Soup Song - The Wayward

The breaking of Alec and Sigmund's hospitable handshake just so happened to have heralded the arrival at last of the old Knight's culinary salvation; a bowl of steaming hot beef soup laid delicately atop the counter by hands unseen, accompanied by a small plate piled high with fluffy, scrumptious dumplings. A tall glass of pale wine soon appeared alongside, it's saccharine hazelnut scent buried beneath the savory meat and herb aromas of the meal it partnered.

Sigmund attacked the repast with a sort of precise relentlessness. His pace never slowing, even as a few errant drops of soup escaped the unerring blitzkrieg of dunked dumplings to stain the bar top. Slowly the pile of dumplings grew smaller; the once mighty mountain of suet and herbs reduced to crumbs beneath the ministrations of Sigmund's fork.

The Order man was dabbing up the remains of his soup with a lone dumpling when Alec spoke up again.

“Actually, I was getting ready to take up some hunts. If you’re looking to lend a hand, I could use a partner.”

The Knight nodded in agreement; a mouth full of food preventing anything more vocal than a mumbled "Hmhm" a response most unbecoming of a Knight of his station, but he was far too hungry to care.

In any case partnering up suited the old Knight's goals quite well, and Order doctrine encouraged operating in pairs so he saw no reason to turn down the offer.

Sigmund's muted agreement was cut short by the arrival of another stranger, one who seemed familiar with his new compatriot.

She had a build far more akin to Alec's own than to Sigmund's. She was stout and broad, more oxen than woman. She was younger than the two men, though by how much was hard to gauge as she seemed to have aged with a tad more grace than either of them. It was her voice however that drew Sigmund's full attention. There was a distinct vestige of plattdeutsch in her accent; a low Saxon brogue if his ears weren't mistaken. Though he found that couldn't quite place any specific area beyond the region itself.

The old Knight finished wolfing down the remainder of his food as the Alec and the newcomer conversed and the former made introductions. As Sigmund took a moment to kerchief away a few droplets of soup from his chin, the woman extended a large hand in greeting.

"Name's Monika. Welcome to the Wayward. I'm a cleaner around these parts, and I don't mean mopping. Let me know if you need something disposed of."

Sigmund took the hand and shook it cordially, noting appreciatively the strength of her grip. "Sehr erfreut Monika!" The old man responded, reverting to his native tongue for a moment in a naked attempt to test her German. It was an old fashioned greeting, uncommon among young people, but used just widely enough among elders that she may have heard it once or twice in her youth.

"~I take it the kind of 'cleaning' you engage in is a tad more visceral than cleaning countertops and dusting old mantles hmm?" He asked with a wry smile.

It wasn't difficult to ascertain just what her duties entailed of course. Indeed the Order itself employed similar Cleaners, called 'Reiniger'. Though they were neither as personable nor as casual as Monika.

Most in fact doubted that they were human at all. Emotionless, silent monsters clad in gray; who hid their faces beneath masks and who seemed just as content slicing up a living person as they were disposing of a dead one.

Most Order Hunters were wary of them at best and terrified of them at worst, and Sigmund was no exception. The Reiniger were the reason most members of the Order made as little mess as possible. Even the thought of them invoked an old warning, common among the older Hunters. 'For every life lost making a mess, the Reiniger will claim two more cleaning it up'

"In truth I try to avoid making a mess" He noted with uncharacteristic reticence before continuing. "old habits you know?.. But should anything arise I'll be sure to pay you a visit."

Never quite content to let sleeping dogs lie, and eager to change the subject. Sigmund couldn't suppress his curiosity any further, the unfortunate flaw of an inveterate scrutineer.

"Forgive me if this seems a prying question Monika. But I can't help but notice a distinct Saxon tinge to your accent... Did you happen to reside in North Germany during your youth?"

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