Rats in the Mouth

I sometimes wonder about Aoibheann’s upbringing. I know it wasn’t a pleasant one, being raised by her brother and suffering the ravages of dragons all her life. I can make some guess about the mores of the society in which she was raised, based on things she said in the first journal entry she showed me and her reaction to certain things, e.g. my “relationship” with Lalla. However, she did somewhat surprise me with her attitude towards the children. Normally she seems very good with them, but today, in an attempt to persuade Seven to tell Anna about his illness, she told him that if he lied, rats would climb into his mouth in the middle of the night. The poor kid was nervous enough as it was, without that additional nightmare. It seemed a curious threat, and one I have not heard before. I remember the playground taunt “liar, liar, pants on fire” well enough, and the story of Pinnochio’s nose, but rats? That’s a new one for me.

I had only stopped by the tavern briefly, to see if there was anything that needed doing. Aoibheann was there with Seven and Marida. Seven was clearly not well, much like his sister had been, but was stubbornly denying it. Even Wren, who came by, ‘doing her rounds’ like the good soldier she so clearly wants to be, noticed. I played off on that, pointing out to Seven that Wren had her job to do, guarding the castle, but she could not do that job is she was sick, so she always went to Anna if she felt unwell. I told him that his job was looking after Marida, which he couldn’t do properly if he was sick. Maybe that was a little unfair, invoking the sister, but it seemed to get through and rather reluctantly, he agreed to come with us across the courtyard to the infirmary. Wren, at least, seemed pleased that I acknowledged her rank. But then, I have often seen her around the castle, marching importantly and dressing as a soldier.

We got the children across to the infirmary and fortunately, Anna was in. There was a moment of confusion when I told her she had a new patient, and when she looked to the door, Emanuel was there, so she immediately wanted to know what he had done now. I assured her that, so far as I knew, he hadn’t done anything, and that Seven, and possibly his sister, were the patients. She then tried to get Seven to tell her what was wrong, which was when Aoibheann came up with the comment about rats. Fortunately, the comment seemed to surprise him more than alarm him. By now, it was getting a little crowded in the infirmary, so I left the children in Anna’s care and returned to the flat to ponder the further adventures of Edmund.

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