In the half-light of the early morning Herling neared the tidy but slightly dilapidated home where GaGa dwelt with her two strange wards. He tried to place his footsteps as cleanly as he could. GaGa lived in the raddled outskirts of ToadChapel, where many of the buildings had deteriorated, decayed, or collapsed altogether. Herling had never visited GaGa at home, having only addressed her in the public square on market day or as he caught sight of her skirts passing the blacksmith’s shop where he often spent his days. Truthfully, he had not so much addressed her as admired her from a distance.
“Ha! I walk as quiet as the night itself! I’ll surprise GaGa as she’s setting the kettle to boil. Won’t she be pleased to see me!
Those younglings… I must be rid of them. GaGa has no business tending them, rearing them, showering them with her kisses. Better those kisses went only to I! Well, it won’t be long until they do.
Isn’t this a tidy trick, brave Herling? To bait the hook for those little humans and for the maid as well.”
Herling pressed his ear to the wooden door of GaGa’s house, listening with annoyance to soft voices within.
“What’s this? GaGa’s already got a guest. Dûae, by the sound of it. When GaGa is mine, I’ll not listen to that maundering nitwit ever again… and I’ll rid myself and ToadChapel of those troublesome children for once and all!”