2012 TREASURE HUNT CLUE #4: In measuring another elf, I was distracted by True Edge. Who am I? (Answer: Moss - RTH 2009 Calendar: January, by Karena Kliefoth)
"I don't know why you can't just use my ruined clothes for your measurements," True Edge grumbled, standing there on the furs spread across the craft-den floor, bare as the day was he was born, both arms outstretched like a hawk drying his wings. "I haven't grown in an oak's years," he grumbled. "You should have my measurements memorized by now."
A very cranky hawk, Moss thought with some amusement, as he stretched out his measuring string to take in the length of a long, pale thigh. "If you know my art so well," he retorted cheerfully, "...then I'll leave it to you to make your own coat. After all, it isn't as if I didn't just make a new set. I hate to think that all of those hours I wasted on clothing you were just going to ruin before the season was over..."
"You always do excellent work, and I would be very grateful for another set just like it," True Edge said quickly, making an audible effort to stop grumbling and sound more appreciative. Moss could not resist smiling to himself. For all of True Edge's usual self-confidence in mastering the best way of doing anything and everything, the hunter could hardly sew a patch on something without suturing himself, and they both knew it. True Edge lapsed into a sullen silence, while Moss whistled a tune to himself as he continued to gather his measurements.
"There you are!" said a voice from the den's open window. Moss felt True Edge's shoulder muscles go tense beneath his hands, while Moss glanced toward their visitor and smiled.
"Good evening, Hunt Leader. How goes it?" Moss said.
Blacksnake was smiling a narrow-eyed, wolfish smile as he leaned his head through the window, both arms dangling casually over the windowsill. "Oh, I'm well," he said. "I just took a report from Windsong's team, now that you're all back with that branch-horn. Very interesting report it was, too."
"It was a big rutting bull," True Edge said, his words barbed with tension.
"Aye," Blacksnake agreed, almost sweetly. "A big bull it was, too. Which was interesting, considering your team had gone out to hunt for ducks."
"We took advantage of an opportunity," True Edge countered. "We'd have been fools not to, when that bull presented itself."
Blacksnake was grinning now with a near-feral amusement. It wasn't one of the Hunt Leader's friendliest expressions, Moss thought to himself — but the tanner remembered, too, a similar encounter between the pair when it had been Blacksnake being measured for a new coat and True Edge the one to rub salt in the proverbial wound, so the irony of the moment was far from wasted.
"Aye," Blacksnake all but purred. "I heard something similar from Windsong. She said that the bull hardly gave any of you a choice in the matter."
True Edge turned his head, his blue eyes glittering as humorlessly as a hawk's as he stared at his Hunt Leader. Moss kept smiling for himself, waiting for the next volley to be delivered.
"Windsong says the bull gave you quite the chase," Blacksnake continued drolly.
True Edge grunted a non-committal answer.
"Or, should I say..." Blacksnake corrected himself, "...Windsong says you gave the bull quite the chase, and that it very nearly got you."
True Edge simply glowered, his expression growing resigned.
"We'll be having a Howl tomorrow night, if the word-hunters return as expected," Blacksnake said silkily. "You'll want to have your story practiced by then, or else Windsong and the rest of her hunters will have the telling of it," he said, shifting his weight backwards on the balls of his feet in preparation of departure. Then the Hunt Leader paused for a moment, and the feral smile returned. "Because I'm sure we're all eager to hear about how you got skimmed out of your leathers by a branch-horn bull in rut. I'm sure this will make a story worth repeating. Perhaps even for years to come."
"It all sounds quite exciting," Moss said. "Sounds like quite a story."
True Edge growled and, uncharacteristically, refused to say more.
Quite the story indeed, Moss thought to himself as he resuming taking his measurements.