The youngest urchins up in Loki’s loft thought this was the best game Tepic had ever thought up for them. They had to sit under a canvas sheet, tied down to the floor and smash up the bricks with big hammers, then hit the little bits until they crumbled into dust.
Now that was fun in itself, but what made this extra special was how the little bits floated up and moved by themselves! This was even more fun that rat batting when they emptied the grain silos! Of course, in the dusty atmosphere, small urchins were occasionally covered in more cavorite dust that they could manage, and one of their number would float up off the floor, rotating gently until they had been able to shake off enough to regain their equilibrium and return to terra, well, not quite firma.
Teams of older urchins waited until the canvas was taut, then carefully undid one of the ties, allowing the cavorite dust to flow upwards into waiting jars – held down of course with heavy weights tied to their mouths. From there it was tipped into pans of soft wax, and fashioned into balls the size of chickens eggs which floated up until snagged by laughing boys and girls. Each ball was pressed into an eggshell, carefully painted with white lead paint, then wrapped in a string net before being strung on lengths of cord, three eggs per construction.
It was a strange device, one that most of the urchins had never seen before, so Tepic showed them how to use it, Billy No-Toes acting as the target. The young fox boy swung the cord from it’s middle, the eggs dangling down, backward and forward, then over his head, circling faster and faster. Releasing it, the contraption spun through the air, opening out as it flew. Billy’s eyes opened wide as the cord wrapped round him, entangling him in it’s grasp, then gave a startled yell as the shells broke and shattered on him, and he left the ground with a jerk! The other urchins gathered round in amazement at their floating companion, giggling as they shoved him bobbing through the air.
Once the excitement had dropped somewhat, Billy was disentangled and brought to ground. Tepic organised a group of the older urchins to practice with bolas made with cord and stones, spinning and throwing at the beams supporting the roof of the next door opium den.
More of the extraordinary substance was placed into the hollow tubes of the strangest bullets they had ever seen, then once they were pulling upwards in their small hands, the brass tubes were closed with a screw-in plug. They had to handle them with care, for set into the tip of each bullet were three razor sharp fins of steel. There were not many of these, for each had been carefully machined by an apprentice engineer, carefully hidden from their masters and smuggled out to the urchin gang they had come from. A dozen were for Miss Book, a few were for the assortment of ancient firearms the urchins had squirreled away, but most were of a slightly larger size, and were slid into a canvas belt, ready for the last resort…..
The urchins were ready, or as ready as they ever could be. The Bear Gang had declared war on them and now they were about to find out what that really means…..