As the guardians walked away from her cell, they left behind a still defiant, but also somewhat dispirited Lotye. For now it seemed as if they were the ones laughing last and best. The door snapped shut with a sound that seemed to indicate the definitiveness of her situation. Even though Lotye had heard more than one prison door being slammed shut behind her and it had never meant the end for her, this time it seemed worse. She had more or less proven herself to be guilty, hadn’t she?
The lawyers came forward like a pack of starved wolves, ready to eat her alive. With the picture of a wolf instead of a poodle on her mind, Lotye suddenly was nearly happy about the bars between her and them. But the pack was quickly dispersed by the one who introduced herself as Aeto Arrowwise Lalraas. One lawyer is as good as another, Lotye thought as she stepped a bit closer to the bars, the look on her face still indignant and not trying to hide the disdain she felt for the members of the Guild of Law. But the way the merrow had rid herself of her competitors at least hinted at some rhetoric abilities. Not that Lotye would have believed her. No matter how negotiable those rates were, they still would end up eating away all her savings. Argh, that’s what you get for acting so stupidly, Lotye.
With a loud sigh, she looked directly at the woman on the other side of the bars. Poodle, she thought once again as the lawyer put on her traditional wig. There wasn’t much else to do for Lotye than to cooperate with Aeto. Maybe, if she was lucky, this lawyer was good enough to at least get her out of prison. There wasn’t much more to hope for right now. She felt how the defiant look began to slip off her face to be replaced by one of hopelessness. Luckily for her, Aeto Arrowwise just finished her preparations before her transformation into a picture of pure misery was completed, and so Lotye was able to muster at least a little bit of dignity to hear the lawyer’s questions.
“I daresay you know the procedure. Name, home, occupation, reason for arrest?”
“Lotye O’Tulvar” That one was easy to answer as using a fake name would not be of any advantage for her.
Home. The place I considered my home the last years is still on this damned square and probably being taken apart and searched by the guardians. Of course she had been raised in a place she had once called her home. She still remembered the rough sea surging against the coast, the cold winters and the warm cooking fire in the small house she had lived in. But even there she hadn’t really belonged and some of the village’s youth had made this more than clear to her, calling her names of sea monsters and demons. She had come from the sea, like the creatures in the old folk tales. She had never been one of them. And then, after her adoptive mother had died, she had gone through her belongings and had found the medallion she wore even to this day. It had not been easy to bring her adoptive father, a hardened fisherman, to tell her the truth about the trinket, that it had been the only thing she had had with her when they had found her as an infant drifting on the sea, miraculously surviving clinging to a floating piece of wood. On the inside of the medallion there was a strange little picture in black and white, washed out by the salt water so that the faces on it were nearly not recognisable. There were four persons on it, a small boy, a man and a woman holding a toddler in her arms. They all seemed to smile. Maybe this was a piece of the place that should have been her home but never had been.
“I’ve got no permanent residence at the moment”, she then said after a short time of thinking about all that, “and am just passing through here because of the festival. But I come from a small village on the east coast of Farind, Fisher’s Point. You’ll need a really good map if you want to find it, though.”
“Hrm, my occupation. Let’s just say I’m a travelling saleswoman for goods of all kinds.” That description would at least fit to most of the things the guardians would find in her caravan.
“And my reason for being here is a little bit more complicated.” Now that she was already here, she could just as well tell the story truthfully, or at least as truthfully as one should in a place where one nearly expected the walls to have ears. “You see, I found those two cards three days ago. Didn’t think much of it. This morning, though, I cut my finger and a bit of blood dripped on one of the cards. I’m not really sure what happened after that, but I assure you it was an accident. There was a panic on the square because of these strange things and so I began to run. Somehow I broke through the cordon of the guardians and so they followed me. I was afraid they would send me to prison and so I gave them a chase, but they caught me and now I’m here.”
“So,”, Lotye said after a short moment of silence, her voice lowered to not much more than a conspirational whisper, “can you help me, Attorney Arrowwise?”