“Who is Pig-Sticker?” I asked, putting down my fork and looking at Moon-Singer.
“Pig-Sticker?” My mom repeated, confused.
Moon-Singer’s wife, Keira, winced a little at the mention of the name. Apparently not a popular dinnertime topic. Avise looked a little ill-at-ease.
“Pig-Sticker is a Vandal of some infamy,” Moon-Singer replied, looking at me. “He was your father’s greatest Nemesis, and most people thought that if one of them died, it would be by the other’s hand–If Ghost is right, then Pig-Sticker finally got the upper-hand of your father.”
“Pig-Sticker has a fearsome blade,” Keira added. “It thirsts after the blood of any man whose gore it tastes. Pig-Sticker attacked your father many times, trying to sate that spear’s deadly longing.”
“It’s worse than that,” Moon-Singer added. “The spear’s thirst for vengeance extends to those who share it’s opponent’s blood. You should be careful, Silver-Singer–if Pig-Sticker sees a chance to take you down as well, there’s no doubt he’ll take it.”
My mother looked upset to hear this–as if in response, Keira offered her a smile and and a hand. “Don’t worry, Jane,” she said. “The reason we live in the ætt is so that there are people to look after Silver-Singer when he can’t look after himself.”
“I can look after myself just fine,” I said, annoyed.
“Whatever,” Avise said with a smirk. “Black-Wind says you have trouble leaving the Dreaming.”
“I do not!” I snapped. “I just don’t like that weird fally feeling,” I added with a mumble.
“You’ll get used to it,” Moon-Singer said with a smirk. “I promise you can’t bump your head leaving the dreaming.”
I rolled my eyes. We were straying from the topic at hand. “Do you plan to go after Pig-Sticker–to find out if what Ghost said is true?”
“It’s a hard decision to make, Silver-Singer,” Moon-Singer replied. “Going after Pig-Sticker is dangerous, and it’s only a matter of time before we bump heads with him again anyway.”
“So you’ll just let him get away with it,” I said angrily.
“It’s not that simple!” Moon-Singer snapped, annoyed. “Pig-Sticker is an immensely powerful Vandal. Trust me, Silver-Singer, there’s nothing I’d like more than to give him a piece of what he’s got coming. I’ve had more close scrapes with him than I can count on one hand, many of which I wouldn’t have come out of alive if it wasn’t for your dad. If Silver-Dancer was taken down by Pig-Sticker… not just anyone stands a chance against him. Especially you, Silver-Singer. You’re even greener than most of the therians you run with.”
The table was silent for a moment. I looked down at the floor, shocked at Moon-Singer’s uncharacteristic anger. For a moment, I could almost glimpse the youth with the hair trigger temper that he had once been. The suddenness of his outburst hit me hard, harder for the fact that his words were a reminder of that fact that I didn’t fit in at the ætt–that I only fit in as much as I did because of what he had taught me.
“Don’t be so hard on him,” Keira said. “It’s natural, wanting vengeance after what happened. Especially with you filling his head with tales about how great Silver-Dancer was.”
Moon-Singer sighed and sipped his beer. “I just…” Moon-Singer sighed and leaned back in his chair. “I think about some of the fool things I did back then. I was itching for a fight against Pig-Sticker, but I know now what a disaster that would have been. If you don’t want break your mother or your girlfriend’s heart, Silver-Singer, stay smart.”
“Wren’s not my girlfriend,” I interjected.
Moon-Singer smirked. “And yet you know exactly who I meant,” he said, all too eager to change the topic.
“I keep telling him to let her know,” Jane said, rubbing my cropped hair with a smirk, “But he still hasn’t gotten the courage.”
“I’m pretty sure she’s not interested,” I said as nonchalantly as I could muster. “She’s always making these… raunchy comments about me. If she was really interested in me, she wouldn’t tease me like that.”
Moon-Singer grinned. “I don’t know, Silver-Singer,” he replied. “To me, that just sounds like she’s really interested in you.” Avise sniggered.
“I have an idea,” I said, looking away. “Let’s not talk about this anymore.”
“You really oughtta say something,” Moon-Singer said, shaking his head. “Just saying.”