Fire day

Formal parties are, I think, my one weak point. Hosting them is a bore, and planning them is more of one. I adore all the other minutae of life, but in this one aspect I cannot bring myself to care. The thief was a welcome distraction from decision-making.

I adore informal occasions. Give me a group of ten and an evening and I could not be more thrilled. Give me fifty from noon till night and watch me smile, for that is what I must do. I could never hold these things regularly. Strangers make me nervous, and they will turn up.

The thief was more trouble than she was worth. She started the day with, “I’m twenty and one. My mother would miss me. I could teach you. I-”

I cut her off, telling her to stop babbling. She looked at me silently until I asked if she could play the flute.

“One made of silver?” she asked.

“You’re getting no more of my silver,” I chided, and asked, “Why a thief, Meyni?”

“One of our lodgers asked me,” she said. “My mother runs a boarding house.” She licked her lips. “He said if I had to hang around, I could make myself useful. I was thirteen, unpromised, I thought he was handsome. He taught, like I could teach you.”

I asked, “Is it blasphemy?” and got no answer. “As I thought.” A priestly secret in the hands of a layperson? It was wrong to the core. “Tell me where your mother lives,” I ordered, and she gave me directions to Aster Circle in the Southern City, and her name.

I told her, “Here is what I will have of you. You will go home to your mother and live with her. You will find honest work or a husband. A third of your earnings will go to repay me for my trouble. You will never speak of any of this with anyone. It is that or I will hand you over to the guard, who will give you to the priests, and you will die slowly and screaming.”

She agreed. I sent her home by carriage with her gardener-guard, who will check on her next week. We shall see.

The children are upset they didn’t get to meet her. I have nothing to say about that.

Comments (1)

KayleeFebruary 20th, 2011 at 8:06 am

I really like this ‘invisible thief’. She’s quite unafraid, it’s amusing to hear her speak. The only question is, where did all that silver go?
To her mother?
To the man who taught her?
I suppose I’ll find out eventually, I look forward to it!

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