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   Chapter 7 Rabbit A Talent Mark Novel

Rabbit: A Talent Mark Novel By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 16376

Updated: 2018-03-13 12:10


Chapter 7

Rabbit soon found there was little variation in the schedule Harmony set. Breakfast was followed by a day in the workroom, which was in turn followed by sewing while Harmony read to them.

"Not terribly exciting, " Rabbit thought, "but at least I am getting my new dress finished." She was stitching slowly to be sure her stitches were correct, which seemed to amuse Badger. Rabbit was very glad she had watched Lady Rose work on regular sewing pieces. Strangely, she felt a sense of accomplishment as the dress began to take shape.

"It certainly won't be the best dress ever made, but not too shabby an attempt, " Rabbit thought. More to the point the work seemed to pass Harmony's inspection, so there were no questions about her lack of basic skills.

To her set schedule, Rabbit added an early morning visit to the sitting room. She always padded to the bookshelves in her nightgown in the early morning light trying to be as quiet as her namesake. Rabbit was careful to always take her comb with her when she went, figuring a cover story of waking early and not wanting to wake the others might sound plausible.

Thus far her morning visits had not yielded much in the way of information, but Rabbit was still hopeful. The one map she had found in her search was several hundred years old and was based more on agriculture. It was frustrating, but she still figured the time was well spent.

On the days she was sent to the well room with Robin, Rabbit worked on the door to the blocked off space. She still had no idea where it would lead, but during those evenings she had managed to change a space almost big enough for her to slip through from solid stone infill to a thin sheet of stone veneer covering the opening that she could peel back with ease in a matter of seconds. It gave her s sense of accomplishment, a feeling as though she were doing something to escape and head home. Rabbit was unsure what she would do when the opening was large enough to enter, as she didn't think she would have much time to explore while Robin bathed.

"I might need Robin's cooperation, " she thought to herself. While Robin had not told Harmony or any of the others who she was, Rabbit was still not sure how far her loyalty would extend. Figuring there were a few more trips left before it became an issue, Rabbit let the idea sit for a while.

Conscious of the time, Rabbit slid the book she had been scanning back on the shelf, made certain that nothing was amiss and then slipped quietly back into the sleeping chamber. She slid into bed and began to comb out her hair as the other girls began to stir.

Breakfast was the usual fare, on this morning Rabbit and Robin were the ones set to clean up the dishes. When they were done, the girls were once again led to the workspace. Rabbit tried to stifle a sigh. She knew that winter had begun in earnest so even if she had been home, she would be confined to the indoors, but seeing only the same few rooms was beginning to wear on her. Harmony left them as was usual and Rabbit began to sort through broken bits of glass to find the components needed to create the objects Tessian had sent down. At the moment, work was her only escape.

Rabbit had lost count of the number of items she had made, but after seeing the quality of the existing pieces sent down to her, she figured Tessian was certainly no longer using such plebian artifacts. Rabbit grimaced to herself as she thought of it. Tessian was apparently quite thrilled with her work, if Harmony's comments were anything to judge by.

Each comment, however, darkened Badger's looks and Rabbit had taken to regarding her as an approaching thunderstorm. She knew it would break but had not guessed quite when. The door to their workroom swung open, surprising all of them as after Harmony left, they were usually not disturbed until it was time for luncheon. Harmony swept in, her lips were pursed and her brow creased with a frown. She turned towards Rabbit.

"You will please come with me, " Harmony said looking at Rabbit. Rabbit nodded and Harmony turned away. As Rabbit moved from behind the worktable she darted a glance at Robin who shook her head slightly. Inwardly, Rabbit relaxed a little. Robin had not told her secret.

"Perhaps they found out about the books, " Rabbit thought as she followed Harmony out of the door. 'But then wouldn't they punish me in front of the others so they could learn by example?' She didn't know, none of the others had incurred any sort of punishment since her arrival. The path they took was one Rabbit had never walked and she looked around, eager for new sights. She also counted steps and turns. Soon the two of them began passing others.

The people they passed looked to be wearing clothes that matched Grayson, the man who had bought her from the raiders, rather than something Harmony would wear and they

lanced at Harmony who nodded. She refilled her cup and tried to sip this one more slowly. Rock simply took more heat to work with. Jestan, who had stepped away returned with a plate bearing a crusty roll, and a slice of meat.

"There you go, should be enough to hold you til regular meals, " he said with a smile. Rabbit glanced up at Harmony, who again nodded. Rabbit placed the cup down and began to eat. Both the bread and the meat were welcome. Breakfast consisted of corn based baked goods and she had greatly missed wheat. While they were given a small portion of meat at dinner time, Rabbit still found it less than she was used to.

Mammon's lessons about meals circled through her head, oddly enough echoing Jestan's comments. Fire workers typically had meat with every meal. It was viewed as a trade with the community. The fire worker more than many, assisted to maintain the keep, therefore they were taken care of by the community. This was not the first baking stone she had repaired. She found it odd though that the ovens were exactly the same style as those at home. She had expected different.

"Perhaps they are a holdover from the drumshada times as well, " she thought. Rabbit finished her impromptu meal and drained her cup. The dizziness had passed and she felt less hollow. Rabbit stood and moved to pick up her plate.

"We'll take care of that miss, " a soft voice said. She saw one of the younger girls she assumed was a part of the kitchen staff reaching for her plate. She nodded and smiled at the girl, who blushed ferociously. Rabbit stepped out from around the bench and tucked it back under the table. She looked to Harmony who nodded and led her back out of the kitchen and towards the workroom. As they moved towards the section of the keep she was accustomed to, there were fewer and fewer people. When the corridor they walked contained only the two of them Harmony turned to Rabbit. She stopped and looked her over.

"Have you lost weight since your arrival here?" Harmony asked. Rabbit looked down at herself. Badger's older dress had always been a little bit big on her so she hadn't thought much about it. She pinched the cloth experimentally. There was defiantly more there than when she had first put the dress on. She looked up at Harmony and nodded slowly. Harmony frowned.

"I see, " she said. They resumed walking. They entered the workspace and all eyes turned towards them. Harmony's face once again held only smiles.

"There was a minor issue in the kitchens this morning and luckily Rabbit was able to assist in correcting it. Lord Tessian is so pleased by all of your willingness to serve that he has given you all the afternoon free. Come, we will retire to our quarters." The others left what they were doing in their spaces and filed out. They followed Harmony back to their rooms. Rabbit, because she had been next to Harmony when they started to move had been first in line. Badger quickly closed the distance. Rabbit stifled a sigh and ceded her place. When they entered the parlor Harmony was surprised not to find Rabbit behind her, but smoothed the expression over.

"Please go get your sewing and occupy yourselves in the sitting room, " Harmony said. "I shall return soon."

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