Desert Blooms

Oskar Jotenhiemr: Mutterings to Mum

From Market Day through the first goblin ambush

An Unusual Market Day / A Mayoral Call to Arms

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…you used to say that Market Day made a loose community tight again. I nearly choked when you told the mayor it was his one good idea in over a hundred years! Even Skordic tightened his balls but still this memory brings me no joy. I continue to lead the hoat-walks for the children if only to keep some semblance of normalcy. I still muck Evantine’s stables and check the kodos for ticks. These things and more I do daily, by rote, so as to keep myself busy so I don’t have time to think about you. I still run my ten miles every evening. I practice my forms away from Ezmerelda where they won’t see who I am or what it is I’m becoming. I’m afraid to use words like ‘normalcy’ because of what might happen if one of these insipid mouth-breathing gossips was ever to discover that not only could I break them all with my hands, but with my mind as well. You warned me of this, mother, that the only thing a man fears more than the grave is the grave that understands his need. Scully would’ve liked that one, I’m sure, but that just goes to my point…I have no one to speak to of our secret things now that you’re gone…

…mayor finished his weekly flourish with a call to action. It seems Steve has gone missing again. There’s real concern this time and I didn’t realize what I was doing until I had volunteered to join the search party. I need to leave this place, mother, there’s too much of you in it…

An Awkward Entrance / A Rich Man’s Meal / Terms and Conditions

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…waited at the back of the kitchen entrance like you taught me, but the cook slapped my ass and told me to go in the front way. The mayoral residence! The others and I waited together and it was awkward. You know that strange sort of silence you discover among folks who have known each other all of their lives by sight but not by heart…

…I don’t remember having ever eaten so well, though I loathed myself for it. Forgive my weakness, mother, but I don’t want to die on this venture without ever having tasted elven cuisine. I promise to be properly repulsed tomorrow…

…it was embarrassing, mother. There he was, giving us a chance to prove ourselves of worth to our neighbors and we set to haggling terms of payment and the begging of provisions as though we were selling used wagons: " I’ll bring you news of your hoats and drodo for one weeks provisions and just to sweeten the pot, I’ll offer up the safe return of your citizens for the low, low cost of one hundred gold per head." Our mountain kin don’t behave like this. You wouldn’t expect to hear a dwarven rescue party haggle for your safe return like a barrel of salted cod…

A Warg Among Wolves / Greenblood Diplomacy

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…and I swear that for the first time since you left I feel alive. I’m sorry, mother, but it’s true: I brutalized that warg when a clean death is what the tactical situation merited. I don’t really know how it happened. One minute I was preparing a calculated pre-emptive strike on my unsuspecting target when, I don’t know—it was like I could hear father roaring in my blood. I bellowed like a mad fool and charged with a full mad. And I liked it, mother. No, that’s not strong enough: I needed it. I knew exultation in that moment and I savored every red drop of it…

…a second attack, but this time by my more diminutive cousins. They shot at us from a middling position in the tree-line but I skillfully positioned my hoat and caved one of the little bastards in on himself. This flail is a terrible weapon, mother, and I am grateful for your tutelage. It’s proving difficult to continue my forms without being seen by the others. Perhaps I will suggest a second watch so that I may practice as they sleep. I interrogated the survivor, though interrogated may be too strong a word—appealed-to-his-greed seems more apt in retrospect—and learned that his warboss holds Steve and the others imprisoned. That’s right, mother, this orcish blood of mine turned out to work in our favor, for once. I assured the little guy that “these FU-CKING elves” would leave him be if I were to take him under my wing. In exchange, he is to lure his kin away from their warboss. Oh, I can hear you now: “Oskar, you stupid child—you can’t trust a goblin to do anything except eat half of your dog, light the rest on fire, and steal the last of the silver stashed behind the beets." Please believe me when I tell you I understand this, mother, but I had to try. Scully and Skordic took terrifying wounds today and I don’t think they are prepared for the sort of fighting that we are heading towards. They haven’t the benefit of my training…

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