[Story] Queued Events - Spring 1220

The sun of the last day of Spring had long set, and the odd lords of the manner had been scuttling about a bit more than in months past, speaking to each in their odd tongue and occasionally expecting the servants to understand them. Something was changing, it seemed, tho' the young servant girl couldn't have guessed what to save her soul.

Daft ducks, every one!

The new sun of Summer had not yet risen, but Kaleigh was awake, her chores starting early, lighting fires, removing chamber pots, laying out clothes, bringing raw foods to the kitchens, and then cooked ones back to deliver to a select few, but one in particular.

She had been given the questionable duty of overseeing the sleeping one, the new lord who never woke up, since just after he got here some dozen of weeks ago. Not that it took much work, anymore, just ladling a bit of broth down his throat slowly, as often as she could without making him cough.

Not so bad, now that 'is last few meals have worked their way through 'im. But 'e's so thin now, can't last much longer I'd think..."

In the pre-dawn dimness that filtered through closed shutters she had poked her red-head in to see the never-changing expression, a sculpture in waning flesh propped on a goose-down pillow, and, after receiving an approving nod from the ever-present weasel that kept the still figure company (and was approved of by the lords- daft ducks), left to retrieve this day's bowl of lamb broth fortified with onions. In the welcoming warmth and smells of the kitchen she watched as Helga strained a healthy measure of brown, steaming broth into a smaller cast iron cauldron, and gnawed open-mouthed on a hefty heel of rye bread that she had toasted as she waited.

"Yah, eet be tay-kink strong stoo t' keeep a man strohng" said Helga in her skandik accent, the cook who seemed to have no doubt that her cooking, and that alone, was all that was keeping this man from the covenant graveyard. Helga was sure to add a piece of raw lamb on the side "...fyor th' leetle one. Now take thees n' get you go-wink..."

Kaleigh placed a wooden bowl as a lid on the iron stewpot, took a beaten copper ladle and wooden spoon in her off hand, and walked back to the lonely infirmary, swinging it by the handle and humming a bright aire as the sun shone against the inner wall off to her right, not yet over the East wall but promising to be shortly. She trudged up the stairs and pushed the door open with her hip, and stepped toward the bed.

She froze, her voice catching in her throat as the cauldron slipped from her hand, clanging heavily, the broth covering the wood floor in a greasy slick, steaming slightly in the early-morning chill. Then she spun on her heel and ran, descending two, then three stairs at a time, not knowing where at first, but finding herself back in the kitchen babbling.


Helga put a heavy but not unfriendly paw on her shoulder, pushing her onto a stool by the hearth and stooping to look directly into her eyes.

"Yah, yah... now seet you down, ant breethe, ant tell Helga again... "

"That long?..." he asked, chewing the well-cooked bits of diced lamb and vegetables in the spoonful of stew as if it were both a labor and a joy. "New Summer's morn..."

He let out a sigh, not his first, nor one without a full weight of sincerity behind it.

"I remember... I was in Glendower's lab... and then something about spiders- someone shouting... I tried... I don't remember what- something spontaneous..."

His eyes shut with fatigue, as if keeping them open was too much exertion. His voice continued on, a bit distant, low and wavering, but that was a legion of improvement over the croak of his first efforts.

"...maybe an Ignem... something... a carpet of spiders is not my forte..."

The too-blue eyes opened again, and with an effort another spoonful was hoisted from the spoon into a mouth equally tired and eager to receive more. His eyes looked up to a corner of the room, perhaps brighter but more distant than before.

"I dreamt... of magic... of Glendower... or was it a dream?... he said... something... he showed me... he said it was important... we talked a long time... "

The eyes closed, and the spoon sank with the hand back to the coverlet. He looked up again, through weary lids, but again at those few around him.

"Ah... all too distant... Juliette claims she killed more spiders than she ever thought existed..."

A rare faint, fond smile bent his mouth as the ermine chittered, licking his chin, and a bit of the lamb-broth that had dribbled there.

"To whom do I owe the debt of finding me, and then tending me in my convalescence? And, if my dubious contribution thus far has not forged my invitation to leave, what is the status of laboratory space available?..."


Within the week he was up again, his appetite never ceasing to grow and, by all accounts, seemingly determined to make up for lost time at the feeding trough. He had spent his recent time setting up his limited personal possessions in his lab, and regaining his strength, tho' it would be some time before he would have the full tally of his previous health to draw upon.

"I've lost a march on you all here," he would say, in some good humour, but perhaps humour also forced, or tinged with true regret, "and cannot afford another season in bed being pampered. But perhaps that's a fair handicap for you. Now, however, there's work to do, if one is ever to reach their potential... and for the covenant as well, of course."