Rashtun arrived at his mud house feeling as though he were even dirtier than his walls. Although he was exhausted, and wanted a proper night’s sleep more than anything else, he was far too invested in the ideas that had been bouncing around in his head regarding the potential of his new pets. After saying hello to Kt’chis, his pet lizard, Rashtun quickly proceeded to assemble a more suitable net enclosure for the deadly butterflies.
As Rashtun prepared to transfer the surviving butterflies from his mangled tent into their new home he let his mind wander back to the flurry of events that resulted in a reformed treant. Not long after the gnarlwood had approached Rashtun some gigantic fiery red haired man came crashing through the thicket creating just the distraction needed.
One of the butterflies brushed against Rashtun’s hand, which startled him back to the present task. Having finished transferring the insects Rashtun closed the net, and double checked there were no openings the butterflies could use to escape. Satisfied with the results of his hasty fabrication he proceeded to begin the fine art of attempting to multi-task while fatigued.
As he alternated his attention between inventing a poison dust collector, and writing a report on the delivery and effectiveness of the gnarlwood ‘treatment’ Rashtun grew drowsy, and either fell asleep for a short time, or had a waking dream.
Rashtun turned to find himself looking up at a man easily twice, maybe three times his height. At first he thought the man’s head was on fire before he realized it was hair, still he wasn’t sure there wasn’t actual fire in there. The man turned, and crashed through the wall in Rashtun’s kitchen, startling several of the village chickens. As Rashtun looked after him he realized the opportunity to cure a gnarlwood was once again being offered to him.
The lumbering tree was turning in the direction the red haired man had run, and as it proceeded all things growing from the earth appeared to rot and decay. Double stepping forward and jumping his own height Rashtun felt he flew like a feather as he easily grabbed the branch and swung himself upwards and onto the tainted treant. As he attempted to make his way into the hollow he found more and more branches between him and his destination, after a few moments which of course felt like an eternity, Rashtun was startled awake as his head rolled off his hand.
Realizing he was running short on time, Rashtun left his powder contraption for later, and devoted his attention to his report. Trying to ignore the fears that an unhappy first client could end his career early Rashtun added a footnote detailing how he had cut back a portion of the gnarlwood’s bark and using the reverse of a sap collecting tap to inject the experimental elixir.
Rashtun was to meet his client as the sun sank behind the outskirts of the Yasier territory. Throwing a freshly collected dead rat in with the butterflies and some live crickets to Kt’chis he called out “don’t wait up” to the animals as he rushed out the door, papers in hand. The outside air was still hot as Rashtun flicked his tongue, tasting dwarves on the wind.
The client’s ornate carriage was clearly out of place at the local youths gathering place other wise decorated with broken and discarded materials. Rashtun slowed as he neared not wanting to provoke the guards waiting for his arrival.
“I am Rashtun of Zinar Kevok, I have completed my journey and have my report.”
“Weapons?” grunted the guard, identifiable by a cascade of horns lining his brow.
“None, I only carry these papers.”
“Give them here.”
“I cannot do that. I was entrusted to only give this information to her.”
From inside the carriage a commanding young voice called out, “I told you not to hassle him, in fact I believe I told you to send him straight in.” After a short pause this was followed by “These actions are the reason you keep missing meals!”
He tried not to puff out his neck too much as he walked past the embarrassed guard, up the step and into the carriage. Inside sat a member of the royal bloodline, fifth in line of her brood to the perilous trials for a position on the council. He gave her the documents with the ink barely dry and waited for her reaction.
As she looked up from his writing Rashtun was unable to let her speak first, as he blurted out “I’d never seen the ingredients you provided for me before, they were as pleasurable and challenging to work with as the Old One told me.” Then looking at the floor he took a step back and awaited her verdict.
“I’m glad you enjoy working with these materials, and your report is promising. You will have as much material as you can process into easily applied doses.” The royal girl didn’t even consider Rashtun refusing to do the work.
Rashtun excused himself, and did his best to appear aloof as he collected a bag of coin so heavy he could not carry it casually.
The guard that had not been scolded earlier, unremarkable in appearance, muttered to Rashtun as he passed, “You’ll receive word in the usual way.”
Rashtun was almost slithering along the road with joy once he thought he was out of sight.