Thursday, February 4, 2016

Around Again It Comes--Part 8

"Now, you roast the chestnuts in the embers," explained Constans, placing the skillet in the heap.  He grinned at the two Cthonique Guards.  "They are QUITE a treat."

Quiet turned one of the little brown nuts over in her hand, eyeing it suspiciously.  "So you keep telling us.  With great heat."

Sacripant waved his hand.  "Don't mind her.  She just gets paranoid because Ghouls like to prank people with 'genuine Ghoulish cusine'.  That is unspeakably vile.  And which they don't actually eat at all."

"Oh, like that... cattail root stew of yours wasn't awful!" snapped Quiet.

"We actually EAT it," said Sacripant.  "And anyway, it's good.  Filling.  Nutritious.  Keeps you going when fish are scarce."

Palamedes glanced back at the group and sighed.  "Just ignore them.  It's that point in their relationship."  He glanced at the Easterling camp outside the walls.  "You suppose they're cooking chestnuts over there?"

"Doubt it," said Arcadius Pi.  "Not any chestnut trees over there.  They're in the city because the Pescheours had them planted in big orchards from up north."  He shook his head.  "No, those bastards are sitting in their tents, plotting to kill us all.  It's what they do."

"Didn't you used to say that about us?" said Sacripant quietly.

"No," said Arcadius.  He thought it over, then coughed.  "Well, okay, but in a general sense that... well, look, we always knew that, yes, we'd be fighting you again one of these days, but we still knew that a lot of what we were saying was nonsense, and that most of you were just people trying to get by.  But the Janissaries are soldiers, and nothing but.  Oh, and they pretty much run the Easter Kingdom.  Which means starting wars and crises with their neighbors is what they do.  And they're very good at it."  He shuddered.  "So trust me, they're planning on how to kill us right now.  In terrible ways."

Sacripant glanced over the wall.  "Right back at them, then."

Constans licked his lips.  "Right.  Chestnuts should be ready soon.  You are all in for a treat."

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