Support Group, by Charles Matthias

Story name: Support Group
Author: Charles Matthias
Date: Spring 706 CR, 2 weeks before Easter

Overview

Matthias enjoys the company of his fellow gnawers, as well as Kimberly's.

Summary

It has been a week since The Fight That Never Happened, and Matthias meets Michael again in the courtyard. Michael is curious about why Matthias doesn't have his chewing stick, and even more curious when he hears that Matthias is going to a monthly meeting of the Gnawer's Support Group. Matthias describes the other members of the support group, and mentions one particular female rat he is interested in.

In the Mule, Matthias is pleased to see Kimberly wearing the dress he made for her. She is nervous and self-conscious. As he sits next to her, the rodents begin serving food. Matthias offers Kimberly some delicious bread, and remembers when she arrived a month ago.

She had been a lady fleeing an unwanted marriage a country west of Metamor Keep when her carriage was attacked by Lutins, stranding her at the Keep. After a week, her first change was a rat's tail. In despair, she knocked on Matthias's office at the Writer's Guild. She broke down in front of him, while he attempted to console her, telling her what a beautiful person she is inside.

Back in the present, Phil gives Matthias a present. He is reluctant to open it, as Phil's last present was a hunk of petrified wood, but Kimberly is eager to see it. It is an exquisitely carved chewing stick. Matthias is impressed, and puts the stick away for later.

Kimberly is again self-conscious and ashamed about being a rat, and Matthias tells her again that he only wishes her to be happy. He gets some more cheese and bread for her, pleased that the meeting is a success.

Characters

Main Characters: Matthias, Kimberly, Phil

Supporting: Michael

Cameo: Benedict, Gregor

Mentioned: Copernicus, Pascal, Donnie, Saulius

Points of Interest

  • This story takes place "a fortnight" after Michael has been at the Keep, and a week after the events of The Fight That Never Happened. Michael's change has only gone as far as the fur on his back and his teeth, from which Matthias concludes that he is not going to be an equine.
  • There are 21 gnawers in total: 8 rats, 4 mice, 1 rabbit, 2 pine martins, 3 guinea pigs, 1 capyberran, 1 squirrel, and 1 porcupine.
    • The 8 rats include Matthias, Kimberly, and Saulius.
    • The 4 mice include Benedict and possibly Macey.
  • This is the first mention of Copernicus's famous skill at pool.
  • This is the first mention of the Sondeckis.
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