The Journal of Grumpus Clay #2
I watch the sun drift behind the trees on the other side of the riverbank across from Clay Brothers Fisheries, New #3, as the scent of newly stripped oak is cut by the metallic scent of squid ink and the first thoughtless groans of the undead that echo across the meandering flow of the river below.
I’m on the second story of what is quickly becoming the largest complex in the Clay Brothers chain of fisheries. It was the dream of a dolt, our Father, now yet another apparent victim of the Spawnton slayer, that a man could travel up and down river and always find a place to stop and fish. It was gramma’s secret recipe and the notion of employees that built the budding empire we have today.
We’re months into what I thought would be a few-week endeavor, and only on our third construction. The blessings of Ole #2 continued to bear fruit, once the damage had been repaired.
I would like to say that I faced the three Creepers on the fishing ledge without flaw, but the blade of my sword proved not up to the task, and when the second creeper lunged away in pain it was up onto the deck of the fishery it did lunge. As the fire of its pain and terror ignited the gunpowder coursing through its veins, a powerful explosion tore through the central column of Ole #2, destroying one of the ovens and half a chest, its contents cast adrift downriver.
I had nearly completed repairs when my brother Cassius returned from the Northernmost of the two nearby villages. He had been spending time with the Shepherdess. She had not only informed him that the village was named “Rubewashier”, but also had apparently wooed him with a legend of a sheep of the softest pink wool. She had promised him more of the story in exchange for some wool, so he had returned only to cart off what supply of wool we had to the Shepherdess and ministrations.
I let him run off back to her after he helped me secure the land and prepare the employees. I was glad he was gone with all of the difficulties I had with employee training in the following days. The cured he named “LOOSE LUCY” had her eye on the grinding wheel.
An infected zombie, once cured by Gramma’s secret recipe and a bite of a sacred golden apple, slowly regains cognitive function. This makes doing business with them early in their recovery far more profitable. In truth, half of our business success is due to cured fisherfolk that are still bad at math.
The pair had apparently been watching us during the construction of Ole #2. The one I dubbed “CLETUS” stumbled straight over to the stonecutter and started making bricks, and LUCY (bless her heart) started shaping a nearby stone into a blade.
While the cured can eventually become skilled weaponsmiths, it is a very long and expensive training process. With ONE EYED DORIS already on that career path just up the river and with CLETUS opening my eyes to brick-making employees, it was just better for us if LUCY learned to fish. When I took the grinding wheel away from her though, she began to pout.
The next two days were a Contest of Wills.
Cassius remained with the Shepherdess.