For [livejournal.com profile] mini_nanowrimo Iros and Turnspit get ready for the interview with Stormbringer.

Early tonight, because I've got sniffles, a headache, and feel like someone has thumped me in the kidneys. I'm going to bed early, and hope that I won't have to call in sick to work in the morning.

previous

"Can you do anything with that hair?" Iros asked the yard in general. They had come back from working the horses to find a boy waiting for them, with a summons from the Lord's hall below. They'd pull off their dusty clothes, and cleaned up as best they could. Now Iros was rocking back and forth in his newest clothes, and fretting over Turnspit's appearance.

"Hey!" Turnspit yelped. "There's nothing wrong with my hair!"

This brought a round of laughter from those loitering in the yard, and comments along the lines of "It's yellow, Turnspit!" and "You look like a hay stook with feet!"

One of the other Dogs finally stepped over, frowning at Turnspit. She stared intently at his hair, then offered to Iros, "I've a grooming comb. That might work. His hair is awfully fine."

She looked at Turnspit doubtfully, but retrieved a wooden comb when Iros waved a worried hand at her.

Turnspit wouldn't let her touch him, but took the comb and did it himself. The comb was too widely toothed to be very effective, but he tried anyway. As he worked out the tangles, he gathered a small audience of idle Dogs. It was unsettling, the way they watched; he was still being evaluated, to see where he'd end up in the Slew.

"Are you Selkie blooded?" one of them asked.

"What? No! What made you think that?"

The other Dogs exchanged looks. "Your hair is so fine and dense like a Selkie's pelt. You're the wrong color, though. Not silver or grey."

"Right, but if Selkies can be grey, why not light yellow?"

"I'm not part Selkie," Turnspit snapped.

Iros looked over from where he was settling his coat on. "How would you know, Turnspit? You don't remember, after all—"

"He's been scraped clean?" Another Dog yelped, then swiveled to stare at Turnspit, "I thought you were from the Brewster's Holding?"

Turnspit growled. "I was set there first, but I'm from the Wild. It's not that unusual."

"Tis for a Dog, " she retorted. "Do you have any blood in you at all, or you workstock to the bones?"

"Is that why you're such an odd color?" someone else asked.

"Maybe he's part pine marten, with that coloring?"

"Or oriole!"

"Or sphinx!"

Turnspit frowned at them while the other Dogs speculated outrageously on his bloodlines. What was most annoying was that he really had no way to argue against them. His memory only started on the first journey to the Brewster's Holding, and even then had the enormous hole from when the mine had eaten entire seasons of his life.

"Are you finished," Iros asked, finally done with his fiddling. The aughisky stepped close and began pulling Turnspit's shirt, tweaking the way it lay on his shoulders. He stood back after a moment, his face still considering.

"Where's your good jacket – the one with the quillwork? Get it on, get it on," Iros hurried him through the last of his preparations, and then out of the stable yards. They went down to an exquisitely paved pathway, tiled with zigzag borders. It led down to another plateau, this one covered by a complex of buildings and fountained courtyards.

A young human woman stood waiting for them inside the great gate, just below the archway carved with leaping horses.

"Iros Longshanks?"

"And Dog," Iros tossed his head, indicating Turnspit.

The young woman looked Turnspit up and down in a direct and assessing way, and then smiled at him. "And Dog."

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