Little Arrows*

I am concerned about Sophia, again.  After Valene left me to go to court, I took a walk over to the tavern and found Sophia and Aoibheann there. Sophia was somewhat distracted, looking for her suitcase.  I was fairly sure that she had brought it to the castle from the cave, but didn’t think she had left it anywhere in the dorms at the tavern.  Then I remembered that she had mentioned sleeping in the chapel to get away from the dreams of her mother, so I suggested that.  She mumbled something I didn’t quite get and headed off to the chapel. Cristof turned up, which seemed to make Aoibheann a little uncomfortable, so she decided to go and help Sophia.

Cristof was in an affable mood and asked how I was getting along with developing my abilities.  I had to admit I hadn’t done anything about it, and that I didn’t really know how to activate them.  He decided now was a good time for training and sent one of his minions to fetch his bow. He told me that I should learn the speed trick, celerity, it is called, apparently.  The bow, and the arrows, which he started breaking the heads off of, were my incentive to trigger it.  I wasn’t quite sure what he meant until he motioned me out into the courtyard and started shooting arrows at me.  Yeah, that’s incentive all right.  Wooden arrows, even without proper points were too much like a stake for my liking.  And, sure enough, the celerity kicked in and I was racing around the courtyard like an Olympic athlete.  It was quite exhilarating, apart from the bit where I wasn’t looking where I was going and ran straight into Nadya’s caravan.  So, now I know how to do celerity.  Well, to be honest, I don’t know how to do celerity.  I just know I can do it, and apparently can call it on demand, but the mechanisms, if any, involved are still a mystery.

I came back to the tavern to find Aoibheann and Sophia had returned.  They looked a little bemused; as well they might, if they had witnessed me charging around the place at high speed while Cristof shot arrows at me.  Sophia was intent, or so it seemed, on getting dinner, but was behaving oddly, as though dealing with something unfamiliar. Aoibheann had poured her a mug of water, and then decided she needed to go clean the mugs.  I poured myself a rum and found the red wine, pouring a large goblet of that for Sophia.  She was sitting at the table, picking at the meat rather than eating it, almost as if she was unsure of what to do with the stuff.  She grabbed the glass of wine eagerly enough and thanked me, but called me Mr Ballard.  She also referred to Aoibheann as though she didn’t know her.  I sat down and asked since when I had been Mr Ballard.  Of course, she took me literally, claiming I had always been Mr Ballard. I swallowed any sarcastic comment I might have made and explained that we had already progressed to first name terms.

She accepted that, albeit reluctantly, and then asked if I had seen her ankh.  She had lost it somewhere about the castle, or possibly outside.  She told me she had encountered a large blue and black crow in the woods. I speculated on whether or not this might have been the sluagh, but it was hard to tell from her description. I am sure there are other being out there, just not when I go walking.

She then asked for an introduction to Cristof, which confused me momentarily, as I was fairly sure they had already met. I made the introduction, fumbling it somewhat as I couldn’t remember the precedence of Lord and Sir.  Apparently, he prefers Sir to Lord and disclaims Lord anyway, since he doesn’t have a king to be Lord under.  That led to a bit of a discussion on titles, including the meaningless of my Lord title from Jasper Cove, which he disdained because it wasn’t a birthright, whereas I have always been of the opinion that a title gained just because of who your parents were is equally meaningless in respect of fitness to rule.  Sophia worried me a little, referring to McTaggart as “the only lord she knows”, then correcting that to “knew of”.  She fell asleep by the fire soon after that, which seemed to me to be the best thing, since she had looked tired.  Cristof departed soon after, no doubt having castle business to attend to.  For all that we share clan, we do seem to have opposing views; him setting great store by titles and inheritance and me setting none.

As I write, a thought occurs to me. Sophia’s behaviour earlier would make sense if she was having another ‘Tory’ moment – referring to McTaggart as if she knew him, and not wanting to eat solid food.  I really do need to do some more research into that.


* Hmmm, what could go with Little Arrows?



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