Chapter 20-end, Book One: Davenpor (When much younger)
“Can you take pets to school?”
The carriage that went to Edally Academy from the middle of the country had five people in it, and four of them were students headed for Edally.
Technically, the carriage went from Ossulund to Ilelteddez, but it had stopped in Kuddyinnie, the city where Davenpor lived, and three other cities. Only Loonnoozhno had gotten on in Ossulund..
And only Davenpor had a carrier full of weasels. “They’re not pets,” he explained. He had been explaining this for a very long time. “They’re companions, except Lazlyu, who is more of a, well, a working weasel.”
“Working weasel.” Baikvyammugtai (“call me Baiktai”) raised her eyebrows at him. “How does he work?”
“She hunts. She does quite a bit of hunting, actually. And she catches intruders, too. This one time, someone tried to break in to Father’s shop, and Lazlyu and her mother bit them on the nose and the – sensitive parts until they screamed.”
“Do you think,” Loonnoozhno’s voice was dripping with scorn and his expression was pure disdain, “that you will have many intruders in Edally Academy? Or many rodents that need hunting?”
Davenpor smiled at the bigger boy, although it wasn’t an expression with much humor or friendliness behind it. “I’ve lived in a dormitory of one sort of another for several years already. I’ve found that there are always intruders and that there are always rodents. However, Baiktai, I don’t know if they’re allowed. To be honest, I’m hoping to go by the theory that one does what one has to and then asks for the orders to do it later.”
Ikoovryoknai, the last of their student group and the daughter of a local leader, chuckled. “’First throw your spear. Then check the target. Then ask if you may kill the target,’” she quoted.
“Like this guy is going to be throwing a whole lot of spears,” muttered Loonnoozhno.
“The best spear is one that throws itself,” Davenpor quoted, probably unwisely. “And the best spear is the one that never meets its target – when its target is you.”
“And what are you doing to do?” Baiktai’s tone was more friendly, but no less teasing. “Quote your target to death?”
“Oh, come on,” Ikoovryoknai scolded mildly. “Leave the poor guy alone. We’ve been at peace for so long, only a few of us will ever see real combat, and that will be against raiders and rebels. If he wants to train weasels, why not? It’s not like they’re not clever.”
Davenpor found himself liking the girl more and more – and disliking Loonnoozhno more at the same time.
Because that one snorted. “More clever than their owner, I’d bet. What did you train them to do? Fetch you sweets?”
Now that one was just not fair. Davenpor looked a little rounder than Loonnoozhno, sure, but that was a matter of familial shape. The parts of him that mattered had no extra mass at all – which you couldn’t tell in these silly outfits his mother had picked for him.
The first thing he was going to do was take needle and scissors to them. The second thing was going to be to start designing something that didn’t make one look round.
“He could get them to fetch things, I bet,” Baiktai offered. “That could be fun. Have them go get little things for him, have them send messages – can they send messages? Do they follow orders?”
“They can follow simple orders. Lazlyu here can follow a lot more complicated orders. I’ve been working with him since he was a kit,” he explained sounding proud in spite of himself.
“No wonder you look pasty and soft,” muttered Loonnoozhno. “Spending all your time inside training weasels.”
“You know,” Ikoovryoknai commented, casually like it had nothing to do with the conversation at hand, “my father has hunting weasels and some tracking and fetching weasels. The woman who trains them is a very respected member of his staff.”
“They don’t teach animal handling at Edally, I’m sure,” Loonnoozhno sneered.
“What do you think Kaarson House is? Agriculture.” Ikoovryoknai rolled her eyes. “You know, just because you grew up in Ossulund doesn’t make you any more impressive or any bigger than the rest of us. Leave Davenpor alone.”
“Yes, your Highness, Lady Ikoovryo-elloo.” Loonnoozhno affected a deep bow from a sitting position. “I wouldn’t want to go against anything you wanted – hey!”
Davenpor stifled a giggle. Baiktai didn’t bother to stifle hers. Loonnoozhno’s hat, the sort of thing that must be in fashion in Ossulund right then, was on the floor and moving quickly across the small cabin of the carriage.
“Lazlyu is pretty well-behaved,” Davenpor commented, as the hat danced under the seat, “but his little cousins, well, I’m afraid they thing of cage doors as more of suggestions than limits. I’m sure Kupso will return your hat when she’s done with it.”
“Give it back! Give it back now!”
“Oh, I couldn’t do that.” Davenpor did let himself chuckle this time. He knew he was making a lifelong enemy of Loonnoozhno. On the other hand, he was pretty sure the two girls would be his friends for a very long time. “It’s a long trip. We might as well let someone be comfortable.”
So Solace went and gave me two Books of all the characters, and thus is getting all the Edally ficlets ever.
This one takes place Tesdes (and everyone else)’s first day of Edally.