At The Noise of Battle
Sirat watched as Thennor haggled with the butcher. “Sixteen fanad for four kilos of meat?” The butcher nodded.
“What, will dewy-eyed maidens cook it for us?” Thennor held their moneybeads.
“No, but I will, for a fanad more.” An Emth merchant with heavy shoulders and back, the butcher wore a leather apron and a kilt. Meat lay on the merchant-wagon’s table in double gobbets. Above the table hung two gareep carcasses, plucked and gutted.
“Elephant-pig, you say?”
That’s too pale to be elephant-pig. Or was it? It was too big to be rabbit or woolbeast, and primates weren’t eaten, of course….
Sirat probably looked less than her thirty winters, her arms muscled from weapons practice, her light tunic and jerkin cool in the firstday. Since Pendleton’s World has a day 140 hours long, folks worked, then slept, and spoke of firstday and secondday, firstnight and secondnight. It was twenty hours to the noon eclipse. She wore linen breeches and moccasins of woolbeast-hide. Her crossbow was inside with the men, but she wore the saber beside her that was called Whiteflame. Around her neck on a chain was a little monocular, a magic seeing-thing that the wizard had given her.
“Aye, it’s elephant-pig, hauled here in the dawn. Make you a good stew, she will. Better than when she was alive!”
Thennor’s eyes widened. “Alive?”
“Alive, the beast can’t cook at all!” The butcher laughed. Sirat did not. She noted the scars on the man’s hands and arms and wondered if he had been a soldier before he took up cutting meat. “Now, do you want four kilos, or five?”Continue reading