for [ profile] mini_nanowrimo. This is totally not what I meant to write tonight, but I do need to explain about how Turnspit got his clockwork.


After a twelve-day locked in a horse stall, Turnspit was almost glad to be going ā€“ almost. When the two aughisky woke him by rattling the door, he thought about struggling but he let them put the manacles on his wrists and followed them out quietly enough. The Brewster could simple let him starve in his makeshift cage if he didn't leave it without trouble.

The stable yard was an anthill of activity. Lines of odd creatures that Turnspit finally identified as mules were being laden or hitched to wains. Turnspit was shuffled about until he fetched up against a post and trough. His guards seemed to think it was as good a place as any, pushed him to his knees, and tied his bound hands to the pillar. Then they left on their own tasks.

He stayed there, tied and miserable, while the levy was assembled all around him. The morning was cool and wet, and he was dressed only in the tunic of a kitchen hand.

"Who left you like this?" someone barked above him.

He jerked his head up, looking into fierce amber eyes. The aughisky was rawboned, with silvery black-tipped hair caught at his nape. Turnspit thought he was old, if not quite as old as the Brewster, but it was hard to tell from the bony face and hands.

"Iā€”" Turnspit choked on his parched throat. "I don't know their names, Senior Rider."

"Captain to you, yellowbuck," the aughisky snapped.

"Yes, sir."

"Idiots. I have idiots in my Slew." The aughisky looked back down at Turnspit. "You won't give me any trouble, will you, little killer? Behave for me, and you'll be unmolested when I deliver you to the Brocks. Act up, and I'll let the novitiates work out their stupidity on you. Understand?"

Turnspit held very still as the old aughisky grinned down at him fiercely. He nodded carefully.

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