If I didn’t know the GM so well I’d suspect he was setting us up for a very hard fall. But I’d rather believe that Tylenay is full of nice people who are genuinely fond of us and glad we are there.
We got back to the inn well before dusk: after all it was only days before Midsummer. Amre and I left Serla and Jeran there with the children, who were very tired and hungry, and went to the house to check on the cats first. There were a lot more mouse and rat remains on the floor, some eaten, some just nibbled at, and both of the cats milled around our legs mewing. “Yes, I know,” I said, and we went across the square to the butcher with a cracked bowl from the kitchen and Monster on our heels.
The butcher was called Rhanyn. She had a bit of pig’s heart that she cut up small. “Your cats are just little, right?” she said. “Well-fed cats do hunt better.” With feeding the cats we completely forgot the dog who sat at the butcher’s door whining, but later we went back for a huge bone with a lot of meat on it.
When we passed the carpenter’s workshop we saw what could only be pieces of beds, ready to be put together, and in the tailor’s workshop several people who weren’t the tailor and his family were sewing on straw mattress covers. “We’re moving in tomorrow,” we told all of them.
Back at the inn, the children were already in bed — “I gave them some bread and cheese and fruit, is that all right?” Satha asked, and of course that was all right! (Though Hinla gets a belly-ache if she eats too much cheese, but she’d probably been too tired to eat much anyway.)
We found Jeran outside the door to our rooms. It had a seal of Serla’s on it. They were practicing! “There’s food downstairs,” we said to Jeran, but he motioned for us to wait while he sliced around the edges of the door with a knife made of ryst. Then he stabbed the lock with the knife and pushed the door open just enough to sneak through before Serla could slam another seal on it. We knew how fast she was!
Both of them appeared not much later, a bit damp around the edges and wearing broad grins. “So he can break your seals?” I asked Serla.
“And I his,” she said. “Is it even possible to make a seal that nobody can break?”
“King Athal’s seals come close,” I said, “and Lord Vurian is almost as good. He taught the king when he was still a prince.”
While Amre went ahead with Serla, Jeran stayed back to talk to me. “You know, Serla hardly smells of the Nameless any more!”
Well, it would be interesting to see what came of that. We’d promised not to push or to pull, but if she was doing her own pushing and pulling we’d be willing enough to help her.
“What were they doing, hide and seek?” Satha asked when we came into the dining room.
“Something like that, yes,” I said.
We had one last night in the huge feather bed, this time without any cats, and we were up early to go to the market. “Where do we buy straw?” I asked Satha when I paid her.
“In the straw market, of course! It’s near the mountain gate.”
Along the long straight street, between the school and the gate on the mountain side, there were three large squares: the first was now empty, the second had the cattle market, and the third a variety of large and smaller household stuff, straw and fodder and firewood and baskets and barrels and tools and pottery. It might be called the straw market, but there was a lot more there that we needed!
We stopped first at a stall that had lots of different red-clay pottery. We thought we should buy just enough for the household we had, a plate, a bowl and a cup for everybody, because we didn’t know if there was a potter in the neighbourhood and we’d much rather buy from them, like the carpenter and the tailor and the butcher and the baker. But the pottery seller, Ruyin, convinced us that we’d better take two dozen of each, so we’d have something for guests and we could afford to break some! And we’d get a discount if we bought two dozen. The pottery came from a village to the north where they dug the red clay out of the ground, and they made everything there, and Ruyin went to the market twice a week to sell it.
We didn’t only get two dozen plates and two dozen bowls and two dozen cups, but also three jugs in different sizes for water, beer and wine, and a pancake pan, and a large soup pot. Ruyin argued (and we tended to agree) that it was better to have a pottery soup pot, because iron would give the soup a funny taste, and tin would leak after a while, and the pottery kept the soup warm a long time.
We’d need some copper and perhaps iron pans as well, but that was for later. “We really need a housekeeper,” Amre said, and she was right, because neither of us had actually learned to run a large household, her family was too small, and I could have learned because our family was large enough but I left home before I had to take over from Khatar!
Ruyin packed everything in straw right away, and that made us think of why we were here in the first place. “Where do you get the straw?” we asked.
“Why, from Arin over there,” Ruyin said.
Arin didn’t only have straw, but hay and firewood as well. “You’re setting up a household? I’ll send my son with you to see what you need.”
The son was shorter than Jeran though he was perhaps a year or two older, but you can expect someone from Rizenay to be tall. “You’re of the Nameless, aren’t you?” he asked.
“We can say the same about you,” I said. We both laughed: no danger on either side. We promised to pick him up when we were done with the rest of the market.
One side of the market square had a large wainwright’s workshop, so I thought that now we were here we might as well ask about the little donkey cart for the patients.
“I didn’t know I had a workshop!” Jeran said, and indeed the name “Jeran” was above the great front doors. Inside, about twenty people were working, some of them on a huge almost-finished wagon that would barely have fit in our workshop, let alone make the turn into the street and avoid the fountain! I understood why the wainwrights had all moved to this part of the town if they were making things like this.
“Master Jeran?” I called.
The master appeared from behind the huge wagon to greet us. “Impressive thing,” we said, “what’s it for, whole trees?”
“That’s right,” he said, “the wood has to come from further and further away. But you don’t look like you’ve come to inquire about this wagon.”
“No,” we said, “we’re starting a doctor’s practice, in Geran’s old wainwright workshop in fact, and we’ve come to ask what a little light donkey-cart would cost that one person can lie flat on.”
“Why can’t the person ride the donkey if it’s only for one?”
“They might have a broken leg, or be very young or old, or very sick.”
“Hinla!” the master called, and a woman about our age came from the back of the workshop. “Talk to these people, there might be a masterpiece for you in it.”
It was clear that Hinla understood what we wanted: she even suggested padding the bottom and sides and covering them with smooth leather that we could scrub clean. “A donkey, you’ll be leading it, not driving, you won’t need a seat then. A pony is faster. Will you be using it in town?”
“Then you’re probably better off with a cart that doesn’t go fast, especially with a sick or hurt person, on the cobbles. It needs to have very good springs, too.”
That went on for quite some time, with Hinla writing everything on a slate. “Right. I’ll make a couple of designs and calculate how much it will cost.”
“We’d like someone to look at the wagon we travelled in, too,” we said
“Where is it?” Master Jeran asked. “I’ll send an apprentice. You don’t need to bring it in, at least not yet, before we know if we need to replace anything that can’t be done on the spot.”
“It’s in the yard of the Crown of Valdyas,” Jeran said. “I don’t trust the back axle. I’ve been doing the upkeep but I can’t make new axles.”
We picked up Arin’s son, who didn’t mind being dragged to the cattle market and even helped lead the geese we bought. In the pig pen there were three half-grown pigs left, “weaners” according to the man who was selling them, one with white patches on its head, the others completely black, all looking nastier than any pigs I’d seen before. But perhaps I’d look nasty too if I was kept in a small pen with my sisters! We bought the one with white patches and one that looked a bit less nasty than the other two, and got them to take home on a rope too.
“What if we want piglets next year?” Jeran asked. “Will someone come round with the boar?”
“Yes, my daughter does that, just tell us where you live.”
We also bought a clutch of chickens, a dozen hens with a cockerel, divided between two baskets. We were a strange sort of procession by now!
Then, when we were about to leave the market we saw three pretty little brown donkeys in a pen. There was a farmer with them who had seen us in the village when we came to look at the farm! “So you want it to pull a hospital cart, here in town? You want a very gentle and patient one. This little jenny is the most patient one I’ve got, though the gelding is a bit stronger.”
Any donkey would be strong enough to pull that cart if Hinla made it the way she’d been talking about! So we bought the gentle jenny, for two riders. That’s a tenth of the price it should be, Jeran told me.
The donkey wouldn’t carry the chickens — they spooked her — but she could carry Serla, who sat on her back like she was wearing silk and satin and the donkey a palfrey.
We got all the animals home, for once glad of the wall between the two gardens because chickens and geese don’t mix. The geese immediately started eating the overgrown vegetable garden. The pigs went in the sty, which Jeran hastily hammered another board on, the jenny in the stable with the mules.
Arin’s son wrote on a slate how much straw and firewood and hay and chicken-feed we’d need. “We deliver each month,” he said, “you tell us if it’s too much or too little and we’ll adjust it, and then by the Feast of Mizran we know how much you need and we’ll bring a load to last all winter.” That sounded good!
Now we noticed we were all hungry. Serla and Jeran went to see if the baker had a pie and came back with not only a large meat-and-egg pie, but also a jug of beer because the baker was a brewer as well. That figured, of course, same ingredients, only different things done with them.
Now we first wanted to go to the farrier, Perain. “Shall I take the mules? Then you can go and buy wine,” Jeran said, but I wanted to talk to Perain myself because he was the head of the Guild of Anshen.
Perain was working on a huge placid mare when we arrived. “Mules? Hitch them up there,” he gestured. He finished, gave the mare a pat on the neck and turned to us. “Settling in?” he asked.
We told him about the house and our plans for the practice. “As for the Feast, we happen to have a large empty workshop at the moment.”
“Celebrate indoors?” Perain asked. “Hm, might be an idea, though it’s usually good enough weather for our usual spot.” The usual spot turned out to be a little valley just outside town, easy to guard but perhaps not so easy to get to for people who had trouble with steep paths.
“Do you think people would come and pick a fight if we used our place?” I asked.
“That, and they’ll know it as a place of the Nameless.”
“Well, it is — do you know about the little house in the middle?”
“Yes– and I admit it’s a house of Anshen, but your patients won’t care as long as you’re not having Guild meetings there. If you do, they might avoid it, wouldn’t send their patients to you.”
That was a good point. “Well, we’ve got a donkey and two mules, we can at least help some people get there,” I said.
Jeran stayed with the mules while Amre and I went to the wine merchant. Somebody had told us that the best wine shop was “next to the great house”, and that sounded as its name, “the Great House”! We’d seen it before, from across the water, but we hadn’t been on this side yet.
The Great House was completely black. It looked as if it wasn’t only covered in the usual grime that made Tylenay a grey town, but the stone was very dark as well. Just as we passed some people came out of the house, three who looked rich and important and a handful who didn’t, probably their clerks or servants. One greeted us warmly: Ardan! “It’s the young doctors! Let me introduce you.” He introduced us to the other two important-looking people: Senthi, who was gifted but didn’t seem to belong to a Guild, and Lathad, an elderly man from Velihas. “Have you come to look at the house? I heard from Rayin that he’d offered it to you for a hospital.”
“No, we’re starting with a smaller practice first, this would be much too large for us! We’re here to buy wine.” I pointed to the building next to the Great House which had “Selevi and Daughters — Fine Wines” over the gate.”
“Oh, you can’t go wrong there,” Ardan said.
Senthi said that she’d invite us to the next gathering of the Tylenay notables; I just hoped it wasn’t on the Feast, but she’d surely have said so if it was. I’d already been thinking that it wouldn’t be a bad idea for us to invite them, but it was probably better to do it the other way around first.
As we turned to the gate a large wagon came out of it, laden with barrels that I could have stood up in. There were more such barrels in the courtyard, and inside the building several sizes of smaller barrels. There was a strong smell of wine. When I said something about that a woman behind us said, “That’s because this is a wine shop!” We turned to face her: she was middle-aged and surprisingly in the Guild of Anshen. “What can I do for you?” she asked.
“We’d like to buy some wine,” I said.
“Then it’s a good thing that I have a wine shop,” she said. “You’re from the south, right? Sweet wine?”
“Yes, please,” Amre said, and I, at the same time, “Not too sweet.”
This turned out to be one of Selevi’s daughters; I must admit that if I heard her name I don’t recall it! She let us taste several different wines, most of them delicious, and then we saw a small barrel with the mark of Doctor Cora’s vineyard on it!
“Doctor Cora was our teacher in Turenay,” we said.
“You’re the young doctors! Setting up a household? Cora and I got on very well when she was here, and she sends me two barrels every year. Of course, my mother was running the business then, when there was only the lord next door, and now there are seven lords and ladies, and the trade has become a lot more interesting!”
“Because they all have different tastes?” I ventured.
“Different tastes, more varied occasions, and I can now afford to carry some really special things. — Doctors, eh? I suppose you’ll be needing some brandy, too. I’ve got just the right sort.” She showed us a jar of something that smelt stronger and harsher than any brandy we’d ever smelt, except perhaps what Mialle on the ship had had. “They make this in a village in the vineyards north of the town, from the skins and pips left after they press the grapes. They drink it, but I would recommend using it only to wash wounds and such. I’ll put in a flask of better brandy for drinking.”
“We met a sailor when we were travelling who drank something about this vile,” I said. “All the time.”
“It’s a miracle that it didn’t kill them,” she said.
“Oh, Mialle was very hard to kill.” Would she still be alive? Perhaps she’d died at last, and in that case I hoped it had been in the arms of her lover.
Now we were down to ordering what we needed. “Large barrels make the wine keep better!” the wine merchant said. Yes, but we wouldn’t be able to get a really large barrel down our cellar stairs. “Well, what size of barrel does get down your cellar stairs?” That one, we pointed, but perhaps one size smaller would be better, we didn’t use that much! Eventually we ended up with more than we thought we’d use, but much less than she’d wanted to sell us.
“You’ll need something really festive to celebrate,” she said, “it’s a present from me! Green wine from Lenyas.” She poured us a drop in a small crystal goblet, and it really did look green, it wasn’t only the glass bottle! And it tasted fresh and tingly.
When we got home — still flustered — we found Serla busy putting things away from the wagon, and Jeran clearing more of the garden for all the animals.
“Now we have to do some shopping for food,” Amre said, “or we’ll have nothing to eat! We really need a housekeeper.”
We went to the farmer’s market, just on the other side of the bridge in the old town, behind the temple of Naigha. It was already late in the day and there wasn’t any flour or milk left, or fresh vegetables, but one woman had little barrels of butter and three big round cheeses. “If you buy it all I’ll come along with the wheelbarrow,” she said.
We got peas and lentils and a bag of turnips from the next stall, and pickled cabbage and a slab of salt pork from the next — people were beginning to think we were cute or funny or both! The pea-and-lentil man was sold out too, so he joined us with his own barrow. “Do you need to go far?” he asked.
“Just across the bridge,” we told him, “in the old wainwright’s workshop, we’re setting up a doctor’s practice.”
“Oh, if it’s no further, pay me two shillings and I’ll get it home for you.” We paid him, and also the cheese woman, and now people knew who we were, several market people came to stand around us, giving us things! We got the other slab of pork, onions, garlic, carrots, and when we got home we discovered that we had a jar of honey too.
We found the carpenter in the kitchen, putting a strange kind of cupboard in place, with thin gauze in the doors. “It’s a meat safe,” she said, “I had it standing around and it was in the way, I thought you might want it.”
“Oh!” I said. “Flies can’t get in but the air can!”
“Exactly.” She opened the doors to show several hooks hanging from a rail, and we hung up the salt pork immediately.
It got busier still: Jeran collected the children from school, and almost at the same time they were back Arin came with his son to bring the wood, hay and straw, and Ruyin to bring the pottery. Serla stacked all the plates on the kitchen table: it was large enough to still have space to eat. The carpenter immediately started to estimate how many shelves we’d need to put everything away, because the old shelves had come down in the cleaning. “You wouldn’t have wanted to put a clean plate on that,” the carpenter said, “new wood all the way, that’s what you need.”
Then it turned out that none of us could cook! Amre and I were fair cooks in the field, preparing meat from hunting, and we knew about herbs, but except the garlic we didn’t have any yet, and not the right kind of meat either! Serla, of course, had never cooked in her life. Jeran was the only one who had an idea, and he put us all to work peeling and cutting onions and turnips and carrots and threw everything in the big earthenware pan, with pieces of salt pork, to make a hearty soup.
Before we could sit down to eat it there was a knock on the door. I went to open it without thinking of looking with my mind first, and the people on the other side weren’t what I expected at all! Two young men, a bit younger than Jeran, as black as Mazao, dressed in Ishey blankets; and a girl of about eight with the same colour of skin, dressed all in white. The young men immediately fell at my feet to kiss them, and when Amre came up behind me they did the same to her.
“Welcome to our house,” I said in Ishey, “please come in!”
The girl laughed at that, because of course I’d spoken the kind of Ishey we used in Turenay, mostly men’s Ishey with a sprinkling of women’s words. She spoke only women’s Ishey, not a word of Ilaini, but Hinla could talk to her and translate for Serla.
With Hinla came Monster. “Is that a dog?” one of the young men asked, and they all had to admire and pet her. “We’re from the Mera,” he said while he was doing that, “we went to Valdis, and then to Turenay, and our cousin Mazao sent us here because you’re setting up an Ishey house!”
Honestly, I hadn’t thought of our household and practice as an Ishey house, but he was probably right. Though the farm, if the heirs would sell, might be more like what they had in mind.
“We ran away to see the world, like Jalao, and we hadn’t been away for one day when that one ran after us, and no force in the world could make her go home!”
It was a good thing that we had so much soup, with fresh bread from the baker. We shared out the green wine between everybody who was over ten years old (making the Ishey girl a little indignant, but better set the rule before we really needed it). It was a good thing we’d bought two dozen of everything instead of just one for every person who was in the house this morning!
After dinner they wanted to help, of course, they were Ishey. First we stuffed all the straw bags, then Jeran took the boys to the garden to make a gate in the wall between the two gardens — “it’ll have to come down, but not before we’ve made a fence instead” — and I sent the girl, Nisha, to feed the chickens.
When we were all in the kitchen again, Hinla said to Nisha “You can go to school with me! Can you read and write?”
“I’m Ishey!” Nisha said. “I don’t need to go to school, because I’m going to be the boss of the Mera after my aunt. I’ll have people to read and write for me then.”
“You’ll have to be able to check if they’re doing it right, though,” Amre said. “You’re going to school tomorrow.”
Then Hinla tried to teach Nisha a couple of letters on her slate, but Nisha got angry, “they move! The letters won’t stand still! They’re like a bunch of worms!”
That reminded me of a schoolboy I’d known in Turenay, who’d had the same thing: he was clever but reading was very hard for him because the letters didn’t stand still for him either. I didn’t remember how Master Fian had solved that; perhaps Hinla’s Master Fian would know something.
“Amre is right,” I said, “the queen says that everybody has to go to school until they’re old enough to be apprenticed. And she’s your queen too, the Mera is in her country.”
Now we still didn’t have enough beds, even though the carpenter had come while we were in the market and put them together. But with extra straw mattresses, and the Ishey boys willing to share, and us and the twins in the bedstead in the front room, we got it worked out. Jeran and the Ishey boys had one of the upstairs front rooms, Serla and Nisha and Hinla (who wanted to sleep with the big girls) the other. “But if you wake up in the night and you decide you’d rather sleep with us,” I said, “you can ask Serla to take you down! Just don’t go down the stairs without a light on your own.”
We didn’t have only the twins in the bedstead, but one of the cats as well; Hinla might have taken the other one upstairs.
In the middle of the night a sound on the stairs woke us up: three girls came down, carrying their bedding (and Nisha a cat) and occupied the other bedstead. “We’re coming to sleep here,” Hinla said, “because Nisha’s brothers snore so!”
“That’s because they’ve drunk wine,” Nisha said. And it had been such a little sip of wine! But then Tao and Mazao and Veh, for all they were grown Ishey men, couldn’t drink wine either, one cup made them drunk. Perhaps it’s something that Ishey men and boys have (I don’t know enough born-Ishey women and girls, only Sabeh, but she doesn’t drink much either).
In the morning all the boys were tired: Jeran from the brothers’ snoring, and the brothers from Jeran’s tossing and turning!
Orian still wasn’t back, and the Ishey boys wanted to be useful, so we took them on as bodyguards for now. That looked impressive, one of them on either side of us as we walked to the school! Nisha still didn’t want to go, and I carried her the last part of the way while Amre carried Hinla. The twins rode on Monster’s back!
I explained to Master Fian what Nisha had said about the letters, and he said, “we can do something about that! When Master Ardan had the school set up he wanted us to have the best of everything, and we have something that can help. It’s helped more children.” He took us to the back, the little children’s room, and took a basket out of the toy cupboard. It was full of wooden blocks, each carved in the shape of a letter, each letter with its own size and colour so they were as different as they could be. “She doesn’t speak Ilaini at all? Then I think we’ll also have Hinla here for today, after she’s told the class about the house.”
Nisha’s brothers wanted to stay at the school, I suspected to guard their sister, and I said that there would probably be work for them to do — after all, Jeran had also spent a day fixing things.
Satha met us on the corner with a wagon. We had two large baskets from the market for seeds and seedlings — we wanted to start our own kitchen garden too! We went south-west in the direction of Penedin, where we hadn’t been yet because we’d come by Orian’s village, through a great expanse of land that must once have been forest but was grassland now, with cattle and sheep grazing on it.
The farm was on the town side of Penedin, and it was huge! The stable was large enough for twenty cows, we’d seen grain fields, there was a large vegetable garden, many chickens, and eight sows and their piglets in the pigsty. A couple of dogs came to make friends with Monster and they spent some time sniffing at each other.
The farm-wife came out of the kitchen; she was a large woman with greying braids and a big smile. “Oh! It’s Satha! I was expecting you. Who are your friends?” She introduced herself to us as Cynla, and we told her who we were and that Satha had recommended the farm for our winter stores.
“I’ll write you in the book.” She took us to the kitchen (very large, the floor tiled with red and the walls also tiled to head-height, and whitewashed above that) and made us sit down at the table while she got a thick book bound in hard black leather. She asked us for our names and where we lived, and how many people we had in our household. We counted on our fingers: ourselves, Serla and Jeran, three children, three Ishey, Corin and Jilan when they arrived, and probably Orian and perhaps his wife. We made it fifteen if the three children counted for two, and Orian for three.
“We can’t do all of that from our own farm,” Cynla said, “not without some of our other customers going short, but I’ll talk to the neighbours. Winter stores cost fifteen riders for each person, if you pay in advance. That’s half the price you’d pay if you bought everything in the market during the winter.”
“Shall we bring the money or can we do it in the Temple?” I asked.
“Oh, the Temple is all right, we have an account there. Of course most of what you need is still on the field, we deliver most of it after the Feast of Mizran.” She wrote a list in the book: peas, lentils, grain, flour, cabbages, turnips, carrots, onions, three pigs butchered and salted because our own wouldn’t be big enough to kill until the next year. “One pig for five people,” she said. “We’ll bring the meat as soon as we slaughter so you can eat some of it fresh.”
She finished writing the list and started making a copy of it for us. “We really need a housekeeper,” Amre said, “I do hope Orian’s girl wants to do it!”
“When you have a housekeeper send her to me to go over the list, we can still adjust things now. I hope you’ll stay for pancakes? And then I’ll show you my garden.”
People from the field came in to eat too: Cynla’s husband was Orian’s size! No wonder she’d understood about Orian counting as three people.
The garden was in four parts: one quarter for beans and lentils, one quarter for kale and cabbage, one quarter for all kinds of other vegetables, and one quarter for herbs. “And flowers!” Cynla said. “It has to be beautiful as well!”
Amre and I were especially interested in the herbs, of course. “That’s splendid sage,” I said, “does it always grow so well here?”
Cynla grinned widely. “Doctors need a lot of sage, right? It likes my garden. Let’s see if it likes yours, too.” And she pulled a whole plant out of the ground and put it in our basket with the seedlings. “That’s a present because you’re doctors.”
When we got back it was still so early that Serla said, “Let’s go to the bath-house! We’ve been here for a week and we still haven’t had a proper bath!”
That was a good idea, and Satha knew which bath-house was clean and decent. The water was almost warm enough — it had to be heated in kettles with a fire underneath, of course, it didn’t come out of the ground already warm like in Turenay — and we had to wash ourselves and each other, but we were used to that. I asked if I could get a haircut, and a middle-aged woman came to cut it a hand’s breadth from my scalp, so it stood out in all directions again. (I know that Amre prefers my hair long, but it gets in the way so)
Then, when we were still in the water, Coran and Jilan called us!
Where are you? I asked.
Just outside the gates. With three carts and six oxen.
Eventually, the problem of the oxen was solved: Coran and Jilan had found a shepherd outside the gates who would watch them for a small fee. They’d just bring the wagons to the house — they’d probably fit in the workshop — and take the oxen back.
We’ll meet you at the gate.
We collected the children, who had already eaten at the school. If yesterday’s leftover soup wasn’t enough for us and Coran and Jilan, we’d see if the baker had a pie or at least some bread left.
Nisha came up to us when we appeared at the school gate and said, in careful Ilaini, “I am called Nisha. What is your name?”
“My name is Venla,” I said and hugged her.
She could tell ‘a’ and ‘o’ apart now, though she’d probably think for the rest of her life that ‘a’ was blue and ‘o’ was red. But whatever works!
“I want to go to school again tomorrow!” she said.
The next morning we had breakfast and wanted to go to work — time to do a round of the whorehouses we hadn’t been able to do the last time! — when I realised it was the Day of Anshen. I wanted to do morning prayers! We used the little house as a temple, all of us except Serla, who washed up the breakfast things. “I’ll take time off to pray on the Day of Archan!” she said. We used a fire-pot, because we hadn’t had the chimney sweep in yet. I wrote “chimney sweep”, “candles” and “wheelbarrow” on a slate that I found, then realised that it was Hinla’s school slate, and resolved to get a slate or a book like Cynla had for the household as well.