( Busy life )
( Busy life )
Tell mom thanks for the care package! This time, the cookies made it through without drying out or crumbling. I know she feels kind of stupid, sending the box via the military express, and even requesting refrigeration, but it worked. It's one of the perks I get, working with the Colonel out here, so it's not like we're doing anything underhanded. And it's worth it. Tell her everyone in my crew appreciates them. I almost had to ration them, so they'd last more than a day.
How is dad's hip doing? I'm glad he's hired Dean to help him in the store. I felt guilty, leaving after he'd gotten used to me being there. I hoped he wouldn't get stubborn and just decide to take over my hours himself. He needs to take it easier, now that things are starting to bother him.
I know what it feels like to get stiff sometimes. Not that my back has really bothered me too much since I've been having regular trips to the hot pool. There are still days, though.
( Though not as many as before... )
On our way back now. The last letter was getting a bit long, so I didn't mention this odd thing that happened in one of the towns Breda and I were visiting. We found another hot spring, near a little wrecked shrine. Just before supper one night, we decided to strip down to our shorts, and have a good soak. My back did start bothering me near the end, after all that sleeping on hard ground.
( A new irritant )
Now, don't get all huffy on me because I haven't written for the past month. It's not just an excuse when I say I was busy – I was really busy. I wasn't even near a mail courier for most of the time, so it wouldn't have mattered how many letters I wrote.
( Some of what they got up to )
You want to know why we follow this guy, Cath? Mustang, I mean. Well, I'll tell you. A lot of people don't understand – I'm thinking of General Olivier Armstrong, for one – but I bet even she would get it, if she just hung around and watched for a while.
Just picture this. We get to a southern city that's still pretty much in ruins, even if people have started going back and trying to rebuild. Most of the buildings are either melted into pools of rock, or they're all charred. Yep – it's a city that the Flame himself burned.
( What happened to Roy there )
Well, Miles and Scar are off again. They had a little meeting with all of us in Mustang's inner circle, and some local Ishvallan elders, to talk about where they should go next, and to pass on any information they thought the boss should know. You know, to help him decide what to concentrate on as he helps the rebuilding. We're going to be taking a road trip south, because it looks like Aerugo might be giving the wrong sort of “help,” sending unfriendly influences and even guns via the southern desert. I suppose I shouldn't be telling you stuff like that, should I? Don't tell mom and dad.
( Letter 4 )
(Sorry if you're seeing horrible font changes in mid-stream. If there's one thing about LiveJournal that I absolutely LOATHE it's the damn program's inability to retain fonts properly, or to format correctly. Which is why I'd never dream of using it for anything important, ever.)
( Letter 3 )
These are letters written from Ishval, after Father was destroyed and Amestris was saved. Second Lieutenant Jean Havoc, alchemically healed of the paralyzing injury he had suffered, joined the small combined military and civilian companies led by Colonel Roy Mustang, in their project to help restore Ishval to viability as a state. The selection of letters below were written to Havoc's sister Catherine. They provide some insight into how things progressed in the relatively early days of restoration project, and they shed more light on the character of many of those in Colonel Mustang's inner circle – primarily, of course, Mustang himself.
( Letter 1 )
Roy stood in silence, head high, waiting for the nearly faceless figure to reply and decide his fate. The featureless white that seemed to stretch infinitely on all sides of the Gate made him think of ice and cold, and he almost felt he should shiver, but in reality he felt nothing. Neither hot nor cold – nothing. It was as though the concept of temperature did not exist here.
Here, where he had come with only two-thirds of the last existing philosopher's stone, clutching it in a clammy hand, hoping it would be enough.
( What does Roy receive, along with his vision? )
Continued from Vignette #3: All the Time in the World
I've Got Your Back!
( I've Got Your Back! )
[Watch this space for further Vignettes]
Continue from Vignette #3: What Doth it Profit a Man?
All the Time in the World
( All the Time in the World )
Continue to Vignette #4: I've Got Your Back!
Continued from Vignette #1: Scot Free?
What Doth it Profit a Man?
( What Doth it Profit a Man? )
Continue to Vignette #3: All the Time in the World
( Scot Free? )
Continue to second vignette: What Doth it Profit a Man?
(Continued from Chapter 11)
Roy stretched his legs out in front of him, cradling the frosted glass containing a fresh, cool drink on his stomach before he took another sip. The kids from three families were almost in a state of riot on the front lawn, still experiencing the release of pent-up energy after the three-day train ride from Central that five of them had just experienced. Those who spent the greater part of their year in the city were always like this, the first couple of days after arriving at their country home on the hill. It was as though the clear, fresh air of this wide valley both energized them and served as a safety valve.
Whatever the case, the children could be very loud sometimes. Their parents were lucky that both the front and back yards of the Mustang house were so big, and contained so many pursuits that the kids could do outdoors. If the youngsters had stayed indoors, the adults would need to wear earplugs.
( And life goes on )
It was Mei who first alerted them. Sometimes, as she and Alphonse worked together in Roy’s garden, she’d take a break and sit on the fence, gazing through a gap in some of the bushes on the southern perimeter, watching the fields to the south of the hill on which the house stood.
And that was why, on a clear morning two days later, she saw the two riders while they were still a considerable distance away. They rode in a rather relaxed way up the small road on the eastern edges of the grass fields, obviously not in a big hurry.
Hohenheim and Havoc stood with Al and Mei at the fence for a few minutes, to make sure that these were the riders they’d been waiting for. But finally Hohenheim remarked, “I’m glad I didn’t bet you any money on this, Jean,” and Havoc laughed.
( Getting things sorted out )
(Continue to Chapter 12)
As the glass shattered and the room immediately lit up with a rush of heat, Riza realized just how much she’d been expecting this. A wash of blazing light roared over her, smashing into the wall by her bed, and she rolled reflexively onto the floor even as the blanket on the other side of the bed caught fire. She heard a loud cry, “No!”, and instantly the flames snuffed out, leaving the room in blackness.
“Riza!” Roy cried sharply. “Riza – where are you? Are you hurt?”
“I’m fine,” she gasped, springing into a crouch. “What about you?”
Groping hands found her head and shoulders in the dark, pulling her to her feet and sweeping her briefly into Roy’s arms.
( A decision )
(Continue to Chapter 11)
They didn’t quite make it all the way to the stone pillars, or to the town that was supposedly on the other side, but both of them were quite able to set up a camp for the night. It was almost like old times, in fact, from their years fighting in Ishbal.
The daylight gradually failed, the rays of the setting sun streaming eastward to light the ochre pillars with flame in the distance before vanishing altogether. By the time darkness finally fell, Roy and Riza had found another little spring and a copse of ragged, stunted trees under which to shelter.
( The first few days in Ishbal )
(Continue to Chapter 10)