A Day in the Life ...
Brian W. Antoine
6:00AM Iím almost always the first to wake up in the family, a hold over from the fact I was born on a world with a 24 hour day, not 27 hours. I probably sleep the same percentage of my native day as the rest of the family does theirs, but unless I ever adjust to completely to living on Velar, Iíll always sleep a little less than everybody else will here.
The bedroom is fairly dark, a hold over from the days when Velanís lived in dens underground, and Iím actually happy with that. I always hated getting woken up by the sun as a kid and usually did whatever I could with think drapes to keep my own bedroom dark. Thatís not to say it was pitch black though, there was enough light filtering into the room to let me see where everybody was as I raised my head to look around. Not that I needed to actually see all of them, I awoke, as I usually did, curled up behind Kalindra with my arms around her. Also, as had been the case more often then not lately, one of my arms was draped over the bulge in her body where our daughter was growing.
A daughter that gave a small kick, almost as if she knew I was thinking about her. "Quiet you, let mommy rest a little longer," I whisper to her, then I gently disentangle from my mate and make my way to the edge of the huge pile of cushions that serves as our bed.
6:15AM Vel is fully above the horizon as I step out onto the balcony that circles our home at the second floor, and there is just a hint of chill still in the air as I unroll my mat and start my morning Yoga routine. I noticed a few years ago that I wasnít as nimble as I remembered, age and the abuse that came with the title ArchMage have taken a toll. I finally settled on Yoga as a way to fight back and when I could, I started my day with some stretching.
Iíve also learned to do it while everybody else is still asleep, to avoid the comments about how much noise my joints sometimes made or how much I am wobbling. My Sun Salutation might not be perfect as I get started, but I figured I had to be earning a few points for trying, and for doing it while facing a star that was 1200 Light Years from the world where it had been invented on.
6:45AM Vel is a bit higher in the sky as I finished, and any chill had long since vanished. Putting away my mat I strip and hop into the shower while hearing the first signs of life from the bedroom as the rest of the family starts waking up. None of them join me though, and I didnít mind either. The area that serves as the master bathroom holds both Human and Velan facilities, the shower being pretty much mine alone. Velans didnít wash like Humans, bare skin versus fur of varying thickness sees to that. While I might occasionally get some company from somebody being friendly, or frisky even, the wait and smell as they dry out afterwards is something none of us looks forward to. That doesnít stop me from snapping a wet towel at Lythandi though as she passes me while I am drying off.
7:15AM Drying my long hair is almost more trouble than washing it, and not for the first time I think about getting rid of my pony tail. It is spared that fate once again this morning when Naldantis sits me down and then stands behind me and braids my hair for me. Then he hands me the wolf clasp I usually wear when my hair is braided, "No, you did the hard part, go ahead," I tell him as I hand it back.
Then the two of us clean up the bedroom, neither of us mentioning out loud that the females were taking so long to become presentable that we once again end up doing the cleaning by ourselves. Weíve only made that mistake once, Velanís have good hearing, females especially so, and we had to clean up after the pillow fight that had broken out on top of the normal cleaning.
7:30AM Todayís my day to cook, so back out on the balcony I go to harvest a few herbs from the stuff I grow in a small herb garden. Iíve decided on scrambled eggs with herbs, some fruit chunks and juice to start our day. Today I decide on some Oregano, Lemon Thyme, and a Peppery Herb that is native to Velar that everybody seems to like.
8:00AM Breakfast is ready, and I add a few dashes of a supplement that Naldantis has worked out for me to help provide a few things that my Human Biology requires that isnít usually present in Velan foods. Wythdantis worked out the basics of it years ago, when Iíd spent a few months straight on Velar and started feeling a bit off my norm.
Breakfast with the family is never about just food, itís where we talk about what weíve got planned for the day, relay any interesting tidbits of news weíve heard that might be of interest, trade ideas and even the occasional joke.
Lythandi lets me know she wonít be around for lunch, sheís going to be at the science center all day helping them continue to check out the Wayne Space Telescope that I helped a couple of other Velan Mages place in orbit two weeks ago. I still wince when I hear the name of the thing, I might have suggested it and shown Lythandi and her colleagues some of the results Humans had gotten from Hubble, but I donít consider that worth having the thing named after me. Especially since a few of those colleagues have publicly grumbled about the fact that I havenít announced any plans to include any of them on the Sunbeam 5ís crew when we start exploring.
Kalindra is rather quiet today about her plans, and I suspect that has something to do with my having noticed sheís started checking out rooms around the house with the idea of which one will make a safe and secure place to give birth to our daughter. Iíve been through this once before, so I have an idea what to expect. When the time comes she'll more or less barricade herself someplace safe and anybody who comes through the door besides the father of the child will be risking their life. I make a mental note to keep tabs on her, and if she appears to favor one particular place, Iíll follow behind and get it cleaned up and prepared.
Naldantis plans to spend some time working on a paper heís writing, though heís being real secretive about the topic. I kid him about it probably being a paper on the psychological torture methods Velan females have found to be the most effective when trying to make Human males obey them. Nal just laughs and claims heís not an author of fantasy stories, Lythandi and Kalindra though give me rather evil smiles.
Lan Louis has a day of study ahead of him, though he plays me and Kalindra against each other trying to wheedle a day off so he can go exploring one of the larger shopping complexes with his friends. Kids it seems are much the same no matter what race theyíre from.
And me, well, I mention a few project Iím working on, and forget to mention a few others that I want to be a surprise. Since itís my day to cook, itís also my day to take care of any shopping that needs to happen and I make notes as I ask if anybody knows of anything weíre running short of or if anyone has any special requests.
Then as quickly as breakfast started, it ends, and suddenly Iím left staring at a pile of dirty dishes as everybody seems to perfect the art of teleportation at the same time. I mutter just loud enough to be heard about the serious decline in the manners of my family, ignore a snicker from outside the doorway, and work through a spell that has everything cleaned up in a few minutes.
9:30AM On my own for awhile, though I can hear Lan Louis working through a lesson on his teaching computer in a room nearby, I head to my den and start calling up any new messages that have arrived for my attention. There are some daily status reports from both Earth and Tycho, and a message from 931. I sent Penny to TipKatz a month or so back to help with the repairs of the Sunbeam 5, and to observe and report on the completion of the work that had been interrupted by the war with the Meenzai. The note from 931 lets me know that theyíve confirmed an actual warp of the hull that Iíll have to come fix. The hull was originally cast from one molten mass of metal by my Ďsingingí it into the shape and letting it cool. Given the strength of that metal, I try not to think of the stress it took to actually deform it, or what Kalindra suffered being inside it as it happened.
931 also mentions that I can have Penny back anytime, the sooner the better. :)
When Iím finished with the messages, I work through some daily news feeds that I try to stay caught up with. Two whole worlds make for a lot of news and even with the way Iíve learned to skim headlines, it takes awhile before I flip the switch on the terminal and stand up to stretch.
11:30AM Itís not quite time to start working on lunch, so I grab a book off my bookshelf and head out to the balcony to do some reading. Iíve managed to get hooked on a series about a Wizard named Dresden and I swear this guy gets into almost as much trouble as Kalindra does. Itís always entertaining though to see how he gets himself back out of trouble, only to set the stage for getting into even more trouble in the next book.
12:30PM Lan Louis sticks his muzzle over the top of the book Iím reading and whines about starving to death, and I realize Iíve been reading for longer than I planned.
12:35PM Sandwiches, Juice and a small chocolate snack for three get whipped together post haste. Lythandi is still at the science center, Kalindra, while I can tell sheís nearby, skips lunch. So itís just us guys, and no, we donít all eat over the sink to avoid having dishes to clean up.
1:00PM Back to my book for awhile, than I take a nap in a hammock I keep on the balcony. Itís late Spring in the southern hemisphere of Velar, so the warmth and the longer hours combine to help me doze off.
3:10PM The crack of lightning in the distance echoes through the valley below the mountain top where our home is, and it snaps me awake. As soon as I realize what woke me up, I relax and decide itís about time I got some more work done.
3:15PM First thing to take care of is the shopping, so I grab my list and step through the Gate that will take me to the northern hemisphere where Kalindraís old house is. From there itís a quick walk to get to the nearby town where I pass the list over to one of the markets that I like to support, and checkout the Velan equivalent of a postal service for anything sent to us. Iím happy to find a package from a small electronics fabrication company that Iíd ordered some custom parts from. Included is a note that confirms the exotic metals Iíd traded for the components were more than acceptable and to let them know if I needed anything else.
3:30PM While waiting for the food order to be packaged up, the owner of the local inn spots me and we end up talking about my recent attempts at brewing a dark beer that is actually drinkable. Brewing is an occasional hobby of mine, but more often than not over the years, some crises would occur and the batch would be ruined because I wasnít around to work with it. Now that Iím retired, I mentioned to him that I was trying again. I allow as how the current batch should be ready in a few weeks, and Iíll drop by with a bottle for him to sample. Then the food packages are ready and with them floating along behind me, I head home, ignoring the occasional stare from people who havenít seen how I transport stuff when itís more than I can carry.
4:00PM Iím home, everything is unpacked and put away, and Iíve got my package in my hands as I picture my lab in my mind. With a very quiet *pop* Iím a mile beneath the house, in the heart of the mountain.
I think all Mages have a place they call a lab. This is actually my second one, I know Kalindra has one beneath the lowest known level of her old home and I know Tanindra has one, though Iím not sure where it is. Unlike my first lab, nobody is allowed in this one except me. That annoyed Penny considerably, since my first lab had actually been constructed with her storage chamber as the core, but letting her know about everything I did was a mistake I didnít intend to make more than once.
Laying in the center of one of my workbenches is a staff made out of hull metal, the surface covered with what look like carvings, though Iíve actually sung them into existence since hull metal couldnít be carved by any tool I know of. As I walk up to the table, the few lights come on within the staff, itís complete enough to react to my presence. Contained in the package I received are some insanely dense memory modules and the primary processor I designed. I spend the next few hours installing them and doing the initial checkout.
6:30PM Itís dinnertime, I put the staff back to sleep and head back to the house to prepare dinner for the family. The menu tonight will be a stew, pretty much all-native Velan ingredients, with a bit more meat than Iíd consider normal. Velans are a bit closer to their carnivore ancestors than Humans are, so Iíve compensated for the breakfast and lunch that were tilted more my way with dinner tilted theirs. Normally a good stew would have been simmering all day, but hey, being a Mage has its advantages.
7:00PM Lythandiís back from the science center, Kalindra has reappeared and I can sense through our bond that sheís taken a strong interest in one of the rooms on the first floor of our home that tucks back in behind areas we use for storerooms. Even though tomorrow is technically her day to cook, I suspect Iíll be covering for her and finding time to do some room cleaning.
Dinner is much like breakfast, though a little slower paced since itís at the end of the day and weíre all getting tired and slowing down. Lythandi tells us about some problems theyíre having with the tracking system, it wonít stay locked on a guide star for more than a few hours before it starts to drift. Since she canít actually be angry about it, I keep an eye out for practical jokes through the rest of dinner. Naldantis figures it out as well, and offers her a good curry and backrub later in the evening as a distraction.
8:00PM Cleaning up after dinner goes faster than breakfast because I have help this time. Lythandi clears, I clean, Naldantis puts stuff away. Kalindra supervises, loudly and quite obnoxiously, like sheís master of the household and weíre her servants. We put up with it for about two minutes before the servants stage a revolt and carry their soon to be ex-master off for proper punishment. In the central courtyard, I suggest throwing a rope over a tree branch and "stringing the wench up as an object lesson for all those who oppress the innocent". Iím outvoted and we settle for assigning her extra days of cooking and cleaning, which Iím probably going to have to cover for.
8:30PM Lythandi and Naldantis have snuck off to be alone, though they end up making enough noise that itís obvious what theyíre up to. To at least pretend we canít hear, Kalindra, Lan Louis and I step out onto the balcony to watch the sunset, closing the doors behind us. Kal ends up leaning against the railing, I stand behind her with my arms around her as Vel dips behind the mountains in the distance and the sky fades from its normal Green, to an almost normal looking Blue, then to Black. I donít know what Lan Louis is thinking, but he doesnít do anything to break the mood as he grabs a chair and sits near us.
9:00PM Itís getting cool now, so we head back inside. Itís quieter inside now, though we can hear Lyth and Nal talking to each other. I give a quick thought to heading back to my lab to get some more work done, then I catch Kal staring in the direction of the storage rooms. Taking her paw in my hand, I lead her over to the bench that surrounds the tree growing in the courtyard and I ask her if sheís made a choice. She pretends not to understand for a second, then I give her a hug and small tweak through our link, she ends up nodding with a smile. Lan Louis is sitting with us, Iím not sure if he knows what we were talking about, and it occurs to me that I have no idea if a standard Velan education include anything like sex education. If not, is it the Klizanís or Klizachís job to have that conversation, and if itís mine, how the hell am I going to talk to an adolescent of a different species about sex? I suspect Iím not going to get a lot of sleep tonight worrying about this.
9:30PM Lythandi and Naldantis rejoin us in the courtyard and we sit around talking about a crazy array of topics. Lythandi asks if weíve started thinking of a name for our daughter, Naldantis wonders if I can explain why some old Pink Panther cartoons he found in my video collection are funny. With a perfectly straight face, I ask Lythandi when sheís going to be ready to pose for her painting, Naldantis coughs and tries to change the subject again while Lythandi just smiles.
10:30PM Iím yawning fairly regularly now and I doubt Iíll ever get used to 27 hour days. Getting ready for bed involves checking the house defenses, then closing everything up and gathering in the bedroom. Somebody has been through hear earlier and laid out a nightshirt for me, probably Lythandi since sheís the one that puts it on me after Iíve undressed. After all these years everybody still finds it a bit odd that I donít sleep in the nude like the rest of the family, but then I donít have fur. She also unknots my braid and gives my hair a good brushing.
11:00PM Kalindra is the last to crawl into the sleep cushions with us, as the head of the family she considers it her job to do a final check of everything before she can consider us safe. Iím tired enough that Iím not actually sure who Iím laying next to after the lights go out, but theyíre warm and I canít stay awake.
I try not to snore Ö :)