3.7 Brothers and sisters

I can’t believe how quickly my children are growing up.  As they grow, all four of them are developing such strong personalities.  I can’t wait to see what they’ll become.  Every day our town offers more possibilities for them, as people work to rebuild it.  Work has begun on the library and gym – it’s such a testament to the work of our parents and grandparents that we can now, as a community, begin establishing things they only dreamed of.  I wonder what kind of legacy my own children will establish.

Jango, my son, is such a charming little boy.  He’s making lots of new friends at school and he loves all of his sisters very dearly.  He’s so protective of the younger ones, and he looks up to his big sister Ilari a great deal.  I’m so glad – my big sisters and my little brother are so precious to me – Jango’s the middle child, just as I am, and I’m pleased that so far he’s finding the role a blessing not a curse.  I was so desperate to be like Echo and Ezri when I was his age, but Jango seems more sure of himself, happy to be his own person.  It took me a few years to realise that I didn’t have to emulate anyone else, that I could be a good, strong person all by myself – but Jango doesn’t seem to have any issues with his confidence.

He was so eager to help out with the girls.  He’s a born entertainer, always trying to make them laugh, or playing little games with them.

They both think he’s wonderful.  I only hope it can stay that way.  There is so much difficulty in my relationship with my own brother, Gaius, right now, and I don’t want any of my children to face something so strenuous.

The girls are now at school, as well.  They were so excited to be big girls at long last, and they’re very excited about being able to get on the bus with Ilari and Jango each day.

Kes has jet black hair, like my mother.  She’s very carefree and takes life in her stride.

Krillitane, like Jango, has my hair colour.  She sometimes seems a little serious, but she’s very clever, always thinking about something.  All four of them have such different personalities and interests.

Ilari is doing very well at maths at school, and she’s been really involved in the building projects.  She wants to know all about the costs and strategies.  She’s not particularly interested in exercising herself, although she likes reading, but she really sees how important it is to us, and to this town.

Eugene is still really enjoying his music work.  He, Echo and the others are doing great things at the theatre.  The Altos have relented so much that they can now play two concerts a week.  It’s everyone’s highlight, something that is really helping this town feel united.  So much love and creativity is going into the shows.  I just wish my aunts Byzantium and Cas had lived to see how much the scene is thriving.  One day we’ll have art everywhere, I just know it.  One day we’ll get our gallery and the artists will no longer be persecuted.  If only they could have seen that day.

The kids are all big fans of the music.  Krillitane says that daddy is her hero.  Eugene is really touched.  Sometimes he feels a little insecure about being part of my family – he says he feels there’s so much to live up to.  I tell him that it’s daft to think that way – I didn’t marry him with any expectations of who he’d become or what he’d do, I married him because I love him for who he is.  I don’t want my kids to feel any pressure from being part of this family, either.  I am proud of my family and all that we’ve done to help our town, but I want my husband and children to be themselves, not strive to live up to some imagined ‘ideal’ of what a Lazarus should be.  Nevertheless, to see that he’s inspiring the kids is something that makes us both smile.

Hirogen is getting a name for herself around town.  She’s finally got her newspaper off the ground, and she’s written some very supportive articles about the building works, as well as keeping everyone informed of the births, marriages and deaths in Riverview.

However, she’s always looking for a new story, a new expose.  She’s learned the trick we sometimes use in policing of rummaging through bins to find gossip and information.  I’m not supposed to approve of journalists doing this.  I’m supposed to stop them – but she’s my cousin and I don’t want to discourage her from her new venture.  Besides, I wouldn’t be surprised if they dug up leads that we might miss.

I am troubled by the paper’s latest campaign, though.  Hirogen has long hated the protection money racket, and she and her colleagues are campaigning to get people to refuse to pay it.  I am afraid of what will happen if people take up this challenge.  Every week we have to pay the Altos for the privilege of owning our furniture and other posessions.  Money is scarce in this town as it is, no-one is particularly well paid, and there’s no money coming in from the outside, so everyone hates that the Altos are able to keep getting richer and richer, that we pay them just for the privilege of living in our own shelters.

But the repercussions are severe if it isn’t paid.  Houses wrecked, posessions taken, people beaten up, others simply ‘disappearing’…

Gaius’s latest role in the Alto mob is to ensure people pay their protection money.  He says he hates it, but if he wants to rise to the top, he has to do it.  He says he has no choice.

I see him sneaking around with bags that I’m sure can’t contain anything good.  I don’t know if he’s just carrying money, or if he’s taking things from people; things they no doubt strived hard to salvage or buy.  I can’t cope with the thought that he might be taking away something really important or precious from someone who has done no wrong.  And he’s very strong, very athletic… I don’t even want to contemplate the physical threat he might pose.

He tells me he doesn’t want to do it, that it’s a temporary stage in the career, that everyone has to do it, and that soon he’ll rise up the ranks so that he won’t have to take part in it any longer.

But sometimes, when he doesn’t realise I’m on my patrol, I see him leaving the warehouse, and there’s a smile on his face that sickens me.

At work, I have been promoted.  They want me to start working to profile criminals.  They want me to write a report on Gaius’s colleague Ronny to start with.  With Hirogen and the other journalists working to expose the mob, with the force trying harder to prosecute known members of the mob, the net is closing in on them.  If Gaius is genuinely going to dismantle the whole operation as he claims, I hope he does it soon… because I don’t think I can keep hiding his secret much longer.

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12 Responses to “3.7 Brothers and sisters”

  1. I’m suspicious of that smile of Gaius’. It will be very interesting to see how that shakes out. Congratulations on anoher moving and beautifully crafted chapter.

  2. The kids are just adorable. I am glad they are all finding their own voices… as Firefly says, it is a challange to be part of the family, but she still wants them not to feel threatened by it.

    Gaius’s smile was slightly unnerving I must admit.

  3. moondaisy101 Says:

    Oh! I didn’t now children could play peek-a-boo. That is so cute. Jango is such a nice boy. Firefly must be thrilled with all four, they seem to all turn out well!

    Gaius is strong both in body and mind to keep doing what he does. I hope the smirk meant he is nearly there and will expose the evildoers soon.

    I really must re-read all the rules. There is so much to remember like how much the people pay to the Altos every week and what restrictions are lifted when.

    Great update, Rad! 🙂

    • Play-wise, they have to sell everything (except beds) once a week and repurchase it as a form of protection money, so they always make a loss on stuff. It makes little difference now in gameplay terms as they can’t buy that much anyway until more restrictions are lifted but in the early days it was a killer! They also can’t have more than one crafted item (novel, painting, cut gem) on the lot because the Altos hate art.

      Things they still can’t do include buying anything electrical save one fridge that acts as a larder/pantry and one computer that acts as a typewriter (i.e no games/chat), gardening, landscaping, eating most types of food, cooking more than once a day, using the businesses, children can’t help each other with homework and so on…

  4. I didn’t know about the peek-a-boo, either! I will have to try that one out.

  5. The kids are so cute! I love the peek-a-boo photos, nice captures. I’m glad that they’re not feeling like they have to live up to anyone’s expectations and that they’ve all got their own personalities.

    I’m a bit worried about Gaius though…I sense that he’s lying to his family…but I hope I’m wrong.

  6. DB loves her Mac Says:

    Nice pics! And very up and down emotions in this chapter. I like the descriptions of the children and how they’re developing as individuals. I can really hear a mother’s concern through the dispatch.

    I also liked the comment about not expecting the husband to conform to the idea of what a Lazarus should be. In story, very touching. Out of story, in the legacy writing world, rather funny. 🙂 Don’t we have so many plans for our little pixel people? I know I do.

  7. raquelaroden Says:

    Oh! I never thought of using a picture of someone taking out the trash as being so sinister, taken out of context! That is a very useful trick indeed….

    It sounds like it’s getting closer to the time when the Altos will be thrown out or at least kept in check with the support of the journalists and police. That’s a very encouraging sign!

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