First, Brian Niemeier had a great episode of "On The Books" talking with Name about "Pulp Speed". Less than 30 minutes, so give it a listen over your break(s), and take in the conversation.
Second, the final ballot of the Dragon Awards are out. Brian, Declan Finn, John C. Wright, Jon Arroz, and several others previously on either Geek Gab Prime or On The Books made the final ballot in one or more categories. Congratulations, and good luck on winning your category. The final results will be announced at DragonCon, so you won't have to wait long.
Now, another story fragment.
Tom looked up to see the stern-faced countenance of Uncle Jack looking back at him.
"You seem to be missing a lady." Jack said, "And your father will be livid about the car."
Tom looked about wincing as he did so, and saw the smoking wreckage of the family car. "Oh no..."
Jack pulled the young man to his feet. "You're fortunate, Tom. I got word of the alert, and I knew I'd find you somewhere between the gates and home. What happened to the lady?"
Tom pulled his gaze away from the ruined car and answered Jack to his face. "She got blown loose in the blast, and fell away in the crash. I went down with the car."
Jack noticed a scarf around Tom's neck. "That." he pointed to the scarf, "Give it here."
Tom untied it "She gave it to me as a favor, I think."
Jack took it and ran his thumb over it. He grimaced. "I figured as much." he said, "Nevermind your father for now, boy. We've got to get your lady back."
Jack looked up, spotting the point where Tom and Andrea got blown off the road above. In the old man's eyes, Tom saw Jack trace the trajectory of the car's descent. Then he saw Jack's eyes look towards a place far down the ravene, and Jack started walking that way. Tom got in line behind the old man, wincing a bit until the soreness faded.
"Her mother." Jack said, his tone turning serious, "Did she name her mother."
"No." Tom said, "Just that she's looking for a 'Sir Jeremiah', and it was something important, something big enough-"
"-to risk getting the Speaker of the Court of Stars to license a bounty for her head."
Jack kept walking, his pace quickening to a march. Tom followed a few steps behind, watching his uncle run the scarf over his off-hand several times, as if absent-minded.
"Blast!" Jack said, "The day has finally come."
Tom scurried forward. "What day?"
Jack looked down at Tom, then forward again. "She's there, hiding in those rocks." he said, "She's injured, so you go first. Here, take the medkit."
Tom let a lifetime of filial obedience take over, and did as Jack told him. Sure enough, there was Andrea. Tom saw her curled up, eyes closed, and after a check for her pulse waved Jack over. Jack held forth his hand, holding it to her forehead, and then said something Tom couldn't make out for its softness.
"Wake up, Your Highness." Jack said, his tone now back to that familiar fatherly tone, and Andrea opened her eyes- and then let out a groan of pain.
"Sir Jeremiah!" she said, gasping, "But how-"
Jack pointed to Tom, who smiled at her. "The boy lived up to his word, after a fashion." Jack said, "But your hunters are on the move. We have to leave here. Let Tom get you on your feet, and then follow me out of here."
Andrea nodded, and Tom administered painkillers to numb the aching before helping her to her feet.
"I'm sorry about all of this mess." Andrea said, but Jack waived her off.
"Save it for later, Highness. Right now, we have to get out of danger."
Andrea leaned into Tom and whispered into his ear. "Is this normal?"