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Thread Contributor: 616 Tony StarkRough Landing Tag Bes
Marvel-616

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#1
Six days. He'd been sober again six days, and each one had been, well. It never really got easier, but at some point you got used to wanting what you couldn't have.

And wasn't that the story of his life.

In the meantime, Tony was white knuckling his way through with about as much success as could be expected. He'd texted Chris a few times, checking in like they'd planned. A couple other times when things got...not so good. Otherwise, he was doing the only thing that ever really kept his mind off drinking--feeding an entirely different kind of addiction.

He spiraled up through the sky, feeling the pull off the G-force even though his inertial dampers, yelling in his helmet at the sheer speed of it. The portal was up here somewhere, shimmering in the clouds, and he darted around it, pushing the limits of even the Extremis armor. God, he loved flying.

He burst through the portal, grinning in his helmet as the alien sky opened up before him, the landscape stretching out before him new and distant.

And then everything went wrong. Alerts flashed across the HUD for a precious second before going dark, the armor's flight power cutting out in the same instant, and then he was falling, falling down and down and down in a beating rush of air and he couldn't think he couldn't stop it because there was something wrong with his brain too, a sizzling fire of pain starting in the base of his skull and exploding down his spine and he was just dimly aware of the armor ourself starting to split apart around him before the ground rushed up to meet him and then everything went black.

When he opened his eyes again, it was to a disorienting haze of pain. He blinked, wondering why he was starting up at the sky, then wondering why he was wondering it.

His helmet. His helmet had come off. Extremis had failed and he'd fallen out of the sky and the armor had come apart as he hit the ground and now everything hurt.

Well, fuck.

He had to find out how bad the damage was. He started to rolled over to sit up, then pain blossomed across his right side and leg and he passed out again.

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#2
Bes was a minor god, a meer shadow of his twin let alone of his divine Mother. And that was perfectly fine with the cheerful God of Deliverance, or as he was more commonly invoked; God of Heath, Home, and Happy Endings. What could he say? He loved alliteration.

His few dedicated believers across the dominions of his Mother kept him grounded in that aspect while not being such a drag on his attention that he couldn’t expend his blessings where he willed regardless of the faith of those receiving it.

Hub amused him greatly simply because it was a place for stranded travelers or those needing a new home, or perhaps a happy ending. Bes flitted around dropping little whispers In receptive ears, twerking circumstances into a more pleasing confluence of events. His nature was to be a gentle, giving god; he enjoyed nothing so much as to give seemingly random aide to the souls he came across, and he’d formed a particular to the souls that lived in Hub.

So when who believed in no god called out mentally for aide with the desperation of agony behind it...well Bes decided that he could afford a little walk about to see what was to be done.

“Hello there!” Bes crouched down next to Tony’s form, carefully not stepping on any of the bits of tech strewn around. “Seems like you’ve got yourself in a pickle, can I help?” He questioned cheerfully. his hand brushed over Tony’s forehead, he was no god of healing but he could and did bring the mortal back to consciousness at least and deal with that nasty concussion.

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#3
Tony was conscious again, with an odd abruptness of clarity that made him think immediately of magic. It was almost enough to displace the near-panic that arose as soon as he reached out for the multitude of connections to Extremis and found nothing. Nothing at all. He couldn't access the armor lying in scattered pieces around him, let alone move it, let alone use the remote sensors to get any idea of what kind of a place the portal had spat him out into or what exactly was the source of the savage pain burning down his right side and leg.

Not to mention there was someone crouching over him, a handsome stranger who was far too close for comfort.

Gritting his teeth, Tony pushed himself up on his elbows, unable to fight the primal desire to not have someone looming over him when he was already far too vulnerable. The movement made him hiss through his teeth as the pain spiked close to agony and his vision grayed at the edges. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. The view from his elbows was almost worse. His right leg had snapped below the knee, and he could feel the warm trickle of blood into his pants leg. God. No wonder it hurt.

"Who. Are you?" he gritted at the stranger. "Did you do this?" Something had made his technology fail after all. Or, as was likely as not in his line of business, someone. Instinctively he tried to call on his repulsors but his gauntlets lay useless on the ground beside him. So instead he lifted his chin, did his best to look like he wasn't intimidated and about this cose to passing out again, and stared at the stranger waiting for a response.

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#4
“Of your leg or the what is assume-“ he glanced around pointedly at the debris. “-fall?” Bes smiled guileless open, “Neither. Sorry there. What I am-“ he grunted slightly shifting to his knees. “Nasty Not with your leg there. I can set it and either come back with the cart or carry you to my home till you’ve recovered a bit?” His voice and mobile eyebrows raised in question. “Among other things I am the local midwife, which helps that I have a bit of knowledge of herbs and minor injuries.” Bes chuckled ruefully looking back down at the badly broken leg. “Well relatively simple.”

Bes looked up at him more seriously, “It will be very painful for me to set, and even more so to travel on no matter how gently I guide the horse.” Dark open eyes met Tony’s pain fuzzed ones. “There is a village about a two hour walk north, assuming you don’t pass out from the pain you might make it by nightfall. Or I can carry you to my home that is much closer.” Bes waited steadily for his answer.

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#5
Tony relaxed slightly as the man spoke. It was possible it was still a trick of some kind, but--in Tony's judgment anyway--the simplest explanation was the must likely. He'd experienced catastrophic tech failure 200 feet in the air, landed in a pre-industrial society, and some good Samaritan had happened upon him. The magic--well, maybe there hadn't been any of that after all. He'd been disoriented. It happened.

"I'm not pregnant," he said.

The choice the newcomer had given him, that was another matter. He didn't want to go far from the portal, or his armor. On the other hand, there was little chance he'd be able to get the suit up and running let alone pilot it like this, and ever chance he'd accidentally bleed out from the compound fracture.

"See those plates, there?" He said in answer, pointing to the red metal gleaming on the ground. Just the effort of balancing on one elbow to raise his hand made his leg throb harder and he had to swallow down a wave of nausea. He ignored it and went on, "It's a very lightweight armor. Those are the leg plates. If you can lock them on my leg after you set it. Should stabilize it. Enough." Enough to make it somewhere he could recoup and think of a new plan. God, he wanted a drink. Shit. Chris was expecting a check in by the the of the day. Tony blinked. Focus. "I don't--I don't want to put you out," he added. "But... All things being equal here... Closer is better."

Grimacing, he looked the man up and down. He was muscular, undoubtedly, but Tony was at least as tall as he was, and though he'd lost mass since--everything--he wouldn't be easy to carry. Well, that would be a bridge to cross later, once he knew how much weight he could put on the leg. "I'll be all right," he added through gritted teeth, probably unconvincingly, as a fresh wave of pain made him clench his fists in the grass. "Had worse. Just. The armor. Please."

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#6
Bes knew some of this man. Not his hopes, his dreams, his history, but he was a God, minor or not and that let him peak into what made a man. So Tony’s decision to accept his help and the pain of setting his leg didn’t surprise Bes. “I can do that.” He answered flashing Tony that easy open grin, “So what shall I call you? My name is Bes.” He offered considering the break thoughtfully. “Do you want a count down or suprise?” Bes winced in sympathy wrapping his hands around Tony’s ankle.

Depending on his preference Bes jerked the bone into place, quickly snapping the armor plates into position. “Oh I know you aren’t.” He responded cheerful to Tony’s previous denial of pregnancy. “But that’s what I am so-“ he flashed Tony that smile again. “I wouldn’t claim to be a healer.”

Once Tony was back with him after the shock of the setting Bes would lift the man into a fireman’s carry. “Sooner better. This is faster than me fetching my cart and horse.” Bes kept up a stream of cheerful chatter, holding the burden of conversation from the pain filled man.

“We can come back tomorrow with the cart and pick up all the rest of the pieces, this isn’t a well traveled spot so, should be left pretty alone.” He offered. “I was just on my way from aiding Lucy in her first baby.” He wasn’t lying, Bes the god had soothed that birth moments before Tony hit the ground.

As promised Bes delivered Tony after a fifteen or so minute walk to a cozy cottage; there was nothing about it that would suggest an exact time period or tech level, the materials that were visible were common wood and brick, the small garden was home to a goat and several chickens. A horse and basic cart were set up in the small lean to stable near by. In the near distance a few bee hives were visible.

Inside Bes Laid Tony down on the single bed by the banked fire, a rough staircase lead to a loft, and the kitchen was visible through the open doorway.

The home smelled of honey, ink and herbs; and that was what it was, the moment Tony entered the space he would feel a strange in this rustic building a comforting sense of...comfort, as though he’d come to a place meant just for him.

“Right. Well first things first.” Bes bustled away returning from the kitchen/stil room with a cup, “here we go, something to take the edge off. Good job white knuckling it. But I think we can both agree your a brave chap even if you take it.” Bes held out the thick honey and herb concoction.

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#7
"I'm Tony," Tony said in response to the stranger's--Bes's--introduction. Then he frowned at the question. "Doesn't matter. Just do it." A couple months ago he'd cut off half his foot without a countdown. He'd survive.

He didn't like the idea of having the armor, but had to admit there was little choice. He was at least somewhat mollified by the fact that with Extremis offline, the armor would be of little use to anyone. Especially in a society that was still stuck on carts and horses.

The ride on Bes's shoulders was good for about 15 minutes of terrible, jostling agony. He didn't pass out. He didn't throw up. He supposed he should have been proud of himself for that. But by the time Bes laid him on what could charitably be called a bed, his bruised (hopefully only bruised) side was aching almost as much as his leg, and his jaw was clenched in a permanent grimace. He hated being hurt. He could handle pain--to a point, anyway--but there was nothing worse than being utterly helpless.

He pushed himself up to sitting on the bed as soon as he had the strength, doggedly ignoring the way it intensified the ache in his leg... And found himself immediately facing a cup of some unknown concoction to "take the edge off."

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck.

"I can't," he gritted, one hand gripping his thigh as if that could stop the pain. Extremis might have called up an extensive list of pre-modern remedies for pain, but all Tony had was the general recollection that a variety of addictive and mind-altering substances had been used as analgesics. With his luck, the cup was full of fucking opium. Anything potent enough to make a difference would undo in a second everything he'd been working towards. He wanted relief, God did he want it, but... It wasn't worth it. "I'm an alcoholic," he explained after a moment. "That probably doesn't mean a whole lot to you, but, I--I can't take it. Thanks anyway." He took a bracing breath and looked around, finally taking in the rustic cabin with a furrowed brow. "You don't seem very surprised that someone with a technologically advanced suit of armor just fell out of the sky."

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#8
Bes smiled kindly at the man trying so very hard with his personal demons; “The Event was in living memory. So people here still remember what an alcoholic is.” Bes pushed the cup forward again, “There is no alcohol, no addicting substance beyond my own very good honey.” He winked, “No opioids, there are still poppy fields and they are cultivated, and I do have some laudanum for emergencies but this just a mild Comfey, Boswellia, and turmeric tea. Tastes awful but will keep the inflammation down, and promote bone growth, help calm your stomach.” Bes chuckled shaking his head, “which is why it’s got enough honey in there to make the spoon stand up.” Bes left the mug next to Tony bustling away to the kitchen again. “I’m sure you aren’t in the mood to eat, but I’m going to put a pot of tea on. I suppose I should ask if you have any allergies.” Bes’s cheerful face popped around the corner, “would hate to accidentally poison you. I also have some antibiotics for you to take later. Going to need to clean the wound and wrap it with sterile bandages, honey makes a good topical barrier to more germs.” Bes winked “just because you don’t see flying machines here any longer doesn’t mean the people are savages.” He scolded good naturedly, ducking back to finish his work.

A few minutes later, he came out with a common glazed clay fired tea set, two sandwiches thickly filled with fresh sharp cheese, cucumbers, Tomatoes, a nutty kind of lettuce accompanied by a spicy mustard lay beside the set. “Sorry I don’t often eat meat.” He apologized for the lack. “Now than how about we have a little bit of tea, clean up and than deal with that leg.

He smiled, nodding to the steaming basin with a cloth draped over the side for Tony to wash what he willed.

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#9
"The Event?" Tony said sharply, interested suddenly despite the pain. If something had happened to set this world back technologically, it could explain why Extremis had failed. And, potentially, it could be circumvented so that he could get his healing factor and the armor up and running again.

He picked up the cup and sniffed it, still distrustful. It didn't seem to be anything more than what Bes claimed. But then, if there was more going on here than met the eye--and in some respects, there certainly was--he wouldn't expect it to. Bes seemed guileless enough... But almost to a fault. What sense did it make, really, that he'd have been found by someone so helpful, who had just the right skills and materials to help him? Clenching his teeth, he set the cup down again. God, his fucking leg hurt.

"I'm not hungry," he said truthfully when Bes returned with the sandwiches. The steady throbbing ache in his lower leg was making his stomach do somersaults. For all the platter would probably have set his mouth watering on any other day, the tangy smell of the mustard was only making it harder to keep his breakfast down.

He took the offered cloth but held it awkwardly, letting it drip. He was covered in dirt from plowing into the ground, but that seemed like the least of his problems. He settled for wiping off his hands then set the cloth down again.

"I need to get my tech up and working again," he said abruptly, not quite willing to be grateful when he still didn't know what Bes's game was. "What do you know about that? How did you find me?"

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#10
Bes was not at all surprised that was the question his guest focused on “56 years ago something happened.” Bes raised his hands “Now dont ask me exactly what. No one here really knows, but the best guesses are some sort of weapon malfunction shifted the earth's electromagnetic spectrum, at 2:59am eastern time every item that used electricity to run...stopped.” Bes poured tea into both thick bottomed mugs, picking one randomly. “As i'm sure you can imagine the next few months millions died. Or at least one assumes, the entire electromagnetic spectrum altered so we don’t have radio or anything of the like. The world has narrowed quite a bit.” Bes sat back in the chair he had dragged up to bed. “And thats about the sum of it, the Old World is still taught in schools, once every few years we get word of over seas, every few months aa rider comes through with news of the Provinces around us.”

The light started to dim as the sun set. “Oh! Here.” Bes set down his tea pulling the curtains open wide to show Tony what looked like as the sun set the sky was aflame with blue and red ribbons. “Sunrise is even more impressive.” Bes took his sandwhich letting tony contemplate what he said.

“Now as to why im not too badly surprised that you are asking...well i could assume that bump on your head would do it. But of course for your machine. Folk around here have known about the portal for awhile. Sometimes traders come through, in general they keep quiet about it since we dont really want another war.”

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#11
Tony's hopes fell as Bes described the event. Fifty-six years was a long time for a motivated population to have failed to solve the problem. That didn't mean Tony couldn't, at least locally for his own tech--but it wouldn't be easy. Especially considering that he was already far from being at 100% himself.

He stared into the sunset a moment, finding it difficult to appreciate the beauty through his frustration and the unholy tenor of the ache in his leg.

"There's nothing wrong with my head," he said, then frowned, remembering how disoriented he'd been when he'd first woken up. "You did something, didn't you," he said, suspicion rising again. This Bes was obviously more than he let on and the mystery was grinding on Tony's last nerve. He'd meant to ask about the traders--maybe they'd found a way around the technology damper--but instead could only grind out, "You still haven't explained how or why you found me or why you're going so far out of your way to help me. Who are you, really? What are you?" There had been something strange about the way Bes had described the Event, as if he remembered it personally. And the confidence he'd felt entering the cabin, well that couldn't have been real either. Whatever was going on, Bes was hiding something.

Lying on his back on the bed left him feeling too vulnerable and Tony swung his legs over the edge, paling as his splinted foot hit the floor and grabbing the edge of the bed for purchase. God, that hurt. But everything in him was telling him he had to be ready to fight or run. He was Director of SHIELD. He was Iron Man. He could handle a little fucking pain.

He pushed himself to standing on his good leg, biting offa groan as the injury throbbed harder, and grabbing for the wall with one hand. He wasn't thinking clearly. He knew it. But he couldn't seem to figure out how or why past the roaring in his ears.

"What do you want with me?" He demanded finally.

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#12
Up till now Bes had told no lies; oh he’d played a bit lose with assumptions but he was a god it was damn near required him to play fast and loose with mortal preconceptions.

But than Tony asked a question that to previcate on would be as good as lying.

‘Who are you really.’

“I am Bes.” He smiled beautifically, unleashing his nature unhindered. Comfort, home, that undefined *something* that was a mixture of smell, sound, visual clues that reminded you of safety, your mother's arms, the of being small and secure even if you only knew it for an instant as an infant your soul still remembered. And Bes’s aura was all of that. For Tony it also likely recalled the workshop, that sense of completion, accomplishment, satisfaction of working unhurried on his armor.

“I Am a god“ he chuckled spreading his hands “A little god. Not of much, Home is my main bailiwick, and you are far from yours so-“ Bes shrugged with his hands. “The need called to me.” He frowned at Tony’s insisting to stand. “Please sit at least. I’m not a Healing God and if you twist that bone the break isn’t going to heal straight and I can’t fix that once healed poorly.”

Bes nodded at the accusation “yes I am a little god but I have some power. I just shifted things a little so you wouldn’t have a cranial bleed.”

Want? Bes blinked blankly. “To rest? Heal? I don’t think I want anything FROM you?”

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#13
As Bes spoke, that alien feeling of comfort washed over him again, cutting even through the pain radiating up his leg. It was like being home, in the workshop, on the cusp of a breakthrough, with Steve sitting to the side just there because he wanted to be where Tony was, maybe sketching, smiling up at him like--

He pulled himself viscerally away from the--thought, memory, emotion?--feeling shaken. Violated. He hadn't felt that good in, God, maybe years, and he'd honestly forgotten how it felt. How empty his life was now. He swallowed the depression back, grounding himself in the physical pain emanating from his leg. He couldn't lose sight of what he had to do.

"A god," he echoed, because, of course, why not a god? Tony knew plenty of gods. He stayed on his feet, stubborn, even as the world started to tilt around him a little. Bes might be able to make him...feel thing...but he didn't have that much power over him. "So, you can't heal me. Fine. Send me back. You really want to help me, send me back."

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#14
Now Bes might beable to control how MUCH of his nature spilled out, but no matter how tightly he pulled back his arua, there was no getting around the fact that he was Home and Happy endings, and that would bleed into the area around him.

Since the very last thing he wished was to cause distress- (it littlerally pained him to feel Tony’s unhappiness-) Bes rolled back his aura as far as he could, it did however leave that always present insidious curling warmth that whispered deep into your hindbrain that you were safe, you can relax..

Bes’s expression drooped, “I said i’m a little god, and you aren’t one of my followers, my power around you is limited. I can effect only my domain around you.” and yes one of his Domains was Deliverance, but that was eventual and not directly from his hand. Bes if he was a puppy his ears would be droop, such was his hang dog expression. The oddest thing was that it was in no way fake, he really was upset he couldn’t be more helpful the way Tony wished.

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#15
Tony wasn't sure what was worse. The comfort that had brought his own despair into such sharp relief, or the sudden disappearance of it. He blinked several times, searching for composure, and realized he was about this close to falling over. His leg HURT, and the hazy nucleus of pain centered somewhere in his shin was starting to climb higher the longer he stood.

He sat on the bed again, heavily, gritting his teeth against the pitiful noise that wanted to escape him.

On top of everything, he'd left Bes with a terrible hangdog expression like someone had just kicked his favorite puppy. ...Too many dog metaphors.

Gripping the edge of the bed, Tony gritted, "All right. I get it. I'll figure something out on my own." He always did. He'd be fine. And if nothing else, he was beginning to trust that Bes was as guileless as he seemed. If not especially useful. God, his leg hurt. "So, ah. Until then." He paused, hissing through his teeth. "Shit. Ah. Sorry. Until then I don't exactly have anywhere else to go."

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#16
Bes brightened at that “Home-” he pointed at himself a happy smile lifting the corners of his mouth, “My home is yours, in my house you are always welcome.” Bes smiled wider. “I have tiny sidgeon of luck and fate tied into my domains.” he knelt at Tony’s side helping him so lift the leg steadily onto the pile of blankets folded neatly at the end of the bed. “So you don’t have to worry about infection while you are here, or anything of the sort as long as we don’t become lax.”

Bes rested his hand on Tony’s thigh, forcing tense muscles to relax, stimulating endorphin production, coaxing his poor tired body to accept that it was hurt and to start healing. “And honey is a lovely natural anti microbial.” he babbled happily. “So let's get you cleaned up, have a cup of tea and let your marvelous brain work on the puzzle of how to get high enough into the air to hit the portal.” Bes now freed of the expectation of humanity exercised his domain more explicitly, whisking away the majority of Tony’s clothes, leaving him modestly clad in his underwear. “Now don’t worry about a thing. I wasn’t lying when I said I was trained to be a mid-wife-” his bubbly demeanor belyed the brisk professional movements as he carefully cleaned Tony’s body starting with the area around his leg. “My Mother is the Goddess of many things, but mainly of Mothers, and I was raised as her High Priest.” Bes chuckled at Tony, “Yes I know you aren’t a woman, but I could make the argument that you have many children don’t you? Even if they are technological and not biological, and since you created them on your own from your own blood and sweat and effort...well l think that rather counts. I mean if you wanted my Mothers attention. Which would be up to you. She is far far more powerful than I am-” Bes blinked deep brown eye up at him. “Do you like snakes? She and my sister- oh my sister is Goddess of Ruin by the way. Both have the snake as their blessed creature so if you like snakes than you’d already be well positioned.” Bes nodded using the distracting cloud of chatter to clean Tony almost with out the other man quite realizing till he was washing his chest.

Bes was a little god but he was still a god, and belief, even begrudging belief strengthened him and gave him a connection to Tony.

“There aren’t any cliffs really nearby, so can’t pull a parasail-” he continued his earlier train of thought as though he’d never diverged from it. “Gunpowder is possible, to do the rocket thing, but problem is supply, I’ve never seen any in his area even for sale.”

“Now. Drink you tea.” he smiled holding the mug to Tony’s hands. “Part of the pain is your body has other needs that you need to meet so it can focus on healing.” Bes’s smile was soft, inviting, “Let’s take care of them eh?”

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#17
Tony gritted his teeth as Bes picked up his leg, but had to admit having it up felt considerably better. And no infection was good news. Very good news.

"Thanks," he said, only half grudgingly.

Bes's hand on his thigh felt good too, and he was aware in a distant sort of way that if he weren't feeling so miserable he'd probably be interested in an entirely different sort of way. But as it was,all he could really find himself caring about was that the sharpness of the ache receded a little.

And then he was in his underwear. He jumped--where three hell had his shirt and jeans gone?--and jarred his leg and for a few seconds the pain was blinding again. By the time it receded, he was trembling slightly and being stripped down hardly seemed like much of a priority. In any case, Bes was still helping, and still talking.

"You know about my AIs?" he asked, because it was hard to imagine what other children Bes could mean. Probably wasn't talking about the armor that had come to life and kidnapped him. "Snakes are...fine, I guess. If that matters." He considered for a moment asking if Bes's mother could get him back. But he'd rather not rely on magic, especially from a strange goddess, of he didn't have to.

"Gunpowder's probably a bad idea in this case. Too hard to control to flight up. Even harder to control the flight down, if Extremis is permanently damaged." Considering how it had felt burning through his system, that remained a distinct possibility. Still, beginning to think it through was giving him the insight he needed. "No. Balloon's a much better bet. Easier to build, easier to control." Now that he had an idea, all he wanted to do was get up and start working on it. The pain was distracting but he'd worked through worse. "It'll take some time, obviously, to get that much canvas and put it together in the right shape, but we're not talking about an extended flight here...oh, ah, thanks." He accepted the tea and sipped it. "I'll need to draw up plans, and get materials. You said there's a village around here somewhere, is there a market?"

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#18
“Easy.” Bes soothed, “Nothing will harm you in my home.” he promised, “well, at least nothing you don’t do to your self.” his serious calm tone shifted into mischief, “I don’t guard against stubbed toes and burnt tongues.” winking Bes finished cleaning Tony’s skin. “Well that is pretty damn smart.” he nodded sagely, “pump to blow up the balloon and making the actual thing itself seems to be the hard part?” he offered.

“Drawing we can do here. Lay back i’ll get the bed table.” a cheerful humm announced Bes’s location as he left eyeshot. “Good luck you. The art of the ink cartridge pen and lead pencil still exists.” he grinned returning with a tray that stood up at an angle to allow easy writing and reading. “Paper and extra ink, and pencils are underneath.” Bes nodded to the hinge on the opposite side “There is indeed a market! But market day was yesterday so you’ll have to wait a few more for it to come again.” Bes tapped his chin thoughtfully taking a healthy sip of his own tea. “But if you sketch me out the basic shape you need we can work out what materials are available or could be made so in the next few weeks.”

“Of course I do.” Bes tapped his chest “God, small one but ya know phenomenal cosmic power, itty bitty domain.” He grinned in apparent self humor. “I can see what makes your home, what makes you happy-” Bes smile turned slightly sad. “And the roads that diverge away from that.”

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#19
"Nothing you don't do to yourself. The god had clearly meant the statement as a joke, but Tony only winced. It was a small but stark reminder that he had no one to blame but himself for getting into this situation. He'd been flying recklessly, trying to distract himself from everything that made him want to drink, and now...here he was. "I'll sip slowly," was all he said, with a slightly wry smile. "Stubbed toes are another issue. I'll need crutches, for one thing. Or something I can use to get around." No way was he staying stuck in bed when there was work to be done.

He sighed in frustration at the news that there wouldn't be a market for days. "I need to know what's available first. Different materials, different fuel, different tools...all mean different designs. I need to know what kind of tech barrier I'm dealing with also. Anything I sketched out now would take some major assumptions, and I'd rather not waste the time." He frowned, though it deepened to a grimace as his leg gave a particularly vicious stab of pain. "Ow."

He met Bes's eyes as he explained how he knew about the AIs. "Cosmic power. Right," he said, with only a touch of sarcasm. His face twisted again as Bes alluded to the sad state of his life. "Yeah," he said shortly. "It's been a rough year. I'm doing what I have to do."

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#20
Bes waved a hand in casual dismissal of the problem; “I’ve got a few pair laying around and I’m sure between us we can make them comfortable.” Taking a seat Bes smiled as he bit into his sandwich. Humming happily Bes radiated contentment. He did love fresh mustard.

“Well I’m not so knowledgeable about hot air balloons but seems to me that you should be able to manage with copper for most of your metal work, which we can procure fairly easily, and a bit of iron for what needs direct contact with the flame?” He asked.

“For the ballon; well that much cloth is going to be an issue regardless, but if we order it the weeks market than I bet we can get in a month or so; either cotton or canvass. Basket…well we can commission that local. Enough know how to weave, and not like we can find books and pictures to help once folk figure out what you are up to. “

Bes rubbed his chin; “might even get the local mayor on your side of you take someone with you and show how to make a balloon of their own so they can trade directly with Hub.”

His small smile never really dimmed fully, “Good, the road is long, but keep moving forward. Just one foot-“ Bes chuckled looking pointedly at Tony’s leg. “Metaphorical after the other.”

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