Morning prayers. Getting dressed and preparing for the day. Discussing the recent betrothals, marriages, poetry, and music over breakfast. Teaching. Mid-morning prayers. Lunch. Supervising the servants. Embroidery and dance practice. Evening prayers. Supper in the main hall. Day over.
No reason to go through the motions anymore right? I got up early, dressed in servant’s clothes (did you know that’s technically illegal ?) and met up with Quinna the kennelmaster on his way to begin his day’s work. He was surprisingly nonplussed by the whole thing. Then again he’s one of the wild men from the hills so perhaps he doesn’t understand how strange this is, or maybe he simply doesn’t care. He’s not a bad looking fellow, if you’re into the brooding savage type. Long hair would go into and out of fashion at court but somehow civilized types never seem to be able to pull it off like barbarian scumbags can – they just come off seeming foppish. Maybe you can only truly get a good long-hair look on a man by galloping shirtless over wind-swept hills and dales. We may never know.
He accepted me as if I was his new apprentice/helper and we went to work with his pack right away. It’s been a while since I’ve worked with dogs but it’s something I’ve always had a talent for, and now that I’ve been able to really expand my vocal range it’s really helped me to command the furry little buggers. You work with them enough and you start to think they have their own language. But we know better than that of course. Quinna was clearly impressed by my ability but just as clearly he was a true professional whereas I’m more of a journeyman. Er, journeywoman. Whatever.
I expected him to be the strong silent type, but it was more that he was focused on his work – when we stopped for lunch, which was simple fare taken out of doors, he was a veritable fountain of conversation. He told me about his tribe in the hills and how his family had a long history of working with the noble families in the area as animal handlers and trackers and furriers of various types. He himself had a bit of a sordid past, being in trouble for poaching, smuggling, and selling illicit substances at various times. Sounds like he wasn’t exactly in good steading with his people but wasn’t so far gone as to be an outcast either. Not sure why he was sharing all of this personal information – either he doesn’t have anyone to talk to or he was trying to impress me. Possibly some of both.
I asked if he had heard of my old pal Kartak since last I heard he was skulking around up in these hills. This brought a look of true shock to his otherwise impassive face.
“Why do you ask about Kartak?”
“I’ve sworn to kill him. It’s kind of a long story.”
Sounds like that isn’t going to be so easy. The Sky Thunder tribe, which had taken in the remnants of the Skin-Takers, was under new management. Kartak, his lover , and a loathsome and aged shaman have stage a coup and taken over the Sky Thunder – the result of which was much loss of life. According to Quinna they’re left with fewer than sixty battle‐tested warriors after the dust has settled on the internal strife but those that are left seem to be embracing the brutality of the Skin-Taker ways.
I sighed “There’s nothing like an enemy who lands on their feet eh?”
Before I could learn more the Baroness showed up and informed me that “playtime” was over and it was time to get back to my “duties”. I decided to be as charming and delightful as possible with the Baroness’s charges, they weren’t exactly hard to fool, but it’s always good to practice.
Inventory: Animal Totem Tattoo (Lion)
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince
Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle
the butler , Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire
Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror,
Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe,
Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni
Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander,
Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother
Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee, Helgan
van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot
Behind the curtain – Day two of retraining, I realized I made a mistake, Ela took the Songbird vigilante social talent not the Beast Speech talent. You know, for everyone keeping track of that sort of thing.