Escaping, by Charles Matthias

Story name: Escaping
Author: Charles Matthias
Date: Spring 706 CR, 1 week before Easter

Overview

Hector despises being a rat, but a visit from Matthias gives him a new perspective.

Summary

Hector, one of the five rats who lives in the cellars, wakes up testily in his cell. He remembers when he arrived in Metamor Keep, part of a caravan that had gotten lost in the woods outside the keep. When they reached the keep, they planned only a couple days to regroup, but the time outside counted as well, and Hector was the first and only member to change, forcing him to stay behind. He used to be a flirtatious man and a talented woodcarver; now he hides in shame of his appearance, and is unable to properly manipulate the knife with his new paws. Most of all, he resents Matthias for pretending to be happy.

When Matthias visits that morning, Hector is determined to speak out against him. But this time, unlike other times, Matthias chooses to ignore Hector, and talks to the other rats about the upcoming Easter—Vernal Equinox. As soon as the meeting ends, Hector storms to his room and slams the door, and sets to work on scribing, the only skill he has.

Matthias visits him privately, asking again what's wrong, and Hector almost blows him off before he relents and asks for his counsel. Matthias asks why he's stopped making his beautiful sculptures, and Hector replies that his hands are no good for carving. As Matthias whittles his chewing stick with his teeth, he suggests that he find another way.

In shocked silence, Hector waits for Matthias to leave, and begins chewing a large stick with his teeth. When he fills in as much detail as he can with his teeth, he strips down and begins shrinking to his full form, chewing the stick with ever finer detail as he does. Finally, after finishing his work at his smallest size, he sits back and beholds his latest creation: a sculpture of a morphic rat.

Characters

Main Characters: Hector, Matthias

Supporting: Saulius, Elliot, Goldmark, Julian

Mentioned: Kimberly

Points of Interest

  • These are the first appearances of the other four rats in the cellar besides Saulius:
    • Eliot has a red patch on his shoulder from one of Pascal's potions; he is pretending to accept being a rat, but has a tendency to put off gnawing to the last moment.
    • Goldmark enjoys becoming a full rat and sneaking off as much food as he can.
    • Julian is quiet and distant from the others.
    • Hector was the second-to-last rat to arrive (the last being Kimberly).
  • Hector's barebones cell contains the following: an oil lantern hanging from an iron hook, a bench and table with quill pen and parchment in one corner, a dresser with three pairs of clothing in the other, and a bed on the far wall.
  • Eliot and Julian promise to attend the festival; Goldmark has already been planning to.
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