“My name is Elle.” The woman had the wire cutters far too close to parts of Reynard that he was very, very fond of. He could feel the cold metal against his skin, and was a bit too much of a coward to look at what she was doing. Not that he could move his head in that direction, anyway… “You are in New Buffalo. I suppose Joshua passed on the news to Addergoole East, and when you ran afoul of Lady Storm and her – mmm – her man – well, here you are.” The clippers moved, and Reynard’s left leg was suddenly free. “Please try not to move too much until I’m done. You’re all over hawthorn, and you could hurt yourself.”
Reynard held still. It had been, he thought, years – almost a decade – since he’d been Kept, but he thought the words had the feel of an order around the edges, even softened by please and try.
She had said several important things, if only the clippers and the shifting and prickling of the hawthorn wasn’t distracting him. “Elle?” he tried. “Is that -“
“That’s the name my father gave me. I can’t say he was the best at the whole thing.” The clippers moved upwards, over Reynard’s belly.
“Well, my father named me Fox.” He tried to shrug, and found he wasn’t really moving at all. Well, that might answer that. “And your Mentor…?” If she remembered him from Addergoole…
“Professor Valerian named me the Stone Gardener.” She patted his thigh with her leather-clad hands. “And I earned it, much like you earned your Name… Fox.”
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