Preparing to leave
While we were hugging each other because we both wanted to go to Tylenay, or at least in that direction, and it all came out so well, our stomachs began to rumble almost at the same time. It must be mid-day already! In the kitchen we found Khimat, who said, “you’ve eaten the food of the region, I’ll make you Khas food!”
I’d heard of Khas food, and what I’d heard about it turned out to be right! Everything thrown together in a large pan. But it had all been good things to start with and it was edible enough.
“Very convenient,” Khimat said, “you don’t have to think about what you’re eating, you can just eat while you’re thinking.”
We talked a lot while eating but I forgot it all, I think most of it was that Riei and I should listen to each other.
“I want to talk to Lyse,” I said, and Riei had some more work to do — on her day off, too! But of course nobody had expected this. I tried to find Lyse with my mind, and though she wasn’t gifted (well, she has gifts, just not those gifts) I could easily find her: she was in the rose garden! She was embroidering a tiny rose on a bit of linen in a frame.
“Don’t talk just now,” she said, “I must finish this first.” So I sat next to her while she finished it, about half an hour’s work. “I want to learn that too!” I said when she finally put the frame aside. I could already embroider a bit, but not that way!
“I can teach you,” she said, “but first, what did you want to see me about?”
“Can you make sure that Mialle’s bonus and the damage to the litter and the farrier’s fee all come out of my account at the Temple of Mizran? I think she saved my life the other night.”
And possibly Venla’s and Riei’s lives too, come to think of it.
“Easily,” Lyse said.
“Make it a double bonus!”
Lyse grinned, and gave me another frame from her basket and a needle and silk and showed me exactly how to work the tiny stitches and knots to make a rose. Then Riei appeared, and wanted to learn it as well!
“If you do something for me,” Lyse said. “I want the red leather folder from the counting-room.”
Riei was back with the red leather folder soon enough. “It wasn’t there before, but now it was!” she said.
The folder was full of papers from the weaponsmiths’ guild. Lyse motioned to Riei to sit where I was sitting (so I had to get up and stand behind her) and laid the stack of papers between them, turning pages between making stitches. Now I saw that Lyse used her embroidery as a way to take notes, every stitch stood for a fact so she could remember it! No wonder she could remember so much.
Lyse’s new rose, and Riei’s rose, were blue. Mine had been pink.
“You see,” Lyse said, “the weaponsmiths cleaned up their guild after the queen got rid of the old lord of Three Hills. Didn’t want the same thing to happen to them, I suppose, lose their best customers, the royal army. I’m not saying there isn’t some corruption — there always is in an outfit on this scale — but at least the current guildmaster is trustworthy.”
So I’d been right to like Jichan! And to be wary of Erne.
Before the rose was finished the baron came into the garden with his daughters, and Captain Aidan and Ebru as well. They told us there was more trouble in the town (the captain had sent for reinforcements from Turenay, too), and it wouldn’t be wise for us to go home now. “We had everything you might want to take on the journey brought from your house,” Ebru said, “it’s in a chest in your room. Alyse and I are sleeping in your bed for the time being, I hope you don’t mind.”
“As long as you don’t mind the cats,” I managed to say.
“We’re leaving for Tylenay the day after tomorrow,” the captain said. “Senthi and Arin are coming along.”
“We have four mules,” I said, “they’re boarded at the orphanage. Perhaps Senthi and Arin can ride the other two?”
“I’ll remember that,” the captain said. Then the little girls distracted him, they were very interested in his sword! “Would you like to hold it?” he asked, and showed them where the sharp edges were and let first one, then the other try to lift it. One girl pulled a bunch of grass out of the ground and held it tight, so her sister could cut it.
“Clever girls,” the captain said when their father had taken them back inside.
“They’ve got clever parents,” I said.