The coins vanished into a pocket tucked in the folds of Pask's apron. The vixen watched closely as Armello removed the hat and then the mask, revealing a wildcat underneath. She took him in, from the odd tipped ears (perhaps this is what wildcats look like to the east), to his blue eyes (fetching), and the terrible scar that ripped through his fur. The vixen's expression softened and she searched for his gaze again. "It's healed well, and nothing to be ashamed of," she said, whiskers twitching in a respectful smile. "You'll find your beside manner improved–"
The shatter of glass behind Armello sent her ears pinning, tail stiffening. "What in the hells." The stone rolled to a stop at her paw and Pask snatched it up, nodding to Liam and his assessment as she rounded the other side of the table and left Armello to his own devices.
"How dare they," Pask snarled, her ears pricked forward in aggression now. "You two wait here. I don't know what this is about."
The vixen threw the door open with her hip and stormed out to her porch, fur on end, and a savage wrinkle in her muzzle that only vermin could muster. "Get out of my garden, whelps! I will have your hides and don't think I don't know you, Wego's son." She hurled the rock at the stoat. "I saved your baby sister of dying of colic just this last season and once your father hears of this, he will skin you for me! What is the meaning of this? Get out!"
Paskflaur listened to Armello's conversation with mounting dislike. In addition to his accent, there was something in his tone, a certain pretention, perhaps, that grated against her. Plague doctors, honestly. That was a problem for foreign lands, where beasts believed in superstition over fact and put their faith in so-called doctors in costume.
"Respectfully, Armello, you are in no danger in my home. I think you will find that beasts here are more frightened of your current visage than of whatever lies beneath. No one likes to be tended to by a grim crow and unless you brought your plague with you, you will find no use for it in these lands." She offered a placating smile before moving to the wall of dried herbs and bottled potions. "Your mask, please, and your method of payment. Normally, I accept trades in labor and goods, but seeing as you are a traveller, I will take coin. The raw herbs will cost two gold coins; the tinctures and salves ten."
The vixen set the book on her countertop and waited.
((Not sure what the value of a gold coin in the series has been given; Pask's prices are high but not unreasonable.))
Pask took the book and skimmed the scrawl. She was no creature of letters but thanks to a trade in her youth, she as able to pick out the names of the plants and tinctures listed. Two she did not know; a set of four caused her pause.
"Forgive an old fox for not being especially trusting." She looked up and offered the beast a wan smile. Pask openly surveyed him again, letting her gaze linger on the ugly mask and robes.
"I don't do business with folk I can't see and whose names I don't know. My name is Paskflaur, though as you have find my home, I suspect you may already know that. Take that mask off; you're in no danger of sickness here."
She stepped back into the house, allowing him entry. "I can provide you with most of what you need, but some of these are rare and especially expensive. What can you give in trade?"
Pask hesitated at the sight of the cloaked and masked figure at her door. 'What, in heaven's name, is this?' Certainly not Ferrus.
The vixen cast a brief glance and reassuring smile in Liam's direction. His question, asking if he should let the creature in, caught her notice and wonder. The protective nature of those words and his readied stance were things she had witnessed before in others but never from a mouse toward vermin like her. Yet in a flash her momentary surprise was gone and Pask directed her full attention to the creature in her doorway.
She sniffed the air again – a cat, maybe, stood behind that disguise. She didn't know any cats out here, and none known to dress like that. Despite her suspicions, Pask allowed herself to relax with the stranger's request. She had a reputation of helping any beast for a cost, and nasty masks wouldn't change that yet.
"No, please. Let him in, Liam." She stepped forward, subtly taking her knife from the table to tuck into the folds of her dress. "What are you in need of, Sir...?" She held her place before this 'Raven', not allowing entry until her own questions were answered.
"Yes," Pask replied, "Fetch the greens from the–" A sharp rap-tap sounded on the door. The vixen's ears pricked and she turned, knife in paw. "Could you get that? I'm not expecting anyone. May be Ferrus, if he decided to come early." She clicked her tongue and cast a glance between Liam and the door before slipping toward a shallow wash basin.
As her paws touched the water, her nostrils flared as she caught the scent of the stranger, and the edge of shadow from the window. Paskflaur squinted, wiped her paws on her apron and turned to face the door.
Once Haru had gone, Shaleslip turned back to Abbot Bob. "Please, forgive my anger and hard words, Father." He dipped his head low and held there.
"While it is true that I do not hold your Martin in as high esteem as your people do, it is not the Warrior that troubles me. I have been here for two months, almost three now, and in that time have I ever proven myself to be less than honest, faithful, and hardworking? I have given myself to the labors of the Abbey, and I have made friends here, including many of the Dibbuns." Shaleslip stretched a paw toward Rumble where the little mole was receiving his own berating. The badger glanced back toward the Abbot. "Yet you would hold the word of a stranger over my own proven character? He claims I have 'lost my way' and yet he does not know me. Every beast here knows of Martin and the Abbey's special reverence for him; could it not be that one would take advantage of that for his own gain?"