Viviane smiled at the little Troll child. “And there you go. All better!”
The child smiled back bashfully, before retreating back behind his mother. “Thank you so much, Badb,” said the woman, with a smile as bashful and brittle as her child’s. “I… that cough…”
“Please, don’t make a big deal out that,” said Viviane, raising her hand. “I was just doing my duty.” She peered at the mother intently. “You know, you might want to consider moving to rooms that are less… damp…”
“Only rooms we can afford,” said the Troll woman quietly. She pressed her hands on her son’s shoulders. “Becoming goti. Joining temple soon.”
Viviane nodded. “Well… that’s nice…” She was considering coming up with another comment when the sound of people marching by, singing in unison was heard.
“So let us together raise our hands! We are stronger than we know! And as we gather in our bands--our courage we shall show!” Viviane glanced out to see a large group of Hands stomping down the street. Many were holding signs that read things like ‘Dagonet For the Thing!’ and ‘It Must Stay In Our Hands!”
“By-election,” said the Troll woman. “Everyone getting very excited. Hats think they might gain control of Thing, with help of Black Caps.”
Viviane nodded. Like many Castle residents Marsilion’s Folly’s complicated political scene was something of a riddle to her--she knew there were the Hats, the Caps, and this young group called the Hands that had sprung into existence last year, but she didn’t completely understand the differences between them. Though Elaine had taken to reading that broadsheet the Hands put out after the whole matter of the matchstick factories, something Viviane chalked up to her daughter’s voracious reading of just about anything.
“So… another election, eh?” she said, watching the crowd move down the street. “Well--hope it goes well.” The Trolls nodded enthusiastically at this, and Viviane thanked the Lady that they saw this an acceptable answer. As the pair left the building Manny had given her, Viviane frowned to herself. She was worried about the Folly. Not due to the elections, mind you--those happened throughout the Lands of Night, and if the people in the Folly took them more seriously than the norm, well, that was just local custom. Like their insistence on drowning cooked fish in vinegar.
No, it was that cough. Viviane had seen a lot of children coming to her with that cough of late, generally from places like the Mumblety Pegs, or Cheapside, or Trolltown. That cough, and… similar complaints. She wondered if Jean would come with her on the next trip. And what would happen, in the near future.