Del shrugged in the darkness. “Maybe you’re right. I never had your patience for remembering which foreign noble was related to which other one. It’s enough for me to just keep up with the Four Clans of The Hills. That gets complicated enough sometimes.”
“The Four Clans are simple,” Rabin disagreed. “You just have to remember the Gersons, Grandtree, Nell, and Dranath. My grandfather is a chief today, but that could change if he gets voted out by the Clan Council. The next chief could be a Grandtree, Nell, Dranath, or Gerson. It could even be your papa. Some day, it could be you.”
“You think like a child,” Del said curtly. “Let’s say you grow up to be the smartest and toughest guy in The Hills. Could you be Chief Grandtree some day?”
“I don’t want to be Chief Grandtree,” Rabin said honestly. “But truly, that would probably never happen. I know what I am.”
“Right, you’re a clever boy but always Morgana Grandtree’s halfborn bastard. You’re a Grandtree because your mama and grandmama bullied your grandpa into declaring it. You’ve got Dranath Clan Rights because your papa, Borin, likes you, loves your mama, and has some influence with the Dranath Guild. I’m not saying this to insult you, Rab. I’m just saying that there are families where such things don’t always happen so neatly.”
“I doesn’t matter,” Rabin said. “I plan to become a metalsmith like Papa anyway. He’s says I’ve got the knack of understanding how things work. I’ve been fixing broken locks and tools since I was seven. He’s beginning to teach me how to create different alloys and forge new tools. He says that he wants to make my apprenticeship official in a couple of years and begin teaching me about the balance of weapons and even how to work gold. He says he can get the guild to accept me.”
“Ha,” Del barked his scorn in the darkness. “Rab, you aren’t ever going to be a metalsmith.”
“I could be,” Rabin said, truly insulted for the first time.
“Sure, and I’m not disagreeing with Borin Dranath’s assessment of your talent. Silll, your mama won’t let you,” Del said. “My papa says she’s made it clear to Chief Grandtree that you’re too good to spend your life in a smithy. She’s already working on your grandfather to get you sent off to some fancy school in Great Falls or maybe even Del Sur City to learn things that nobody can teach you here.”
“Nobody ever never told me anything like this.”
“Yeah, well maybe she’s planning on having Chief Grandtree break the news to your papa,” Del said. “See Rabin, when you take the time to pay attention to things around you, it’s almost like you can predict the future. That’s what my papa says. I don’t have any princely Moquel blood, and I’m a better seer than you are.”
“Right, so are you going to appoint yourself as the Great Seer of The HIlls?” Rabin asked.