Wordcount: 415 words
Summary: Please note, this is currently a very rough draft. There will be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, flat out contradictions, and uneven characterization and pacing. (Content is also subject to constant change as I take an editing chainsaw to the story.)
Dinner at the Hatching
She added her rucksack o the small pile of luggage in the cart then headed over to the fireside to meet the rest of the new riders. There were five of them in all: Jeffery Martin and his red foxhawk Swift, Claire Meadows and her red foxhawk Softpaw, Tom Miller and his red foxhawk Dog, and Erwin Stone and his silver fox Winter. There was some variation between the reds, but for the most part the foxes all looked the same.
May was not sure if she was glad Baron had yet another thing that made them stand out in the crowd.
Of the four other riders, May knew two of them. She’d met Jeffery and Tom before. Jeffery she knew from the summer she spent working on the farm, he’d been a farm kid and had a knack for animals she had been quite impressed with at the time. Tom was a millers son, hence the name, and looked someone discombobulated to have been chosen. She knew Tom for the same reason everyone did, they had one mill in Two Beaches, so everyone either bought flour from the miller or took it there to be ground.
Claire was apparently from Pine Reach and was a whirlwind of friendly conversation. She had the bright red hair of the tinkers, but from her accent she’d been settled here long enough to smooth out the burrs. She also wore her hair long instead of the close cropped tinker style, which meant she probably did not work metals either.
Erwin was a complete unknown, who had come from a much smaller village that was to the north and east of Pine Reach. A small family collective that worked the extensive vineyards and sheep farming on the mountain hillsides. He was almost desperately grateful to have been chosen, since he was not fond of either occupation and there was not much chance to move onto other work. He’d come to the hatching hoping to find someplace to apprentice or foster, so he was ready and willing for a change.
The rumors of Baron’s unorthodox choosing had beaten them to the fireside by quite a bit and she found herself fending off friendly questions that she could not give answers to. She settled on ‘I don’t know’ and ‘he will not tell me’ as the easiest answers. Foxhawks, for all they were bonded, were solitary creatures and those answers were close enough to the truth that no one questioned them.