The Good Mate, Part 5/?


I like to joke that darkness drives people to controlled insanity.

My lord obsessively watches his clocks and assorted timepieces. Now there may be good cause for his slavish attention to schedules. After all, the Wolframs have to maintain a regular pattern even if our guests don’t. However, I think that there are limits to what is reasonable. Hastings spends a good portion of his day resetting some of these clock mechanisms or dusting off time pieces or hourglasses.

I’m surprised the old man doesn’t smash up a few of them. I know I’d drop a few if I had to look at them every day for years on end.

That wolf found me this morning. He had Hastings bring me a rather nice bottle of rare spirits. I knew immediately that he wanted something. That man is always nice before a favor, and he was obviously fishing for one. We blathered on something for a bit about outfitting new saddles for the horses before he eventually got to what he really wanted.

The way he changes subjects sometimes is abrupt. I was all set to keep talking about saddles and stirrups for we’d eventually get to the topic of weapons. See Marrok has put in a request for new blades to be cast, and while I’m sure the guild employs a decent enough blacksmith, I’d rather try the blades that have resurfaced after all this time.

But the master didn’t play along. Instead, he asked for my thoughts on whether it was worth sending a few men out to check on the towns.

I know -she- put him up to it, for I wouldn’t send anyone anywhere at this particular time. And I know that my lord thinks I should be the one to take them, because well, I know this area best.

I told him I’d talk it over with Marrok, but I also said I would rather wait. I still smell something odd upon the air, something that I don’t really like. And I told him that. One successful rout with those inky black creatures is one thing, but there are still strange beasts out there that we haven’t yet seen.

Marrok was uneasy about the suggestion too. His men don’t know this area like I do and he didn’t like the idea of them accompanying me right now.

The master said “Fine,” but I know he wants to know what’s out there… he even suggested that if Marrok’s men won’t go, he would as long as I’d be willing to join him.

And I had to agree then, because if the man was going to even dream of going out, there was no way in hell we’d let him do that alone. Oh, her ladyship would kill us all if we did such a thing.

* * *

She must have found out. He’s been way more available lately at night. I think he got shown the proverbial couch, for he seems rather irritable again.

But one good thing at least… oh we’ve seen those lions skirting the boundaries and walls — slipping in and out of our watchmen’s view from time to time. I suspect they’re sneaking around at the lord’s behest.

* * *

Being cooped up is the worst thing to endure. The weather has turned rather uncooperative again. Visibility stinks. No one is outside unless they have to be.

A list of fun observations I’ve gathered for future reference:

The Cold Bastard:
Hates fish, is sneaking a pipe when he thinks no one is looking.

The Northern Nymph: Keeps hiding the pipe. Also growing roses somehow indoors. How the hell she did this I have no idea, but I think Hastings is to blame. Told her that her laugh lines looked great, and this pissed her off. Ha. The young ones are a little crazy around her.

Maids are frightened of her. She is always finding work for them to do.

Little bird:
This one isn’t very chirpy these days. The weather seems to depress her. Bribed Hastings to send a glass of whatever I had the other day and pour it into her tea. Found out, though, she doesn’t hold liquor well.

Told Hastings he needed that liquor too. Had no effect. Bummer.

* * *

Some worrying news. Really sad. It’s hard to shake people sometimes of the feeling of responsibility for others. Never mind that the townspeople made their own choices.

Spirits of several are pretty low. Others like the guildmaster just seem angry, frustrated.

Yeah – I understand.

We’ll be testing the blades. Elven against human. I know that several folks are starting a betting pool. Just have to wait for the weather to clear up a bit.

* * *

Little missy caught some of our young cubs after transformation. Ha! These humans are such prudes.

* * *

I was had.

I should have left as soon as I opened that door. I mean I ought to have turned on my heel when the young ladies went very still and quiet. Or when that scone got thrown at my head.

But the ladies are very charming when they’re flustered. So I ate the scone (or what was left of it) and then kept standing at the parlor door with a grin on my face.

Of course I knew I had walked into something quite good. Every compliment I doled out got a smattering of small, shy smiles.

But it was the wrong time to be charming. My mistake was to presume that her ladyship had a sense of dignity. Had the blonde witch not been there, I would have been able to harmlessly flirt with the little bird and then go my way. But that woman ordered me to sit down.

And then she turned them on me. All those women asking me for advice. Asking me rather pointed questions.

NOTE: And when I said I would rather not discuss some things, the witch ORDERED me to speak PLAINLY.

So dear future generations, when I turn up dead some time in these next few weeks, you should know that the events surrounding my future murder began here in that parlor.

I can almost envision it now, Edmund challenging me to a duel or something for corrupting the little miss.

The Countess must have it in for me.

* * *

Oh. I’ve been had.

I’ve been had.
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