Nomis knew that most Coblyns were given ancient bird names, like Master Garan’s, which meant ‘heron’, but he couldn’t recall ever having heard the name ‘Gludog’ in that connection before. It would have been impolite to comment, so instead he asked: “Have you been studying long then?”
“No, not really. I’m only a fifth of the way through my purgatory,” Gludog said with a grimace. “I began my ten year term with him on the summer solstice, my twentieth birthday, two years and one week ago.”
Nomis grinned understandingly. “So what were you doing inside that jug then, and who were you threatening?”
“I was trying to help a baby pigmy shrew, but she doesn’t seem that keen about being rescued. Come and see for yourself. Perhaps you could help me lift her out. She’s not a pretty sight, so be warned!”
It was dim inside the jug as they climbed down, one after the other. Gludog had not exaggerated. The poor little creature was badly injured. She was only about half an inch long and looked very weak and pathetic. Nomis cast a professional eye over her as well as the interior of the bloodied jug, which having no sediment suggested that it was a recent addition to the scenery. The small shrew was suffering from blood loss, concussion and shock and was clearly too frightened to move at all.
“I wish animals could talk so that we could understand her injuries better, and what’d happened to her,” Nomis said wistfully, prodding amongst the blood-matted fur.
“But they can talk!” Gludog protested. “Well, not so much talk as ‘think’ impressions.”
“Well what’s wrong exactly with this little one then, and what happened to her?” Nomis replied rather sceptically.
Gludog placed his hands gently on both sides of the baby’s head and looked blankly forwards, replying after a slight pause: “She has a hurting head and front right paw and side, and she feels a bit faint and dizzy.”
Nomis remained unconvinced, seeing precisely that for himself. However, he looked up sharply as Gludog continued: “Apparently one of the more adventurous kittens began playing with her mother and