I was given a prompt of writing an amazing fnh fic featuring Rowan and Tobius for a friend. Since I’ve been a bit lax at writing Writing Monday posts, I thought I might attempt to give an insight into the ordinary everyday lives of the adventurers of Newcroft when they’re not out fighting evil and saving the world (again).
Rowan Tait sat hunched over the small patch of space on the table, surrounded by a walled fortress of paperwork and requisitions Ranger Ned of Newcroft had asked her to attend to with her head for sums and her way with letters and writing. Most of it was things that did not require her attention and she was in the process of filing a number of written records away when she heard the solemn toll of bell outside the door of the Scouts Guild. She paused, quill in hand as she listened as the bell ringer coughed and the bell rang again, a sad lonesome sound amidst the hustle and bustle of Newcroft town after the wedding of the new Earl to her new husband.
“Rowan?” wheezed a familiar voice and Rowan put down her pen, wiped inky fingers on her tunic and decided she had done enough for the day. She glared at Pip, Ranger Ned’s scribe and general errand boy, as she left the office and entered the small entrance room where Tobius DePiercy sat in a corner with his bell in his lap.
“Tobius, looking for someone?”
“Nah, just looking for you. Wondering if you could do me a favour”
“Depends on the favour” Rowan hooked her thumbs into the leather belt across her hips and cocked her head with a smile.
“I need someone to come with me to the Norcastle library. Want to help?” Tobius waved the bell and the clapper sounded gently with a buzzing tone, warning people away from the inflicted one, the one bearing disease. An unfortunate side effect of a great deed Tobius had done for Berwickshire.
Rowan thought of the huge piles of paperwork waiting for someone to deal with them and she caught sight of Pip trying to slink away, his pockets full of stones to throw at the passersby. She caught him by the collar and turned him around, pushing him into the office and shutting the door. “More than happy to.”
After having a few stern words with Pip and leaving him to do his job, Rowan gathered up her belt with its pouches full of useful items and gathered her shawl around her shoulders before escorting Tobius out of the Scouts Guild and onto the street. The bell split the crowds around them, tolling as if on its own accord as Tobius and Rowan caught up on all that had befallen them since the events of the Middval games. As they entered the Norcastle, Rowan handed over their guild licenses to the guard who squinted at her sternly from under his helm and let them pass unopposed. She had never been inside the great Norcastle that towered over Newcroft, one tower dedicated to the mages and somewhere inside the Foresters had a home. But as they climbed the steps into the main door and on towards the great library, she had an uncomfortable sense of watchful eyes on their backs and many times she turned around to watch the empty corridor behind them.
“Rowan? Is something the matter?”
“No. Nothing” She tried to ignore the feeling in her stomach, the feeling that had begun after reading the proclamation posted after the Countess’ wedding rejecting the authority of the non-human rules of Dun Mhurdo and the Rowenwood. But as they entered the library Rowan felt the sense of oppression lift as her eyes went wide at the tall cabinets of scrolls and bound books.
“Tobius” she whispered as they approached a man in the Norcastle livery busily writing in a ledger as he flicked through several books on the table. “Tobius”
“People actually read all of these? All day?”
“Sometimes” Tobius turned to Rowan and, seeing the expression on her face, smiled a ghost of his usual wide grin. “I need you to help me look for something”
“Ah” The man in livery looked up and saw them. “Lord DePiercy, I see you have brought a friend. Mistress …?”
“Hunter. Hunter Rowan Tait of Amblevale. Scouts Guild” She nodded in his direction and continued her amazement at the library with open mouthed awe.
“A pleasure. Now then my lord you were examining the writing of Errik the bard, were you not? Seeking for his recounting of Barwyck’s standard bearers, if I recall correctly” He began fussing with his piles of books which looked similar to the Scout’s ledger Rowan had been crouched over all morning. With a triumphant “a hah” he drew out the book he was looking for, turned to a well thumbed page and traced down the columns, hunting for an entry. “Follow me”
He led them off down the maze of tables, benches, cabinets and book cases, weaving around large stacks of paper and piles of books haphazardly scattered across the floor until he found a sheltered alcove of old scrolls with plain caps and a reasonably clear table. “Now, Lord DePiercy, you understand that I cannot allow you to touch these items yourself. You might … damage … them.”
“I do understand” Tobius answered shortly, his bell jangling in his hand as he glared at the man in livery. He took a deep breath, exhaled and continued carefully “which is why I asked Hunter Tait to assist me”
“So, she will turn the scroll and you will read?”
“No” Tobius lowered himself into the chair and looked up at the pair of them. “Rowan will be reading aloud whilst I make notes”
The librarian struggled to stifle a laugh at the idea then cringed as Rowan and Tobius turned their disapproving eyes on him. “Of – of course, sir. As you wish. I just – she said she – uh …”
“You assumed that as a Scout I would have no understanding of the written tongue” Rowan bent over the scroll and with a gloved hand traced the words before beginning, in a halting voice to read aloud “The banners and standards of my lord and master, numbered and counted by his lordly nobles and ladies for a record down the ages”
“Very good. Very good” The servant applauded quietly then flinched as Rowan turned her gaze on him from her close inspection of the scroll. “I will leave you two to it, shall I?”
“It might be wise” Tobius nodded and pulled a book from his satchel, resting it against his knee as he searched for his quill.
And so Tobius and Rowan spent the rest of the afternoon looking for signs of a banner of a group of spearmen that would one day become the coat of arms of the DePiercy family – Rowan hunched over the scrolls carefully reading aloud the old spidery ronnish or holding out the document for Tobius to tell her a word or check her pronunciation; Tobius sat in his chair, making notes and staring off at things unseen, staring off into space.