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Snippet: Mal Society
Sluagh Rock
The serving boy dropped a chalice, and the metal rang out angrily in the nearly empty hall.  It set Petuline's little rat of a dog to yelping, adding to the wretch echoes bouncing back and forth, and giving Harmore no small headache.  The boy quickly scooped the chalice back out and nearly ran from the room.  Petuline calmed her tiny beast with another scrap from the table into its already pudgy mouth.

"What bothers you so this evening?" she asked him, rather than apologizing for the dog's behavior.  "You've been particularly insufferable all day.  Eberte said so, said you were an absolute bear at morning Walkings, and I imagine Faltess agrees that you've been no pleasure to have at dinner."   As always, Faltess said nothing, his eyes glazed over as he mechanically shoved another spoonful of the meal into his mouth.

"Poor sleeping," he gave her.  It was true that his restless night had pushed his normal contempt for his situation into a rather overt state.  Still, he wouldn't get anywhere by reminding Petuline that neither of them really cared for the other at all.  "Something rocked through the ether last night, set up foul dreams."

"Oh yes, that," she said matter-of-factly. She picked another gravy-laden morsel from her plate and fed it to her dog, who ate it greedily.  "Some pour soul pushing the limits of their talents, and being dashed to pieces against the rocks of the Outworld for their trouble.  Telissia looked into it this morning.  Another student of Greyda, I think.  She really needs to reign her students if she wants anything regarding steady work."

At the mention of Greyda, Harmore's mood soured even further.  "She should not be allowed to take students," he murmured, rapping his fingers against the dinner table.

"Well, what do you expect the poor dear to do, being outlawed from the Society?" Petuline asked, setting her dog down so that it could run off and shit in a corner.  "She's got to feed herself somehow.  And there are so many lords over in Weirtonn desperate to make their little ones into the next Gran Magus."

"Students who tend to end up dead or mad," Harmore countered.  "The worst one actually managed to make a scar on the Outworld as he flickered out.  Their heads are full of tales of magic, and she does nothing to teach them cautious or patience.  She just opens the floodgates and looks the other way."

Petuline looked as if she wanted to argue more, but quickly put on a mask of boredom.  They had argued over Greyda many times over the last few decades, and nothing ever changed.  Faltess continued to eat his dinner in simple silence, while the serving boy brought in a fresh chalice to replace the one he had dropped.