Steadiness is something Wolframs value in addition to the ability to lead. Ah, Tala actually was really quite scary now that I think about it. None of us ever dared cross her once she had given Marrok another son and one who could transform so easily and often at a young age.
She was quite prolific as a mate, actually, much to the amusement of others.
Even Wolfram, who was prone to hiding in his study or watchtower all day and night, seemed to smile slightly when news would come of more children for Marrok. He was otherwise emotionally inaccessible – aloof and brooding.
For the most part I had attributed that lack of warmth on his part due to some of the bad things that I had been told had happened to him some years ago. And in spite of his lack of aggression towards me, I had also been warned that he was vicious if provoked – a man of uncontrollable anger who lost himself in the midst of battle. It was rare to ever see him in a fit of untempered rage, but from the whispers among my cousins, it was not something I should ever try to provoke.
Hastings hinted after my arrival that there was one who had regularly drove the master to his wit’s end. I knew better than to ask, but he told me anyways. I gathered he must have been anxious to confide in someone. But the old fool should not have told me,for I was obliged to report what I heard back to my cousins.
And here’s the real kicker. When it comes to pleasing humans, my lord’s companion is quite capable of being charming. She seems to have wrapped the townspeople around every one of her fingers. Even Hastings simpers at her like a young fool in love.
But my lord was not so easily charmed I think. Or maybe he was totally and foolishly attached to her. It’s hard to guess. He was not very warm or polite years ago so I actually can’t even imagine what they were like. (I’m sorry, but my brain breaks when I try to imagine them sitting around together. What do they do if they don’t sit and insult one another?)
It’s not as if they really expected her to stay. I don’t think Marrok did, for it sounded like she had been an experiment on part of the clan. But there were reports of them becoming lovers from one of our visiting cousins.
I know the story about her bedroom door. It’s still scarred by what he did. A good mate would have never really responded as she did, choosing to shut out her mate in the midst of a quarrel. And so my lord, in true wolf fashion, must have found this intolerable.
Well now I do wonder about exactly how they ended up together. If Hastings isn’t going to tell me, perhaps the lady might. Ha.
But I was pretty able to handle most of the needs my somewhat distant lord had. I could fetch information easily, was willing to assist with his trade affairs, and also prevent other pesky cousins from causing too much mischief.
I soon learned that other uncles or distant cousins had my lord in their sights. A lone messenger would come by every so often usually under some pretext of delivering a message. Ah, but they would linger around because my lord never chased them away. It was too rude on his part to do so, nor did he really actively notice what they were all about.
But I could follow, annoy, and otherwise keep them busy. I had a regular list of activities and tasks that I would bring up whenever they came. If my distant cousins meant to snoop, they would not do so easily.
And of course they ought to, for we had always heard stories of strange things that the second Maximilian had collected. We knew he was obsessed with the elves and antiquities. I don’t think our cousins really wanted to steal anything, but they were curious about what their forefather had in his possession.
Truthfully, Wolfram says a lot of it is just junk. But one wonders now — the elves are quiet, we have no means of trading with them as of recent years.
Those older ones all encourage him. It’s actually really aggravating how they all slip him herbs and medicines for virility, fertility, and whatever hell else they think works. It amuses her ladyship to see whatever he brings for her inspection. She just laughs at him and then he just scowls.
As I said, her personality is a bit deranged.
They all desire a son from him, I know!
This winter is starting to make us all a little deranged. We’re all largely cooped up inside this place with little to do except meddle. The old ladies from the town are driving the younger ones similarly crazy. Edmund Ormond looks worn out from constant questioning about his marriage dates. It’s not a particularly good time to marry — customs in these parts really mean they ought to have a home built or something else ready for them. I know her ladyship has made an offer of some sort to them both, but they seem uneasy about it. They wait for spring, have begged for it.
I understand. Making decisions in light of us not knowing what waits for us in spring… it is awkward.
My lord, though, is up to some other scheme. If I had thought him uninterested in the boy before, he watches him carefully now. Rather, he’s testing him. They all are. The lions,my ladyship, and my lord.
Only the little princess who trails after him seems to give him comfort.
They’ll be married soon, I have a feeling. Just not with everyone around. He’s too smart to put up with all these nosey biddies. I bet they run off first sign of spring, find that Friar, and then immediately disappear. Hah. Would serve everyone right.
So I joked with her that she should just ask Lady Selva, who seems to like her a lot anyways.
I didn’t think about it until Edmund came up to me and told me that I shouldn’t have goaded Elanore.
Seems like Elanore is avoiding Edmund now.
NOW I WANT TO KNOW WHAT SHE FOUND OUT.