The Bull and the Rat

Which would you bet on?  If you picked the bull, get good odds.  High Warden Avery Tavistern knows which one to put his coin on and it’s a bet that pays handsome dividends …

bull and rat

High Warden Avery Tavistern left the Warden’s Keep and headed north, towards the plaza.  He had an appointment in Gloryngael with Manchiro, the palace steward, to discuss the next taster for the God-Emperor.  Telduri, the most recent one, had met an unfortunate end, not in Gloryngael’s kitchen, but in The Rusty Bucket, a hole in the wall by the docks he frequented every night after finishing his duties in the kitchen.  The former taster, a better drinker than officer, had been a Deputy Warden in the infantry and earned his spot in the kitchens after a bout of whiskey-inspired disorderly conduct.  Telduri had remained true to form and was bludgeoned to death by Averchai during a brawl in the Bucket that started with his poor sense of humor or bad judgment, take your pick.

Despite the opulence of the palace and the ridiculously light workload, no one ever volunteered to be taster.  On its best days, the job was boring beyond belief and on its worst days, well …  No self-respecting legionnaire, let alone an officer, would choose to watch potato peelers over earning pay on the battlefield.  Most often, tasters were like Telduri, guilty of some minor offense.

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