I completely blame Too Many Annas for this extra post, and you should too!
Yva looked at her houseplant. It drooped pathetically. That was likely in part thanks to the chomp marks along the lower branches where Stumpy’d had his chew-fit, but the heat wasn’t helping matters either.
She picked up her fan and sighed, sweat running down her back. When she’d been dead, heat wasn’t a problem, but then she didn’t really feel it because she ran so cold she was a walking icebox. Now, though, a pulse and a heartbeat later, not only did she FEEL the heat, she got all sticky and her clothes got clingy and she swelled up like a wood tick.
And it was disgusting.
She guzzled her thirty fourth glass of lemonade, thinking Shad was going to kill her for the sugar consumption, and stabbed in Fells’s box frequency. As soon as it clicked on, Yva threw herself into her chair and oozed across the cushions.
“Fells, this weather is bloody killing me.”
The other line fizzled before quieting down, if quieting down was what one could call tuning into the Drachmas household. There was the less than melodic wailing of babies in the background, and Fells Drachmas’s beleaguered sigh as she struggled to be heard over the cacophony. “Know it,” she half shouted. “Th’babes are fussin’ terrible-like, an’ ‘cosia’s been in th’lake so long she’s gonna git all pruney.”
” . . . is Laz at home?”
“Nope. S’off doin’ whatever it is Laz does when he ain’t here. Thank th’bronzes for Shad. Got him out runnin’ for ice cream. Should be back inna tick.”
The notion of ice cream made the Balthasar heir churning in Yva’s stomach blurgle at her, and she looked down with a frown. “Ice cream? I want ice cream.” She glanced over at the wall clock. Jak had been gone since before sunrise and wasn’t due back from his patrol until after suppertime. Which meant if she wanted ice cream, she had to head to Tanaris herself to get it. Of course if it was hot here, it was infinitely hotter in the desert.
She hated Jak right then. It wasn’t rational, it wasn’t nice, but she hated him for getting her pregnant, abandoning her to the heat, and most especially for not psychically knowing she and his child demanded an ice cream sacrifice RIGHT NOW.
“Yva, why don’ ya come over? Sure we gots more’n ‘nough ice cream t’go ’round.”
“I . . . yes, I could . . . ”
Yva lifted up her hand and peered at her fingers. She flexed her pointer and a talon of ice grew from the tip almost like an extra fingernail. Her eyes flickered over to the wall, and then back to her magic effect, and a grin began to split her face.
“Fells, I have the most wonderful idea. I’ll be there shortly.”
She thrust herself from the comfortable clutches of her chair and tottered towards her office, retrieving a rune from her desk drawer. A few magical words and a snapped rune later, she, Flaadhun the felhound, Stumpy the corehound, Evan the wolfhound, her two snakes, and a zombie bunny kept in a bag as to not disturb Fells appeared on the Drachmas family farm . . .
. . . which was not a farm because Laurus was a nutter.
Yva shuffled up the drive, pausing in her tracks to peer at the lake. She spotted a blond head bobbing in the waters and waved, her hands cupping around her mouth so she could shout.
“Precosia, dear, come inside. Yva has a splendid idea.”
She didn’t wait for an answer, instead letting herself into Fells’s house with ice talons sprouting from every fingertip. Her menagerie tottered in behind her, all panting and miserable and droopy.
“I hope you don’t mind the pets,” she said in greeting. “But it was terribly hot at home and I didn’t feel right leaving the poor things there. Oh, and Bunny’s in the bag.” She dropped the bag onto the chair in the corner with an unceremonious thud. It twitched but otherwise remained unmoving.
Fells eyed it as she paced back and forth, a wailing Heth against her shoulder. Her dark hair was plastered to her scalp, and there were dots of sweat at her temples. A few of them ran rivulets down the sides of her face. “Fine s’long as ya keep that unnatural thing ‘way from th’babes. An’ inna bag.”
“Of course. Now then.”
Yva eyed the back wall of the great room, her mouth pinching thoughtfully. When she lifted her hand up, ice began to spread, covering everything from the paint to the pictures to the drapes. Fells turned around and squawked, her eyes bulging from their sockets. The noise startled the babies, and both of them set off on another round of screeching. The dogs barked in echo and the snakes slithered away to hide under the bed. Even the big dead rabbit roiled around inside of his canvas sack.
Utter chaos had descended upon the household in the span of twelve seconds.
“Yva, what’re ya doin’! That ain’t . . . Laz’s gonna . . . aww damn it! Everythin’ stop bellowin’!”
Yva just smiled, opting not to point out that Fell’s bellowing was louder than everything else’s. She forced the ice over a second wall, and then a third. Fells sputtered beside her like a gobbo machine about to die a glorious, mechanical death. “Give it a moment, my dear. Just one moment.”
The temperature dropped almost immediately. Yva channeled more mana into the ice to keep the effect alive, so nothing would melt and cause a watery mess. She lifted her arms and waited, and soon, a lovely circulation of cool air began around them. Flaadhun grunted and shoved by her to go sprawl on the hearth, Stumpy and Evan trotting behind him. They settled down into three large heaps, stretching out to enjoy the now tolerable temperature. Heth quieted down, which meant Feli quieted down, which meant . . .
Fells quieted down.
“Oh damn! That feels real nice!” She sighed as she sank down into a chair at the table, reaching for a glass of water. “Laz’ll prolly have a ruttin’ fit, but I don’ care. Feels too good ta tell ya t’stop.”
“I’ll handle Laz.” Yva moved to the chair beside her, reaching forward to pick Feli up from her crib. The little girl squirmed and made a very ‘I don’t like you’ face at her, but Yva ignored it, rubbing her back in soothing circles. Feli settled down, unhinging her jaw in a yawn and cramming a pudgy fist in her mouth.
“Ya know what’s gonna make it even better?” Fells said after a minute. “Mean, other’n the house gittin’ cool.”
“Shad’s still bringin’ ice cream.”
Yva’s stomach yowled. Fells’s stomach brawred in answer.
The cousins looked at each other and grinned.