The warrior clan matriarch planned to help her balladeer friend during the balladeer’s troubadour session. Between the missing yet late moon cycle and the work in the unseen realms, she was just too exhausted.
She avoided everyone and just focused on her warrior exercises. There weren’t enough days between her performance and the troubadour session; recovery would not happen. She decided to decline, and like most songbirds, her balladeer would gladly substitute another lesser-skilled balladeer.
The night before the troubadour sessions, the warrior clan matriarch had lost track of time. Her practice session ran late, making her one of the last at the commissary. The old general guarding the door did not speak but nodded as she left, as the old general was the matriarch in another clan. Exhaustion is a recognizable badge among warriors and matriarchs.
The warrior clan matriarch crossed the courtyard to go to her living quarters, and she almost ran into her green-eyed scholar and his usually silent, brown-eyed yearmate. She sent a few select curses up to the War God, since even her friends were unwelcome when she operated in this mode.
“You going to the balladeer’s session? I’d heard you changed your mind.” She could feel his green eyes piercing her mental barriers; the gaze mixed judgment and frustration in a harsh cocktail.
“I’ve been incredibly exhausted, and it’s better if I don’t.” She wondered if she would catch a break.
“You know, she’s been a really good friend to you since she came. Don’t you think you should be her good friend and support her?”
The warrior clan matriarch sighed. Obviously, his scholar classes didn’t include tips in reading body language or how to mind one’s own business. And he was the most clueless of males, unable to even say the words “moon cycle,” let alone understand what they meant to the opposite gender. She muttered and walked away; his disapproving glance followed her.
Dawn broke. The warrior clan matriarch figured she’d better dutifully keep the peace. She avoided all activity, and just candle flickers before the appointed time, threw on her favorite cloak and attached her glittery, bejeweled ceremonial sword ostentatiously to her belt.
She meandered to the stall for the troubadour session; the balladeer was in a quiet corner warming up .
“I’ve changed my mind. Sing up a winter storm, songbird!”
The balladeer narrowed her eyes, nodded, and moved into competition. As the warrior clan matriarch dutifully seated the audience, she noticed something odd — her green-eyed scholar never arrived.
“You dirty rat! I even wore my best sword,” she grumbled.