For a moment, you think about talking to Doc.
But you’re not ready yet. You know that could easily turn ugly if you don’t watch your words, and you don’t trust yourself to keep your temper right now. You haven’t even had a proper rest yet.
Still, maybe you should send advance notice. It can only get worse if she doesn’t know you’re coming.
You decide that you’ll write her a note when you can consider the idea without clenching a fist.
For now, since Crosswinds bailed on you, you have to assume you’re still angling for that slot. Which means you should probably check in with Feldspar on that shield.
Ideally, before Gray-maw gets any sense that you’re a viable competitor. Razor has a harsh reputation, and he’s done plenty to earn it; but next to his right-hand, he’s downright restrained. An ambush before the actual trial would hardly be out-of-character.
You make your way to what passes for a smithy around here. Feldspar is reading a book, barely acknowledging you.
You can see the shield next to the forge. There’s strips of metal all over it.
“It’s more durable, no good for floating any more though,” Feldspar growls as you examine it. “The metal’s set up in reinforcing structures, see, so even if the wood ruptures in a few places, the overall shape of the shield holds up.”
“I’d rather not have the wood rupture in the first place, honestly.”
“You’re doing a training match anyhow. That means wooden weapons. Razor’s not stupid enough to play that dirty, not when it’s so easy to get caught.”
“Won’t help much if Gray-maw decides to get the jump on me.” You stop for a moment as it sinks in how much he seems to know. “Hang on, did Viper tell you what’s going on?”
“Not a word. I just pieced things together from what she did tell me and what I was hearing from Sieve.”
You can’t help but notice he isn’t expressing an opinion on your fitness for the council either way. Of course, if you brought that up, he’d probably clam up even harder.
Still, while you’re here, you might have a few thoughts to share with him. He doesn’t care much for talking, but you’ve managed to pry helpful advice out of him before.
What should you ask him about?
Feldspar will readily talk about weapons if you ask, he probably knows what Grey-maw is packing and might have a good accessory for you to go with the shield…if he likes you.
Wait, is he reading one of the books written by that Bogknight that was imprisoned ages ago? You tired one of them yourself but you couldn’t stomach it. Surprised he’s the type to enjoy it…or is there more to that book than you thought?
i can’t tie it in directly with what’s happening right now… but i really think it’s totally in-character and kind of beautiful for us to determine to fall on our sword for the sake of advancing mudviper’s career and i want us to stick with that plan. we are the one who constantly scapegoats themselves, becomes despised and ridiculed, for the sake of what is actually best.