Back in the cold dark dungeon Hawl was thinking to himself, looking at his arms. "Surely I won't be doomed to just one body, I bet the curse won't even work on me." he had been pacing in his cell ever since Malisa left. "Ha, they might even reward me when it doesn't......" Hawl knew this was a lie as he groaned and began looking over the room. He thought maybe if he climbed onto the bars he might be able to use his powers and squeeze through them.
Hawl's ears perked up as he heard footsteps. "Jessica? Is that you? About time someone showed up."
Instead it was a man in black robes, smiling, very relieved to have found Hawl. "Oh good, you're here. I can take you back to Malakai and I won't have to suffer the curse. I think you'd prefer our company to being locked up in a cell." he said to himself.
"Regorez!" Hawl growled. "You tied me up to a tree and left me abandoned, why are you here? What do you want? How do you know Malakai?"
"I'm a Flesinoir, wasn't it obvious you twit?" Regorez had Roscoe's keys and began to open the lock on the door. "Come with me stripes, we have a long trip ahead of us and time's not on our side. It's a good that monster at the front didn't notice me sneak by, I'm not sure how I'm going to get out with you in tow."
Hawl walked out and tried to change forms, but it just wouldn't happen, this set off an alarm. "No... I..." he was about to say he couldn't be cursed already. He had only been here a day. Hawl would have to think of that later, Regorez was already reaching for a bag of some kind and Hawl didn't want to find out what. Thinking quickly he picked Regorez up and snatched his keys.
"Wha... put me down you foolish pawn! Do you know the power I possess?" Regorez was peeved and struggling a lot.
"Not really and I don't care." Hawl stated "Why have the Flesinoir been following me?"
"I can't tell you..." Regorez laughed. "He'd kill me, he can see me even now. Hehehe, you know that snipping noise you heard outside of your bedroom door, the one you could never trace? That was me with a pair of shears."
"What?" Hawl tilted his head, putting Regorez down as he was getting heavy.
"He wants you to be afraid of us so you'll comply, that's why we showed ourselves so little. I am the Snipping Man and I've finally come to take you away Hawl." Regorez chuckled hoping this would work.
"No...." Hawl's eyes lit up in fear as he stepped backwards.
"Come with me and learn your true purpose, the meaning behind your powers." Regorez offered, this was beginning to look like Deja Vu to Hawl
Hawl pushed Regorez into the cell. "Never! Just leave me alone!" he cried as he locked the cell and began to formulate a plan.
"What are you doing Enroygall?" Regorez pondered as he charged up a spell to cast on the cell door, but had it fizzle instantly.
"Something I should have done at the Mugal Tavern, be a better actor." Hawl grinned. "It'll take them sometime before they figure out you're not me. That princess really is the closest thing I had to a friend."
Regorez looked panicked "Hawl let me out or I swear the consequences will be dire."
"Tried that, it didn't work!" Hawl turned to Roscoe's direction and screamed "NASOJ IS TRYING TO ESCAPE!"
Roscoe skittered to the back as fast as he could. "What's this?" he said confused and concerned.
"I was doing some patrols, came in while you were napping, didn't wanna wake you. Somehow the shapeshifter got your keys." Hawl pawed them over to Roscoe who bowed appreciatively. "My shirt was damaged in the fight, but I got him back in. He's dangerous and an amazing fighter, I'd keep my eyes on him. Well, glad I came in here while I did, you can handle it from here." With that Hawl left before a confused Roscoe could even say anything to him.
"You idiot! That was your prisoner, he is playing you for a fool!" Regorez pleaded.
Roscoe rolled his eyes and leaned against the wall watching Regorez like a hawk until an actual one came in. "A likely story, you're not getting out again on my watch!"
Hawl was free, all he had to do now was find a Sondecki and get the hell out of dodge. It was nightfall now leaving him to wonder long he'd been in the dungeon. Looking for someone who could tell him more about the Sondecki, Hawl traversed the field outside the dungeon and eventually came to a red panda with blue hair and a porcupine seemingly made of latex with various colours in over her body in a zebra stripe formation. Both were looking over a cauldron and back up the moon. The red panda was dancing around waving two very primitive looking axes around. The porcupine looked onward approvingly. These two looked important and were in the throne room when he was arrested, so naturally Hawl thought they'd be a good candidate. "Greetings porcupine and raccoon-dog-thing, how are you two?"
The porcupine smiled at the tiger "Pretty good, just watching my apprentice dance. Name's Pascal, he's Xhyz, I don't think I've ever seen you before and I try to get to know everybody. Especially if they're as handsome as you." Pascal giggled to herself.
"I'm a member of the Writer's Guild and I have a story based on one written by the former guildmaster." Hawl recalled what Claire had said about the Sondecki and was using it to his advantage, Pascal may have suspected something if he said Sondecki. "I need his approval on a few scenes before I can get my latest story rolling. Do you know where I might find him?"
"Sounds like you want Charles." Pascal thought to herself. "I think he moved to Glen Avery two years back, I think so anyway. Me and him didn't really jive all that well. I only saw him on the rare occasion I went to the Gnawer's Meetings. Alright guy, he's a rat and very old fashioned, I couldn't be seen with a guy without him assuming he was my date."
"Thanks miss, by the way, what exactly are you two doing out here?" Hawl was a tad curious, holding his paw under his muzzle.
"Some potions need proper moonlight to properly prepare, this fluid won't even come to a boil unless it's under moonlight. I was running low on this particular formula so I thought what better way to teach my new apprentice outside of making some more." Pascal watched Xhyz dance and wave his strange axes about. "Keep it up I think it's almost ready."
"What's the potion?" Hawl watched with Pascal "or those axes, I've never seen any like those before."
"Tomahawks, a weapon of Fan Shoar." Xhyz waved them over the potion and looked toward the moon. "The potion is used as an amplifier for other formulas, magical energy waxes and wanes with the moon, so this potion captures moonlight to strengthen the effects of other formulas. It's very expensive and you need to channel the energy of the moon just right or you'll have serious problems."
"Like what?" Pascal quizzed smiling at her student.
"The potion could burst with moonlight and send every in a four mile radius into an incredibly bad mood up up to twenty four hours." Xhyz smiled back at his teacher. "There are also the less serious ones where it becomes a randomizer for potion effects or it will weaken the potion instead"
"Bravo! Bravo!" Pascal clapped. "I'm very pleased with you my young apprentice. I am surprised by your progress, if I doubted you I'd never let you attempt this. If this went wrong enough you'd break every bone in our bodies."
"Mistress I am older than you." Xhyz protested, albeit half-joking. "And yes, I studied extra hard in the Lunar Spells and Elixers book you gave me just to prevent that."
"Only physically darling." Pascal reminded "Glad you did, for your sake. I have a morph ring and could just not have bones if I wanted.... Well I guess Hawl would still have problems."
"I'm just teasing, but what is your chronological age?" Xhyz asked purely out of curiosity, his mistress having the very rare condition of being under the effect of all three curses at once.
"A gentleman never asks and a lady never tells." Pascal giggled, she had taken to womanhood when the curse was first laid down and taken to it well. The porcupine did not see too much of a difference from the gender swap as her old body was often mistaken for a female one anyway, or at least that's what she claimed, there really was no telling what went on in her head. With all three upon he she had gone from an old man to an attractive permanently young half-porcupine woman. "But, I will say that I am older than you believe."
Hawl nodded, though was a little uncomfortable at the prospect of having his bones broken a again, and stretched. "Well I wish you two the best of luck, I better be heading for Glen Avery.... It's that way right?" he asked pointing in a random direction.
"Yes actually" Pascal didn't turn to face Hawl to even check where he was pointing, she was too focused on Xhyz. "Go away please you're distracting us." Normally Pascal was quite careless due to her playful nature, her lab known for exploding and the scent of burning latex, she had magic that made her body made out of that substance when she wanted or needed it, a good sign to call for the infirmary. However if the potion was of the proper strength she was more careful.
Hawl headed on down his way towards the path to Glen Avery, the journey lasted only so long when he fell asleep, and woke up in some bushes the next morning. Hawl looked back and panicked, they might have found out he wasn't Regorez by now and if they were looking for him he was not that far away from the Keep. He kept walking for a bit and nervously passed two female knights. "I hear Duchess once broke every single bone in a lutin's body." one said to the other, Hawl winced over his hearing of a woman talk of breaking bones.
"Please! That woman is a show off." The other said, Hawl noticed that she was Dame Seranima out on patrol, and instead of leggings she was wearing an iron skirt. Hawl didn't see the point of this, but figured that women will still try to look good even if they were born men. "You, me, and her are all scheduled for patrol slash drill near Giants Down soon. You'll see what I mean, she's all talk and no substance."
As they passed Hawl, Dame Seranima stopped to look at him. "Good morning citizen, have you been in a scruff recently? Your clothing appears to be ripped."
Hawl was terrified she'd caught him, especially after Sera had beaten him senseless the other day. "Not really Sera, I was just climbing a tree and I fell off ripping my shirt in the process."
"Be more careful you could have broken every bone in your body that way." Dame Seranima chastised and continued on her way, and as did Hawl who stopped in his tracks as she called back to him.
"Wait a minute" Seranima turned about scratching her non-existing beard, a habit from when she was a man that never died down. "Have we met before? How do you know my name? I'm almost positive I've never met you before in my life, yet there's something familiar about you I can't put my finger on."
"No I don't think we have Miss." Hawl tried to keep his cool as Seranima examined him closely. "I just thought you looked like a Sera... Really cute.. You carry yourself well, I thought you were a real woman for a second."
"Hey thanks, I've always felt that this gender suited me better anyway, like it's weird, my true calling in life is to be a knight. Yet somehow, being a woman knight clicks better than the previous way around. Only in Metamor I guess." Sera smiled as she turned around and continued heading back to the Keep.
"Cats are all over the place Sera, I must have seen every kind of feline there is during breakfast this morning. So of course he was familiar." Sera's friend said. "If I had been at the Third Gate instead of the Second I'd wanna be almost anything else, they're just so common. I mean it's not like he was a... what are those big lizards, the scarier ones? Dinosaurs? Had I been an animal instead of a woman, I think I'd want to be that thing that Jon's amulet turns him into."
"Almost forgot about Jon and his amulet, I haven't seen that guy in two or three years. I wonder what he's up to nowadays." Sera thought aloud, she met the deer only of a few times. Alright guy, or so she gathered, he seemed a bit reclusive.
"I hear he's become a doe now from some mishap involving some kind of magic mount that can be worn like armor." Martha gossiped "Just a rumor I heard, it's probably hogwash."
"You mean the "Radically Improved Durable Equine?" I heard a similar rumor and I just don't see how or why one would create magic armor that changes your gender, unless it changes people like us back, I don't see the use, but I guess I've heard of stranger things. Like, most people in this province for example." Sera suggested.
"Yeah I will say one thing about Metamor, if you're here long enough then nothing seems weird to you." Martha said.
"Hmm you know Martha I was originally stationed at the third gate." Sera mused. "Abandoned my post, just didn't think it was safe for my sister there..... May he rest in peace."
"I guess it's true what they say Real Men don't go AWOL." Martha laughed. "I had myself stationed at the second, Prince Matthew as she was at the time was protecting the royal wives and I figured that was the kind of thing you get commended for. I didn't, but I still stand by it I'd rather have the honor that I defended the royal wives and prince during a vital battle than my manhood anyday. I mean, I'm not like you or Pascal, I do dream of the day I have it back, but I take comfort in that I lost it for a good cause. Thus it is a sacrifice I can take pride in."
"Like defending Loriod's life is something to be proud of." Sera teased. "But I hear you, some burdens are worth bearing. It all depends on whether or not you did the right thing."
"Okay there are at least twenty things beyond my control with that incident." Martha objected, immediately getting defensive.
"I'm only joking." This was the last thing Sera said while Hawl was in earshot, his human ears would have stopped hearing them awhile ago, but there was something to this tiger thing.
Hawl continued for several hours down the path wondering what those two were even doing down this road, probably searching for either him or lutins. It took a long time but finally Hawl made it to a small town with houses shaped like trees. Having nothing to go on really he began yelling. "CHARLES! CHARLES! I'M LOOKING FOR A MAN NAMED CHARLES! HE'S A SONDECKI RAT! CHARLES THE SONDECKI RAT! IT'S VERY IMPORTANT!"
Various critter-people stared at Hawl wondering what the comotion was, none of them felt like answering him though.
A nearby rat-man with a mark on his face and a green and blue tunic winced upon hearing Hawl's continous screaming and ceased tying his pony to a cart that contained his Sondeshike and a few pairs of clothes. "I'm he." Charles said looking towards the tiger's direction running up to him. "I presume that you must be Hawl. Please come into my house, we have much to discuss. Seranima and Martha were just here looking for you."
Hawl looked down the rat, not sure what to think. "You know, I expected someone much taller for a big bad sondecki."
Charles smiled as he held his door open with his Sondeshike in the other. "I used to get that alot, please, come inside, we would not want to make any worse of a scene than the one you have already created."
The house was small for Hawl, but a perfect size for Charles and Garigan, the latter of whom was sitting and doing some stretches. "What's with the Tiger? Is he coming with us to the Keep?"
"Actually this is Hawl, turns out Sera and Martha had the right idea, but their timing was off. So we won't be leaving after all. Works for me, we were just there after all." Charles said calmly, his just there comment referring to when he was knighted not too long. "Garigan, fetch some Blackberry Wine for our guest, we have much to talk about."
"Yes master" Garigan bowed getting the wine out of a liquor cabinet and pouring glasses for Hawl, Charles, and himself.
"I do enjoy having company I just wish it could be under better circumstances Mr......" Charles sat on a couch whilst Hawl sat down on the floor as the chairs were too small for him.
"My surname is Enroygall, my name is all I know of my family." Hawl looked around noticing a shelf with various books and some lively furniture that went with the tree theme. "Please call me Hawl."
"I am sorry to hear that, but alright Hawl, I was just on my way to see you when Seranima and Martha told me you escaped. Malisa's note said you needed to talk to me about something important, well here you are. I was giving you five more minutes to see if you were coming here, before I departed to help the guard look for you." Charles sipped from his wine glass, keeping a firm paw on his Sondeshike. "I prefer anything we talk about to stay between us three, which is why I've sent my manservant and kids to Lord Avery's so we can be alone though my wife is still present. I will try to answer your questions as best you can, but you must promise me that you are not a Flesinoir. If you are, I must ask you to leave Metamor Keep and never return, we have seen enough turmoil over the years without them on our doorstep."
Hawl shook his head no. "I know nothing about them just that for all my life they've followed me and watched me. They only ever show enough of themselves to make me aware of their presence. I don't really know why. I've heard they're a Southland Mage Cult so I was hoping you could tell me about them."
Charles closed his eyes and focused on his Calm to allow his heart to speak to him, after looking Hawl in the eyes and seeing his honesty he made his decision. "I believe you Hawl. I suspect they might be why you have shapeshifting abilities. The Flesinoir are known for their horrifying experiments, it is why they are called the Cult Of The Flesh. They mutate people in fashions that are too gruesome to think about, even for one such as I. The Curses of the Three Gates are a cakewalk compared to what they can do. I'm quite amazed they haven't set their sights on Metamor sooner as they are obsessed with changing people. I had thought the reason for this was that they were long dead."
"Why would you think that?" Hawl listened in, finally getting somewhere with his questions, Garigan was also on the edge of his seat listening very attentively.
"Because hundreds of years ago they had a war with us Sondeckis that saw their base of operations wiped out by one of the earliest whites. You see the Flesinoir are very secretive and like to hide themselves by using magic garb that shifts to whatever the wearer desires, for a while they were imitating us and giving us a bad reputation by committing unspeakable acts of evil in our name. The Kankoran and Weathermongers aided us in this effort, one of the few times that has ever happened. Their defeat was nigh impossible and resulted in the deaths of various people all on our side. If the old tales of this battle are true The Flesinoir proved nearly incapable of death."
Hawl and Garigan nodded as they drank their wine, captivated by this tale. "I am wearing clothing like that right now... I just woke up with it and a small parchment that said that my name was Hawl Enroygall... eight years ago" Hawl said as he morphed his outfit to something more regal and appropriate, blue and black colorized robes with a red ruby on the chest part.
Charles winced and tapped his hind-paw repetitiously in extreme discomfort. "I was desperately hoping for this to be a hoax. After the incident in Marzac I was hoping things could stay peaceful for a little while. If they have followed you to our doors I fear what would happen, they say that they cannot die. I just don't know how Metamor would face something like that, even after our close calls with Nasoj's two attacks." The black sondecki rubbed between his eyes. "It would calm me a little if you shifted to a form that didn't spark my instincts. I can control them well, but, I'd be more comfortable if you did this."
Hawl tried to shift into the form of a rat himself, but it just didn't seem to happening. "I think I'm cursed like this... Ever since I turned into a tiger in front of Malisa it just hasn't seemed to be working."
"It's possible your shapeshifting has made you more susceptible to the curse, but not likely, I don't sense it in you. If you are though, can you atleast try to turn into a kitten? You should have the power to change your age and gender still." Charles looked over Hawl carefully. "Just a guess, I'm not a curse expert."
"I am NOT turning into a child!" Hawl roared and folded his arms. "I have a hard time getting people to listen to me as it is. If I was a kid I'd be even more of a laughing stock!"
"They couldn't die? How did they ever get defeated?" Garigan shivered, spooked by this tale.
"Very well." Charles began focusing more on his calm. "According to the legend the flesinoir stored their blood and souls inside something called a Flesh Pool, which was an incredible source of power that allowed them magicks the likes of which have not been seen since. It allowed them to alter their bodies at will and raise the dead. Not much else is known about these only that they brought victims to it to serve their cause as horrible abominations. They were eventually bested when one of the earliest whites plunged his sondeshike into the Flesh Pool. This released a force so powerful it disrupted the Flesh Pool and put massive cracks in the mountain they used as a base. The Flesinoir were never heard from again and that location is called the Shattered Mountain to this day."
"Cool, so you think they have a new one? Give me that sondeshike you're holding and I'll take care of this." Hawl clapsed his fingers and laughed. "They won't know what hit them."
Garigan's eyes grew very wide, he could not believe someone just said that to his master. Some common tiger marches into Charles' home and demands his sondeshike? The legendary weapon held sacred to their people, Garigan could not think of a worse insult that Hawl could have given to this household.
Charles seemed incredibly annoyed at this request, trying his best to keep it at annoyed out of the benefit of the doubt that Hawl spoke merely out of ignorance. "I would never trust this sacred weapon to anyone who is not a sondecki, and a damn fine one at that, I would not even let Garigan here practice with it. You would not even begin to be able to wield its power." He glared into Hawl with the most evil of eyes before returning to a much calmer complexion. "I doubt they're still at the Shattered Mountain. In all likelihood there is a new Flesh Pool somewhere else and we have no way have of locating it unless they make themselves known. I fear for if they do horrible things will happen, the Reaper Robes themselves send chills up my tail and through my spine, and with a tail this long that is not something to be said lightly."
"So what should I do?" Hawl pondered, feeling hopelessness in this situation.
"Reaper Robes?" Garigan's curiosity was peaked.
"Well Hawl if they haven't come to Metamor Keep in the past decade I assume there is a reason that they haven't." Charles began thinking hard. "If you just stay here they may never arrive, or they may begin attacking. Tough call, but I have found that Metamor is an excellent place for hiding from people. As for why they want you. I don't know, do you think it has something to do with your transforming outfit? or more likely, perhaps your ability"
"I've had this thing as far back as I can remember, eight years ago I just found myself in a town called Mugal with the Flesinoir watching my every move and like I said, with just my name and these clothes." Hawl shrugged "We're getting nowhere fast."
"Not quite, we have two leads, one is your abilities. Shapeshifting as easily as Malisa described you doing is almost unheard of. You may be an experiment of theirs they wish to keep an eye on. The other lead perplexes me more." Charles was very deep in thought as was Garigan who pondered what a Reaper Robe is. "This being the Transblade Malisa wrote about, it's too big of a coincidence that a shapeshifter and a shapeshifting weapon appear at the Keep at the same time. Is there a reason you took it from the ambassador Cedric?
"I don't know, I could sort of feel it calling it to me. Like a person I've known all my life who seems to really care for me." Hawl recounted the feeling of the Transblade to his touch, the vibes it gave us when he was near it. "It felt wonderful just to be around, I had to have it. No one else seems to have this happen to them. Just me, right now I actually feel a deep regret that the blade is nowhere near me."
Charles began scratching his headfur perplexed by the whole thing. "I'm not sure what this means, has anyone else shown this connection with the weapon?"
"Like I said not that I know of, but when the sword was given to ol' Tommy, Cedric didn't seem to mind having the sword leave his possession. So I don't think so." Hawl recounted
"Ol' Tommy" Charles chuckled at this nickname for the ruler of this cursed land. "I don't think I've ever heard anyone call the Duke that before."
"So I take it we're cool now?" Hawl scratched his chinfur. "I don't have to go back to jail?"
"I don't recall that I ever implied that, you'll have to take it up with the royal family. I am not any kind of authority figure at the Keep. It's not really up to me." Charles informed, swallowing as he predicted that Hawl wouldn't like what he had to say. "I would reccomend go back to your cell, for your own safety."
"Hmmm.... I've got a better idea" Hawl thought that there was no way in hell that he was going to put up with that crossdressing princess. He was afraid that she could shoot him with another bone breaker beam and he was not that fond of pain or people who cause it to him. "I run like crazy away from ol' Metamor Keep, forget I ever came here, and uhh, just stay out of your.." Hawl looked his host over once more. "...fur."
Charles grabbed the Sondeshike and pinned Hawl to the ground. The tiger did not expect this maneuver as he was forced the ground by the power of the Sondeck. "Good arms you have there sir... Can you let me go now?" Hawl asked, swallowing, starting to get the feeling that he'd be seeing the infamously thrice cursed stone keep a lot unless he had something really clever to do.
"I'm afraid it's for the safety of everyone, not just you." Charles said. "You have latent magical abilities and very little self-control, that's a very bad combination!"
"Hehehe... Hahahahahahahaha..." Hawl laughed hard and sincerely, shaking his head no with an all too smug grin like he had seen a jest that had not stopped being funny even though this was the umpteenth time he heard it. "That's a Cross you wear around your neck isn't it? Symbol of the Followers, those of the Way, Eli-Worshippers?"
"Yes...." The amount of force Charles was using intensified with his discomfort, the brown rat was not sure he liked where this way going
"Isn't it JUST LIKE A Follower, to force their will on someone else, say it's Eli's.... and expect the suckered one to just lay down and accept it like some cheap prostitute, because you have labeled him a heathen." Hawl bore his fangs at the rat with a growl. "I do not work in a brothel Charles, and if I did my act would cost a king's ransom."
Garigan looked at Hawl bitterly. "How dare you bring such sharp words to Matthias' househol..."
Charles sighed and silenced Garigan with a simple gesture of the pink paw that served as his hand. "Contrary to popular belief Garigan, fighting fire with fire is a fool's around." In truth Charles was devastated on the inside to have his religion insulted in this manner. To have such words paint the teachings of Yahshua, who gave freely his life so that humans could be forgiven of their sin, in so foul a color. The rodent knew there was only one way to plant the kind of seed in Hawl that would change his mind and it was not in arguing. "Hawl, I will call the guard to collect you, but perhaps I can train you in some techniques that will help calm your mind and focus your abilities. I once had to stay in those dungeons, so I know how much they can grate on you."
"Oh that makes me feel better...." Hawl sarcastically snided. "What were you in the dungeon for?"
"I could call them now and teach you nothing." Charles warned. "Your choice. And if you must know, I tried to attack the Duke, it was not my finest hour and I'm not proud of it."
"Because he's Lothanasi? Pfft, Followers. I'll... take what I can get..." Hawl growled once more, but ultimately decided it would be best to give in, if only to get the rat off of him. "Fine I'd rather have a Follower's Help then no help at all."
"Then let that be lesson one, pride will hurt you in the end, don't rely on it." Charles advised, taking his foot off of Hawl and helping him up. "I'll train you until the curse takes hold of you, and for a little longer if necessary. For a grand total of a fortnight, but no longer. Understood?"
Hawl cracked his neck. "Alright, I'll try to be a courteous house guest while I'm here, but. Before we begin, I haven't had a decent meal since I was in Mugal. Can we start with lunch?"
"Absolutely. Garigan and I were going to stop by and see our friend Gregor, he's a baker, once we got to Keeptown." Charles smiled. "I'll have Kimberly make a stew, that should agree with your carnivore pallet just fine. I am most certain you'll enjoy it, my wife did use to work in the Keep's kitchen after all. Now if you excuse me, I need to write back and tell Malisa of our arrangement."
"Fantastic, I'm starved. I'll have had to eat are a few turnips and some moldy bread." Hawl purred.
The training would begin after the meal, and Hawl was already formulating an escape plan. This foolish rat's generosity left him open to some exploitation. Though the tiger had to admit something this was wearing on his mind, being fed, training? This was unlike any Follower behavior he had ever seen. Hawl was more accustomed to "Don't like Eli? I'll beat you with a mace!", or being called a heathen, heck it was even rumored in some circles in Mugal that he worshipped Lilith! Lilith of all people! Even one as thick as Hawl knew better than that. But, "Let me feed and teach you magic?" unheard of! What game was this Charles Matthias of Glen Avery playing at? It had to be a trick, maybe the soup was poisoned, maybe the training was an elaborate ruse to get him back in his cell without any such tricks. Hawl's heart was racing, and his body tensing up as he was trying to figure this out.
"Something the matter Hawl?" Garigan asked.
"No, everything's fine and dandy." Hawl lied, on his toes and very hungry. The tiger was saying a prayer himself. He prayed that the food wasn't going to be a poison, he was hungry enough to start chasing rats, man-sized ones.