“Love Bites” by LE Allen
(Not a vampire story)
When does puberty end?
I’ve never before been interested in boys, really. I was raised by my Gransire, who was NeachCook of Shadowed Rooster before he passed into Memory. I’d rather clean a sword than a fish, so I spent most of my time with the guards. Thus, I did not associate with the servers and their apprentices, which is where most of Shadowed Rooster’s male population works. And because Gransire ruled the kitchen, they didn’t associate with me. The only boy who wasn’t afraid of Gransire was Worthy Stan, one of Charity’s apprentices. But Worthy Stan was, well, a wizard apprentice. That pretty much says it all.
I’ve got a quick brain, I guess, and I’m light on my feet. And I’m fast. My sister says I’m hyper, but she’s just mad she was never able to score a point on me in sword practice. So anyway, when I came of age, Kregar Kaicey took me to Dare Charity’s office, and officially requested permission for me to study at the Llewellyn Tavern.
Where I went from famine to feast.
I’ve heard that over in Dubhghaill Tavern there are men who are actually warriors; and of course in Caer East, anything can happen. But here in Tavern Llewellyn a’ Tamesis, the first and most honored Tavern of Ainland, only girls practice to be warriors.
Regardless, there is a plethora of males. The kitchen is full of boys. The men who man the desks are, well, boys (big boys). Most of the guards are boys. And of course, half the guard trainees are boys. I spent the first two moons with my tongue hanging out. I admit it.
I didn’t know what to do about it, but I sure enjoyed looking. And they looked right back.
At first, the looks were ones of interest. But that changed pretty quickly. I have a reputation, if you can believe it. But what do you expect? If you insult Acting Dare Charity d’Shadowed Rooster, I’m going to take offense. I like Charity. And since I grew up with her, and these cousins didn’t, they don’t have the right to shoot arrows.
The ones who weren’t insulting Cousin Charity were insulting me, saying I hadn’t grown up in Shadowed Rooster and I wouldn’t know a wizard if one turned me into a statue. Like I would lie about such a thing!
So, I’m left pretty much alone, unless someone wants to harass me. They usually stop pretty quickly, ‘cause, like I said, I’m smart and I’m fast. They start the fight, I end it. Then I get called before Maoer Aurora and we have a little talk and a little tea, and I go back to sword practice.
I eventually came to have three close friends. I like them, they like me, and when we tease each other to the point of challenge, the loser does not go crying to Maoer Aurora.
And then there was Grif.
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