• Sunsette

Scene 07: Batshit

"B-bats. I hate b-b-bats." Gerry held in one hand a small torch; somewhat unusually for a torch, however, it only shed a dusky green flame that didn't illuminate more than half an ock out, and wouldn't have been enough to read by. Given that the sun had disappeared under the horizon and the stars were beginning to come out, though, it was enough to help you see by, but not so bright it startled animals or was a beacon for enemy watch patrols.

"Really?" Bobbin blinked with surprise and canted his head to the side. "I think they're cute," he muttered, so low no one could hear him. Or so he thought; Mara placed a gentle hand on his shoulder at that.

"Is a bit queer for a mountain man to be spooked about bats."

Gerry ignored the prodding, his cheeks already warming with embarrassment yet again. Wasn't any of their business if he was strange or not. Good thing they couldn't see his face. He moved steadily forward in silence.

"Why are we talking about bats?" Bobbin whispered, although — somehow — his attempt to be quiet ended up being louder than how he actually spoke half the time.

"We need to find a good lot of them," Mara explained. "Their droppings are useful to alchemy."

Bobbin's face scrunched up as he tried to work through what she meant. "Their droppings? Wait. You mean... their... poop?!" he squeaked and froze mid-gait, his face the picture of horror.

The specialist massaged her temples before she replied. "...Um. Yeah. Kid, what did you do before the revolution, again?"

"Oh! I was in the Clothier's Guild!" he answered proudly. "That's why my name is Bobbin Socks. You see, I was a foundling, and that's what guilds do with foundlings. I'm surprised you didn't ask me why my name is Bobbin, it's usually the first thing people ask me and..."

It wasn't that Bobbin's voice actually got quieter as he spoke; it was more that both of the other soldiers were so confused by what he'd said that they couldn't focus on anything else for a few seconds. Gerry stopped mid-stride and turned back to look, just to see if she agreed and, yep — he shared an expression of complete confusion with Mara. The Clothier's Guild was famous even outside the city for... Well. It's true that neither of them were really city-dwellers; Gerry had spent most of his life up on these mountain peaks, Mara on a savannah farmstead. They could be wrong possibly. There was some remote chance of that. Very remote. Yet it seemed more likely than the alternative, because as far as either of them knew, the Clothier's Guild was chiefly...

Well. Well.

If you simply needed clothes, there were tailors and seamstresses, and those did the job fine. Clothiers, on the other hand, well. They were open at all hours of the day, even half-past midnight. In case there were wardrobe emergencies. The sort of emergencies that might require high-impact disrobing, perhaps mutual disrobing for safety. And there were, somehow, reputed to be rather a lot of wardrobe emergencies in cities among the single and maritally dissatisfied.

Bobbin. Was in the Clothier's Guild?

These were two wholly incompatible ideas. Gerry and Mara searched each other's face for answers, but none came.

"Is something wrong?" Bobbin asked, biting his lip.

"Ah, no, no, nothing to worry about, boyo." Mara raised her palms up as if to physically stop his questions while Gerry's eyes went wild with mild panic.

"But you both seem really worried..." Bobbin muttered to himself, looking between them.

"Oh, ah, well. I just. Have a headache! Yes. We should get back to moving." Mara shoved Gerry forward with her elbow.


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