Monday, November 18, 2013

Healing the Guilds

Healing the Guilds

Chapter 1

            "I'm so sorry, Joia."
            "Why didn't he come, Seb?"
            "I don't know."
            "I had hoped he's be here this year.  This year of all years."
            "Is there anything I can do?"
            "No."  She turned to look at Seb.  Her eyes were red.
            "We could send a messenger.  Radstan would find him."
            "No!" Joia shouted.  "If he didn't want to come on his own, I'm not going to make him."
*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

            Joia paced the large basement room of Trade Castle.  "It's been one year, Athelstan.  Most of the time I'm alright, but today, well, today it's hard." 
            She called this room Athelstan's Room.  It was a great, circular room filled with all sorts of beautiful objects.  There was a silver goblet, an intricately carved chair, a blanket of the softest cloth, a barrel with perfect copper rings, a bundle of straw and a song that echoed in the very walls of the room.  In the center of the room was a circular pool of water and above the room the ceiling was opened to the sky.  The early morning sun shown and clouds drifted lazily across the sky.  There was no other light in the room except what shown through the open roof.
            Joia had been speaking to the dark, still pool of water.  In years past, she could run her fingers over the surface of the water and the golden form of Athelstan, Father of the Trades, would appear.  The form was a physical memory of the man who had once lived in this castle and taught the trades to the first trade masters.  But, his Light had grown fainter with each year.  He was no longer needed now that Joia had been Lady of Trade Castle for over a decade now.  If there was anything left of Athelstan in the memory pool, Joia would wait for the next Gathering in three weeks time, before she would try and wake Athelstan.
            Over the years, Joia had often come to this room to think.  She spoke to the pool.  Having someone to talk out loud too had always helped her to work though ideas and problems, even if he never answered back.  She stopped her pacing and listened to the quiet.  Almost quiet.  She could still hear Edmund's song, soft and hushed, in the room.  She missed him.
            "Athelstan, if you have any influence over Edmund, please bring him here this year."
            Her mind wandered back to two years ago.  She had been so excited to see all the Patrons who would return to Trade Castle for the annual Gathering on the Fall Equinox.  Rather than call the date the Anniversary of Scrios's Banishment, as she had that first anniversary, she had changed its name to The Gathering.  They did not celebrate their defeat of Scrios.  Instead, the Patrons had turned the day into a celebration of the trades.  They gathered together to report on the progress of the guilds, rejoice in their successes and discuss solutions to any problems.  Not everyone came every year, but many did.
            That year she was as excited to see all the Patrons who would return to Trade Castle, but she was especially excited to see Edmund.  He was her dearest friend, next to her husband, Hakon.  When he didn't come to the Gathering that year, she had been so sad.  Hakon reminded her that Edmund was probably too far away, travelling with one of his troupes of entertainers.  Joia didn't think that was a good reason for missing the Gathering.  Surely he knew it was time as the summer had come to an end, but she had decided to give Edmund the benefit of a doubt and agreed he must have simply been busy.  She had hoped he would come to the castle later in the year, full of apologies for not having come sooner.  But he never came.
            Then last year, as the Gathering was approaching and Joia was making her preparations, a messenger had arrived at Trade Castle with the news of her beloved Hakon.  Dead.  She had almost called off the Gathering, but it was too late and the Gathering went on as planned.  It had been a solemn affair.  Seb was there.  He had never missed a year.  Edmund was not there.  That was two years in a row.  Seb had stayed with her for several days after the rest of the Patrons had left.  He had held her as she cried and comforted her.  She did her best to comfort her children, Elric and Dreda.  They had been nine years old and completely devastated by the loss of their father.  Dreda was distraught and Elric bravely took his place as man of the house, but they all cried over their loss.  The children asked for Uncle Edmund, but Joia could tell them nothing.  She didn't know where he was or why he had not come to see them in two years.
            The more Joia thought about Edmund, the more upset she became.  He hadn't come when she had needed him the most.  It didn't matter now, though.  She no longer needed Edmund.  Over the last year she had learned to cope.  She was fine.  And with the Gathering quickly approaching, there was much to do to prepare. 
            "On second thought, Athelstan," she spoke out loud, "don't bother sending Edmund.  If he comes, he comes.  If not, it's alright.  I don't need him."
            She left the circular room and went upstairs to the kitchen.  Supper was bubbling in a kettle in the fireplace.  Over the years, Joia and Hakon had employed several servants for the castle.  There was a grounds keeper who took care of the gardens, two house maids to help keep the castle's many rooms clean and in order and there was a housekeeper who tended the castle's day to day needs.  Joia still did all the cooking and always helped with keeping the kitchen clean.  The housekeeper, an older woman named Keeley, had been appalled when she first arrived and saw the lady of the castle washing the dishes.  Joia had never wanted servants, but she could not care for the castle alone, so even after help had been hired, she continued to work and help keep her home.
            After checking on the cooking food, Joia went to her sitting room.  It was a bright, cheerful room.  She kept her sewing here.  She sat down in her favorite chair and picked up the sewing basket.  She was almost finished with a new shirt for Elric.  He needed to have several shirts to take with him when he left.  If she could find the time, Joia planned on sewing him one more shirt.
            She felt the warm sunshine on her face while she sewed.  Summer would be over soon.  It always seemed the warm summer months went much too quickly.  Soon the warm days would turn cool and the green leaves would turn orange.
            "Mother?" a quiet voice called to her, waking her from her thoughts.
            "Yes, dear?"  Joia turned to see her ten year old daughter come into the room.
            "May I sit with you while I sew?"
            "Of course, Dreda.  I'm happy to have your company.  How's your dress coming?"
            Dreda held out a brown tunic to show her mother.  "I'm almost finished with it."
            Joia took a corner of the dress into her hand and looked at the seam.  "This is fine work.  You've really improved."
            "Thank you," Dreda smiled and sat next to her mother.  Dreda looked a lot like Joia - small and petite.  The biggest difference in looks between mother and daughter was Dreda had Hakon's blond hair.  Both of the children favored Hakon in this way.
            "It was a year ago today, wasn't it?"  The small girl looked up to her mother.
            "Are you alright?"
            "I miss your father.  Every day.  I'm sad, of course, but yes, I'm alright.  We had a wonderful life together.  Almost eleven years of marriage and having two beautiful children together.  It was a life together that I will always treasure.  Are you alright?"
            "I miss Father, too.  I think of him every day.  Sometimes I talk to him.  Is that strange?"  the small girl looked to her mother.
            "No.  It's not strange.  I find myself talking to him sometimes, too."
            Dreda smiled.  For several moments both women sat in silence, each lost in their own thoughts and memories.
            "Do you think Uncle Edmund will come this year?" Dreda asked.
            "I don't know."
            "Do you want him to come?"
            "I don't know."  Joia saw her daughter's eyebrow go up in question.  It made Joia chuckle.  It was a face that she had seen Hakon pull a million times.  "Yes, I suppose I do want him to come.  I'm kind of angry with him, though."
            "Because he wasn't here when father died?"
            Joia sighed.  "And because he hasn't been here to see me, us, at all in the last two years.  Almost three years now."
            "I hope Uncle Edmund comes.  I miss him.  I want to see him once more before," Dreda paused.  She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, "before I leave."
            Joia put her sewing down and reached out to take Dreda's hand.  She felt tears prickle in her eyes.  She didn't know how she was going to cope.  Dreda had promised to go live with Joia's sister Ebba for a while.  Ebba was happily married to Derry and had seven children to prove it.  The children were young, though.  Ebba's oldest son had been a help to her, but at the beginning of summer, he became the apprentice to his father and spent his days learning the cobbler trade.  Ebba needed help taking care of all her little ones and Dreda said she would go help. 
            Elric was also leaving home.  He had been promised to Joia's brother, David, Erthenhorn's master baker, and would become his apprentice.  Joia was so proud of Elric, going to learn a trade and Elric was excited to be going.  Joia would miss them both so much, but since they would both be in Erthenhorn, she would be able to visit often.
            She wasn't excited about being alone, but she knew she would be alright.  She always was.
            "Dreda, Ebba is my sister.  You'll be in a good, loving home, although I fear it will be quite noisy," she smiled at her daughter.  "You know, you don't have to go."
            "I want to go," Dreda said.
            "And I know you will be such a wonderful help to Aunt Ebba.  If you get the opportunity, go about the village and visit the people there.  Get to know them.  The weaver is a kind woman named Sara.  She was the weaver's apprentice when I lived in Erthenhorn."
            They sat in silence for a moment.  Joia squeezed Dreda's hand once again before letting it go and picking up her sewing again.
            "I'm glad we aren't leaving until after the Gathering.  I hope Uncle Edmund, Uncle Seb and Sidonia come to it.  I want to see them all again before I leave."
            "I'm sure they will be amazed to see how much you've grown."

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mysterious House Part 2

Several weeks went by and Evelyn found more and more she was staring at the house across the street.  She had never seen anyone there.  No lights were ever on in the house, except the foyer light.  She had never seen anyone come to the house or leave it.  She might have simply passed it off for an abandoned home or a bank owned home, except the lawn was always mown and the bushes always trimmed.  What was odd, though, is that she had never actually seen anyone mow the lawn or that the lawn grew at all.  Phillip had mown their own lawn every Saturday since they had moved in.  Of course, she did go to work during the day.  Evelyn assumed that the owners had a lawn service that came each week during the day to care for the home's grounds.  But she couldn't stop thinking about the house.  If anyone did come during the week, no vehicle ever went up that driveway.

She shared her observations with Phillip.  He was interested in her observations, but it wasn't odd to him.  He figured, as she did, that a lawn service took care of the lawn each week while they were at work.  The house was probably a foreclosure, owned by the bank and kept in nice condition in case anyone wanted to see and buy the house.

But Evelyn noticed, there were no signs on or around the house.  Usually if  a home was bank owned, there was a notice in a window, but this home had none.  If it was bank owned, why hadn't their realtor told them about that house at the same time she showed them this one.  Perhaps she figured it wouldn't fit their needs and so didn't even bother to tell them about it.  Still, it was odd that she hadn't mentioned it, if it were available for purchase.

Why was the foyer light always on?  Phillip said it was to keep burglars away, but Evelyn didn't find that very convincing.  It was the same light.  It never went off or on.  If there was a burglar who had been watching the house for the perfect opportunity to break in, they would have noticed that nothing ever changed at that house.

Evelyn decided she had had enough of the house across the street.  It was silly to spend so much time and thought on it.  She would focus on projects around the house.  Her and Phillips's sixth anniversary was come up.  Evelyn decided she needed to do something special.

A week before the anniversary, Evelyn was given a surprise vacation from work.  She wasn't happy about it, but a small fire had broken out in one of the cubicles and had blown a large number of circuits in the rest of the building.  Everyone was cleared out and a team of electricians were being brought in to re-wire the entire building.  Evelyn was not happy to lose that income, but decided it would be nice to have so much time at home to work on the various projects she had going.

The days were nice and pleasant.  Evelyn threw open all the windows in the living room and kitchen to let in the fresh breeze.  The sounds of birds and street traffic were all she could hear from outside.  Evelyn liked the birds.  She wished she knew how to identify which birds made which sounds.  Phillip joked with her in the evening about how Evelyn was now the perfect little housewife staying at home each day.  That joke had earned him a punch in the arm. 

Saturday, Phillip mowed the lawn, like usual.  She was rather annoyed that while Phillip was out mowing, she had to shut the windows in the house to block out all that noise.  After he was done and taking a shower, Evelyn opened the windows again.  She looked out at the house across the street.  It looked exactly as it had since the day they had moved in, two months ago.  The lawn the perfectly mowed and the bushes neat and trimmed.  The light in the foyer shown its usual orangy-yellow.  Evelyn realized she had been home every day that week and had never seen anyone go to the house nor even had heard anyone using a lawn mower on its front yard.  She had noticed when her neighbor on her right had mowed his lawn, but as far as she could recall, she had never seen or heard anyone across the street.  Evelyn shivered.  What was going on across the street?

She would ask the neighbors tomorrow.

Mysterious House Part 1

They met the realtor at the house.  How many homes had they looked at that day?  Evelyn couldn't remember.  Some of them had been nice, but nothing had really jumped out at them yet.  She didn't expect this one to be any different, but as they pulled into the driveway, already Evelyn could tell this one was different.  The lot was larger than any they had seen that day.  The home was a two story with lovely windows.  It was made of wood and brick and not covered in the plastic-looking siding.  The realtor opened the front door and showed them into a home unlike any they had yet seen.  It was old looking.  Rustic.  It had character and personality.  The banister was real carved wood.  The kitchen was a good size.  Not small like the apartment they were currently renting, but not the huge over sized kitchens Evelyn had seen in so many of the new homes.  The cupboards were real wood, not laminate. 

Every room Evelyn went into had more surprises.  It was such a lovely home.  It was perfect.  The right number of bedrooms, a perfect sized yard and most importantly, the house was the right price.  It was perfect.  Too perfect?  Why had no one bought it yet?  Evelyn asked the realtor.  It had only been on the market for two days.  Evelyn knew they needed to get working on the contract immediately.  Such a home would not stay unsold for long.  Her husband Phillip agreed.  They went back to the realtor's office and wrote up their offer.

Two days later, they heard back from the realtor.  Their offer had been accepted.  The home was theirs.  After a house inspection and some repair work, they finally moved in. Evelyn kept re-arranging the furniture, trying to find the best position for it in the new rooms.  Under her direction, Phillip had repainted the living room and bathrooms.  She like the colors, but they were looking a little old and dark.  The new paint was very close to the old one, but a shade or two lighter.  It certainly made a huge difference.  After four weeks, the house was ready and they had their open house party.  Friends from the old apartment complex were invited.  Friends from work and church were invited.  They also invited the neighbors on either side of them, whom they had met while moving in. 

They barbequed in the spacious back yard and had drinks on the patio.  Several hours later, the guest began to leave.  Evelyn took a tray of dirty dishes to the kitchen.  Her best friend, Lucy, followed close behind with another tray of dishes.  Evelyn thanked her.

"Evelyn, I love your new home," Lucy said.

"Thank you.  So do I," Evelyn laughed.

"Just out of curiosity, though, who lives in the house across the street from you?"

"Oh, I don't know," Evelyn said.  "I haven't met all the neighbors yet.  We've been so busy balancing work, the move and updates to the house that I haven't had much time for neighbor watching.  Why do you ask?"  She turned away from the sink and the piles of dishes to look at her friend.

"It's an odd house, isn't it?" Lucy said casually.

"Is it?  I haven't really noticed," Evelyn said.

"Well, yes.  It's old and looks a little run down."

Evelyn laughed.  "This house is old and looking a little worn down.  It's an old neighborhood."

Lucy chuckled, "Yes, I suppose it is.  Well, let me know when you meet the neighbors."

Evelyn plopped down on the oversized recliner after the last guest had left.  She loved having parties and was especially proud of her new home, but it was always such a relief when it was over.  Phillip sat down on the couch.  "Glad it's over?"

"Yes.  I don't want to get up, but I guess I should take care of the dishes.  I can at least get the dishwasher loaded."  Evelyn pulled herself out of the recliner.  Phillip went back outside to clean up the patio and barbeque area.  Evelyn loaded the dishwasher.  Forcing herself to continue, even though she only wanted to sit back down, she finished washing all the dishes.  When they were done with the clean up, Evelyn and Phillip sat snuggled together on the couch and watched some TV.  When there was nothing else on to keep them entertained, they headed up to bed.  Phillip turned out the light and climbed into bed.  Evelyn went to the window to make sure the curtains were pulled closed.  She didn't want the morning sun getting through the curtain before she was ready to be woken up.  Evelyn looked out the window to the house across the street.  It was dark and she could see nothing of the house except a single light shining in the foyer of the home.  She closed the curtains and got into bed. 


The next morning was a Saturday.  Oh how she loved Saturdays.  No work to go to.  Today she planned on spending the morning in the front yard, cleaning out the flower beds and planting some new flowers around the porch.  The sun was shining and the sky was clear.  Evelyn was glad for the tree in the front yard to provide a little bit of shade.

She had been out front many, many times since moving in and had knew there was a house across from theirs, but she had never taken the time to really notice it.  Today she did.  The home was two storied and similar in size and shape to their own home.  Probably built around the same time, Evelyn thought.  However, the home across the street didn't look like it had been nearly as well cared for.  The roof was metal and rusted.  The gutters were bent and broken in some places.  Ivy grew up one side of the house.  All the windows were dark and covered on the inside by dark curtains.  The front door had a large piece of glass at the top and the door frame was surrounded by panes of glass.  She could see the foyer light was still on.

The lawn of the home was well cared for.  It had recently been mown and the large bush that sat in the middle of the yard was trimmed and neat.  Evelyn noticed the driveway, or what was left of it.  It was a rock path, like their own driveway, but the rocky path of the other house was completely grown over with grass after the first three feet.  No one had used that driveway in a very long time.  Evelyn shrugged her shoulders and went to work in the flower bed.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Origami flowers

              Kathy was trying to pay attention to Mr. Franklyn's lesson on the Spanish-American War, but was having a hard time keeping focused. She was too busy watching the boy sitting next to her.  His name was Sean and he had a reputation for causing trouble.  However, all the trouble he caused really only affected himself.
                In the first week of school, he leaned back in his chair, causing it to fall over.  He had banged his head and had to go to the nurses' office.  Then three weeks ago, the class had gone to the library to do some research for a class project.  Sean had been acting like James Bond, dashing between aisles of books in a spy-like way, when he ran into a table, knocking it over and causing all the books to fall to the floor in a huge crashing noise in the quiet library.  Two weeks ago, he had stuck stickers onto his glasses during class.  This silly act had gotten him a lot of laughs, but especially so when Sean realized he could not get the stickers off.  He had to go to the office and wait for the janitor to see if he had any cleaner that took stickers off of glass.

                Today Kathy watched him as he had pulled out a piece of blue paper from his desk and started to fold it, origami style, into a flower.  Kathy was impressed with the little flower.  To her shock, Sean picked up the flower, popped it into his mouth and started to chew on it.
                "Sean," Mr. Franklyn stopped his lecture, "There is no gum chewing in my class.  Please spit it out."

                "But it's not gum, it's paper," Sean declared.
                "Spit it out and don't do that again," Mr. Franklyn pointed to the trash can.

                Reluctantly, Sean stood up, went to the front of the room, leaned over the trash can and made a very loud spitting sound.  The blue paper made a wet thump noise as it hit the bottom of the trash can.  Sean smiled as one of the girls cried out, "Eww, that is so gross."
                Sean went back to his seat and Mr. Franklyn went back to his lesson.  Several minutes later, Kathy watched as Sean pulled out another sheet of blue paper and began to fold it into another flower.  He set it on his desk, pulled out another sheet of paper and folded it into a bird.  Kathy had to cover her mouth with her hand to keep from laughing as she watched Sean pop both pieces of folded blue paper into his mouth.

                He chewed on the paper, grinning that Mr. Franklyn hadn't seen him.  Kathy tried to focus on the lesson.  She looked down at her notes and realized she hadn't written anything in a while.  She would just have to re-read the textbook chapter for homework.
                Kathy looked back over at Sean.  He turned to her and smiled.  Kathy snorted a laugh.  Sean's teeth were blue.  Kathy buried her face into her hands, trying hard not to laugh, but she couldn't help but stare at Sean and his blue teeth.

                "What?" Sean mouthed at her, but when he did, a dribble of blue ink ran down his chin.
                Kathy couldn't keep back her laughter this time.  Mr. Franklyn and the rest of the class looked over at Kathy. 

                Mr. Franklyn looked quite upset. "Kathy, is there something funny you would like to share?"
                "I'm sorry, Mr. Franklyn, but Sean," Kathy started to laugh and pointed to Sean's face.

                Everyone in the class turned to look at Sean and moments later burst into laughter.  Even Mr. Franklyn started laughing.  Sean's face turned red, except for his teeth and chin, which was now covered in blue ink.
                "Sean, you've been eating paper again, even after I asked you not too."  Mr. Franklyn couldn't stop smiling.

                "Can I go to the bathroom?" Sean asked.
                "No, my class has already been interrupted twice because of you.  There is only five minutes left in class.  You can go wash up after class is over."

                "But Mr. Franklyn," Sean began.
                "Maybe you will learn not to chew on paper during class."  Everyone started laughing again.  Mr. Franklyn held up his hand to bring everyone back to his attention so he could finish his lesson.  Nothing Mr. Franklyn could say or do kept the class from looking in Sean's direction and giggling.  He carried on with his lecture until he was done and was able to assign the homework just as the bell to end class rang.

                Sean was the first out the door, his shirt pulled over his mouth.  Later in the day, Kathy passed Sean in the hall.  She could still see faint stains of blue on his mouth and chin.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Counting with Fairies: A Doctor Who fanfic - Complete Story

Counting with Fairies
A Doctor Who fanfic
Takes place immediately after Big Finish story "Dark Eyes."

Synopsis: Molly O'Sullivan has left to go back to the war, but Dr. Sally Armstrong was alive again, thanks to Molly's changing history for the better. Sally is a scientist and when the Doctor lets her pick where in time she wants to go, she chooses to see Pascal Blaise's first mechanical calculator. Seems a straightforward enough of a request for the Doctor, but nothing with him ever goes quite to plan. Fairies are appearing in 17th century France, making the locals very nervous.
The Doctor and Sally find themselves in the middle of a Fairy War.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14

Counting with Fairies Ch 14

Chapter 14

"Now Sally," he said with a half-smile, "If I remember correctly, we were on our way to see the Pascaline."  He turned a few knobs and threw a lever and the blue bars in the central time rotor began to move.
Sally smiled, "Yes, I think we were."  The Doctor said nothing more.  He only smiled.  Several minutes later the blue bars stopped moving, indicating they had landed.  He approached Sally and her wheel chair.

"Doctor, I won't let you carry me all the way to town," Sally said.
"I didn't think you would, so I have this," he held up a black wooden cane.

Sally took the cane from him  She looked at it and saw the most beautiful circles carved into the wood.  "Doctor, this is lovely," she said.
"It was mine a long time ago.  Back when I was an old man."

Sally looked at the Doctor, completely confused by what he had just said.  She chuckled nervously.  He helped her to stand up.  She leaned against the cane.  It was a perfect size and much more comfortable to use than the stick she had found last night to use. 
The Doctor pulled out a clean red over tunic and held it up for her to see.  "Can't have you going out  into the streets of Rouen in your petticoats."

Sally noticed for the first time she was in clean clothes.  She remembered when she fell asleep, she was muddy and wearing the Doctor's jacket.  "How did I get clean clothes on?"  she asked.  Her face flushed.  Had he dressed her?
"The Poikyo.  When they came on board the TARDIS, Queen Bai was concerned for your injury.  She had some of her people use their magic and made you and your clothes clean."  He pulled the tunic over her head.  She stuck her arms through the sleeves.

"Really?" Sally asked.
"Really," the Doctor answered.  He tied the last lace.  "Now then, shall we go?"  He held out his elbow.  Sally held his arm with her right hand and used the cane in her left.  She was able to walk, or limp, along fairly comfortably.

The Doctor opened the door and stepped out, then he held out a hand to help her out.  They were in the middle of a city street.  No one seemed to notice the blue box in the road.
Sally looked around at the busy goings on in the city street.  People hurrying from one place to another, buying food from vendors, chatting with friends, bartering goods.  Even in the 17th century, city life was city life and Sally felt a little more at home.  They begin to walk down the street.

The Doctor answered Sally's question before she could even ask.  "I spoke with Columbine and asked her if she knew a Blaise Pascal and his mechanical calculator.  You wouldn't believe what she said," the Doctor paused.
After several moments of silence, Sally tugged at the Doctor's elbow. "Go on then, tell me," Sally said.

He smiled, "She told me of course she knew Pascal.  His first mechanical calculator had one fault that kept it from working properly.  She said he was incredibly frustrated that he just couldn't figure out why it didn't work."
"Wait, Doctor, did she do something fairy-like and mischievous to his Pascaline?" Sally asked.

"I asked her the same thing, but she only smiled sweetly at me," the Doctor grinned.
"I can't believe it," Sally said.

"Anyway, it only helped him to create a new and better model and she told me where he lived.  That's why the TARDIS brought us here, instead of the countryside again."
They stopped walking in front of a two story stone building.  It was in a long line of other similar buildings.  Sally heard some nearby people talking at one of the food vendors.

"Oh yes, he showed it to me," one man was saying.
"And did it work?" another man asked.

"It did.  I couldn't believe it.  He turned the wheels to a set of numbers, turned the little cranks and would you believe it?  It worked.  It added those numbers together," the first man said.
"Oh, it's just a silly toy," a woman spoke up.  "A clock adding up numbers? Silly thing."

Sally looked at the Doctor, his eyes were twinkling.
"First doubters of the usefulness of computers," he whispered.  They approached the door and the Doctor knocked on it.  A young man of about nineteen opened the door.

"Ah, good day, sir," the Doctor said cheerfully.  "I heard you have a most fascinating clock here.  One that adds numbers?"
"It's not a clock sir, it's called the Pascaline and it does more than just add numbers.  Would you like to see it?" the boy said.

"Indeed," the Doctor said.  The boy opened the door wider and the Doctor and Sally stepped in.  "I'm the Doctor and this is Sally," he introduced them.
"I'm Blaise Pascal.  I created the Pascaline for my father to use.  He's a tax receiver."

Sally stared at the young man.  So young.  She had built her first computer at his age, but she hadn't invented any of it, just put it together.  He had invented it all.  A man was sitting at a table near the window.  On the table in front of him was a metal box the size of a loaf of bread.  Young Pascal began to explain it, how to put in the numbers to be added and how to turn the metal cogs to get the correct answer.  Sally watched in absolute amazement.  Right in front of her was the first computer, it's creator and the first computer user.  Blaise Pascal beamed with pride as the Doctor congratulated him on his achievement.  After several more demonstrations at the Pascaline's ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide large numbers, the Doctor and Sally said farewell to the Pascal men and they left.
"Doctor, that was absolutely amazing.  Thank you for taking me to see it and to meet the man himself."

"My pleasure, Dr. Armstrong," he said.  He gave her hand, which was tucked into the crook of his elbow, a squeeze.  He led them back into the TARDIS, but instead of taking her to the wheelchair, he led her to a tall-backed armchair.  She sat down.  It was much more comfortable than the wheel chair and Sally rested her injured foot on the footstool.
"Well, Sally," the Doctor began to fiddle with the knobs and switches on the console, "if you want, I could take you back home.  Back to London, 1971 and the Ides Scientific Institute.  Or, I could take you to Florida to see the Apollo 14 take off and then home after that. " He smiled his half-smile at her.

"You would do that for me?  I mean, don't you have more important things to do than treat me to amazing moments in Earth's history?"
"Time machine, Sally.  I have all the time in the universe."  The Doctor knew exactly what he was doing.   He knew how to bait his prey.  He felt guilty about that, but he wasn't ready to be alone again.  He liked Sally.  She was intelligent and calm.  She would be fun to take around the universe and show her the amazing things it had to offer.  "So, do you want to go to Florida or not?"

Sally grinned, "Of course I want to see the Apollo 14."
"Let's go then!" the Doctor threw several switches.  "Besides Sally, I can't take you back to the Institute with a sprained ankle.  What would people think?"

"I hadn't thought of that," Sally said.  Honestly that thought hadn't crossed her mind at all.  It was a valid point, after all.  How would she explain leaving the institute with a stranger and returning with a bad foot?
"I guess you'll just have to stay with me until it heals," the Doctor said.  He didn't want to trick Sally.  He hoped she'd want to go anyway even without the premise of waiting to return her after her foot healed.  Still, he wasn't ready to be alone again.  Not yet.  "After the Apollo 14, I could take you to the London summer games in 2012 or I could take you back to Greece for the first Olympics or, if you like sports, we could go to Kirola, a planet that is completely devoted to the improvement and playing of every sport in the universe.  Sports teams and coaches from all over the universe go to Kirola to practice and hone their skills.  It's fascinating.  I went years ago to see the biggest cricket tournament in the universe.  I had a real liking for cricket years ago."  The Doctor was practically flying around the console in excitement.

Sally could do nothing but laugh.
She wanted to get back home to the institute.  After seeing the Pascaline, she felt inspired to get back to work on her own projects, but at the same time, the Doctor had shown her there was so much more to life and the universe than computers and robots.  There were amazing creatures like fairies and Poikyo.  There were worlds where grass was purple and the fruit off a tree was silver.

Her foot was injured.  Really, she couldn't go home just yet.  It would just bring up too many questions.  She also realized that the Doctor, for all his calm, knowledge and diplomacy, seemed lonely.  She could see his was desperately trying to keep her with him.  She like the attention and he could show her things that would only inspire her more for when she finally did get back home to her work at the institute.  "Well, Doctor, let's get to Florida and see the Apollo 14.  Then we can decide from there where to go next.  Either home or off to another adventure."
"Fair enough," he said.  It was.  He was happy to have her along, even if only for a little while longer.  He set the coordinates into the TARDIS.  "Do you like music, Sally? Mind if I turn some on?"

The Doctor flipped on an old phonograph player and the sounds of Glenn Miller and his orchestra filled the TARDIS.  They were off to their next adventure.

Counting with Fairies Ch 13

Chapter 13

"Sally, Sally, wake up."
Sally's eyes opened.  Standing in front of her was the Doctor, his blue eyes twinkled and his grin was ear to ear.  "Ah, Sally!  Hello," he said excitedly.  "I've got some amazing things to show you."

Sally blinked her eyes several times.  It took her a few moments to wake up and remember where she was.  She was still sitting in the wheel chair.  All around the room, Sally saw the Poikyo. They were all watching her and Sally started to squirm uncomfortably in her chair.
"Hello Sally.  I'm glad to see you awake and well.  I am Queen Bai, of the Poikyo and I wish to apologize on behalf of my people for our treatment towards you in the cave."

"Queen Bai?"  Sally asked.  "You aren't the queen I met."
"No, I'm not.  Our queen was killed in the battle and I am the new queen."

"My apologies and my condolences," Sally said.  She wasn't sure she meant it and she wasn't sure it was the appropriate thing to say, but her head was feeling very fuzzy.
"Accepted," the queen said very matter-of-factly, "and do you accept our apologies?"

"Yes, of course I do," Sally said, "and really, it wasn't such a bad way to be captured.  I enjoyed the sensation of flying or floating in the air."
Queen Bai laughed and when she did it sounded like tiny silver bells, "I have never heard of anyone saying anything like that before."  She flew up to Sally's face.  "Would you like to fly again?"

"May I?" Sally asked.
Queen Bai flew over Sally's head.  Columbine flew over the Doctor's head.  They started to sprinkle blue dust over their heads and the next thing Sally and they Doctor knew was they were floating in the air in the console room.

Sally looked at the Doctor and laughed,  "Bet you can't catch me, Doctor!"  She threw out her arms and her body moved forward.  She flew to the other side of the console's time rotor.  She laughed as the Doctor tried to catch her.  They clumsily flew about the room, laughing loudly.  The Poikyo were all laughing too and they did their best to stay out of the way of the two large humanoids trying to fly.  After several moments, Sally seemed to understand how to control herself as she flew.  She dashed down the corridor and the Doctor followed.
When he caught up with her, he took her hand and held it.  "Come with me," he said and he pulled her as he flew down several more corridors.  He arrived at a door, opened it and they flew in together.

Sally's breath was blown away, "Butterflies!"
"Yes," he smiled at her, "Haven't you ever wanted to fly with butterflies?"

Hand in hand they flew to the top of the room and slowly floated around, looking at the butterflies that flew all around them.
"I feel like Wendy and you're Peter Pan with all your fairy friends and you are showing me all the wonders of Neverland."  Sally said.

"Yes, Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn't grow up and fights off the bad guys.  I think we have a lot in common," the Doctor thoughtfully said.
"Is he real, Doctor?" Sally asked.  "You've told me mermaids are real and I've seen firsthand that fairies are real, so is Peter Pan real?"

The Doctor smiled, "That, my dear, is not for you to know.  There are some questions best left unanswered and some magic that should never be understood.  If I told you whether he was real or not, it would take away that magic and I would never want to take that from you."  The floated in silence for a few more moments.  Sally watched the butterflies.  "Ready to go back to the console room?  I think the Poikyo are ready to go to their new home."
Sally nodded.  The left the butterfly room and flew back to the console room.  The Doctor helped Sally position herself near the wheelchair.  "Now, when they release us, try to land on your good foot.  We don't need to injure that ankle again."

"I had almost forgotten.  Being weightless sure makes you forget about sprained ankles."  Sally said.  The Doctor positioned himself next to her and held onto her arm.
"Ready," Queen Bai asked, then she snapped her fingers and the Doctor and Sally fell back to the ground of  the TARDIS.  Sally did her best to land on her good foot, but she waivered when she hit the ground.  The Doctor's strong grip on her arm kept Sally from falling.  He helped her into the chair. 

The Doctor went to the console and looked at the scanner.  Everything seemed to be right.  They were on Lisi, a nice forested location, good weather, twilight.  Perfect.  He threw one final lever on the console and TARDIS doors opened.  "Welcome to Lisi," he said.
The Poikyo flew to the door and waited for their queen.  She flew out the doors first, followed by Columbine.  The rest of the Poikyo followed and flew out into the fragrant evening air of their new home.  The Doctor pushed Sally's wheelchair to the door, he helped her to stand up and then he picked her up and carried her out of the TARDIS.  He set her down in the grass and then he sat down next to her.

"Where are we?" Sally asked.  The grass seemed purple and the trees were unlike anything Sally had ever seen.
"Lisi, a small planet several million light years away from Earth.  It's a really beautiful place.  There's a small human population here."

"Another planet?  And humans living on it?  You're kidding me, Doctor," Sally said.
"I'm not," the Doctor replied.

Several Poikyo flew past the Doctor and Sally, each shouting a thank you to him in their bell-like voices.  Queen Bai came over to where the Doctor and Sally were sitting, "Thank you for bringing us here.  This is beautiful and it will be a perfect home."
"You are most welcome," he replied.

"Would you like to see something very special?  Something that no one but Fai-kind has ever seen before?"  Queen Bai asked.  When the Doctor and Sally nodded, Bai said, "Wait here."
She and a group of Poikyo disappeared.  The Doctor and Sally sat in silence for several moments.  Sally's stomach growled a deep growl.

"Sorry," she apologized, rubbing her stomach.
"Don't be silly," the Doctor said getting up.  "You haven't had anything to eat since we started our little adventure and that was quite a while ago.  I'll be right back."  He went into the TARDIS.

Sally leaned back against the blue box and looked up into the trees.  It was a beautiful night.  A breeze ruffled the leaves of the trees above her.  She could see the blue lights of Poikyo darting about in the treetops.  She wondered what they were doing.  Perhaps scouting out for a place to build their homes.  It was several minutes later that the Doctor reappeared from the TARDIS.  He carried a picnic basket and a teapot.
"Night time picnic," he announced and sat down next to Sally.  He opened the basket and began to pull food out.  "I didn't know what you liked, so I brought a variety."  There were sandwiches and hot fish and chips.  There was lots of fruit, most of it Sally recognized, but some she didn't.  And last was a plate of cheese.  He pulled out two china tea cups and poured the steaming tea from the pot.

Sally picked up one of the sandwiches and began to eat.  She was hungrier than she realized and had a second sandwich.  The Doctor picked a banana for his meal and ate it.  He laid back in the grass and watched the blue lights darting around in the trees.
They ate in silence, enjoying each other's company, the food and the warm night.  Sally picked up an unusual fruit.  It looked a like a pear, but it was silver.

"Doctor, what is this?"  she held it up for him to see.  He sat up and looked at the fruit.
"It's a piorra, native fruit to Gallifrey."

"Your home world?" Sally asked.
"The Doctor nodded and leaned back, propping himself on his elbow.  He took his tea cup into his hand. "It's good.  Texture like an apple and taste like a banana.  Personally, I just prefer bananas."

Sally looked at the fruit, "Does it have to be peeled?"
"Nope, you eat it just like you would an apple."  He sipped his tea. 

Sally bit into the silver fruit.  He was right, it did taste a bit like a banana, but different.  Sally couldn't quite describe the taste, but she loved it.  "It's wonderful.  Better than a banana!"  She took another bite.
The Doctor laughed, "Well isn't that the way it goes?  You like the fruit from my home world and I prefer the one from your home."

"The grass is always greener," Sally started, "or purple," she laughed indicating the grass she sat in.
"Or silver," chuckled the Doctor.

They noticed Queen Bai and her group returning.  The Doctor quickly packed up the picnic.  Queen Bai and her royal entourage approached them. In her hands was a small glowing orb.
"Watch now," the queen whispered.  She held the orb out and it floated just inches above the ground.  The Poikyo surrounded it and formed a circle with the orb in the middle.  "When the first baby laughed for the first time," Queen Bai said, "it's laugh went skipping about and that was the beginning of Fai.  Now on this world of Lisi, the first baby laugh that has happened here since our arrival has been captured.  It is here and it will be the first of our kind on Lisi."

Queen Bai, the Poikyo and Lady Columbine kissed their fingers and blew their kisses at the orb.  The orb began to glow a bright golden light, reaching a brightness so intense, Sally almost closed her eyes.   Just at that moment, the light burst and floating in its place was a tiny blue fairy, no bigger than Sally's little finger.  Queen Bai stepped forward and took the infant in her arms.  "She is Lissi and being the first Fai born on this planet, she is to be my daughter and heir to the Queen of the Poikyo."
"Princess Lissi!" the others all shouted.

Queen Bai held the baby up for Sally and the Doctor to see.  Sally leaned in and looked at the tiny child.  "She is beautiful." 
"Thank you for sharing her creation with us," the Doctor said.

A Poikyo descended from the trees above the TARDIS.  "My queen," she said, "a home for you and the princess has been prepared."
"Thank you Mae," the queen said.  The Poikyo messanger bowed and flew back up into the trees.

"Doctor, I wish to thank you for bringing us here," Bai said.  "I wish Shai had listened to you when you first offered to help us.  More of our kind would still be alive, but then, I never would have known Columbine, who has become my dear friend."
"I am honored to have helped.  Take care of your new home and your people," he picked up the picnic basket and placed it in the TARDIS.  He returned to Sally, who was struggling to get up on her own, and he lifted her into his arms.  "Goodbye," he said.

"Goodbye!" Sally called as he carried her into the blue box.  Sally heard hundreds of bell-like voices calling goodbye to her. 
The Doctor placed her back into the wheelchair and went to the controls.  "Now Sally," he said with a half-smile, "If I remember correctly, we were on our way to see the Pascaline."  He turned a few knobs and threw a lever and the blue bars in the central time rotor began to move.

Chapter 14