Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day Four-Thirty-Eight: That tree is a different colour every time I draw it

Pubton is suddenly very, very busy. Once again, the Matriarch is to blame.

Word of the big machine's arrival in our fair town - I'm almost tempted to call it a city, but we're not quite that big just yet - spread quickly beyond our borders. It probably doesn't interest folks in other towns so much, as the fall of nearby kingdoms is far more worrying, but anybody who lived in poor Castle Whatever knows that wherever the Matriarch goes, beloved Queen Daena goes.

Consequently, Libby's entire work force, looked ragged and dirty from weeks of labour, showed up this morning to welcome their former monarch to the neighbourhood.

Libby and I are barely on speaking terms, but I'm not so dumb as to alienate everyone who chose to go with her. As soon as I heard about the arrival of the workers, I ordered a giant luncheon feast. Tables were set up on and around the fallen Matriarch, food was brought out in massive amounts, and a general invitation went out to everybody in Pubton. Free chow and a queenly meet-and-greet, courtesy of the mayor. (People get free food from the Beefiary anyway, but actually using the word 'free' seems to light up eyes and fire up bellies. Go figure.)

It's amazing how a good personality will instantly engender goodwill and encourage loyalty. The line-up to see Daena was massive. People who knew her from the old days queued up first, and newcomers from other districts got in line just to see what all the hubbub was about. I'm sure many came to see the amazing woman stuck in a tree, and just as many walked away with a good opinion of her charms, stately bearing, and pleasant manners. Peasant or noble, Queen Daena likes 'em all the same.

Libby proved the biggest time-waster of the lot. Not only did she refuse to remain in line - uppity woman burst right through to her friend without waiting - but she took up a solid half hour of Daena's time. They chatted and laughed and swapped stories, and at one point I overheard Libby slyly suggesting they introduce Grayson and Celine. Once again, a less-than-one-year-old is being offered up as a marital prospect. Ugh.

It took some insistent prodding, but I managed to drag Libby away from Daena and off to one side of the Matriarch. She scowled deeply and looked ready to slug me one, but Daena's presence seemed to temper her… uh… temper. Yeah.

"Whaddya want?" she huffed, peeking over my shoulder at Daena. "I ain't interested in chattin' with you."

I didn't really want to talk to her either. Given the lack of a sidekick, however, I couldn't resist. "Uh, yeah. Hi to you too. I was wondering where, y'know, Grayson was. Is. May be."

Libby paused. Her eyes narrowed. "What do you care? You hate 'im. I know you do. Shitty parenting, I'd call that."

I bit my lip, thinking of Eve. "Last I checked, you got started on the shitty parenting way before I did. Seriously, where is he? You two're usually joined at the hip."

She crossed her arms and looked skyward. "Hmph. He's back at the dig site. Said he wanted to stay with his Auntie June. Better 'n leaving him with some white-haired whore, I'd say."

A cringe-worthy comment, that, and the faintest stirrings of vomit burbled in my stomach. I willed them away. "Ain't nothing to talk about there. You sure you should be leaving him alone? He… he could get in trouble."

"My boy's a saint," she countered, jabbing a finger against my breastplate so hard that the impact stung on the other side. "You can't see that 'cause you've got your head buried up your ass. Or in that witch's tits. They're both so ugly I have trouble tellin' 'em apart."

I wanted so badly to tell Libby just how freakish her son had become, but I knew it would be far better for her to catch him in the act and realize the extent of his demonic nature for herself. Besides, I wasn't in the mood to help her out, no more than she was in the mood to be civil. I threw up my hands and stalked away, leaving the festivities to get some lunch for Eve.

The celebration carried into the night. Few people worked, most people drank. Pubton lived up to its name as Bora drew pitcher after pitcher of ale for the celebrants. She was a close second in popularity to Daena, as I think most of the guys have realized that we're not so… you know… tight. Anymore. Nobody bothers to ask why.

Ugh. That kiss.

Anyway. Eve and I spent the night in Pagan's manor, reading books with Robert. Eve has expanded her vocabulary to 'daddy', 'Dragomir', 'Robert' and 'pancakes'. I'm so proud of her, and I'm sure she'll learn even more when we come back tomorrow. Because tomorrow, Pagan, Harold, Evangelina and I have to discuss the dark undercurrent that spread like silent wildfire through today's festivities, the topic that came up in hushed, excited tones as often as praise of Daena: Jeffrey's trial.


Dragomir the Mayor

1 comment:

  1. String em up, hang em high.
    Today's the day that a king will die.

    Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
    A once great crown reduced to rust.

    Mercy for saints, death for sinners.
    When Jeffrey suffers we are all winners.

    (Feeling in a celebratory mood, thought I'd write more poem/songs for the upcoming trial!)