Mongrel: Shad's Decision
|Boat such as Mr Boatman's that took Trinnet and Callum to the shore.|
This section doesn't have a proper introduction yet. It's from Shad's POV and has him dealing with Trinnet who is a trial to everybody. As a result, Shad may make the wrong decision and feel forever guilty about consequent events.
“You be but a newbie yourself an you take the Tamer’s levels and his tattoos on yourself?” Trinnet said.
“Everything is fresh in my mind,” Shad said.
Trin didn’t appear to listen, or he had the Great Bastard chasing through him after his thoughts.
“I’m not staying,” Trinnet said, having already said that a number of times. “The Great Bastard is that restless in me.”
“I hear you,” Shad said. Oh Silver Ship, give me patience. “Might be for the best, us separating. Our eggs not all in the same frypan, you get my meaning.”
“For sure, when yon half-feathered friend is gone bad. He does not mark the greater good, does he?”
“I don’t know,” Shad said. He wouldn’t gainsay the man he’d picked to shadow. Thick and thin. Besides, the greater good mightn’t be what Trinnet thought. Some of the factualities Shad heard about this last week went far beyond the reasons for taming.
Trin went on. “The taming be up to me soon, an me not trained for it particularly. Why are you not coming to help with that?”
“I swore to shadow Tar. You know that.”
Trin acted aggrieved. “I’ll have to take the other young one. I need someone.”
Anytime he and Callum were alone together, Shad prepped Callum with an instalment of Tar’s story plus Shad’s own ideas on what Tar aimed to achieve. Which were so considerable, Shad about cried every time he thought on it.
And which Callum picked up the first time Shad’s voice went watery.
“You all right?” Callum said. “My gran feared my whole life that the Huddle and the golden fucking ball will one day get hold of me. The Huddle ate my grandfather, her proper grandson.”
“You’re as proper a grandson as any I know,” Shad said.
“Thanks,” Callum said. “She’s had me sit in the Huddle’s mud every day since I got too old to be rubbed with it so the Huddle can’t see me, we hope. The ball keeps them all here when they would’ve rather gone home to their own planets. He slaves people to him. Maybe I can help you help your friend Tar? Because he fights the ball?”
Shad was totally in favour of Callum accompanying Trinnet. He grinned inside. Totally was one of Tar’s favourite words and by now Tar used a good few of Shad’s.
But … getting back to the matter at hand, good solutions all round. Trinnet on the road where he felt a hundred times more comfortable than surrounded by the salt-sea. Couldn’t fault him on that, Shad thought.
Trinnet out of Tar’s face and vice versa. To be honest, Trinnet out of Shad’s face. Callum with a worthy project of his own instead of tripping Shad up following on his heels.
“Take him to meet our friends in the west. He’ll help you prep them afore we meet again,” Shad said about Trinnet’s proposed destination.
“Twig telling the tree?” Trinnet said.
Shad stayed calm in the face of Trinnet affronted. Another thing he trained himself in all his life. “I prepped Callum like it were learnings. He’s a nine younger than me. Maybe you can test him by having him speak the preps to the proper parties.”
“That I can live with. Now fetch the young one for us to slip away without the fanfare of grandmothers and such.”
“You have organised the boat?” Shad said.
“The Great Bastard himself reminded me this morning. Of course I had the boy organise the boat,” Trinnet said.
Mr Boatman picked up Trinnet and Callum in the previous early evening. They went without saying goodbye. “Am I an ogre?” Tardi said when Shad told him.
Cele, too, was upset and asking more or less the same question. “Callum and I never had any fights. Why would he leave without saying goodbye?”
Shad smiled nervously.
“Callum and I didn’t quarrel,” Cele said about Shad’s smile, obviously interpreting the smile as doubt. “And he went off with just that man Trinnet. When I gave my approval it was for him going with you two. I don’t believe Trinnet is capable of handling a teenager. Now I’ll be worrying.”
Neither Cele nor Tardi ate much of the stew Trinnet left for them. Shad ate it all.