Children shouting excitedly alerted Liamath before he saw anything — cries of “firebird” and “sunhawk” pulled his attention like a puppet on its strings, to the great amusement of the merchant-crofter whose produce he’d been contently mulling over. The redmint and spicy-sweet black plums would have to wait —
— Or, there could be no need to wait long at all.
Before Liamath more than turned away from the lean elder’s stall the bird — a flickering sihouette of moon-pale wisps, far more solid than it looked, was swooping on him. The wychling thing dropped a leather pouch into his upstretched hands, then whirled away and dipped low to flutter over the laughing knot of children before fading from the world.
Liamath was painfully aware of the curious stares he was getting from the entire village market, and didn’t blame them one bit.
I suppose it was quite a show.
“Come on now, lad, show us what you got there, eh? So long’s it’s not anything secret, of course. A special report from your noble? New mission? Love token, mayhap ~?”
The plum-seller’s eyes danced merrily beneath his battered felt hat, and Liamath did chuckle before shaking his head slowly in denial of all three. What he drew from the pouch was something very different: a braided cord of quilted twists of silk, tri-coloured, and long enough to settle around his neck.
“No, goodsir, none of those.”
Liamath’s voice was soft, withdrawn.
“My lord has returned my lost one to me.”
The elder nodded silently. No more needed to be said.
Mourner’s Devotions: A braid of twisted cords, wool or silk or linen, carried by many in Kauvr — at least one cord is filled with a core made of plaited hair or similar mementos of the dearly departed. More ornate devotions may have strands of tiny beads threaded through the braid, or be bound at intervals with metal- or jewelwork.