Such ungrateful people, Katherine thought while closing the door behind her silently, in contrast to her raging emotions. She just wanted a little bit of information, okay?! It wasn't even anything harmful.
"Milady, please excuse his attitude.", Sam, standing by the side, said humbly. "He doesn't have much patience. If we can do anything to make it up to you...?"
After a short thought and calming her emotions, Katherine inquired: "Where did you get that rabbit from? The one at the dinner?"
"The rabbit?", Sam repeated. "We have an enclosure outside, near the stables. There are rabbits, hens and a few other animals mainly treated as a food-source."
What? Her sweet Froseti was a food-source before? Katherine's cheeks paled and she congratulated herself for being so mindful as to take him with her. Hesitatingly, she asked: "Can you show me?"
In the enclosure lived nine well-fed rabbits. It was quite big and had a small hut for rainy days. All in all they seemed to have a pleasant live - if one didn't know what they were held for.
Watching them gnawing on grass, Katherine told Sam her thoughts: "I want my rabbit to have a pleasant life. I want him to be together with other rabbits, while living in a safe environment, and maybe have kids later. However, I don't ever want it to be threatened to be eaten or have it's children be eaten."
Touching his chin pensively, Sam nodded. "You say, you want it to live in this enclosure without any of the consequences, right?"
Slowly, not sure if it was the right thing to do, Katherine nodded her head. The other rabbits would still be eaten, only her Froseti and his kids would have a peaceful live. But could she request for the earl to never eat the flesh of a rabbit again? Did he look like a rabbit to only eat vegetables? More like the most dangerous carnivore alive...
Although maybe she herself would change her view at meat now... at least rabbit meat didn't seem appealing anymore. She may not be able to safe all rabbits, but Froseti, her priority, wouldn't have any troubles now.
"But how can you ensure that the personnel won't confuse him with one of the others some day?" However, the solution presented itself to her before he could answer. "I'll just make it a collar! That should be sufficient."
"What a great idea.", Sam praised. "Don't worry, your rabbit will be perfectly safe with us."
And that was how Froseti got back to its old home. Only now it had a fancy silver bracelet hanging on its neck - one of Katherine's own bracelets as a collar had yet to be made. Proudly, Froseti showed it to the rabbit-ladies. The bracelet had a tiny glass heart hanging on it and every time a sun ray hit the rabbit's front, it sparkled in all colors of the rainbow.
Although Froseti still looked at Katherine with sad eyes when she left, it didn't seem to be as dissatisfied as the last time. Maybe the beautiful white rabbit lady poking her nose in his long ear shyly was one of the reasons.
With a little laugh, Katherine waved them goodbye, before strolling back to the mansion in a way better mood than just a while ago.
Phew, this issue is dealt with finally. Now the next one was the horse, but that would only be in the afternoon.
Picking up Hazel in her chamber, she made her way to the library. No, calling it a library may be exaggerated. The room was so small and the bookshelves so few, she didn't even realize it was meant as a library when she toured the mansion. More like a living room with a few extra books. Only after Anni mentioned a library while they were preparing for the date did Katherine conclude that it should be this room.
After inspecting the shelves for a while, Katherine got an overview. It were mostly history books with nearly as many books about war and strategy, a few maps, and half a board of novels mixed in. Of course they weren't romance novels, but thriller. It didn't really matter, as thriller were her second dearest. Still, a few romance novels would've been nice.
Picking a book about the history of the Icelands, Katherine sat down in an armchair and started reading. Knowing her enemy was just as important as knowing her own aims. Maybe even more than that.
The Icelands were founded by several clans living in the desolate, inhospitable lands of the north. Glaciers and snow-white mountains were their territories. The environment was just as harsh as the people living in them. They were poor clans, living off animal flesh and water mostly, as agriculture was impossible. The one thing they got were burly, strong bodies. So in the long winters, they used them to raid the villages next to their land, stealing corn and vegetables.
This lead the other lands to hate the clans. One of them, the former Qin-kingdom, today a part of the Dragsa-kingdom, sent their troops to slaughter the clans. In peril, the clans were forced to form an alliance among themselves to fight off the aggressor.
At first there was a council. It was stabilized by marriages between the clans. A few years later, as they reached the end of the line, the first mage was born between one of the married pairs. His talent was to summon and form ice out of thin air. The parents were from two of the mightiest clans, coming together through the alliance.
They thought it was the blessing of their winter goddess Skadi, a godly child to kill their enemies. That was why they worshiped the child and all others that followed. These ice-mages, as they grew up, succeeded in winning the war, and united the clans under their reign.
The first child, as the one leading their siege, was called 'Icefall', because he used his ice magic to make the enemies fall to their knees and surrender before him. Icefall was the first monarch of a long dynasty, reining over the Icelands up to this very day.
The other magicians following Icefall had their own names, but as all of them were sovereigns of the ice, their names carried it in it to honor the goddess, who blessed them with her divine power. Icelance, Icewall, Icefeather, Iceflower, Icecall, Icefield, and many others were born.
Their names were widely known, and most of them soared up to an aristocratic stand after the war, reigning over their own clans, but still staying loyal to their monarch.
The only exception was the one named Icethorn. He didn't want to be subject to Icefall. Instead, he tried to fight him, accusing him to have killed the people of Icethorn's clan, and Icethorn's very own wife.
None of the other mages believed his claim. After decade of rebellion, Icethorn was beheaded in public.
What followed, was a long war-history. All of Icefall's descendants wanted to expand their territory to get their hands on more profitable landscapes. Some of them succeeded, some failed. Every time many people died.
The Icelands as Katherine knew them, however, were a whole lot bigger than the founding nation, nearly twice as large. When they began mining the mountains their forefathers lived on, they discovered many precious ores, gold, and silver. Those together with the leather and fur of the animals of the north, developed the Icelands into a wealthy nation in the end.
Closing the book, Katherine reclined into the chair. As if waiting for this signal, Hazel silently took the book and placed it back on the shelf.
Although Hazel had trouble to reading, she remembered where her lady had picked the book from. Sniffing on the old cover inconspicuously, she felt that it smelt quite nice - like leather, paper and dust. It told of times long past.
No wonder, Katherine thought, while sorting out what she'd read. No wonder they're rude. They are descendants of barbarians after all. The content had helped her to understand where the earl was coming from. At least part of it.
As his surname started with 'Ice' he was most likely one of the descendants of those magicians. Did they still believed in their goddess? In Dragsa the common people, too, believed in gods, but Katherine wasn't so sure about it for herself. Superficially seen, Nathaniel looked more like a realistic person.
Did he have magic power, too? Although magic was mostly inherited - which would make him an ice mage - , there were still exceptions.
Just look at Katherine herself, who got a completely different power compared to her father and most other magicians, maybe even all of them. There were those without magic power, too. Nearly all aristocratic families had them, and they were trained to fight in war mostly, so that the magician could inherit the title more easily. As far as she knew, the Icelands had the same principle.
Was Nathaniel a mage then? Or a warrior on vacation? His gaze sure looked like he had faced death before more than once.
Still, he'd stayed here for two years now as far as she knew. Even if he was wounded before, two years were too long of an vacation, right? Besides, his title had to be inherited of his family, so a mage was the better guess.
Talking about family: why didn't she hear about any family visiting the earl in his stay here? Were his parents dead already?
At this time she missed Jack by her side. Maybe he would've known some gossip about this. Without much hope, Katherine looked to Hazel. The maid was nearly as new as she herself, but at least she had had contact with the other servants more frequently.