from_the_west: ([mac lugh] brenan - the hound)
[personal profile] from_the_west
from here. bebe!brenan. or rather, his grandmother.

*****

The first person Grainne Frangag met upon navigating the winding way up to the Ard Ri's front door--or doors, as the case may be, with a small and tired tot in tow, was a man that looked far too young to be so old. His dark brown hair had nary a streak of gray in it, yet he was hobbling stiffly and more slowly than Grainne could imagine herself ever doing, while leaning on a walking stick of several vines woven together. The fellow was looking far-away and idly at nothing in particular, as a few young foxes tumbled around his feet.



His trousers and shirt seemed homespun-plain, but he wore the four-pointed purple and gold star of The Four at his throat, a long and very finely woven sash of the same colors as his belt, and tiny, crooked, bedraggled wings of mottled buff, brown and gray upon his back. The sash was of particular interest; it took a moment for her to drag her attention from what patterns might be woven in it and how it might've been done, and the cost.

As Grainne knew, the Rianic sort that didn't wear swords were the scholars there for helping. (even as much as this particular one looked as though he'd be of less assistance than being the one in need of it, tá). The Rianic her village had been stuck with for the last three centuries seemed to get on with other folks well enough, a very nice fellow, certainly, but he was a useless busybody, in her opinion, not nearly sensible enough to be competent, too young for his judgments to be anything less than suspect, and too new to the village for his advice to be of much use. That was assuming her village needed one in the first place, which it didn't, nil hea, as if it had, she would've sent for one. Still, at least that one managed to look somewhat like a cridhos; she wasn't certain what to make of this one at all, one who clearly wasn't able-bodied, and who was only wearing the barest (if not fascinatingly well-made) acknowledgments of his vocation besides--perhaps he was no longer entirely active in it?

However, it was likely that one that knew the Ard Ri personally would have a somewhat brighter head-lantern on top his neck than the average. One could hope, anyway. At any rate, this was the sort of question she might sensibly ask anyone coming from the Ard Ri's house, and one even the dimmest of fools should be able to answer, if they were the one coming out of it, tá.

"'Ello there!" Grainne Frangag barked. "I'm called Maidre Grainne, and I've come a long way on a important errand--my daiv has a problem what needs solving, tá. Is the Ard Ri in today?"

The cridhos blinked at her, as if she'd startled him from whatever thought-path he'd been wandering, and he nodded very politely, although she did not fail to notice he did not offer his name in turn. Feathered-folks were much the same, rude and stingy with their names. "Tá, he is, at that." And then he smiled at her grandson, and waggled his fingers in greeting. The boy promptly ducked behind her legs, with a force that nearly made Grainne stagger, and peered at the stranger with huge eyes, a dirty fist shoved most of the way into his mouth.

"Be still, will ye, Bren, before you have me off my feet!" Maidre Grainne barked. Then she squinted upwards. "...Great large house the Ard Ri has, tá? I'd say larger than what's sensible, but he's always having to house a great many visitors, isn't he? Have ye any inkling to which bit of it he might be in?"

The cridhos smiled. "Sadly, he's also a very lively Ard Ri, and not likely to be where I left him, nil hea. But I'm also of a vocation that solves problems, and I am here now; may I ask what this very great problem is that demands his attention that none of mine have heard of?"

Grainne Frangag was no fool. "Tis a sword-point ticklish sort of problem, and I thought it best brought to the Ard Ri, afore I'll have any one else tinkering with it, and likely making it worse before better, if mended at all. No offense meant to ye, sir, but I don't know you at all."

He merely chuckled. "Fair enough!" And then he looked down at the tumbling kits and trilled "Children?" The kits (all of them a trifle too brightly-shining and obedient to be foxes in truth, in Grainne's estimation), all promptly sat up. "Be kind to sniff out the Ard Ri and lead these good folk to him?"

"Forgive me for sayin'," Grainne said, with a suspicious sniff, "but I'll not be trustin' the kindness of your kin's beben to lead me anywhere."

He smiled again, a little wider, and if not for a certain odd quality to it, Grainne might've demanded to know what it was he found so terribly amusing. "They won't disobey me, nil hea. But this is also fair enough; I think I'll follow along as well."

Grainne was about to refuse his help, and tell him she'd find her own way--but one of the children had since noticed Brenan, and boldly bounded over to investigate. The little boy was sullen and short of temper after the long trip; before she could catch him, he kicked at it. The kit tumbled away in a ball, apparently unhurt, and the others immediately sparkled, trilled in delight, and bounded over to be kicked in turn. Brenan stared at the rolling balls of madly giggling, sparkling fur for a beat, before launching himself after them. Catching up, he'd come to halt, and kick huge and wildly, most often missing entirely, and would barely recover his balance before plunging forward again.

"Brenan!" Grainne yelled after him, "Leave them be!" She might as well had saved her breath, for the fiercely gleeful boy ignored her entirely.

The feather-kin's fox-kits rolled up to the door. Much to Brenan's discomfiture, they then rolled directly thru it; Grainne just caught, out of the corner of her very sharp eye, the slight nod from her strange new guide just before he opened the door and bid them enter. She had little choice but to follow where the laughing boy and giggling foxes led; she heard the tapping of his stick and the shuffle of his feet as true to his word, he followed.

*****

next bit here.
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