Writing 2014-03-08



Aykuh laughs at the brightly ribboned fox, and people in the inn smile and laugh at his songs.  He winds up near the door playing for coins from the travelers and the locals both.

Larrikan keeps on top of the things he has to do.  Talking to the other students reveals most of them have similar loads.  Work, classes, and studying leave little time for much else.  This is particularly hard on the fox, who is used to having far less fixed responsibilities.

He manages fine until he reaches his first full moon, and has to go to the rade.  He dresses in his most flamboyant new clothes and takes both his fiddle and his recorder.  He brushes his fur until it shines.

Ember watches him get ready, having gotten used to living with a man with no modesty.  She says, “Got a date?  You’re not usually this nervous.”

Larrikan stops fussing, having quadrouple-checked that he has rowan, ash, ivy, and a little pinch of salt.  He looks at Emblem, and answers, entirely seriously, “I’m going to a dance party.”

Emblem brightens and says, “Ooo!  Can I come?”

“No,” answers Larrikan.

“Aww. What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Emblem counters.

“We could be eaten alive,” replies Larrikan, “and our very souls used to feed an Unseelie monster.”

Something about his intensity makes Emblem realize he means this.  She replies, “Oh.”  A moment later, she adds, “Be careful.  You’re too cute to get eaten.”

Larrikan replies, seriously, “I’ll do my best.”  He picks up his pouch, and leave, pausing to give Emblem a quick kiss on the cheek.

Emblem sits still, hearing the fox leave Barrow Hall, and walk off to the woods, playing an eerie melody in a minor key on his recorder.  She just sits, listening and thinking about the warmth lingering from the fox’s unusual parting.  She uncharacteristically worries about him.  The night he has walked off into seems darker and more foreboding than usual.

Larrikan picks a path, and walks along, playing the tune his grandmother taught him.  He expected a sign or a direction to follow, but sees none.  He walks and plays, wondering where to go.  The moonlight collects along the path, leaving the forest in darkness.  It is several minutes of this before Larrikan realizes the music has not given him a direction to, but a path to follow.

The path twists through the trees, becoming a silver-lit, bright ribbon moving through the shadowy darkness.  Larrikan plays, and follows carefully, known he mustn’t get lost on this magical path.

A deep, grating voice says, from that darkness, “What tasty morsel is this, swaggering down our path?”

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