Leonard the Brooskby Tanner had not slept but he was wide awake. He was terribly hung-over but seemed to be more so focused on his work than ever. His hands were covered in warm, slippery blood almost to his elbows, but this was not unusual; Tanning leather was dirty work. A large, fresh, ewe hide was stretched over the thick wooden beam before him in his workshop, the tanner handling the blade expertly with his steadied left hand as it slid into the skin's inner workings, scraping off any excess fat and flesh. Usually when Leo worked he'd hum the Lord's prayers to himself, turning the words into song in his mind, but not today. Usually Leo wore plain black or blue robes; But not today. Today the tanner wore plain beige breeches and a grey vest over his flowing white shirt, and he worked in silence. The horn sounded and Leo almost jumped out of his own skin.
Leo felt a thick layer of saliva build up on his tongue; Cotton-Mouth. Swallowing hard the man placed his knife on the workbench beside him and covered the sheep-skin with a large woolly blanket soaked in animal fat. He then made his way to the window, peering out shyly into the bright morning's sunlight. Townsfolk of all shapes and sizes were making their way past the tannery to the town centre, some still staggering off their intoxications from the night before. Most looked confused, but Leo sure as hell wasn't. Lord Robert had not rode his detail all the way into Brooskby to wish the commoners a good morning, that was for sure. Washing the blood from his hands in a nearby basin, Leo closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, the prayer he emitted with the exhale was seemingly instinctual.
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."Leo's pale blues briefly washed over his own personal alter on the far back wall of the tannery's workshop, his hands touching the spots on his forehead and points of his shoulders respectfully as he spoke. He then reached out to grab his coat from it's hook and slung the garment loosely over his shoulders, hurriedly making his way outside to join the moving crowd as he did so. Some of the townsfolk were greeted by Leo with a soft smile and graceful inclination of the head but to most he stayed resigned. He was still a little embarrassed about his little 'bar fight' the previous night, among other things. The 'other things' were hastily pushed to the back of the tanner's mind.
The town centre was filled with most of the village folk by now, all looking on curiously to the men on horses in the middle. Lord Robert was amongst them, his voice echoing out across the grounds, but Leo was too far back to decipher words within the sound. He had a fairly good idea what they might have been, though. Unlike a lot of the other hung-over men and women in the town, Leo's memory from the night before was practically photographic. He knew that he needed to hear what was going, so he began to gently push his way through the crowds, edging closer and closer to the front, the Lord's voice slowly rising into recognisable words.
"...in twenty-four hours time or I will burn this village to the ground and let you all starve.”Leo had made it to the third row from the front, standing to his fullest height to peer over the heads of those standing in his way. He was not surprised to see the body of Marc Bessom lying before him. He was, however, highly surprised to see that the Lord's Bastard had been mostly eaten away by pigs; The wounds and bite-markings on the boy's body unmistakable. But who'd fed Marc to the pigs? Who'd carried the body those three-and-a-half miles from the place Leo had last seen it to the Baker's farm, in the middle of festival night, no less? If the Tanner hadn't been confused before, he certainly was now. Not nearly as much as he was frightened, though. Was Lord Robert bluffing? Surely. Would he really burn Brooskby down to the ground? Leo had mixed emotions on the situation.
"Good Heavens!"He breathed, realising that he'd been holding his breath a good few minutes now. His left hand was clutched tightly over his heart where his precious bible usually sat within the folds of his robes; But not today. He felt somewhat naked without it, but was comforted a little by the feel of rosemary beads in his right pocket. His fingers fiddled and fumbled the beads absently as the tanner stared on in horror at Marc's decaying body. He felt a sudden strong sense of grief; he had liked the arrogant little S.O.B, he found himself admitting shamefully in his deepest and most honest thoughts. Sure, Marc had been wild, loud, obnoxious, and a downright bully, but leo had always put all this down to being born into privilege. He supposed all men of noble birth acted in such ways, and so, for the most part, Leo had turned a blind eye to Marc's nasty streak. Until last night, that is.
The tanner didn't need to hear anymore. People would soon begin to point their accusations, and Leo did not want to be amongst it. Plenty of the villagers, people who'd known Leo his entire life, had seen him argue with the Lord's son in the tavern last night. They also would've noticed that immediately after Leo took his leave, Marc had followed; Alone. The tanner was in a bad situation it seemed, so without making eye-contact with anyone, he made his way back through the crowd and hastily headed towards the tannery in those lanky, shuffled strides he walked with. He wasn't much noticed, and this suited the man fine. his ears felt so hot, he thought people might notice the steam rising from them, but his short neatly cropped hair hid this from the view of others. As soon as he was back within the temporary sanctuary that was his workshop, out of anyone's earshot, Leo let his thoughts air into the warm, quiet room.
"But who fed Marc Bessom to the pigs? More to the point, was he still alive when they did so?"
Until more truths could be revealed, Leonard planned to speak of his knowledge on the homicide to no-one.