A Barbaric Summer of Shenanigans
Filly worked with the children for a full five days of rehearsals before she was ready to share their talents with the rest of the travelling troupe. Although, anyone who wandered by could easily observe if they wanted. Yet, while caravan artists are known for many talents, their most well-known talent is the ability to ignore what’s going on, so as to focus upon one’s own energy.
Filly hoped to share a short preview performance of the children singing at one of the open market meetings. But, permission to do so was required by the Artisan council. She didn’t want to spoil the children’s surprise by telling anyone her plans, without permission first. Thus, it was quite a surprise when Filly showed up at the next morning council meeting, again with her breakfast and trailing Wood-fae hair-stylists. The stuffy councilors sniffed at her disorder. They only met with the leader of this rag-tag group, Count Tambeaux, to make sure their patronized money was well spent.
What made matters worse was the Count’s late and disheveled arrival.
“Gahd, is it morning, already.” Marin stumbled through the tent door.
There was a giddy giggle outside the tent.
The low Skyling light shone through the material wall to display a shadowy figure that appeared to be scantily clad and female. She was “hiding” behind the tent flap, tugging on the Count’s dressing coat. Marin bopped his head under the flap and outside again with a low chuckle. He kissed the female lips rather aggressively, smacked her rear side, and sent her off to her own breakfast.
Re-entering the meeting tent, he allowed an unguarded look of shock and something else that may have been regret, pass across his eyes when he noticed Filly there, leaning back, getting her hair tangled into a new style. She smirked at him with raised eyebrows and licked her thumb rather obviously. She wiped her lips with a middle finger, then picked up another piece of bacon.
Filly smiled to herself and closed her eyes, enjoying the atmosphere of relaxed hair braiding, bacon flavors, and royal shame.
The Count cleared his throat in default professionalism and snarled,
“I do protest these meetings so early in the morning, Councilors.”
Baron Delvung sneered down his aristocratic nose,
“Two/forty-five is a most respectable time for any meeting to gather, to thence commencing the meet at Two/one hundred, on the note.”
One of the Upland nobles scoffed,
“Even the Bacht have most of their morning work commencing at this time, or 9am, as they call it. You at least have the fifteen-minute adjustment for Underland Calls.”
Trevel time is set on a twenty-four-hour clock with minutes and seconds, the same as Bacht time. However, the hours are numbered differently. To begin with, the day is divided into four calls, as is the night. The (I) first call is at sunrise, which, as that is regulated by an artificial Skyling, is at precisely 5:15 a.m. Bacht time. The (II) second call is then three hours after that (08:15), the (III) third is three hours after that (11:15), and the (IV) fourth is three hours after that (14:15). Then begin the evening calls. The first (V) is at 17:15 Bacht time, and the rest are at three-hour intervals through the night, as through the day (VI-20:15, VII-23:15, VIII-02:15).
Thus, Two/zero-forty-five, written as II/00:45, is 45 minutes after the second call, which is 8:15 plus 45 minutes, that equals, 9am. Two/one-hundred on the note, is 1hr passed the second call, being 9:15am Bacht time.
“Respectable time,” the Count concluded as he sat with authority, “is for the south central Trevel. We are Kentari. Our legitimate clocks run differently. Am I right, my Lady?”
Filly stared at Marin with warning. He tested her right back. She knew he was in just enough of a foul and off-put mood to ‘out’ her as Oracle, so she backed him up.
“Understandably, my honorable Councilors,” Filly stood to address them as if she were addressing the Atlantean Senate back home, “Artisan caravans are required to run at off hours, that we may serve the people. If we operated our shows on respectable time, everyone else would be at work and none could attend. Thus, we work while you meet with your rest. While you eat, we perform. While you play, we serve you with wonders. And while you go home to rest abed, much entertained, we continue through the night to pack away all our creations, so that, when you return to your respectable work hours, we are gone, out of your way.”
The Baron harrumphed in discontented understanding.
“We seek only to serve and compromise with all your good will. Perhaps, we may seek your grace in requesting that these meetings be held in the middle of your day? That would align with a more beginning start for us.”
“Well,” Baron Delvung huffed, “that makes sense, even if the sense is not common to me.”
He stood and nodded to Sir Guftson,
“Excellent breakfast, good lord.”
The Baron collected his folders and nodded to the rest of the council to follow, as he continued ordering the Count’s gnomish valet.
“Perhaps you can regale us with just as good a luncheon, say,” he glanced at the time calendar on his mobile communique, “three days from now. No. No.” He disagreed with the confused looks of the other councilors. “It’s too late today to make such changes.”
He held out a fist to Marin and the Count bumped it back in acknowledgement, saying,
“Three days, at III/01:00, then?”
“Let’s gather at III/00:45, to give you time to be late and on time for a meet commencement of III/01:00…” he looked at the Count with pressing implication.
Marin finished his sentence,
“On the note.”
Their palms extended out of the fist bump and grabbed each other’s hand in an arm-wrestling style fist. They shook fists, slapped the other’s shoulder, and nodded in accord.
“I shall be sure to have entertainment ready for you by then, as well: a Children’s choir.”
Baron Delvung agreed with,
“That sounds in order.”
Then he lead the whole council out of the meeting tent, leaving Filly, the two wood faeries, and the Count alone. The two fae girls giggled and flew out of the awkward tension that rose between Count and Lady.
Marin cleared his throat and teased,
“I have you over quite the barrel, don’t I?”
Filly stood still, waiting for his bargain.
Marin swaggered to sit at her place and eat the rest of her breakfast. With a mouthful, he waved a fork of egg in the air and mused to himself,
“What would the world do if they knew I had THE Oracle of Atlantis hiding away in my dingy little mob of Artisans?”
He took in her figure with his eyes, lustily, and continued,
“I bet I could get quite the price for your ransom, especially with the lonely Lords of outer Kentari. Why, I bet even the Regent of Olland might pay me well for your captive attentions?”
Filly remained pleasant and calmly still.
A smirk of defeat twirled at Marin’s mouth as he conceded,
“But, then your Pirate would have my guts on display, if I let you go.”
“He’s not my Pirate.” Filly responded, a little too quickly.
She moved to leave, but Marin interrupted her,
“He would make you his. Beware him, woman. Not a single Lord or Lady in Kentari would cross him.”
“If he wanted to make me his, he had the chance a long time ago. He is the one who disappeared.”
Filly exited as a scorned woman, leaving Marin confused about whether or not to be envious of the pirate, for his love affair with the Oracle, or afraid of the Oracle who seemed unafraid of the pirate. She was certainly the only being Marin knew who wasn’t intimidated by him.
“Interesting.” The Count shrugged.
Sir Guftson returned to the tent door, having escorted the councilors to their transports. Marin stood and patted his valet’s head, mumbling,
“I’m to bed to sleep.”
“That’s a rarity, sir,” grumbled the gnome, fixing his hair.
Filly set up her easel and paints on the side of the camp. There was much on display before her eyes; any of which would make a delightful captured image for her canvas. But, the woman closed her eyes and moved to the stirring of her heart.
There was, yet, another picture she needed to let out, for the Lords of Ragefall. This recent mention of the Regent of Olland pricked her heart deeply. There was prophecy about and Filly needed to manifest it in color.
If you would like to see more of Gregga’s books and other creative projects, check out her website: Gregga J. Johnn and Story-in-the-Wings.