#Nanowrimo : The Rat Pt1
Martje, the Diras castle keep's cook, only has one fear.
Martje, however, could not be nearly as easy. Seeing the mouse in her larder, though he had done nothing but sniff the air and squeak his solicitations, had roused a frightening concern within her. She could not revisit the larder without her eyes darting about, scouring every corner for some hint of movement: a shelf disturbed, a creak in the storeroom, a item misplaced was enough to excite the most terrific notions her mind could conjure. Rodents about in the streets were stray cats could hunt and feast on them was one thing, but a mouse in her kitchen was entirely another. Every corner of the oven room, scullery, larder, and storeroom was the pinnacle of neatness and purity: every dusting of flower was brushed away, every crumb of bread was instantly tossed outside for the birds, every sliver of cheese was swept, leaving nothing left for scavenger to find. Everything at the end of an evening was tucked away, and the only others who were permitted into the kitchen for a late night meal were those who had been given particular permission. If they must eat something, they must clean after themselves, leaving any fault of incursion in their quarter. She searched and squinted, hunted and connived, but there were no mice to be caught, and therefore Martje must be satisfied though her vexations could not be entirely done away. She would arm herself with chariness, look about in askance, sneak as well as a woman of her bulk could do, and contrive to trap them, but she would fail.
The small mouse was conveyed safely to Sheamas’ shoppe, where his arrival was met with a celebratory dinner of smoked cheese and cured pork, and once his belly was round and his eyes could not be kept from closing, he was taken to the temple where he might find refuge under the auspices of the Themari. A small room and bed was given him, visits from Soledhan and Jaicobh were due, and Mr Sniffles the Second, as named by Kai Linaa, was in a way to be happy and comfortable during the long Frewyn winter.
|Kai Linaa and Mr Sniffles the First Esquire|
Her conduct, though ridiculous with her leaping from shadows with her rolling pin in her hand, had almost been prophetic, for one morning, a few days after the appearance of their first and harmless visitor, Martje descried a small tail wiggling about from the crack in the storeroom door. She gasped at first, and then made a resolute gesture. “Oh, aye, I’m gonna get you, you bastard,” she sibilated to herself, slinking down to a prowl. She grabbed her rolling pin and prepared to strike when the creature suddenly scampered into storeroom and out of view. “Oh, no you don’t!” Martje shouted, leaping toward her prey with rolling pin held high.
She landed beside the storeroom door and slashed down at the creature’s tail with a clatter. It scampered away, she pursued, tossing the small sacs of flour and grain about, smacking the pin furiously after its scratching feet, swearing at the creature’s escaping her wrath. Shelves were toppled, articles were overturned, the creature had vanished into the depths of the packed storeroom, and Martje’s hopes of being gloriously triumphant were unfounded. She slumped down, her back to the wall and rolling pin in hand, sighed in anguish, wiped the sweat from her brow with her plump hand, and pounded her fist into the floor, swearing to the Gods for her lost. “Hashiff a phronnuc,” she grunted, standing and scowling at the mess she created in the row.
Enjoy the story? Enjoy the first book in the series: