Guards in the Sky

I am out of practice with spring. While I am sure spring happened back in London, it was somewhat hard to tell in the perpetual gloom that hung over that benighted city. Perhaps if I had spent more time in Torn Oak, I might have noticed it more, but then, I was never quite sure how the sunlight there would affect me. My personal experience regardless, spring is here, with longer days and shorter nights. And as such, I shall blame said spring for my lack of activity, rather than any lassitude on my part. Once again, I find days have passed without me being aware of the passage of time. Is it because there is more light than I am used to, or the lack of noise? Back in London, there was always something going on, some street noise or other, but here, there is often nothing but the sounds of the birds and the horses in the stables. Or maybe it is my imagination. Either way, I haven’t been out much and I haven’t paid much attention to my journal.

I think I commissioned some art for the walls in the apartment. I found Wren and Hadley outside the bakery the other day, playing with chalks and crayons and making pretty patterns on the courtyard paving slabs, while hanging around in the hope of baked goods. I made some pseudo-art-critic comment regarding the design, including a remark about the difficulty of hanging it on the wall, which somehow led to me suggesting that Hadley should do me a design on paper or a board, something I could hang up.

I had a short chat with Wren one evening, about work, writing and various other things. I find it interesting that even an 11 year old has noticed that Aoibheann is behaving strangely. Kids are more perceptive than we give them credit for. She and Aoibheann had been chatting outside the tavern when I arrived, but the conversation got a little prickly, at least from Aoibheann, even when I was trying to be nice. If this is the effect my vitae has, maybe I don’t want to ever make a ghoul, no matter how much I might need one.

I thought my imagination was playing tricks on me the day before yesterday. I looked out of the window and saw what appeared to be a gryphon on the roof of the tavern. I rubbed my eyes and looked again and it was gone. Since I had just woken up, I was prepared to blame my imagination, but I saw her again yesterday. She was standing outside the tavern when I went over in the morning to do the stocktaking. We had a pleasant conversation, during which I learned that her name was Nakoma Silverfall; that she had lost her rider in battle shortly before arriving here, and she was lacking in suitable occupation, other than flying around and informally guarding the island. She bemoaned the lack of suitable replacements for her rider, saying that most people were afraid of her. As it happened, Wren came by on her rounds while we were talking. Wren, apparently, had already met the gryphon and had been kind enough to remove a thorn from her claw, without showing much fear. I was minded of the old story of Androcles and the lion, but made no comment as I felt it unlikely that either of them knew of this old fable. Instead I said that Wren was afraid of nothing, except maybe mathematics, and would probably make a very good gryphon rider. Wren was somewhat taken with the idea, but very responsibly, decided it was something that she would have to ask her father about first. I just hope that he either gives approval, or, if he doesn’t like the idea, that nobody tells him that I suggested it.

Aoibheann turned up with a cup of tea, but did not seem inclined to drinking it. She, apparently, has already been for a ride on the gryphon, and much enjoyed it. We talked about aerial surveillance as a beneficial addition to the palace guard and I almost slipped up at one point, commenting that the view from up there was unsurpassed, but I think I managed to cover it by adding, “Or so I would imagine”. Nakoma said that the view at night was quite spectacular, even if the moving shadows were a bit spooky, which Wren agreed with, saying that night was when the creepy things came out. I joked that it was hard to decide what was creepy on an island with dragons, phoenixes and exploding bunnies. I don’t know which of those freaked Aoibheann out, but she dropped her cup and disappeared back indoors to find a broom. Or maybe it was me. I had complimented her on her dress, which seemed to bother her, so maybe that helped. I don’t know. I shall have to see Brigitte and find out if the effects of the vitae are going to wear off ever, because this antagonism is getting wearing.

That seemed to be the cue for the party to break up. Nakoma took off, literally, in search of a nesting site. Given her size, that would be a sight to see. I can’t imagine that being constructed out of twigs and bits of horsehair. I realised I had left my accounts books in the flat, so went back for those, got distracted by some thoughts for my writing, and when I came out again, everybody was gone. Ah well, at least I could get on with the stocktaking and accounting in peace.


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