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Heidi Hecht

"Geralt and the Gypsies" by Heidi Hecht

SciFi/Fantasy text 4 out of 14 by Heidi Hecht.      ←Previous - Next→
 
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I have Linday 'Disney Quotes' Verde and the Inkwell Artisans to thank for this. This is set a few weeks after 'Hearts of Space.' Geralt and his new Veroshi friend, Ruyana, go on a day-trip to the Gypsy fair.
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←- Hearts of Space pt 1 (revised) | Heart of Stone, pt 1 -→

Eric Timerson watched the squad of Enforcers moving through the caravan. There were matters that the Grebsas could ignore, like the occasional minor theft. However, they made no exceptions when it came to searching for human children with a specific mutation. They certainly took their time about it. Some members of the caravan grumbled about it: Did the Grebsas really need to rub it in?

However, Timerson understood the Grebsas' reasoning. It was bad enough that certain children were born with the ability to access the Grebsa Network and, therefore, had to be taken for genetic tweaking and training. It would be worse if they took a child who couldn't by mistake and had to cope with a genetically engineered freak who belonged neither among humans nor among Grebsas or missed a child who could and had to go through the whole thing again.

An Enforcer approached Eric's wagon. His wife, Gabrielle, held their youngest daughter close. The Enforcer looked directly at the child, who returned the gaze with large, frank eyes. Something undetectable to any human seemed to pass between them.

"This girl is a Grebsa," the Enforcer said in his growling bass voice.

Refusing to surrender the child would mean an automatic death sentence. The Grebsas weren't going to listen to accusations that they were unreasonable, either. From their point of view, they were being very reasonable by not giving humans possible hostages to exploit.

Elizabeth slipped out of her mother's arms and ran over to the Enforcer. He let her climb up on his back. He sniffed at Ryan and George, probably for form's sake since the Grebsas had passed them up for the past fourteen years, and then walked away. Neither he nor Elizabeth looked back once.

"Why did it have to be her?" Gabrielle moaned.

"You know what the Grebsas think. Any one of them would tell you that we would never understand the ones they take."

"They don't even give us a chance to try."

A passing Enforcer with three children on his back turned to curl his lips at them. Then, he shook his bushy mane and moved on. The large winged lions of the Grebsa Network never wasted time reasoning with a human. If humans hadn't understood Grebsa reasoning eight centuries ago, when Grebsas had conquered Sol System, they weren't going to understand it now. In their view, humans were the scum who had started the Human-Grebsa Wars, abused Grebsa children, and ignored Grebsa attempts to negotiate peacefully. It would be a cold day in Hell before Grebsas gave humans a second chance.

The Grebsas declared the Search complete and took off. They wheeled into flying formation, leaving the shattered Gypsy families to pick up the pieces and continue as well as they could.


*********


Ruyana jumped when she heard the roar of an angry Grebsa. She turned away from the half-finished building she had been looking at and saw one of the demonic winged lions of the Grebsa Network slamming a human into the pavement not fifty meters away. Geralt Half-Face, she identified him easily by the synthetic side of his face and artificial wing. He had absolutely no love for humans, whom he blamed for the fact that he was a cyborg.

The human screamed and writhed in pain. Two other Grebsas landed and helped Geralt secure him. They carried the human away and Geralt snarled at several human workers who had stopped their work to watch the scene. They hastily returned to work.

Ruyana sighed. Some days, she felt like Geralt was two different people. One was the kind, loving, eternally patient god who had helped her walk and fly. The other was the vicious Guardian who had every reason to hate humans, especially the sort who were putting in fourteen-hour shifts to build the spa that the Veroshi leaders had requested.

Tail lashing, Geralt resumed his patrol. He wouldn't like it if Ruyana approached the construction site when there were humans working. His new Faction existed to defend the Veroshi and having human criminals working in Veroshi City was making him edgy.

Ruyana made a mental note to go to his apartment later. He never turned her away. Maybe she could get him to talk about what was bothering him. It might not even be humans, even if he was a cyborg because of them. They were just a target for his frustrations.

Even gods need to unload their problems to somebody, Ruyana told herself as she walked away. And he knows me best. He trusts me. I'll just bring some of those sweet-mints he likes and cuddle with him a bit. Who knows, I might even be able to help him.

Her hand went to her belly as she walked away. She was pregnant and she felt a little guilty about it. Maybe she should consider telling Geralt. She knew he liked children, but he might be angry because she got pregnant without his approval. She didn't want him to think that she had been unfaithful when he had done so much for her. He was the god who had helped her walk and fly when she had been a social outcast and a cripple for most of her life. She didn't want to throw that back in his face.


****************


Geralt was still growling deep in his throat when he flew back to his quarters after his shift. He didn't even know what that idiot human thought he could accomplish by turning that cutter into a weapon. Fortunately, a Shadow among the prisoners had managed to give him about thirty seconds' warning when the criminal wasn't where he was supposed to be. That was all he needed.

Geralt had asked for information about the prisoner afterwards. As it turned out, the man was a convicted rapist who shouldn't have been in Veroshi City in the first place. Geralt thought he had seen Ruyana near the construction site right then, too. He would have to warn her to stay away from there until the spa was completed. He hated it when she saw him at his worst, but what could he do? He would honor his pledge to protect the Veroshi.

He landed on his balcony and entered his quarters. Apartment. He wasn't on an outpost out near the far swing of Pluto's orbit anymore. It still felt odd to have real gravity under his feet and feel a real breeze on his face when he flew. I will adapt, he told himself, and then he heard his shoulder crack. Stars. He was nearly a hundred years old, a respectable age for a Grebsa warrior who, by all reason, should have reincarnated decades ago. His joints were feeling it.

He left the sliding door open. If he knew Ruyana, she would want to visit. It was one thing to know intellectually that one's gods were brutal fighters who had operated on a war footing for centuries. It was quite another to watch one nearly kill a human who threatened him. She would probably need reassurance.

He put some water on to boil and took the selection of Veroshi herbal brews out of the cabinet. About half of them would make Geralt sick for days, if they didn't outright poison him. He wouldn't have them at all if it wasn't for Ruyana's frequent visits. She always had a reason for coming to his apartment, like updates on the Veroshi crops that seemed to take well to Terran soil, the latest news and rumors from around Veroshi City, or simply a message from High Priestess Rawn or Captain Irona.

Geralt had to smile to himself about her little excuses. Rawn and Irona could call him if they wanted to talk to him. They probably went along with Ruyana to keep her happy. He could get agricultural reports just as easily by speaking with the Veroshi farmers. His hours with Ruyana always boiled down to two friends simply enjoying each other's company. He liked that.

Sure enough, he heard Ruyana calling to him almost as soon as the water began to boil.

"Coming, Ruyana," he called back.

He put the water, brews, and two teacups on a tray and carried it out to his living room. Ruyana stood, shaking, just inside the glass door. Stars, she didn't have to be afraid of him. Or maybe it wasn't him she was afraid of. He set the tray on the table.

"Come in, Ruyana-ruan," he used the Veroshi endearment that translated as 'jewel.' "Are you all right?"

"I just wanted to see if you were okay. I saw what happened with that human earlier."

"I know. I didn't mean to distress you. As soon as we get that spa finished, there won't be any more humans in Veroshi City. I promise."

"You hate humans because of what they did to you."

Geralt fingered the synthetic half of his face. His artificial eye glowed an angry red. He had never told her exactly how he became a cyborg. She just knew that human terrorists were involved.

"They are evil," he said simply.

"Are they?"

Geralt rumbled a bit. Ruyana might not even know how much he controlled himself around her. He was like a force of nature. It wouldn't matter who was in the way if he chose to release his full fury.

"I can't afford to trust humans. If I do, I'm risking you and I dishonor myself."

"You're afraid of them."

"I'm afraid of what they'll do to you if I don't protect you. I'm afraid of losing everything worth living for. I love you, Ruyana, and I would rather destroy the entire human species than see you get hurt."

"I believe humans have a tradition called a 'wager,' is that right?"

"One of their many vices."

Ruyana winced. "I see."

"Sorry, Ruyana, I don't mean to snap. Some humans ruin their lives by making wagers they can't afford."

"I just want to make a small wager with you."

"Really? And what is that?"

"I heard from Captain Srona that some Gypsies are having a fair tomorrow. Maybe we can go see what they are really like. If you're right, I promise I'll never leave Veroshi City again."

"Mm-hmm."

"And if I'm right, I'd like to see more of the humans."

"All right. But, even if you're right, I don't want you going anywhere without an escort. I don't want to lose my best friend."

"I understand."

Ruyana went to cuddle with him. She could always sense his moods. His temper flared as suddenly and passed as quickly as the few summer storms they had experienced since settling into Veroshi City. Not that he would ever take it out on her. He reserved his anger for humans. Overall, he felt that the galaxy couldn't be all bad if it could spawn the likes of the Veroshi.

Only much later would she realize that she had forgotten to mention her unborn babies.


**********


Timerson handed the woman her change and thanked her politely. She walked off with all the grace of a cow. He could see why she would need a love potion, even if it was only colored water laced with a light aphrodisiac. Not that it was any of his business.

He scratched at an itch between his shoulder blades and squashed a threatening grimace. Gabrielle was still crying over their lost daughter, even though they all knew perfectly well that they wouldn't have been able to do anything about it. Tiffany had always been a bit odd anyway. She had kept to herself, looking at any human as if they were somehow beneath her. Maybe she hadn't thought that making friends with the children her age was worth the effort. After all, she wasn't staying.

Timerson looked around for other potential customers and found himself looking at a Veroshi's curious face. She was as cute as the news footage of her people had showed. According to the reports, the Veroshi had impressed the Grebsas by making a ten thousand light-year pilgrimage to Sol System in a sublight ship. They had claimed the Grebsas as gods, something which the Grebsas seemed eager to gloss over. To them, the important thing was that the Veroshi had made it and debunked all those terrible movies about invading space aliens. Rumor had it that the Grebsas had leaned on Hollywood to issue an apology and quit making those movies.

Timerson peeked around for the Grebsa who had to be there. He was sitting about ten meters away, alert for trouble. The crowd was giving him plenty of room. Timerson shrugged and looked back at the Veroshi.

"Hello, darling. What can I do for you?"

The Veroshi drew back a bit, and then ran to the Grebsa. Timerson stayed calm. She probably didn't understand Standard and was going to her Guardian for a translation. The Grebsa stalked over with the Veroshi beside him. She had one hand on his helmet. She spoke to him in her own language.

The Grebsa checked the price on the bauble she showed him and winced. He glanced at Timerson, who got a good look at his eyes. One of them was normal. The other glowed an angry red. There weren't many Grebsas with an artificial eye. If any Grebsa had reason to hate humans, it was this one. It was a wonder he was here at all.

"She can have the charm for free if she wants it."

Geralt blinked. Even his artificial eyelid moved without so much as a metallic click.

"Thank you. She will be delighted."

He said something to his companion in Veroshi'i. Her entire face lit up. She touched his cheek and his "real" eye seemed to lose some of its ferocity for a moment. Then, she went over to Timerson and gave him a kiss on the cheek. He chuckled, surprised.

"I know you probably don't understand me, but you're a nice girl. And you're very welcome."

Ruyana asked Geralt in Veroshi'i, "What did he say?"

"He says you're nice."

"He's nice, too. Oh-"

Her hand went to her stomach and she wavered. Geralt moved to support her.

"Are you all right?"

"Geralt," she whimpered.

She collapsed and Geralt caught her.

"The next time I see you, you will have a full face again."

"I'll have Tranna bring some healers. You're going to be okay."

Ruyana stiffened and howled with pain. Geralt snatched her close and called his mother over the telepathic Grebsa Network.

*I need Healers fast. Ruyana's in pain!*

*I'll bring some. Stay where you are.*

Timerson went into his trailer, hollering for his wife. Geralt ignored it. He wished he had gotten some warning. Maybe if she had shown some symptom of this, he could have justified keeping her in Veroshi City. Damn it, she didn't deserve to die in the middle of a pack of no-good humans!

He vaguely heard some humans arguing. He whirled and roared for silence. Timerson and his wife stared. The gathering crowd drew back slightly. They all knew a nerve-shot Grebsa was a dangerous one.

His mother came back, *Geralt, Master Healer Reon says to massage the nerve bundle between her wings. That should help with the pain. And see if you can get her to talk. He says strong guilt feelings can cause a psychosomatic reaction in Veroshi, especially if they try to hold it in.*

Geralt found the spot between her wings and rubbed it vigorously, but not roughly. He had to be careful. Stars, she scared him!

"Ruyana, it's me, Geralt. Talk to me, my jewel. Whatever is wrong?"

"Geralt," she gasped. "I have sinned."

Timerson nearly dragged his reluctant wife over to Geralt.

"Excuse me, my Lord. Gabrielle has some skill in first aid. Maybe she can help."

"Veroshi are very different. Something that might help a human could kill her. I would prefer to have her someplace safe and private. I called for help."

Gabrielle scowled. "I am not sharing my trailer with a bestial kidnapper."

Geralt was about to retort when Rora howled again. He resumed his rubbing of her nerve bundle.

"Whatever have you done, jewel?"

She just whimpered.

"Leave Tiffany out of this," Timothy snapped at his wife.

"Tiffany was our daughter. Don't you care?"

Geralt turned his back on the dickering couple and gave them a showy demonstration of two-legged launching. He wasn't about to put Rora at the mercy of humans who were hysterical after a recent Search. He turned on a wing and flew back toward Veroshi City.


********


After Geralt flew off, Timerson smacked Gabrielle across the face. He knew he would regret it later and usually he wouldn't do this sort of thing, but he wanted to knock her out of her hysterics.

"Denying his poor girl our help won't bring Tiffany back!" he bellowed, red-faced. "If we can't prove to the Grebsas we're better than they think we are, we deserve precisely what we get. We should be thanking them for giving Tiffany a chance to improve her station in life and applauding them for their compassion in taking the Veroshi in. If that Veroshi dies because we didn't help, he will remember that and they won't be as forgiving the next time something goes wrong."

Gabrielle gave him a hurt look and then whirled and went back to the trailer. By now, the crowd was muttering. Timerson got his temper back under control. He could hear Gabrielle and Ryan arguing, and then Ryan came out.

"What happened?"

Timerson told him briefly. Ryan gulped.

"Hey, I miss Tiffany, but it's not worth risking the caravan over. We should decide what we're going to do about this. The Grebsas are not going to be happy."

"Sure thing. See if you can round up representatives from each family. Don't take no for an answer."

Ryan nodded and jogged off. The crowd was rapidly becoming dangerous. He raised his voice just enough to be heard.

"This matter will be settled shortly."

"Veroshi killer!" screamed one.

Another shouted, "You heard what he said. He wanted to help the Veroshi. It's the woman we want!"

The crowd bellowed its approval.

"STOP!" Timerson rarely used his full roar, but it was worth it in this case. The crowd drew back slightly. "The Grebsa won't go far. Not with a Veroshi in critical condition. We can organize parties to look for them and try to help."

He licked his sharpened canines. Logically, there should be a Shadow in each group. The Grebsa Network's hidden Faction would be able to coordinate things, as well as exchange information with the Guardians. Shadows had a lot of leeway when dealing with humans. Steering them toward doing something helpful, for once, would do a lot more good than allowing them to riot.

Ryan pushed through the crowd with members of the other Gypsy families in tow. Timerson rapidly brought them up to date. There might be some argument from some of the more contrary members, but Timerson could scare them with reminders of Grebsa reprisals. Not a single one of the contraries were brave enough to stand up to a Grebsa in a full rage.


*************


Geralt landed and advised Tranna of his new position. She acknowledged him, sounding preoccupied and very annoyed. He just kept massaging Ruyana's nerve bundle.

"Ruyana, I need you to tell me what's wrong. I want to help you."

Ruyana whimpered.

"Ruyana? Stay with me. Tell me what's wrong."

"I got pregnant without your permission. Oh, Geralt, I'm so sorry. I was unfaithful."

"Aw, Ruyana, you know I love children! You could have told me. I can help you."

"I must look ugly to you."

"Never. You're as beautiful as ever. I love you."

He sent a thought out to Tranna, *She says she got pregnant without our approval.*

*Pregnant? I'll tell the Healers.* She paused to confer with them, then said, *They say it's probably a psychosomatic guilt reaction that's causing her to reject the fetuses. This happens sometimes when a Veroshi has sinned. She needs a miracle, Geralt.*

*I don't know how.*

He tried to blink back tears. He hated himself for being a vicious, bad-tempered Grebsa. Had he scared her so much that she couldn't tell him about her children? Didn't she realize that he would never intentionally target a Veroshi? Where did I go wrong?

"I forgive you, my Jewel. Stars, I've done worse things."

Ruyana wagged her tail. She could sense Geralt's love for her. If he had done worse, well, it was because he cared about keeping her safe.

"I was stupid for not telling you before. And for not thinking before getting pregnant."

He smiled through his tears as his eyes drifted down to her slightly protruding belly.

"And I'm stupid for not noticing. Sometimes I'm not going to know things unless you tell me. I forgive you and I'm looking forward to seeing the children."

Ruyana felt all the guilt and the pain leech out of her. With a sigh, she snuggled closer to Geralt's chest. He was sweet for forgiving her, for accepting her when no one else would, for just... existing. It also occurred to her that he hadn't asked who the father was. Maybe he had just assumed that they could cross that expanse when they came to it.

So she told him.


*******


Gabrielle scowled at Timerson's back. He moved like a cat through the forest, following a leaf-covered trail. He claimed that it was easy to see where leaves had been trampled. She had looked around him several times and didn't see anything but leaves. She didn't say anything to him about it. He would only say it was because she didn't know how to observe.

He was still angry over how childish she had been back at the festival and had steamrollered over all of her objections. Maybe he was right about one thing. Refusing to help the Veroshi wouldn't bring Tiffany back. Such obtrusiveness might even be the whole reason why Grebsas refused to trust humans. However, the scene Gabrielle and Timerson had made had already done its damage. Anything they did now was likely to be too little, too late.

There was no convincing Timerson of that, though. He just marched on like he knew precisely where he was going. He didn't give Gabrielle much choice but to try and keep up. Of course, Ryan and Kyle didn't have a problem. They just talked about their mission like they were only out to buy some supplies for the caravan. One would think that they weren't in danger of being ripped to shreds by a Grebsa they had already managed to piss off.

"Just let me do the talking," Timerson said. "I've dealt with Grebsas before. The hard part is earning their trust, but they can be reasonable. The one we're looking for has probably already called for help, but it will be a while before they can get Healers from Veroshi City."

"Why do they call it Veroshi City, anyway?" Gabrielle demanded between huffs. "Couldn't they have come up with something more original?"

"Well, it makes perfect sense when you think about it. They built it for the Veroshi. They just got used to thinking of it as 'the city for the Veroshi.'"

Ryan and Kyle laughed. Gabrielle didn't see what was so funny. The first aid kit was getting heavier by the minute and she was afraid that she would have a heart attack if they kept up this pace for too much longer. Not that anyone had any sympathy for her. When she had protested her inclusion in the search parties, Timerson had retorted that they wouldn't have to look for the Grebsa at all if she hadn't made a scene.

She head the sound of loud purring right before Timerson gestured off to one side of the trail.

"There he is."

The Grebsa sat on the leaves, purring as his Veroshi stroked his face. Gabrielle dropped the kit.

"Well, his poor dear doesn't need our help!" she huffed.

"Don't be mean, Gabrielle."

Timerson went over to the Guardian, making enough noise so he wouldn't startle him. He held up the helmet he was carrying.

"I brought your helmet, my Lord. We were going to help your poor Veroshi."

Geralt looked him over, pretending he wasn't looking at a Shadow. Grebsas never knew what to do with unexpected human kindness. If a human helped a Grebsa, it was usually because he wanted something in return. They never expected that the Veroshi had impressed humans, too.

"She gave me a good scare. Thank you for returning this," he said, accepting his helmet.

There was no sarcasm in his tone like Gabrielle had expected. It was as if he had never witnessed her temper tantrum. Maybe it was that humans couldn't disappoint him. He expected them to be petty and hateful and extend their resentment to the Veroshi. Gabrielle tried to dismiss those thoughts. If he wasn't directly responsible for taking Tiffany, well. . . Maybe he got ripped from his family, too.

Tears of sympathy welled up in Gabrielle's eyes. That was something that had never occurred to her. Every Grebsa was somebody's child or grandchild. Who knew how many nieces, nephews, sisters and brothers would never know their human families and grew up thinking that those families hated them. Too many humans went out of their way to prove them right. Grebsas might be the Lords of Sol System, but they were desperately lonely and the Veroshi found them easy targets. It had to be embarrassing to be conquered by such pretty little sweethearts. Just not embarrassing enough for them to reject the people who came such a long way to worship them. The Veroshi did what humans couldn't or wouldn't do and the Grebsas rewarded them for it.

Gabrielle went over and put a hand on Geralt's shoulder. He looked at her like he would look at an especially revolting glob of snot. So, he hadn't forgotten her tantrum. If Gabrielle didn't get it out fast, she was going to lose her nerve.

"I kind of hate myself right now. Here I am throwing a fit about Tiffany when I could have proven that humans can have a little compassion. And we always wonder why you can't trust us to raise our own children."

Geralt just grunted. It wasn't a condemnation, but it wasn't really a reprieve, either.

"You're right, you're right. We humans would be exactly the same way if our situations were reversed. Only you're smarter, because you want to stay on the Veroshi's good side. They could make short work of the Solar Empire if they wanted to, couldn't they?"

"The Veroshi don't demand anything we aren't willing to give," he said in a growling bass voice.

Ruyana said something to Geralt in her own language. He answered in a reassuring tone and put his helmet on. A squad of Guardians wheeled around into a defensive formation and landed behind him. Each of them had a Veroshi Healer on their back and each of them would fight to the death to defend those little dears. The Healers slid off their Guardians' backs and assured themselves that Ruyana had recovered. Geralt watched the humans with his artificial eye glowing an angry red through the golden helmet.

"We Grebsas have a long memory," he growled. "We will remember that you grew up a little bit today. Perhaps you will see Tiffany again someday. One never knows where duty may take us."

"Wait!" Gabrielle said. "What is your mother's name?"

"Tranna."

"Oh, stars-" Gabrielle choked up. "You're my cousin! My great-grandmother's sister was a Grebsa!"

A female Guardian raised her muzzle and howled. The Healers who weren't already mounted hurried up and swung up onto their mounts' backs. Geralt let Ruyana climb up on his and looked behind him, whuffing in amusement.

"My mother has always been a little impatient. Especially when humans are involved."

Gabrielle didn't get a chance to formulate a response. The entire squad and Geralt took off and wheeled around in the direction of Veroshi City.

Gabrielle hollered before they were out of hearing range, "I love you!"

She fancied that the one yodeling howl she heard was Geralt's. She didn't know it would eventually become his signature call as he became a prominent Guardian...


*******


Captain Srona lay with his head on Tranna's shoulder, feeling somewhat disconsolate, though he couldn't say precisely why. He had his Goddess and he had his place in Veroshi City. Perhaps it was that Tranna would die soon, though death was no great thing for someone who could reincarnate herself. If anything, he should have been happy that she would be released from the chronic pain of her impressive collection of battle scars and the degenerative effects of her advanced age. No Veroshi liked to see a god suffer.

Another Grebsa landed on the balcony. Reluctantly, Srona rose. Tranna hadn't specifically said she was expecting a visitor. Surely she would have. Still, he knew his first duty was to serve his gods.

Srona's heart froze when he saw who was entering Tranna's quarters. Geralt Half-Face, Tranna's own son and the patron god of Ruyana. There was only one reason for Geralt to visit at this time of night: He knew.

With a squeal of fright, Srona threw himself at Geralt's feet and begged for forgiveness. Geralt's red eye seemed to dim a little.

"I am not angry because you impregnated my Ruyana. I am angry because her life was threatened. Don't do it again."

Srona groveled even more. Tranna rose from her couch, yawning.

*Don't scare him, Geralt.*

*If he was human, I would do more than scare him.*

"I'm sure Geralt can be reasonable. How about you tell us what happened?" she said out loud.

Srona did his honest best to get it out in one long rush. "I just regretted how I treated her when she was just a crippled outcast and I tried making friends with her. She was pretty reluctant, but you know how we can't hold grudges. I managed to get a bottle of wine from a human and I shared it with her when you and Tranna were both on duty. Things went downhill from there and we both woke up with the worst headaches we ever had and we couldn't precisely remember what happened. So we went to the Priestess and then we went to the Healers. They said they had never seen any Veroshi in such a state and they gave us some medicine for the headaches. We decided it was you punishing us for whatever happened that night. I'm sorry. I didn't know Ruyana felt guilty about it," he finished miserably.

Geralt sighed. As far as he could see, Srona was mostly guilty of lack of experience. Veroshi didn't have much in the way of alcoholic beverages, not when grain was better used to feed livestock and fruit was a delicacy reserved for holy days. That Priestess should have reported the matter to him or Tranna, but she probably saw it the same way.

"The wine caused your headache and memory loss, Srona. That's a kind of built-in punishment for over-indulging. Now that you know what it can do to you, would you do that again?"

"N-No. I don't even see why humans think it's a good thing."

"Neither do we. As long as you remember that, I see no reason to hold it against you. I forgive you."

Srona wagged his tail.

"Tranna, you should put a ban on wine. Other Veroshi could fall into the same trap Ruyana and I did."

"That's a good idea. I'll speak with the High Priestess about it in the morning."

Geralt took his leave. Tranna settled on the couch again. Srona went back to cuddling with her, satisfied that his gods cared about all Veroshi. Even after a severe sin, Geralt forgave him and Tranna still accepted him. He could count himself lucky to have gods like them.

←- Hearts of Space pt 1 (revised) | Heart of Stone, pt 1 -→

DateNameComment 
20 May 2007:-) Lindsay Verde
A very interesting and captivating start. For someone who hasn't read the other story that this is based around, I'm definitely curious to see how the veroshi and grebsa, humans, and gypsies all combine and function together. The little hints at religion and social customs such as the bowing were a neat touch that added more depth. Looking forward to more!

:-) Heidi Hecht replies: "I hope it wasn't too confusing. I'm going to have to get cracking on "Hearts of Space" for some of this story to make sense, I just know people are going to ask me why Geralt's missing part of his face! Anyway, I'm glad you like it."
27 Jun 2007:-) Lindsay Verde
Oh, and I just noticed that in the intro you put that it was the Herscher Project instead of Inkwell Artisans ^_^. I'm just going through and adding in all of the other project members who have submitted at least one project ^_^.

:-) Heidi Hecht replies: "Whoops! I'll fix that."
3 Sep 2007:-) ME Burnham
Just one thing that I noticed and wanted to point out: "if that was the case, it only made sense for the Veroshi to have some telepathy or, at least, empathy. All Grebsas were linked through the telepathic Grebsa Network..." --> The second sentence seems disjointed and awkward (even with the follow-up). I might suggest trying to combine them by indicating that the Veroshi telepathy/empathy allowed them to tap into the Grebsa Network. Then explain the network. Just a suggestion!

Wheeee! I love Eric!

:-) Heidi Hecht replies: "Thanks for reading this. I have a revised version in the ticket queue right now. Hopefully the Mods will get to it soon."
24 Oct 2007:-) ME Burnham
Mmmmm, an excellent adjustment here! I love the re-write. It flows and is seems--I dunno--more elegant I guess. Excellent work!

:-) Heidi Hecht replies: "Thank you! I know, my first version wasn't all that great."
21 Dec 2007:-) John R Farley Jr
I like the idea of Geralt having half a face and the other half covered in leather. This story is interesting in that it can be part of the two other chapters of Hearts of Space, or stand on its own.

:-) Heidi Hecht replies: "Thanks! I was intending to have this happen soon after "Hearts of Space" and Stacen lost part of his face in a big battle that I haven't written yet."
7 Mar 2009:-) Pedestal Guy
This is almost what I was looking for, the chainsaw incident. It goes farther to explain the Grebsas relation to humans than the other chapters, but it still doesn’t explain how things got this way. Again, telepathic overlords who enslave humanity and steal children aren’t the easiest characters to empathize with especially with that god complex in the background.

:-) Heidi Hecht replies: "Yeah...I am still thinking about a rewrite. I have a vague sort of backstory for the Grebsas and their relationship with humans, mostly involving persecution and a big World War."
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'Geralt and the Gypsies':
 • Created by: :-) Heidi Hecht
 • Copyright: ©Heidi Hecht. All rights reserved!

 • Keywords: Geralt, Grebsa, Gypsies, Gypsy, Ruyana, Veroshi
 • Categories: Extrateresstial, Alien Life Forms
 • Views: 1538

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More by 'Heidi Hecht':
Terani and Vral, pt 1
Terani and Vral Pt 2
Contact
Hearts of Stone pt 3
Veroshi Hymn 2
The Tinnik Rebellion Pt 1

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