Butterflies and Bugs

After the drama of yesterday, it was quite relaxing to just take a wander around the gardens.  I looked in at the patients in the infirmary, but both were asleep, so I deigned to disturb them.  I did see Wren at the end of the garden, gathering flowers. We did the normal patrolman greetings and salutes, which bodes well for her mental state, though I still think she is suppressing much of what happened.  I cannot blame her, a child that age should not have to witness her friend and mother being ripped apart by mad hounds. She averred that she was doing well, however, and she was picking flowers for the patients.  She told me that they were quiet and resting, although her mother was occasionally rambling as though she were drunk, which she was suspected was down to the medication. I agreed that this was most likely the case, and found myself telling her a little about Mother and her illness.  Wren hadn’t heard of consumption, but had heard of the proper name when I said it, knowing it as the one where people cough up blood.  She asked if I had caught it too, but I was able to assure her that I had been very careful. I was tempted to mention that illness doesn’t bother me now, but decided that would require too much explanation, and I am not sure how ‘out’ I want to be at present.

She asked about the sword, and I told her I was wearing it just in case.  I said I wasn’t much good with it yet and asked if Stoddard, her guard, could teach me.  He declined, suggesting I speak with Kartane.  I assured Wren that even if I wasn’t very good with the sword, it was made of iron, which would upset the Cŵn, being of the fae, plus, it was poisoned.  I showed her the markings along the edge, explaining about the poison that Aoibheann had told me the wood faeries had put on it and saying it was probably a rather good deterrent.  Wren looked about as sceptical as I was about Aoibheann’s story about the wood faeries, but I wasn’t going to call her friend a liar to her face. I prevaricated, suggesting that maybe Aoibheann did not know what a wood faery looked like, telling her  that I had once been bodyguard to a fae queen, and even I didn’t know what one looked like.  Wren seemed quite excited by that job, but I told her it was probably no more exciting than Stoddard’s job, except for the bits about managing the night club. We chatted about that for a while, and then she ran off to the infirmary to put the flowers in water.

On the way back to the tavern, intending to clear up the mess, I ran into bug lady and her brood. After a shaky start, we managed to establish communication, which helped to explain a lot as the smaller one, the one I think is the worker caste, came over and gave me an odd waxy ball.  I think this was a gift to apologise for the incident with the box of jukes. I managed to convey that it was all forgotten and thanked her for the ball, which I learned was some kind of lamp for her kind.  She managed to tell me that they had established themselves on one of the islands off the far end of this one, and I got the impression that whatever home they were building would be some kind of ship that would eventually take them back to their place of origin. With that, she waved and, I have to say it, buzzed off.

I spent the next hour or so scrubbing the walls and floor in the tavern, cleaning up what I have to assume was Aoibheann’s and Isabella’s blood.  Having got that out of the way, and having the equipment to hand, I decided to show a little civic pride and took the mop and buckets out into the courtyard to clear up the mess by the bath house and the gate.  While I was mopping up outside the bath house, Sophia turned up in search of the rest of her groceries, but first she offered to help me out with the mopping.  I said that was very nice of her, but she assured me she was used to it.  I laughed, assuming this was a reference to her mother and Lucy being ‘messy eaters’ as I had heard was the way among the Sabbat. 

Once that was done, we headed back to the tavern and had a cup of tea. Well, she had a cup of tea. I had a rum, feeling I deserved it after my efforts.  She was most intrigued by the box of jukes but decided not to try it out for now.  She did solve one mystery; apparently juke is an African-American word referring to a place where people go to listen to music and dance.  That would make sense, I suppose.  We sat and chatted for a while about books and writing.  I learned a little of her background and she of mine.  Once she had finished her tea, she retired to her cottage, with her groceries, hoping to get some sewing done while there was still plenty of daylight.  I bade her goodnight, finished my rum, and then retrieved my cleaning apparatus, heading off to the castle gate, there to clean up the remains of the guard.  My civic duty thus being done, I retired to the apartment, there to take a much needed bath and another much-appreciated rum.


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