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   Chapter 10 Rabbit A Talent Mark Novel

Rabbit: A Talent Mark Novel By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 15251

Updated: 2018-03-13 12:12


Chapter 10

The rest of the evening passed quietly. After tea, Harmony returned and instructed them to retrieve their sewing for the remainder of the afternoon. Rabbit had finished her dress, but for lack of anything else to do, she began embellishing the plain gown with embroidery.

Luckily, a far amount of supplies had been added to their baskets. Rabbit had a great deal more supplies in her storage box at the end of her bed as the small tokens of thanks for her repairs of the things Ilsa brought tended to be additions to either her sewing box or her odds and ends collection for fire working. She knew however that tonight, of all nights, would be a bad time to bring any of those items forth.

Rabbit concentrated on her stitching, making the stitches small and even and pretending to ignore Badger. The older girl stabbed her needle into the cloth in a way that promised bloody vengeance. Rabbit had no desire to see what sort of mayhem an earth mage could create with a childish temper but had the feeling she would shortly find out. The sewing was interrupted by a tensely quiet dinner. It was almost a relief when Harmony pulled her book from the shelf and after a shortened nightly reading, sent them off to bed.

Mouse was already curled beneath her blankets when they filed in so there was little talking. Rabbit realized how much she had gotten used to her story telling. It was Tor and Wren's turn for retrieving the water for the morning pitcher and Rabbit had slid beneath the covers of her own bed before they returned. Badger had done likewise, turning her back to the room. Robin shrugged as she eased herself into her bed.

With the snow falling heavily outside, it felt like they were cut off from the rest of the world. The normal night sounds were muffled. No owls searched the night sky as their prey had safely hunkered down out of sight. Behind the fire grate, the fire crackled and popped. Strange fingers of light stretched up over the brass plate and caused shadows to dance on the ceiling. Despite the day's events Rabbit found herself drifting off to sleep more easily than usual. In her dreams she was walking through the corridors of her home.

"Similar to the older parts of Tessian's keep, " she thought to herself as her steps took her through the older parts of her home in Denalias. If stories were to be believed, this part of the city had been built before the Ghada even settled the drumshada. She walked to a spot where two corridors met and stopped in the center. Looking up she saw the lighted dome. It was inset with colored glass in a random geometric pattern. It glowed with the sunlight and she knew that there were vents set in the ridged edge to allow fresh air into the underground city.

At the moment, the dome was darker than usual as the mid-winter snows blanketed even the normally windswept parts of the mountain. She shivered thinking of the herdsman's huts, emptied for the season and wondered how anyone could live above ground in the winter. During the summer, she, like the rest of the Ghada longed for the sundrenched fields, but in the winter she was content in their city beneath the earth. She walked to the wall and placed her hand against the smooth stone. She could still feel the warmth of the long dead fire worker who had shaped the rock to form these corridors.

"I do hope you'll give warning before you start adding on to the city, Norah, " a voice said with a chuckle. "I would hate to get lost down an unfamiliar corridor." She smiled at the sound of her father's voice.

"It would give you an excuse to miss meetings, " she responded with a smile, letting her hand slide from the stone.

"Well that might come in handy, " he replied. She looked behind him to see the ever present gaggle of staff. "Do you know how the lighted dome came to be here?" he asked her. It was a favorite game played between them since she was small and she smiled.

"No, tell me, " she replied. He reached out his hand to take hers and they began walking towards the busier sections of the city. Every time he told her of the lighted dome and how it came to be located at a random intersection, he told a different story. The truth was that no one knew why such an elaborate and odd design came to be where it was. All of the other such creations had plants as the subject and were much less elaborate.

Each story her father told her was more improbable than the last and she often wondered if he was making the stories up whenever he got a dazed look in his eyes dur

ould she lose? As Harmony left the entire kitchen staff seemed to exhale and shake off a bit of tension.

"Didn't you eat with the others?" Ilsa asked walking over. Rabbit could see several of the kitchen staff listening for an answer even as they began resuming their tasks. Rabbit mimed a Badger's teeth and then mimicked spooning food onto plates. Ilsa, remembering her motins from upstairs conversation quickly got over her initial confusion.

"Badger?" She guessed. Rabbit nodded.

"Page Illiam said Mistress Harmony fetched the doctor for the little curly haired girl, " one of the men said.

"Mouse?" Isa said. Rabbit nodded. "And the Mistress left Badger in charge of setting out the food?" Again Rabbit nodded. There was a general sigh. "Rabbit here didn't give Lady Badger her tea first yesterday, " Ilsa told the rest of the staff. Rabbit shrugged and turned her attention to her breakfast. The cook smiled ruefully at her.

"I bet with her around you wonder why you chose to come here huh?" the cook said. Rabbit looked up and frowned. She picked up one of the rolling pins that had been left on the table. She mimed using it to hit someone over the head. She then put a hand to her mouth and then pointed to herself. The kitchen staff stopped even pretending to ignore her.

"Yer were taken?" Jestan guessed. His voice was hesitant. At Rabbit's nod there was a bit of a gasp.

"And Lord Tessian rescued you?" The cook guessed. Rabbit snorted and shook her head no. She looked around the room and saw a slight bulge in the chest of Page Illiam's tunic. She stood up and tapped the bulge. It jingled. Slowly he pulled his money pouch out of his tunic. Rabbit tapped it again and mimed him giving it away.

"He bought you, " Jestan said. Rabbit nodded and returned to her breakfast. She began to eat her cooling cakes, washing them down with the warm cider. Silence filled the kitchen. Rabbit placed her mug back down on the table and the cook walked over to refill the mug. Rabbit could see the limp Ilsa claimed was from Badger's trick.

"You must be mistaken, " the cook said slowly. "Slavery is illegal in both Heldan and the Baronies." Rabbit looked at her and shrugged. The cook backed away and it seemed everyone avoided looking in Rabbit's direction. With another shrug, she finished her breakfast and stood.

She bowed her head in thanks to the cook and then walked over to the page. He had returned his pouch to his tunic and after a moment's hesitation he realized he needed to lead her back to the empty rooms. As they left, Rabbit could hear the hiss of whispered conversations start behind her.

"I wonder what will become of that?" Rabbit thought as she walked. "Maybe the separation isn't just because of Badger's behavior or to prevent us from forming personal ties. Perhaps it has more to do with Tessian breaking the law." Rabbit tried to keep the smile from her face as she followed Illiam back to the empty rooms. "Maybe some good will come from Badger's bad behavior after all."

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