Writing 2014-04-29

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Gralamen looks around and says, “Please consider the larger picture.  I must make a point that will be remembered.  I could simply kill them all, but no one would learn anything except fear.”

Everyone in the room except for the boy’s parents winces at the harshness, but realizes it is true.

Gralamen tells the room, “To show I am not cruel, I will promise that the young man shall see his parents again.”  He adds, “It is only seven years.”

The dryads and trolls seem to think this is no problem, but it is clear the humans and Shy Folk are not convinced.

“Some,” Gralamen adds, “would consider this an unforgettable opportunity!”  He turns to the distraught parents and tells them, “Your son will see great things and meet many amazing people.  He will have the chance to become a fine man.  I tis not he who has the lesson to learn.”

Finally stopping the apparently absent stroking of Agh’s ears, the Duke passes the unconscious Elder to Larrikan, smiles winningly at the younger fox, and stands, gracefully and easily.

Gralamen walks around the room, giving each person there a chance for a word or action.  Most just bow, but a few have a quiet word or two.  All get a slight smile and real consideration.

The dryads each curtsy, and Gralamen kisses their hands.  The others in the room feel they are missing something, but Sighvat, the old troll, chuckles.

Gralamen stops at the big stony old troll and says, “It is nice to see you, old friend.  How are your children?”

“Good see you too,” rumbles Sighvat, “Kids grown.  Very proud of them.  All good members of trollhome.”

Gralamen actually smiles a truly warm smile.  It lights up his face like a rainbow following the sunbeam on a drizzly day.  He tells the troll, seriously, “May they bring you many grandchildren.”

“Every troll’s dream,” Sighvat replies.

The Duke pats the big troll on the arm, and says, “You will have this dream, old friend.  I know not how, but someday.”

“I wait, then,” answers Sighvat.

The Duke makes his way out, talking or at least greeting each who desires it.  Most are quick, and the house of the Court soon empties, leaving just a few of the people.

Larrikan has Agh in his lap.  Agh is still out cold.

Locha goes to the now lost parents.  She waits for them to notice her, the mother’s look slowly focusing in on the vixen, apparently from far away.

When Locha finally has their attention, she says, “I offer our heartfelt sympathies.  We would never have asked for this, or wanted to break up your family.”

The woman bursts into tears and buries her face in her hands, crying huge wracking sobs.  Her husband nods at the fox, and slowly starts weeping himself, silently.

Larrikan and Locha gather up Agh, and start back to the Shy Folk camp.

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