++EASY COME, WORTH LESS++
Barnabas crept forward slowly, carefully placing one foot in front of the other, making as little noise as possible. Gingerly, he reached out with his stick, and tapped the pot on the lid. Then he jumped back, and scuttled across the loamy floor, and joined Hesther behind the bole of the oak.
Nothing happened with the pot. Nothing continued to happen for several minutes.
“I don’t think it is a spider jar,” said Barnabas, cautiously.
“I tell you I saw something move,” said Hesther, adamantly. “I overheard the Exarch talking to Lilian about them.”
“We could throw stones at it from behind the tree,” said Barnabas sensibly. “That way if it’s dangerous we can run for it before… well before anything bad happens.”
“I heard that there’s monster spiders in these jars, and if you let them out they chase you on loads of legs, and they can run faster than a person can. When they catch you they wrap you up in webs and lay eggs in your belly so that you get eaten alive by baby spiders!”
She recounted the horror with a kind of horrible fascination. Barnabas felt his stomach turn over slightly, and wished he had had less porridge for breakfast.
“We should go and get one of the unconquered then,” said Barnabus after a few moments.
“We can’t,” said Hesther, a little too quickly. “We’re not meant to be out here are we?”
The pair had slipped out after breakfast. The chapter was full of bustle and noise today, they doubted they would be missed. Supplies were being gathered together to send to the Urizen in Morrow and Redoubt, people who’d lost their homes and their families to the Druj. Technically, Barnabas and Hesther were supposed to be helping everyone else load up the wagons with food, and beer from the cellar, and sacks of flour, and planks. Instead, they’d decided to go play in the woods and now they were stuck. If this was a terrible spider jar, they needed to tell someone and if they did, they’d get into a lot of trouble for sloth.
“We’ll get the switch if they found out we snuck off. Timothy will say we were being lazy, and after the switch we’ll get a lecture on Prosperity in the chapel.”
She made a face. It was widely agreed among the children of the chapter that Timothy gave the most boring sermons of any priest in the entirety of Highguard.
Barnabas shrugged, and made up his mind.
“You can do what you want,” he said. “But I’m going to go and find Lily. So what if we get into trouble. If this thing is full of evil spiders that lay eggs in your belly, then we need to tell people before someone gets hurt.”
Hesther made a sour face. “We’ll get into trouble!” she whined, and started to sniffle.
“Maybe we will,” said Barnabas taking her hand. “But not as much trouble as we’ll get into if someone gets hurt and we could have stopped it.”
Hesther began to bawl then. He was not fooled by her tears. Hesther cried at the drop of a hat, and the tears dried just as quickly. He sighed, exasperated.
“Shush that or I’ll tell the Exarch to send you away to live with the Navarr!”
Hesther stopped sobbing immediately, red faced. She had had nightmares for a week after she’d overheard Timothy talking about the trods, and helping the Navarr. It was still a threat guaranteed to shut her up and he hoped it would continue to work for some time to come. She stuck her tongue out at him. He rolled his eyes.
“Come on we need to get back,” he said. As the children left the area where the old farmhouse had once stood, Barnabas glanced back and fancied for a moment he saw something move near the pot. Something small, and quick moving with too many legs. Probably just a normal bird spider, or a centipede. Or something.
He shivered, and quickened his pace, dragging Hesther along with him and causing her to start moaning and grizzling again. It was going to be a long walk back to the chapterhouse.
During the Spring Equinox the Highborn assembly passed four significant statements of principle that were upheld with greater majorities. They covered a number of topics, and in each case were circulated to the congregations of Highguard with mixed results.
- One dealt with the need to fight the Druj
- One with the need to oppose the vallorn by any means
- One with the need to offer succour to Urizen refugees
- One to address the sinister threat of Spider Jars
In each case, you can read how the people of Highguard responded here → https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Easy_come,_worth_less
The picture is some jars because there are only so many pictures of dead Shattered Tower I can use in a month, by law.
#Haveyouguessedwhatitisyet, #ThatHesthereh, #Thishashtagredactedbyorder
Just to note that additional mandates for one of these have now been added to the wiki.