Sacripant smiled broadly at the woman staring at him from across the table. "This is... good," he stated. "Very interesting gruel..."
"It's oatmeal," said Monica with a nod.
One of the children, a young boy, seated nearby leaned forward. "How come you're so funny-looking?"
Monica glared at her son. "Pelle!"
"Well, he is!" said Pelle. "I mean even for an Erl." A young girl seated next to him nodded.
"You still, shouldn't say that!" snapped his mother. "And Elise--you shouldn't agree with him! Apologize, both of you now."
The pair mumbled something that sounded vaguely like apologies. "It's all right," said Sacripant. "I've heard worse over across the River." He shrugged. "I'm a Marsh Erl. We live near the water, and by Mother Night's Unholy blessing, we have been shaped to do so effectively." He pointed to himself. "I was a great fisherman, before joining the Cthonique Guard."
The girl stared at him wide-eyed. "Grampa is a fisherman," she whispered.
"Well, that's nice," said Sacripant. "I'm sure he and I have a lot in co..."
The girl shook her head. "He doesn't like Erls." The boy nodded in agreement.
Sacripant coughed and went back to his meal. "So... oatmeal?"
"Mmm-hmmm," said Monica. "Nathan swears by it. Keeps him going every night."
The Guardsman looked to the door. "He going to be back soon?"
Monica stared blankly ahead. "Lamplighting is a great responsibility," she said.
"Right, right." Sacripant gave a quick frustrated breath, and then went back to eating the oatmeal.