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sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-09 07:55 am
Entry tags:

Bloodline; G.

Note: The dates of the last few in the Vimes line are taken from my personal annotations on the Discworld Timeline, which can be found in unaltered form at the L-Space Web. It assumes that Vimes is barely over forty when first we meet him in Guards! Guards! This occurs after -- and before -- The Night Watch, and falls after The New Verse in my personal fanfiction timeline.
Summary: Sam Vimes knows his own bloodline.
Warnings: None.

Also available at AO3.

***

Dragon, King of Arms, sat behind the desk in the great records-room of the College of Arms. His eyes, small pinpoints of light in the darkness, gleamed.

"Not even the kings of old will be eradicated so completely," he said. The man sitting opposite him held up a hand, stopping him.

"Are you familiar with the Djelibeyban concept of eradication?" the man asked.

"Yes, of course. Names erased from stelae, paintings, in the case of engravings, of course, blasted out -- "

"No," the man said. "You do not understand."

Dragon gave him a mild look. He was going on a hundred years old, and had seen many things in the decades since his...conversion.

"You do not remove the name from the history books. You remove the glory," the man continued. "The Djelibeybis very carefully removed just enough of the name so that it could still be read. They drew a...a line through it. If you will."

"What are you suggesting?"

"By all means, remove Vimes from the ledgers of Society. We have already seen to it that the ancestral home is to be torn down. We have already confiscated his lands and assets from his children. But a trace of him must be left."

"Oh yes?"

"Yes. So that the people will remember. It must be remembered that a murderer gets just punishment."

Dragon pursed his lips. His visitor was something of a romantic, but he was also the city's new leader. And a man who had buried his predecessor in five graves.

Just in case.

"He killed a king," the man continued. "However good his intentions might have been. He killed a king."

"And now he has, in turn, been...deposed," Dragon said. "Indeed. I believe I understand you now. A reminder to his...descendants, as well."

"Oh, yes, the boy." The man flapped a hand, dismissing young Septimus Vimes casually. "He's simple."

"Is he, my Lord?"

"He will cause no problems. I have arranged for his family to reside in one of the...less glorious parts of the city. His daughter is a proud woman. She must be broken."

"Humiliated, perhaps?"

There was a small spark of pleasure in the man's eyes. "Certainly."

"And what shall I do with this?" Dragon asked, opening one of his books, carefully. The family tree of the Vimes', written mainly in the crabbed handwriting of the last King of Arms, rested on one page. On the other was a somewhat splendid coat of arms. Vimes had commissioned it when he became leader of the City Watch.

"Destroy it. Is it possible to prevent its resurrection?"

"Oh, yes. There's plenty of precedent."

"Do it."

***

Charity Vimes was a hard, thin woman, proud and strong like her father Suffer-Not-Injustice, but unlike her father, she had friends.

Or she thought she'd had, anyhow.

She'd tried to call on half a dozen of her so-called friends, and found them all 'not at home'. She was sure someone would take her in. She was sure. None of them had. So she'd finally swallowed her pride and come here, to a small, paint-peeling cottage on Cockbill Street.

They had given it to her outright, while she lived. That was something, though she would hardly call it a house. Three rooms -- a small kitchen-parlour-workroom, a bedroom for her, and one for Septimus. She had no money, she had no particular skills, and she had no family save Septimus, ten years her junior, who had to depend on her. She had no friends.

Septimus, barely ten, looked at the house calmly. "It's not so bad," he said. "It'll be like when we went with dad on campaign."

"Hush yourself, Septimus."

He went into the house before her, his eyes traveling over the poky fireplace, the old stove, the cheap furniture. He sat on the sagging bed in the small cubbyhole of a bedroom, and looked out his window.

"I can see the whole street from here!" he called. Charity stepped inside. She looked in the bedrooms. She touched the stove. She sat on one of the two elderly chairs.

She burst into tears.

Septimus did not move. His father had taught him that this was something that women occasionally did, without apparent reason, and it was best ignored. He watched the street, instead. There were lads out there, playing games. There were women talking, and men standing outside of small, peeling houses like this one. None of them looked particularly wealthy, but none looked very unhappy, either. The men laughed. The children played. Septimus and Charity had never heard their father laugh in actual amusement.

He got up and walked out into the street. The other children stopped their game, which apparently involved pitching small chips of stone at the gutter and seeing who could push the dead rat closest before it fell into a deeper gap just between kerb and gutter.

"Who're you?" one boy demanded.

"My name's Sep," he said. "Who're you?"

"I'm Little," the boy replied. "Want to play?"

Septimus picked up a chip of stone and pitched it carefully. His father had already begun his training in arms, and he was not a bad shot. The rat teetered on the edge.

"Now you go, right?" he asked Little, who nodded. The boy pitched his own stone, and the rat tumbled in.

"You win," said Little, resignedly. Septimus smiled a superior smile. A Vimes always won.

"Wot's your mum do?" Little asked, as the troop of boys wandered down the street in search of another dead rat.

"Don't have a mum."

"Who was that with you, then?"

"My sister Charity."

"Well, all right, what's she do?"

"Dunno. Not much of anything. What's your mum do?"

"Takes in laundry. Dad works at Long Hogsmeat. Does your dad have a trade?"

"My dad's dead," said Septimus. It was tinged with a hint of pride; where he came from, most everyone had some gloriously dead uncle or father or brother. "Look, there's one."

By the time he returned that night, Charity had pulled herself together, possibly because she had no other choice. Someone had to provide food for the two of them. Someone had to discover where Septimus would go to school, now, and where they could get clothes, and how the life of the Cockbill Street woman was led. She'd found a clothes store up above the Shades that was willing to hire her because she spoke well and knew a thing or two about fashion. She'd bought a loaf of bread and some butter. Sep ate in silence.

"We'll be all right, Septimus, you'll see," Charity said.

"Course we will."

"I'm sure someone will think to help us out. They wouldn't be so cruel. It's just for a little while."

"I like it here."

"You'll get tired of it, I think," she said sourly. "I know I will. I already am."

She touched the pocket of her dress, where two sheets of folded parchment lay. They had been sent anonymously; they were the escutcheon and family tree of the Vimes bloodline.

Sooner or later, a Vimes always won out, in the end. Sometimes it might just take a bit longer.

***

Sam Vimes stood on the creaking wood floor and stared at the wall, thoughtfully.

Unlike most of the families in Cockbill Street, the Vimes family had lived in the same house -- paying rent to some bastard up in the nice parts of town -- for generations. Over the years, several inhabitants of the bedroom had scrawled their names on the thin plaster; in fact, most had probably been written by proud parents. The list was fading, towards the top, but could still be read.

Septimus Vimes, son of Suffer-Not-Injustice Vimes, arr. 1689 m. Sandra Little 1697
Charity Vimes arr 1689 m. Michael Carleton 1690
Perseverance Carleton son of Charity Vimes Carleton b. 1693
Justice Vimes, son of Septimus Vimes, b. 1698
Samuel Vimes, son of Justice Vimes, b. 1707 m. Eleanor Merry, 1730
Merry Vimes, daughter of Samuel Vimes, b. 1730
Benjamin Vimes, son of Samuel Vimes, b. 1732 m. Annie Snook, 1754
Virtue Vimes, son of Benjamin Vimes, b. 1756 m. Laurel Gafney, 1774

The list went on and on. Samuel traced his finger down it, until he reached the final entries.

Gwilliam Vimes, son of Liam Vimes, b. 1900
Thomas Vimes, son of Gwilliam Vimes, b. 1925
Samuel Vimes, son of Thomas Vimes, b. 1946

He could hear voices in the other room; hushed, out of respect for his presence. The bedroom was nothing more than a store-room now, attached to the shop that had once been his mother's kitchen and workroom, but somehow this was important. He placed his helmet on the floor, and began to write.

Lady Sybil Ramkin m. Sir Samuel Vimes, 1985
Samuel Vimes II, viscount, son of Sir Samuel Vimes, b. 1990

He retrieved his helmet and stood, walking back out into the dressmaker's shop. The women who ran it were from the neighbourhood and they remembered him, and even if they hadn't, they were the sort who recognized and respected the badge.

He nodded to the woman behind the counter, and walked out into the street.

***

Septimus, his eyes bloodshot, hair dishevelled, walked out of his bedroom. Charity and her husband Michael and the boy Perseverance were seated at the table, waiting.

"It's a son," he said, hoarsely. Charity threw her arms around his neck. "A baby son," he repeated. "I'm a father, Charity. I'm a father."

She laughed. Septimus swept Perseverance up into his arms, as Michael Carleton thumped him on the back.

"His name is Justice," Septimus annouced. "After father."

Charity hugged him again. "Congratulations, Sep."

But Septimus was staring at the doorway. There was a man standing there, who looked eerily like father. The same narrow face, yes, but also the hard, wiry look of an angry man, and the dress of a Watchman -- or possibly a soldier. A uniform, anyway.

The man stood, looking down the street, and then glanced over his shoulder. He seemed to look right through Septimus. Septimus could see every detail; the strange boots, the odd cut of his trousers, the copper badge on his breastplate.

Then there was a squall from the other room, as the newly-born Justice Vimes complained bitterly about the general state of affairs in the world, and the spectre faded as quickly as it had come.

"It's all right, he's only hungry," called his wife. Which was fine, because Septimus had suddenly thought of something he had to do. He walked into the tiny bedroom, past his wife and infant son, and crouched by the wall where he'd signed his name years ago, and added Charity's son when he'd been born. He wrote slowly.

Justice Vimes, son of Septimus Vimes, b. 1698

A Vimes always won out, sooner or later. And when they did, the names would be here, waiting.

END
ext_93592: from astronomy pic of the day (portrait)

[identity profile] tetsubinatu.livejournal.com 2008-09-13 05:42 am (UTC)(link)
I like the long list of Vimeses. Nice touch at the end to have Septimus see Sam.
true_masquerade: (amy pond)

[personal profile] true_masquerade 2011-04-25 11:28 pm (UTC)(link)
You have great range in your stories, Sam :-) they make me laugh, cry, think, remember, imagine... all sorts :-) and this one gave me the shivers for some reason. Maybe because it captured the hard life, the real effect of Old Stoneface's decision on the lives of his family and SO many after them... And also because it captured their resilience, how life goes on, the good and the bad. I think it was very human <3

[personal profile] chironsgirl 2011-11-23 11:29 pm (UTC)(link)
And now the descendant of the kingslayer is the father figure of the uncrowned king.

The Vimes family didn't go away , they just went underground and became more concentrated. Old Stoneface is the product of generations of learning to cope with the indignities of life, with dignity.
XOXOXOXO