The box was wooden, roughly crafted – perhaps a foot on a side, give or take an inch or two in each dimension.  Its inside was painstakingly padded with rather sumptuous (if a little stained and ragged) fabric and brown fur.  All-in-all, it was certainly a labor of love, and not much else, with exposed nails and unsanded edges, poorly measured slats and a pair of hinges that worked for a basic definition of ‘work’.

Aunne eyed her handiwork with an air of satisfaction.  It was absolutely perfect – and it only took two hammers!

She turned her attention to the other half of the gift; the … thing.   Even looking at it made her shudder – the long ears, the black nose, the huge, liquid eyes, the fluffy little tail; the taxidermied rabbit still gave her the oddest of sensations, and she was absolutely certain that, even in its immobile state, it was -watching- her.

That thought made the death knight shudder.

Even so, she sighed (unnecessarially), and with nervous hands she placed the stuffed bunny into its precisely (mostly) shaped well in the box.  She pulled her hands back quickly then, wiping them on her dress worriedly.  Down with the box lid, and then the pretty yellow ribbon tied just so (don’t mind the stain, it’s probably wine).

She rested her hand then, on the box, frowning in concentration a moment – a tiny flare of green light, and then..

the box hissed.  It growled.  It hissed again, and then fell silent.

Gleefully, Aunne tucked a bit of paper under the ribbon, and then, carefully scooping up the box, she clopped out – heading for the Justicar’s quarters.

The letter?

Arialynn – 

You have been very serious lately and it is sad that I do not see you smile, yes?  I thought very much that I wanted to give everyone a kitten, because they are all very serious and no one seems terribly happy, but someone who is not yet my friend but I hope will be soon told me that we could not afford to do this thing because kittens are expensive.

I told her I had three, but she insisted that it would cost too much and putting them in a crate would not be nice.  

Anyway, she said that you liked something else, and I told her that they were dangerous, and then I thought maybe I could give you one that was not very dangerous anymore and that would be good, and then you would smile, which is also good.

Your friend, I hope – 


(As transcribed by Thaddeus Mourne, Commander.  Light help you, Justicar, but she promised she would not speak to me for an entire week.  You understand.)

Author Aunne
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