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Citizen Fiction's Tales from the Citadel

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EchoGarrote
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Citizen Fiction's Tales from the Citadel

It’s an awkward dinner, after they receive Dawn’s ultimatum. They’re thankful that she didn’t expect Pain to go straight from the Audience Room to Dawn’s bedchambers. There’s a timing aspect, and young Citizen Spring is assisting Dawn with her…preparations. It will be within the week, of course, but biology can be a little strange, so it could be tomorrow, it could be a few days from now. All that they need to know, is that when the time, and she, are ready…he should be too.

They know that the other Seasons are watching them. It’s just to make sure that everyone’s ready to act when Dawn says they need to. It’s certainly not because Dawn’s worried about Pain and Gain ‘wasting’ themselves on each other. However, the Seasons did say there was going to be some changes in the sleeping arrangements, just for a while. They’re mercifully subtle about all of it. Well…Winter and Autumn are, Summer makes jokes. Horrible ones. Hammer laughs, and repeats them later.

The time comes two days later, a little after morning meal. It’s brief, and after it’s over Dawn says that Pain should be prepared for the possibility of another session or two. Also, if there is no result, this will happen again, next month. She doesn’t say what would happen if it goes further than that without a desired outcome. Pain hopes that she’d just choose another suitable candidate. He doesn’t think that he’d be unpunished in that scenario though…but he thinks Gain would be okay. He hopes.

Citizens Comedy and Tragedy get why Pain and Gain are upset afterwards, but they don’t say anything. They’re just Citadel Citizens though, they run the laundry. An easy task with their meager powers, but important none the less. Gain can tell that the fact that it’s Dawn who is doing this, is reason they stay quiet. Dawn was the one who broke Tragedy out of jail, and after discovering why he had been put into jail, then rescued his sister. Then she doled out illuminated justice on that town. The piece of shit, his father, his sheriff uncle, all of the others, gone in a flash. Then she took the two, off into the sky with her. She saved them, and it’s the least they can do to keep her red dresses from fading.

And now she’s done this.

They don’t say anything though. Everyone remembers the old Citizen Quill. Oh, everyone has the occasional wavering of opinion. It’s usually based around someone wanting to bring a family member to the Citadel, or wanting to see their old family. It happens commonly with new Citizens. Citizen Soul and Citizen Heart are very good at helping them through it. The ones that make a bit more fuss after than then get the attention of the Seasons, or the Trio. It’s nothing scary or bad, just enough to remind them that if they continue to act like jackasses, then they’ll end up having problems. The few that continue to make a fuss after that…then get dealt with by Hammer and Anvil, and then no one hears anything about it after that. But those are rare cases, and everyone truly does treasure their lives at the Citadel.

Quill was different. He wasn’t so easily soothed by the empaths, and had enough strength to sneer at the more ‘active’ Citizens. Quill even went so far as to hold the library hostage. That was enough to keep Hammer and Anvil at bay so he could air his grievances to Dawn. Which she did listen to. Then she provided her rebuttal.

Because Quill was a homophobic asshole, and what he did was during Citizens Free and Clear’s wedding, everyone felt it was Dawn fixing an error. Quill was the problem, not the Citizens, and certainly not Dawn.

Comedy and Tragedy understand why Pain and Gain are upset though. They also understand why all of them don’t feel like they can talk to Heart and Soul about it. They’re there for the pair, and now Pain and Gain get laundry priority over the others. It helps.

Mercifully, it seems that another session is not needed. Thank you, Spring. For nine months, things look good. Pain and Gain even go on a quick heist together. Nothing big, nothing flashy, just some computer parts that they need. In. Out. A little banter. It’s not as funny as it used to be though. Still, it feels good. Life is back to how it should be.

Gain made an effort to know Amanda. Think of what you want of her for all her other deeds, but Gain wanted to be a part of the child’s life. She tried to see her when she had been born. She even had Comedy and Tragedy make a rag doll gift for her. She didn’t say ‘step-daughter,’ she never said ‘step-daughter’ and no one in the Citadel ever so much as thought of the term when thinking about Gain’s relationship to Amanda. Nearly no-one.

But Gain’s effort were stopped short, by Hammer and Anvil. They guarded the Child of the Sun, while Spring saw to her nurturing. (Are you surprised that Dawn never changed a diaper?) No one got past them, not without Dawn’s permission. That included her father, and that certainly included her father’s wife.

Gain was the first to know the truth about Amanda. This was before things went downhill. Amanda was exercising with the other, younger, Citizens. The thought was that the Child of the Sun would show her true power when she was in competition with other young Citizens. Gain saw her on the path, huffing and puffing as she tried to keep pace with the others, and failing. It was risky, and stupid…but she was her husband’s daughter and that made her…well it was just a nice thing to do. Plus, if it pleased Dawn, who was starting to show signs of irritation, so much the better. She reached out with her gift, and attempted to pull whatever she could within Amanda. There was nothing. Not a spark, not something sleeping, not something waiting to emerge. Amanda was what she was, and nothing more. Gain just helped Amanda back to her feet and walked away.

She didn’t tell anyone about it. She considered that a horrible mistake, but she was never able to figure out whom she should have told. Gain never knew what Amanda thought of her. Not until the day that she left.

“Linda?” Amanda asked.

“Yes, Child of the Sun?” Gain said. She wanted to be angry with her, blame her for Pain’s death. But she couldn’t, not with her face like that. Not when Dawn hadn’t even spoke to her about it. She learned about what had happened from Dare, of all people!

“I’m sorry that you lost Father.” Amanda said. “I’m sorry about a lot of things.”

“Thank you, Child.” Gain said.

“Please, don’t call me that.” Amanda sighed. “One…one last thing. Have you seen Citizen Free, or Clear? I…umm…Mother needs me to speak to them.”

Gain looked at her. She understood, and she had pulled enough scores to know what it meant when a person stood like that, what they were hiding behind their back.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know where they are.” Gain said. “I did see Citizen Gate at the solarium though. Maybe she knows.”

Amanda blinked, and then nodded. “Thank you. Good bye.” 

“Good bye, Amanda.” She said.

Things went downhill after that.


Long live Emperor Norton.

Lord Flash Fire
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This is great. I love it. However, why the need for 2 posts?  I really think the culture of the Citizens could use fleshing out ( New RPG character idea), and you've done a stellar job of it.


" Ever had those days where you have amazing luck,
everything goes right, and you feel like the king of the world...
....And then you wake up?"
-Someone special, 2012

EchoGarrote
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Sorry about the second post, that was not intentional. 


Long live Emperor Norton.

Rabit
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Deleted :-)


"See, this is another sign of your tragic space dementia, all paranoid and crotchety. Breaks the heart." - Mal

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Red Rackham
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This was really good.  Well done.