- “The old Marquis - this one's mother - was very friendly with the Cheery Baron. Very friendly. They hunted together often, just the two of them. Sometimes he'd spear the boar, and sometimes he'd spear her!”
The oldest of the peasants - lanky and straw-haired, with dirt-gray fingers - speaks. "We meant nothing by it, your Highness-" "Your GRACE!" the Baron bellows. The peasant flinches. "Your Grace, I mean! We just said that it was looking like a good harvest, and that...that you'd be happy as a puppy when you received your tithe. And...and then I did this:" He puts his hand behind him, next to his tailbone, and wags it enthusiastically back and forth. It's an old story: that the Shame's descendants are marked by his abomination. Your mother, it was commonly held, had a forked tongue. Apparently, you have a tail.
The peasant's companions stare at him. They can't believe what he just said. Nor can he. His face turns the colour of ash.
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