Writing 2014-04-28

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Everyone in the room except for Gralamen winces at the sound.  Gralamen smiles sweetly and lets the slack form down into his lap, where he appears to idly stroke Agh’s big ears the way most would pet a happily snoozing cat.  Both the Shy Folk in the room look slightly horrified.

Gralamen looks up and says, “There is one problem solved.  It leads to a new problem of who shall pay the debt for this healing.”

At once, Larrikan and Locha say, “I will pay this debt.”

Gralamen turns his bemused half-smile on the two Shy Folk and says to Locha, “You haven’t got too many years of your own to be paying others debts with.”  He adds, to Larrikan, “And you have a larger part to play, yet.”

Gralamen asks, “Eichemädchen, what else needs attention?”

“The question to the Shy Folk as to the person who placed the traps remains,” the dryad says, “As well as the actions of the parents of the boy who was hurt, and what shall be done about whoever is placing traps.”

“The way I see it is none of us would be here if some parents had kept a better eye on their son, or taught him the dangers of the world better,” replies Gralamen.

The boy’s parents look stricken.  His mother says, “But…” and stops when her husband grabs her arm.

“Why are you here?” Gralamen asks her, seriously.

“My boy is hurt, and these miserable beat-men are covering up for whoever did it!”

“So?” the Duke replies.  “Your son is hurt, and you are here harassing the very people who helped rescue him instead of staying with him?  Or am I mistaken?”

The mother says nothing.

Gralamen waits.  Finally the boy’s father says, “No, sir.”

“So, why are you here?” asks Gralamen.

A long pause, and the man and woman speak over each other.  He starts, “We wanted to make sure no one else would be hurt.”  She says, instead, “We wanted to punish the one who hurt us.”  Both look somewhat shocked by what the other said.

Gralamen says, “Ah, vengeance.” and looks down at the fox in his lap, considering.  He says, “Eichemädchen, is the hurt boy really a boy, or more of a young man?”

Calmly, the dryad replies, “A young man, your Grace.”

“Then here are our solutions,” states Gralamen, “Pass the word that anyone who builds more of these traps to catch people of any sort will be killed by their own trap.  Painfully.”

“Yes, your Grace,” says Eichemädchen.

“This debt from healing will be paid by the young man,” continues Gralamen, “he will become my manservant and travel with me for five…”

Gralamen is interrupted by a shriek of “No!” from the boy’s mother.

“… Seven,” corrects Gralamen, “years.”

The boy’s mother gets the message and swallows her objection.

“Parents with poor priorities, who have raised a rash boy will pay by not seeing him until after his service has ended,” concludes Gralamen.  He appears to be watching nothing but his fingers in fox fur, but is apparently aware of the looks of horror around the room.

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