Last time, Wren!
This time…Ratcatcher. Who’s about to go look for Wren.
Ratcatcher explains that his room is up high in a tower, and that it’s exactly 77 steps to ground floor, then another 77 steps down to reach the dungeons. 77777777 Seven is a fun number.
Since we know everyone hates Ratcatcher, I’ll take this as confirmation that the dangerous people in the castle usually live on the lower floors.
the Prince had often made light of the fact that his domain was three times as deep as it was tall. Ratcatcher had found the witticism amusing once, and had resolved to use it himself someday when he, too, was lord of a citadel such as this one.
I can’t tell if this is supposed to sound stupid, or just is stupid, or I’m missing whatever’s so witty about it.
Ratcatcher momentarily imagines owning this very citadel, which is very in line with Exalted and the fact exalts make questionable servants, but is very at odds with what’s been presented so far. But that’s a point in favor of the Prince being a social monster constantly convincing those under him that he’s unbeatably better than they are, but there’s no actual reason to think this and left to their own devices they slowly realize it.
Anyway, he’s going to bug Wren because he’s bored and he doesn’t feel like bugging Pelesh.
The damp in the tunnels soaked into the wood, and torches that remained too long gave forth foul, thick smoke when lit.
So…the author understands that wet wood doesn’t burn better? Or maybe thinks “dampness” is something other than wetness.
Ratcatcher comes upon a snake lying on the floor. Why snakes are everywhere in the first place isn’t explained, but he finds this particular one odd because it looks like it’s basking. He touches the stone and finds it warm – like the sun dun dun duuuuun. Seriously, he can tell it feels like morning sunshine warm and not, say, fire warm or volcanic activity warm or magical charm warm.
“This is very disturbing,” he said to himself, and rose quickly so that he might complete his errand.
Speaking of basking…This is an impressive lot of terrible packed into so small an area. Also Ratcatcher really needs a familiar or something, it’d make it slightly less pathetic if he was talking to his pet chihuahua instead of thin air.
Then a bunch of bats swarm him, and one decides to be a moth instead and jump into his torch. Because they don’t know how to make torches properly, this is enough to put it out. Ratcatcher flails like an idiot, then anima flares and somehow that gives him bat control power.
Anyway, he can’t even do something as basic as relight his own torch, and being a faily semibyssal, he can’t see anything without the torch, but he doesn’t want to go back for another one.
He could imagine the laughter if Pelesh or one of the others caught him, forced to retreat by a stray bat.
Pelesh appears to be a mortal, so you could just kill him. Also, how would they know unless Ratcatcher explained the bat thing? They don’t even know he went down there, or why. He doesn’t actually have a reason in the first place, he was just bored, so if he doesn’t want to be there at the moment nothing stops him from leaving.
But he manages to find his way to the cell. He calls Wren’s name softly for some reason, then louder when he gets no answer.
“Damn it, Wren, are you there? Wake up. I could be whipped for this, you know,” he added petulantly.
I leave the interpretation of this section up to you. I am defeated.
This still doesn’t get an answer, so he goes to bang on the bars and realizes they’re missing. Shortly after, he realizes the priest is as well. He curses and threatens Wren, who of course can’t hear him because he’s already left.
he fled back up toward the stairs, there to relight his torch and to seek help, discreetly.
…Why discreetly I don’t know. This isn’t his fault. It might piss off the Prince, but I imagine so would trying to track down the guy without letting the Prince know, and if Ratcatcher fails due to not having enough help because he tries to keep it a secret, it’ll definitely enrage the Prince. Plus, he can always blame Pelesh as the culprit if he needs someone to redirect anger on. Say he must have released the prisoner because Ratcatcher was too smart to fall for the poisoned wine.