at building things, especially underground structures.”
Mat ate the last of his ice cream cone then asked, “Are they evil?”
“Slightly greedy and not human but most of them aren’t actually evil.” Hermione would never have contracted a goblin to help with the city if they were going to remain in her world as goblins for the most part believed that anything they created belonged to the creator and was only leased to the person that ‘bought’ it. She smiled at Willow as they walked up, “Any luck?”
“Yes, Mister Ginkilter has agreed to help us design a city.”
“Excellent, glad to have you aboard.”
The goblin’s smile showed his pointed teeth. “I am always happy to make gold.”
Mat covered his unease with the creature’s smile by asking, “Do you play cards?”
Egwene laughed, “We’re trying for good relations.”
Mat sighed, “In that case never mind.”
The goblin nodded, “In fact I do play cards. Maybe after we have seen the site where I’ll be working we can play a couple of hands.”
Egwene shook her head, “We should probably head to the towers first to show him some of the special materials then take him to the building site.”
The goblin smiled, “Special materials?”
Egwene nodded, “Glass that is strong enough that you can’t even mark it with a chisel and a hammer. Metal that doesn’t break no matter what you do to it.”
“Glass, iron and some spellwork.”
The goblin grinned widely enough to unnerve some of the people watching him, “Please show me.”
Willow reached out with her magic and teleported their group and supplies to the center platform in the middle of the towers.”
The goblin looked around, “Most impressive. I‘ll have some more questions later but for now take me to the site so that I can measure things.”
Willow smiled, “Sure.” She looked over the group, “Anyone staying here?”
Hermione glanced at the crate of books then at the sky, “If you can teleport this up to my floor we can get started.”
Willow teleported the books up to the Potter family’s floor. “Done.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever quite get used to that.” It was times like this that Rand missed the ability to open gateways. He might have to work on figuring out how to do that with his strange new abilities.
Willow reached out and teleported the crew north to the crater so that the goblin could start the survey work.
Cadsuane felt a bit unnerved as the flying ‘carpet’ they were on rose into the air high enough that she could see the five huge glass towers in the distance. “How long did those take to build?”
“A couple of weeks.” Dawn smirked as she urged the carpet to fly faster.
Thom stared at the towers, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like them.”
Moiraine raised her voice to be heard over the wind, “They’re well worth a tour.”
Cadsuane stared at the massive ring that went around the five towers as well as the complicated system of what looked like enclosed bridges stretching between the tower. “I would imagine so.”
Dawn stopped the carpet to give them a nice view of the lake and the towers. “Do you want a tour of the tower before we head to the pocket world?”
Finding out that they had access to a pocket world had come as a shock. Learning from Moiraine that one of the girls had created it had come as a larger shock. It made her wonder just how stagnant the tower was with their customs and requirements if a couple of wilders could come up with stuff that the tower hadn‘t heard of being done since the Age of Legends. “Can you fly over the ring bridge?”
“I can do that.” Dawn mentally urged the carpet to fly up so that Cadsuane could look at the bridge.
“It’s remarkably clear glass.”
“The Power-wrought glass is supported by a heartstone frame. Even if you destroy part of the tower the rest isn’t coming down.”
“We might as well go meet the girls.”
Dawn flew the carpet down to the center plaza where the arch to the pocket world was. “The pocket world is through the arch.”
Thom smiled as the carpet came to a rest. “Solid ground.”
Dawn chuckled, “Mostly, it’s a massive Power-wrought glass sheet over the second set of glass walkways. It’s a bit more stable than my flying carpet though.”
Moiraine smiled at Dawn, “Thank you for the lift.”
“You’re welcome. Right through the arch and the first tree on your right.”
“Thank you for the lift.” Cadsuane walked through the arch and found herself in another world. The first thing she noticed was the contented pleasant feeling of calm then the scent of mint. There was even a pleasant breeze. She turned around and noticed the large mist wall behind the gate. “Strange…” She watched as a tall blue and red haired girl wearing a white silk dress stepped out of the mist. “Where does that lead?”
Aurana smiled, “If you step into a mist wall you step out on the opposite side of the pocket world.”
“How did you know I was here?”
“The arch is warded so that a couple of us know when someone enters so that we can show them around.” She watched as Moiraine and Thom stepped out of the arch. “If you’ll follow me I’ll show you to the training area. Verin Sedai should be somewhere in the training yard if she’s not then she’s dealing with the vipers and she’ll be back shortly. She can show you to your quarters.” She turned and headed off down the path to the right.
Thom was hoping that he could find at least a few girls that could sing or play well enough to justify teaching. Thom followed the tall girl.
Moiraine was going to have to have another long chat with Verin about things. She followed the girl along the path. “Where do the other paths go?”
“To the other sections. The boys have a section. The purple eyed have a section as do the Ayyad that were rescued. Then there is a section for the vipers. If you see one of them out of their section without an escort you’ll want to shield them as they aren‘t supposed to be able to leave their area without an escort.” She spit on the dirt next to the path.
Cadsuane could almost feel the anger coming off of the girl when she mentioned the vipers. She wondered who they were to generate such disgust. “How do we know what they look like?”
“They have a snake tattooed on their face. Don‘t worry you shouldn’t see any of them in either of the training areas.”
Cadsuane frowned, “Is there any place that we’re not permitted to go?”
“Any private dwelling in the Ayyad section is off limits without permission. We ask that you also have a very good reason to search any of the trainees’ rooms.”
“And the purple eyed?”
“Complicated, they did something extremely stupid because of their religion and have been given one more chance to atone for their crimes.” She gestured toward the chora tree where a dozen girls were sitting listening to Verin give a lecture. “There you go. I need to go before I’m late.” She ran off down the path so she could get to her next lesson.
Cadsuane frowned, “I guess we need to talk to Verin.” She continued toward the tree.
Verin spotted Moiraine and Cadsuane coming toward her. “That concludes today’s lesson on the nature of the five elements that you’ll be using to create your weaves. After lunch we’ll do some practical training. Now off you go I have some old friends to talk to.” She clapped her hands and the girls headed off. She turned to look at Moiraine and Cadsuane, “Welcome to the madhouse.”
“Would you please explain the various groups. The girl was less than forthcoming.”
“We’re still trying to sand Blackberry’s ruff edges off. As for the groups, we have several different groups that we’re dealing with. The Ayyad are trained channelers so we don‘t have to train them which is good. We’re working on a cross cultural training program for later but right now we’re more concerned with getting the recruits trained. The recruits were recruited from all over the known countries there are about a thousand of them.”
Cadsuane coughed, “A thousand?”
“Our testing methods are rather more effective than the tower’s. The basic goal with them is to teach them enough that they won’t kill themselves. Then we’re going to look at the girls’ personalities and see where they want to go. We’ll likely be sending some of them to the tower to complete their training, some of them we’ll be keeping for further training here, some of them we’ll be sending home to care for their communities after some more training and some of them we’ll be training for various jobs for the country we’re putting together.”
“I wouldn’t expect you to send any of them to the tower.”
“It would be naïve to expect everyone to fit here. If we think a girl would do better in the tower then we’ll send her along.” She didn’t expect all that many girls to head to the tower but she suspected that some would.
“And the purple eyed girls?”
“The purple eyed are criminals that need enough training so that they don’t die. If we can convince them not to kill themselves at the end of their two year prison term then great if not then we let them die as long as they aren’t pregnant and move on.”
“And the vipers?”
Verin sighed, “You would be happier not knowing.”
“Just tell me.”
“The vipers are Black Ajah members that we’ve bound with the oath rod so that we can get some use out of them before they die.”
Cadsuane frowned, “How many?”
“A hundred and sixty of the two hundred and twenty that we know about.”
“That’s insane.” She had long suspected that there were darkfriends in the Aes Sedai but she hadn’t thought it was that many.
“They’re broken up into two groups. One group is willing to have children and the other group isn’t. While we aren’t going to force them to have children, the ones that are willing get various perks such as not being used for ter’angreal testing. While we haven’t managed to kill any of the less helpful group by testing things, we’ve given a couple of them nasty headaches and horrible nightmares. We use both groups to power the creation of angreals.”
Cadsuane snorted, “That’s a better use than they deserve.”
Verin shrugged, “It seemed pointless to let the talent go to waste. Another thing of note, you‘ll probably see a number of boys walking around some of the common areas, try not to scare the tar out of them if they‘re in their section. If they‘re over here then feel free to glare at them if they don‘t have an escort or a bracelet as they‘re not supposed to be over here.”
Cadsuane sighed, “What are you going to do when they get some of the girls pregnant?”
“Document their talents and keep records. I’d prefer that none of the girls get pregnant until they learn to control their ability to channel, after that we’re set up to take care of children. Eventually once we teach more teachers than we’ll be encouraging the smart and strong girls to breed with the smart and strong guys and we’ll see if it helps improve the strength of the next generation. We’ve got reliable evidence from several sources that the ability to channel runs in families. We’re planning to use that to increase our numbers.”
Cadsuane wasn’t sure if this was going to blow up in their faces but figured that if or when it did, it would net the tower a sizable collection of girls that could channel.
Mr. Ginkilter couldn’t remember the last time he had had as much fun as he was having revising his city plans. After finding out that the group had more than a couple nonstandard spells at their disposal and access to a pocket world where time ran faster he had decided to go back to the drawing board. The current plan was to build a center column up with lava and rock. Then they were going to carve that into chambers for vault storage and other such important things. They were going to build a glass city on top complete with heated waterslides and glowing fountains. The palace would truly be fit for a king. Four nearly indestructible glass bridges would span the crater they were filling with water to connect the city to the outside world. Lightning towers would guard each entrance to make sure the city could never be taken. Sewage would be piped into several large holding chambers to be dealt with by a combination of goblin ingenuity and magic. The methane from those would heat the water for the slides. It would be glorious, a true testament to his genius. He was just glad that he didn’t have to cater to some ministry of magic’s worry about muggles. If he could recruit a decent number of the magic users in the pocket world to partially assemble the bits and pieces for later assembly then he suspected that they could be done in a month or two at the most which was about two to four years on the inside. He would probably have to teach a couple of classes on architecture so that his assistants would understand his genius but he didn’t mind all that much as it just increased the amount he was paid. It was going to be a glorious project. He cackled as he went back to working on his design for the city.
It hadn’t taken Xander long to realize that Ginkilter was a bit manic once he had a project. The design was coming together even if the goblin was a bit off his rocker. The buildings were all designed so that Hagrid or an ogier could feel comfortable in them. The goblin liked to sketch in the basics then come back later to fill in the specifics. “Not to destroy your carefully constructed plan but we’re going to need a sky rail line to the next city.”
Ginkilter pointed toward the section of the city opposite where they were going to have the park. “I already have it marked down.” He ran his finger over the line that left the map in both directions. “Not a problem especially with a heartstone framework for a track. You have any idea how much the goblin nation would pay for that secret?”
Xander chuckled, “A lot. Sadly it’s not something a goblin or most wizards could learn.”
“Probably for the best.” He went back to planning out where to put things.
Xander took a last look at the city then headed off to meet up with Dawn for their lunch. He figured the goblin would be a lot further in the couple of days it took him to get back.
Illyria frowned, “I’m unsure about this plan of yours.”
Dawn smirked, “Just think of how much more of a challenge Spike would be.”
Illyria smiled at Spike, “I do like beating up the half blood.”
Spike felt a little unnerved as Illyria looked at him with her creepy smile, “Bloody hell. There has to be another way.”
Willow shook her head, “We could possibly find a way to turn you human again but that would result in you being human. I could stuff your soul into a transfigured body and you might keep some of your demonic gifts but you’d likely turn into a plant if you went back to our world.”
Illyria looked at Dawn, “You will have to train so that you can spar as well. No child of mine will be defenseless.”
Dawn was tired of having to hide in a fight so she didn‘t see the problem with that, “Nothing would please me more.”
Illyria looked at Willow, “If you can do the ritual then I’ll play host to Dawn‘s new body as long as you make it so I have twins.” She was still a bit sad about not having a child when her once in a thousand year cycle came up. She was planning to name the child Fred if it was a girl and Wesley if it was a boy.
Buffy held her tongue. As much as she didn’t like the idea they didn’t really have much choice if they ever wanted Dawn to be able to visit their home world. She was slightly glad that Willow had came right out and said that slayers weren’t tough enough to birth the Key’s new body before she had had to offer to play mother to her sister for real. Being that the Key was Dawn’s soul they needed something godlike to contain it. Illyria was likely their only chance at finding someone that could withstand the power of the Key in order to birth Dawn‘s new body. “If you’re sure about this?”
Dawn looked at Willow, “I trust Willow to make this work.”
Willow smiled, “No pressure.”
Spike sighed, “I still don’t know…”
Buffy sighed, “Xander is going to freak that you’ll be family and you’ll be able to toss Angel through a wall the next time you see him.”
Spike smirked, “Sold.”
“So how do we do this?”
“We find a girl and Illyria changes into a guy and I use a fair bit of magic to put Spike’s soul in the resulting spawn.”
Buffy gulped, “I probably shouldn’t have asked.”
Willow chuckled, “Then we turn around and have Illyria return to normal and I use magic to knock her up with Dawn and send Dawn into her. Then in however long Dawn will be born with a brother or a sister…”
Buffy would have loved it if there was another way to stabilize Dawn but this seemed like the best way to do it and make sure she stayed safe. Illyria was extremely durable after all. “Let’s do this before we come to our senses.”
Illyria looked at Spike, “Let’s go pick out your mother.” She headed off toward the section of the world where the purple eyed girls were.
Spike followed along.
Willow snickered as she followed Spike and Illyria.
Dawn chuckled slightly, “It’s going to be weird having Spike for a half brother, you and he aren’t… are you?”
Buffy shook her head, “No… I don’t think so… Satsu would probably object.”
“You’re back with Satsu?”
“I’m not sure that back is the correct phrase but she decided that since we’re both here that we could have some fun.”
“And I think that’s borderline too much information for me.”
Buffy stuck her tongue out at Dawn.
Bodewhin giggled as Willow flopped onto the other bed in the room, “You look worn out.”
“Yeah, godlike eidetic memory sucks sometimes.” She would have rather watched Illyria and the purple haired girl have sex rather than Illyria as a blue haired Spike and the purple haired girl. Still she had managed to complete the ritual and dust Spike so that she could stick his soul into the new him that would pop out in nine months. The nice part about tonight was that she had gotten to watch Illyria and Dawn go at it as part of the ‘ritual’ that would create Dawn’s new body.
Bodewhin stuck her tongue out at Willow, “You know we can feel your emotions right? They were all over the place earlier.”
Willow blushed slightly, “Sorry about that.”
Bodewhin giggled, “I’m stuck in a child’s body again, I’ve got to live vicariously for a while.”
“You’re still sort of young.”
“My hair was braided and I was eighteen before I got turned into a child.”
“I guess if you want to see then I’ll show you.”
Bodewhin was curious, “Sure.”
Willow opened the bond more so that Bodewhin could look a the two memories from earlier if she wanted. “Take a look if you want.”
Bodewhin giggled as she watched the blue haired Spike and the purple haired girl, “I’m not sure what you’re complaining about. Spike isn’t bad looking and the girl is cute.”
Willow chuckled softly, “It’s Spike, only it’s not.”
Bodewhin was able to pick up the context from the link, “He’s still good looking.” She finished watching that then watched the memory of Dawn and Illyria, “Do you think we could talk Dawn into having a three-way?”
Willow laughed softly, “I think our bond warped you.”
“Probably, I mean I don’t remember thinking that Eldrin was cute quite the same way before you bonded me but it doesn’t really bother me… so yeah I’m going to assume that the bond warped us.”
Bodewhin projected a naked image of the seventeen year old version of Eldrin swimming in a pond. “Yep.”
Willow agreed that Eldrin had curves in the right places. She wasn’t fat or even really heavy she just had a nice behind and breasts. “I’ll agree, she’s cute.”
“Do you think you could make sure we grow a couple of inches taller like you did for Egwene?”
“I can do that.”
“Good. Sleep well.” She tossed her an image of herself and Eldrin naked and kissing then closed the connection. “Sleep well.”
Willow groaned, “You’re evil.”
Bodewhin giggled, “If I’m so evil come over here and spank me.”
“Good night Bode.” She wondered if the others had noticed their bonds doing strange things.
Eldrin tried to ignore the feelings she was getting from the bond with Willow as she worked on her footwork.
Mat said, “Move your left foot back half a couple of inches so that you’re more centered.”
Eldrin moved her foot back a touch, “Is that better?”
“Yes. Now work on the strikes until they’re second nature.”
Eldrin practiced swinging her staff like he had showed her earlier. “So do you have a plan?”
Mat looked over the group of trainees he was training to fight. They had decided that everyone needed at least some basic training in how to fight just in case they were in a situation where they couldn’t channel for one reason or another. “I plan to teach them how to use a staff then we’ll work on using a sword. If any of them show promise with a sword I’ll hand them over to Lan or Rand for extra training.” He moved over to adjust a couple of people’s stances.
Eldrin wasn’t sure how far she was going to get but she liked spending time with her brother even if he did make her work. She was using a cut down staff but at least she was getting some practice in. She was looking forward to seeing what this place would be like in a couple of years once they worked the glitches out of it. They were still having some issues with the various trainees getting along. They had broken up a couple of fights between several boys from Tear and Illian already. Luckily Lan’s idea of working them nearly to the point of collapse for several days straight had solved the problem as they were far more interested in behaving after that.
Moiraine smiled slightly as she stepped up to Lan, “How is she doing?”
Lan whispered so that his words didn‘t carry to where Nynaeve was teaching a group of novices. “She’s enjoying being able to relax and teach.”
“It’s good for her.” She knew that teaching was one of the best ways to practice your skills and get better.
“How is your group working out?”
Moiraine looked down at the bracelet on her hand with the golden circle on it which signified that she had the lead bracelet. “Three purple eyes, an Ayyad girl and an Ayyad boy. It’s strange having a male in the group.” Elayne’s latest version of the bracelets allowed men to join as long as the leader was a girl and as long as there were more girls than guys. If the conditions weren’t met the bracelets didn’t work which was a pleasant change from the a’dams which killed male channelers that put them on.
“What’s he like?”
“He’s very eager to please. In a lot of ways he acts more like a pet than a human. In other ways he’s very intelligent if ignorant of a lot of things. He draws on the link to practice saidar for my lessons and we draw on his ability when we practice with saidin.”
He smiled slightly, “How does it feel to be a student again?”
“It’s a weird experience.” In a lot of ways it felt like being an accepted in charge of novices again. She was in charge of making sure that her group was learning but she was also a student again following directions from the Asha’man in charge of teaching her group the basics of saidin. No one was expected to master both sides but they had decided that having a working knowledge of both sides of the source was a good thing.
Lan asked, “How is Thom adjusting?”
“He’s having fun teaching some of the girls to sing and or play instruments.”
“When she’s not teaching, she’s working on browbeating the purple eyed into finding reasons to live. She’s also been grilling the vipers for information about various plots and plans. We have another twenty that agreed to have children if it means that they’re safe from her.”
Lan snorted, “I’m still not convinced that it’s a good idea to have the Black Ajah members spawn but we’ll see.”
“Everyone has bad apples in their families. Maybe the children will turn out better than their mothers.”
“We can hope.”
Aviendha looked around the dream world‘s version of Emond‘s Field, some of the changes were still recent enough that they flickered between what was and what had been. “How sure are you that she’ll come?”
Egwene hide her smirk as she could already feel their guest where she was hiding, “Willow said that she sent her soul back through time. I tapped her dream and sent a location.”
“Then I guess we wait...” Aviendha jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Her dress turned back into the outfit she used to wear as a maiden of the spear.
Amys smiled slightly from where she was standing near the Chora tree. “Have you been sneaking around someplace you shouldn’t be? You seem jumpy.”
Aviendha laughed as she forced her dress back to her yellow silk dress that she was wearing in the waking world. “It is good to see you again.”
“Thank you.” Amys stared at Egwene, “It is good to see you again Egwene al‘Vere. How come Aviendha is as I remember her but we‘re not?”
Egwene sighed, “It is good to see you as well. As to your question, Aviendha was brought into this world physically while our spirits were sent back.”
Amys looked away from the two girls and over to the chora tree, “Where did you find a sapling?”
“It’s actually a sapling from Avendoraldera or at least a sapling from an Avendoraldera.”
Amys frowned, “That was destroyed by the oath breakers years ago.”
“In this world. In other worlds Cairhiens kept the faith and the tree still stands. Rand visited another world and collected a sapling then grew a couple by singing.”
“How is he doing?”
Aviendha smiled, “Adjusting to being a father.”
“Elayne had her twins then?”
Egwene snickered, “That and we picked up some of his children from a mirror world.”
Amys chuckled, “It sounds like you’ve been busy.”
“We have.” Egwene stared filling Amys in on what was happening on their end.
Tam al’Thor looked around the strange pocket world, “A bit different than I was expecting.”
Willow smiled at Rand’s dad. “Thanks for coming to help us set up our cider business.”
“Thanks for inviting us.” It was nice to get a chance to take a break and spend time with his grandchildren.
Kari and Elisara smiled at Willow, “Thank you Miss Willow.”
Azi and Lara said, “Thank you.” at almost the same time as the other twins.
Rowan hid behind Tam’s leg as he looked at the strange wall of mist.
Willow gave the children a smile then looked back at Tam, “Is leaving the farm going to be a problem?”
Tam shook his head, “Not for a couple of weeks. I used some of the coin you paid me to hire a couple of the local boys to watch things until I get back.” He was glad to be able to give some of them the work.
Willow nodded, “Let me show you to your quarters. Then we can get the children set up with class schedules.”
Azi frowned, “I thought I was going to get to learn how to fight.”
Willow chuckled, “That’s only part of it. We also teach numbers, writing, history and other important things.”
Tam smiled at Azi, “Skills that you’ll need if you want to make sure that people pay you the proper amount for your work.”
Azi sighed, “I can see where that would be helpful.”
Willow smiled as she lead the group toward the area with the rest of the trainees. She was hoping that they could get things set up then step back and let this place mostly run itself. She didn’t want to have to spend the next hundred and some years in here tweaking stuff while they waited for the forsaken to show up. She made a mental note to go check on how Xander was doing. She suspected that he was trying to stay busy so that he didn’t have to deal with his worry over Dawn’s safety. It felt a bit like she was being stretched in too many different ways right now. She made a mental note to talk to Moiraine about the best way to officially get the queen of Andor to give up her claims on the Two Rivers before she realized that it was worth holding onto.
Violet smirked as she snuck past the guards and into the chambers of the Lord Captain Commander. It was almost too easy when you had an invisibility cloak. She pointed her wand at the old man behind the desk and whispered a confusion charm. Dawn had said the crazy old man had a lot of willpower which meant that directly controlling him was a waste of energy unlike his ‘official’ spymaster who was already under her control. The next best thing was to give the man a suggestion that he wanted to follow. “Take all of your legions and take the Almoth Plain. The blue demon is there with her Aes Sedai handlers. The time is now.” She smiled as she slipped back out of the room and headed toward the vault. She had already planted the ‘evidence’ with the spymaster that would back up Pedron Niall’s desire for revenge against the blue devil and her Aes Sedai handlers. She would have to thank Illyria for setting things up so well with her random acts of violence on the recruiting missions. Violet’s plan was rather simple, convince the Children of the Light to move most of their forces out of Amadicia then ‘convince’ the king of Amadicia that he needed a queen. Then she would see if she could talk the girls into letting Rand get her pregnant. A couple of mind control spells and the king would never realize there was a problem. Sure it sounded vicious and underhanded but the Children of the Light were a blight on the world that reminded her of the inquisition from her world. The king that allowed them as much power as he did wasn’t much better. With any luck they would be able to lure the children into mist covered gateways that led to the blight. Let the bastards do some good before they died. She wondered how many of her friends might still be alive if they had just quietly started killing death eaters before Voldemort got his feet back under him. Imperiusing several of the Slytherin students to poison their parents when they got home for the summer could have solved a lot of problems in the end.
She apparated past the two guards as quietly as she could then looked around the treasure vault. She whispered a quick spell on the door to mute any sounds she might make. She smiled as she pulled out an expanded bag and started making bad copies of the loot and stuffing the read treasures in her bag. The copies would likely ‘rot’ in a week or two. Everyone that they paid with the false gold would blame the Children, maybe they would be too scared to do anything about it now but in a couple of weeks when most of the Children were gone and the king declared the Children disbanded she suspected that any remaining Children would find a rather bad welcome from the people they cheated.