Monday, May 14, 2012

Day Two Hundred-Six: Who is that masked waterfowl

The rat purge has begun.

This is going to be a weird week, diary. In a couple different ways. Not only do I have to participate in this massive vermin hunt, I need to do it with a partner. Someone I NEVER would have expected to be interested in hunting rats… not that I know him very well, but still…

Before that: the castle. The usual status update. The former strikers, happy with what they got from their strike last week, are rebuilding. Aaaaaagain. It's a good thing they can basically turn ruined resources back into complete products, or we woulda been bankrupted from buying new stone and wood five or six times over.

Also: the Beefiary. Robert didn't waste a minute expunging rats from his kitchen. He ordered his assistants to scrub every inch of the food stations with lye, and the remaining rat corpses were taken away to be processed into the final few rat leather products. I hear the castellan won a secret auction to receive the last rat-skin coat. Hope he likes the thing.

(Robert's also been bugging me about the letter from our mom. How did I get one so fast? Excellent question. I have no idea how The Baron expedited delivery, 'cause he wouldn't tell me, even in private. Tricksy man, that one. Maybe I'll find out some day…)

On to the food replacements. From this day forward, the Beefiary will offer the following seven meals, all of which may be altered at the request of diners:

- Roasted pigeon - we have a lot of the things living 'round the castle, even if I don't mention 'em too often
- Fried ants
- Potato kabobs, which is really just roasted potatoes on a stick, garnished with some herbs
- Guinea pig soup / stew, though it won't be fully on the menu for a while - only nobles have the coin to order it right now, and I doubt most of 'em care enough
- The Month's Special, consisting of the meat of whatever animal happens to be passing through the area at the time - right now it's land octopi, which're nice and easy to hunt, I hear
- Aaaaand the old classics that are yak tarts and plates of veggies, both of which can be mixed and matched with ANY of the above dishes for an additional fee

Robert is blissfully happy. He has a larger team of hunters at his command for collecting the Month's Special, and he's got more variety than he ever coulda hoped. Good for him, one of his schemes actually worked.

Assuming it was his scheme. I have my doubts.

Either way. I like the selection. It's nice to have something else for a change. Several something elses. I'm not a huge fan of the octopus special, granted, but the ants are delicious. They melt in your mouth. Mmmmm, tiny legs.

Turned out I'm not the only person thinking that, 'cause the guy I've been partnered with sat down beside me with a big bowl of ants while I was at lunch.

"Mmm, bugs. Gotta love bugs." Kierkegaard the Jester dipped his beak into his bowl and munched down a big mouthful of tiny, sizzling legs. "Don'tcha think, blondie?"

I wasn't sure how to react. He's a talking penguin in a top hat, so my FIRST inclination was to go 'awwwww'. I have heard that he can be pretty nasty, though, so I tended towards courtesy… until I remembered that aristocrats are supposed to be nicer to COMMONERS, not the other way around. THEN I wondered if a jester COUNTS as a nobleman, even if he DOES have a top hat, and, well, I wound up not answering him for a good twenty seconds as I mulled over the predicament.

Probably woulda been in a stupor even longer than that if he hadn't jabbed me with his fork, which, given his table manners, he probably just uses to stab people.

I jumped. "Hey! Watch that thing!"

Kierkegaard laughed, a weird, high-pitched squawk. Sounded more like a tiny child screaming for its life. "Ha! So you are alive! Had my doubts, kid. You're Dragomir, right?"

"Yeah." He was eating, so I figured I could stop for a bite. Spoke around the ants. "You're, um, the jester?"

"He knows me! 'cause there are so many talkin' penguins 'round these parts." Kierkegaard rolled his eyes, then jumped up on the table and pushed my bowl of ants on the floor. "Listen to me, willya? It's rude to interrupt somebody with your crunchin'."

Another moment of indecision. Luckily, I only had two factors to face this time: punch him and maybe face punishment, or don't punch him and face public ridicule by a penguin. The silence was much shorter. "Sorry."

"Yeesh. You remind me of a guy I went t'school with. Only spoke in symbols. Damned nuisance. Probably talkin' in rhyming symbols by now, poor bastard." Kierkegaard snorted, crossed his knobbly little legs, and tipped his hat back. "Right. You wonderin' why I'm bothering you, blondie?"


"Good. Curiosity's good. I'm botherin' you 'cuz I'm your partner for this week. I'm gonna come with you when ya slaughter up some rats."

"Huh? Why?"

He slapped me. "I don't LIKE rats, that's why! And I hear you're not so good at handling the sharpy-sharpies, so I'll do all the killin' work. You bag 'em, I'll tag 'em. Or the t'other way around, I'm up for variety."

I rubbed my cheek. I don't like being slapped, even if my attacker has the arm strength of a newborn infant who's not my daughter. "What? I don't get it. Why - "

Kierkegaard kicked me in the chest. And pecked my helmet off my head. And then pecked my forehead. "Fuck! Shut your trap, ya big baby! I'm the superior here, so you do what I tell ya t'do! And I say you help me out while I kill me some rats!"

I really, REALLY wanted to slug him. But I noticed, as I was recovering from his bloody stab to my forehead, that there were two royal guards watching us. I bit my lip, stood, and nodded. Even tossed in a salute to appease the little bastard.

"Good!" Kierkegaard grabbed his bowl, hopped off the table, and shook hands with my pant leg. "Glad we got that unpleasantness outta the way. I'm busy today, so you just go about lookin' for your ratty friends, and I'll come find you tomorrow. Gonna be a fun week, lemme tell ya. Ciao!"

The jester wandered away with his guards, guzzling fried ants out of his bowl. So I guess, technically, he stole something from the Beefiary. I'm kinda hoping I can use that to my advantage. Somehow. Maybe get him arrested? Though the king's personal jester probably has carte blanche on a lot of little things… and it was only a bowl

That's that, then, diary. I've got me a partner. A disagreeable little wretch of a partner, about whom I've been warned. (Heed the words of chocolate man Edmund!) What can I expect in the coming days? I haven't a clue. I doubt it'll be pleasant, though.

Rats. Ugh. It's just a matter of time before one of 'em comes to talk to me. I can feel them watching me… they must be really nervous…


Dragomir the Rat-Hunter

1 comment:

  1. Land Octopi?

    If this was Dorf Fort, everyone would be dead.

    ...though I suppose that if this was Dorf Fort, everyone would have already died previously in its first week of existence.

    Dorfs are incapable of not ruining everything.

    Would have been an awesome week though.