In which we meet the plot
Lord Redfox died peacefully of a heart attack, and everyone agreed that it was appropriate.
The traditional way for an Alpha to die is at the hands of another werewolf, younger and more aggressive. But Redfox had not been a traditional alpha. He had spent his life as a peace maker; he had stopped the trade in dryad skins, set up mining co-ops with the dwarfs and was considered singly handedly responsible for bringing several species of dragon back from the brink of extinction, and now he was sitting in the morgue, thought Yellowbird, doing nothing more interesting than cooling gently.
The fact that something is appropriate doesn’t stop it being a huge anticlimax.
Yellowbird had a glass of well aged scotch in his hand, after all it was practically a butlering tradition to dip into the liquor cabinet, and anyway he was mourning thank you very much, and he was looking out of the large glass windows, which looked out on the wrought iron gates.
“They’re here”, he muttered to himself, “body’s not even cold yet and already the first of them are here”
He took a closer look – plumes; – the pompous jackass actually went and put giant feather plumes on his horses. Oh that goes so well with the golden mermaids on the sides, and the ivory canopy. Yellowbird stepped away from the window shaking his head. Plumes. On the other hand, he thought, given how much that thing must weigh he made excellent time getting here.
Yellowbird let himself fall into the red plush recliner, it was very faded and the stuffing was poking through in a few places, but it was comfortable, and Lord Redfox had never cared what something looked like as long as it did its job.
He could hear a thumping sound, followed by the sound of yelling from outside. He sipped his scotch and didn’t bother to check. That young fool outside would never make it through the thirty days. You always saw people like him, who thought that it was first come first serve when it came to wills, and Lord Redfox had a huge family, so he certainly wouldn’t be the last. But werewolf wills, they were – competitive, – the man would only be here a day or two and then something would have forced him out, and good riddance to the fat pink slob.
Yellowbird swirled his scotch and thought. No, the real power players, they will wait. Oh they be very active in a dozen completely untraceable ways but they won’t make a move for the manor itself until the last possible moment.
He drained his glass and stood up, he was no longer the butler of Redhall, he knew that, but the work wouldn’t stop just because the master was dead.
“We will be very busy, over the next few days”, he announced to the house in general “I shall stay until the will has been read and everyone has gone home”. Then in a much quieter voice he added to himself, “Then there will be time to rest”.
He walked away, and life went on.