Snippet Sunday #15

A little piece of The Witch under Mountain, which is what I’ve been working on this week, for your delectation.

~*~

Fox woke in the straw, roused by the humans in the pen beginning to shuffle about and make noise. He sat, though he couldn’t have slept more than an hour, and took stock, painfully aware of how much less his estimation must be than Eagle’s. The cavern was brighter than it had been before, not that it was saying a lot. Sulky torchlight only illuminated so high. It was like that marketplace above, where last night they’d seen the troll sweeping, with the vastness of the ceiling obscured. Fox shivered, and not only from the cold. Darker shapes winged through the black.

He turned his eyes across the cavern, where trolls stoked a great hearth-fire. One of them, clad in a burnt, greasy-looking apron, sharpened a series of wicked knives. He leapt to his feet and hurled himself over to the side of the pen that faced Eagle’s smaller enclosure.

“Vo!” he called, clinging to the bars.

Eagle’s head went up, and he unfolded so quickly Fox had trouble tracking the motion. In half a blink he was at the bars too; he didn’t say a word, only stood there looking at Fox as if from the bottom of the sea, faraway and longing.

Fox took him in. Lacy white sleeves spilled from an outsize velvet doublet. Silk stockings sagged into puddles around his ankles, above the tops of huge buckled shoes. His thighs were too slender for the pantaloons, and instead of puffing up as they ought to, they hung around his knees. The whole effect was dreadfully unbecoming—outright laughable, if it weren’t for the situation—as if the thinnest little chick were given clothes meant for a fat capon.

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