I rode back to town, looking for the brushmaker. The tanner had been very unhelpful, not knowing exactly where her shop was as the brushmaker apparently made the trip to him to pick up big bags of shaved hair. So Ranger tramped through the streets, hooves occasionally clopping on a paved surface. Randomly, I would ask directions, and usually got waved over to “thataway,” without much of a landmark.
Finally, I found it, a little shack of a home with a broom for a sign. Inside, a woman sat in a rocking chair tying a bundle of straw to a tree branch. “Just a moment, Good Master,” she said without looking up. If I don’t get the tie right now, I’ll lose the whole bundle and have an awful mess.”
I nodded, then walked over to her.
Every time she had the bundle right, she had to loop the rope around, but the bundle was just big enough that her small hand couldn’t hold it in place easily, so it shifted. I took hold of the bundle, freeing her to loop the rope around quickly, then cinching it down with a knot.
“Oh, thank you, Good Master. If only you were around to help me make the rest of them.”
“You need an apprentice,” I smiled.
“Oh, would that were so, but not many want to become a broommaker, not when sewing, tying lace, and even shoemaking are so much better for young girls.”
I hadn’t thought of any of that. Broommakers were probably only a step up from sanitation engineers in the hierarchy of things. Except the Realms didn’t do trash pickup. Oddly, the streets of the little town were clean.
How do they keep things so clean, then?
Most likely there was some fairy tale rule in place; I’d figure that out later, though.
“Would you like an apprentice for a day or two?” I asked. “I need some specialized brushes and am willing to help out and learn.”
Her smile was answer enough.