Chapter I: The Chainborn Boy [17]Mature

Wilmina jumped slightly onto the opposite sofa, her large feet hovering above the ground. “I is sorry for before,” she said, articulating to sound less her species. Anala looked down at the leaves floating in her mug – if Wilmina was to be considered a magus, she didn’t want to be anymore. Percival, however, commended her for her fluency between the beastfolk tongue Trok and Maedaal, the magi tongue.

     “I understand,” nodded Percival. “You are wise to be guarded. I’m sure thieves impersonate wardens all the time to steal the little you have –,”

          “Na really,” she said brusquely. “They’s don’t wants to lower themselves,”

         “Oh…of course.” Percival drummed his long fingers on the mug resting in his lap, the sound filling the silence.

          “N’ anyways,” added Wilmina. “There’s nothin’ worth takin’ – taking. Not belongin’ – ing, to me. But you…take one look at’cha and yu c’n see you’s got plenty to lose,”

          “True words in many ways,” he said. “I have much to lose, in these days above all, as do my people. Many of them are becoming quite dramatic, telling me that the trees and the rivers have forgotten their songs. Months ago, I wouldn’t have believed them. Now I –,”

       “Nothin’s ever sung ‘ere,” she replied dismally, “‘cept ol’ Frank dan th’road. You’s should think yu’selves lucky. We’s got nothin’ but…nothin’ but silence,”

           “Regardless, you knew my crest, so clearly you know of my family,”

She snickered. “There ain’t a bugger under Sonn ‘ere who don’t know the Order names. Yu’s was our ‘ope once, but yu’ll ran off flab-legged like all of’m –,”

          “My fellows perhaps,” said Percival, “but not I. I believe in something they consider too hazardous. I may have renounced my title officially, but I still have the means to accomplish my goals.” Bringing the mug to his lips, he eyed Wilmina with a dangerous glint in his eyes. “Not to mention the determination.”

Wilmina’s eyes narrowed at him into lashless slits. Anala sipped her tea and discreetly spat it back, tasting little more flavour than bilge water. Out of propriety, Percival continued to drink.

The End

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