As soon as I felt I had fully caught up with myself from the forest Marsh was off to create his precious tangles.
It wasn't long before I was given news that the mongrels who call themselves wolves were professing to organize to finally make a cut.
I will believe it when I see it.
Sure enough - it comes to naught. Well, not quite naught. It seems there are those who think I am in danger - that more than one party wants to wake me with death tonight.
They are even saying that a certain wraith may come to orchestrate my end.
This is why the dead should stay dead - well, if he does come I will have to see to that.
They send a guard to sleep in our extra bed to help protect us. It is Snow.
If there must be a mutt in my parlor, at least it is her.
While the others are up to their tangled tricks she and I speak of right vs. fair - and of things.... subjective.
Snow doesn't stay long. Seems they need her to kill one of their pups in the middle of the night - this news does not interest me enough to even bid her luck on her task.
It is a pup - there is no challenge there - no skill needed for that kill.
I am woken suddenly by something bullrushing my door..... repeatedly. He says the magic words and so I open the door to the culprit and let him in.
Marsh's reaction worries me - I will have to watch that.
I am given a test once he is out of the room and I of course follow Her laws.
Our visitor's claims are interesting, I have a bit of trouble following it all but one thing is for certain as we head into the night.
Eventually, after Marsh sent out a call for guidance, I found my rest..... with someone besides Snow in the bed above me.
I was woken briefly by Marsh rising to tangle up what he feared was unravled by last night's work. Since it is not my business - I rolled over and returned to sleep.
When I woke again, it was to find that I had missed market - which I did not regret missing..... and that I had missed a brutal killing - which I rather did regret missing.
Still, the day isn't over yet.
The afternoon was spent watching Brother Ren get a room full of wraiths very very drunk.
Dinner was spent with the cats. Silas did most of the talking.
After the meal was the mystery of the man with "no memory". I was far more interested in the man in black who pulled the trick I'd only ever seen Mortimer do.
Time to leave.
Turns out there were Specters about. Tainted spirits.
Even worse- after that news, in came the church knights. Given the choice between huddling in the church and going to sit in a cabin with Reynard..... I chose to go with the bird.
We sat in widow Ghita's cabin behind a ward against the tainted. It was both fascinating and satisfying to see who was unable to enter. It was also.... boring.
When the ward expired, I was the last one out. I hung about until all the others had gone their separate ways and forgotten about me... even the bird.
Alone. In the pitch black. In the umbra.
Specters. Lots of them.
For the first time since I arrived in Ushaw Moor -- I shifted.
I stayed to the shadows, but still, one saw me.
It attacked me without giving me the respect of seeing its face - if I had been born a wolf I might have been insulted.
I am no wolf. I took no insult. I did not rage.
As it died I learned from its screams that even the tainted can know fear.
On my way back to my rest I bumped into a stranger on the road. The dark kept me from seeing their face - but I will recognize the taste when I find them again.
I visited with the cats for a while. They have a nice den. It would be a good place to hide younglings if the bird didn't live there too.
When I refused all their offers of help and protection, Reynard sent me to my rest with interesting words.
"I know you are a resourceful woman."
You have no idea.
When I reached my room it was to find that yet a different visitor was to sleep above me. As armed as he was - I am not sure who was supposed to be protecting who.
I awoke hungry - so I cooked the hunt I had been saving.
The smell of the kill in the skillet drew many - including the young bird. When he asked what it was I was cooking, I answered him straight.
He was wise enough not to ask what kind.
Reynard, was more curious than that. In point of fact, out of all who partoke in the meal, he was the only one to make that inquiry.
On the way up the road I heard disturbing news - so I followed to the jail since I did not trust the mutts to be able to handle things properly on their own. I was right to go.
The mutts were called away to deal with their raging totem - proof of how emotion gets in the way of getting done what needs to be done.
The birds and the vampires did their best to finish things on their own - but it took my order to Marsh to end the creature.
The threat over - we turned heel and left to deal with other things.
Other things turned out to be three women wailing and mourning for the souls of England.
I found myself in the tavern soon after that.
I looked out over the gathering of most of the town and had a realization.
It might soon be time for me to find a new husband.