“Very well, enough to-do-ings for the moment,” said Lord Jeneyeru as the town-boat gradually ceased rocking and the unfortunate Beau Bergeron fell behind in the water.
Both the wizard and his brother the prince pulled in the oars they’d used to help stabilize the boat, and when they were stowed and everyone had settled down, Jeneyeru turned to Lotye O’Tulvar.
“Now, then, Mistress, as I was about to say before we were so rudely interrupted, we must retrace your steps to find the place where you saw the cards change hands. We shall do this with a Seer’s Compass of Recollection Echoes. Have you ever used one before?”
He pulled a gold charm chain from within his lavender coat. One end of the chain was affixed to his waistcoat by a filigree brooch, while along its length hung a collection of small charms and devices. He unclipped an octagonal bronze case and opened it, showing it to the young woman.
“A forensic wizard of my acquaintance gave it to me. In the lid is a small scrying mirror in which your memories will be reflected upon the dial. The needle will then point the way to whatever place, item or person you seek to find again, based on the layers of detail in our memories of which we are not even aware.” He smiled behind his sea-shell mask, pleased with the useful little item.
“Now, according to the record of your arrest, you were encamped with a troupe of players at the Plaza of the Dovecotes. From there, you must have walked a route that eventually brought you to the place where you saw the transaction which then prompted you to cut the buyer’s purse, yes? You think you have forgotten the route, what with all the fuss and bother of the past few days, but the compass shall find it buried deep in here.” He lightly touched her temple with a fingertip. “Just hold it in your hands, thus, yes, and think about the transaction you saw. Do not worry about anything else, just the transaction. I see we are almost at the Plaza now. When we land, you may pronounce the spell to activate the compass. The words are, ‘Mirror, mirror, in my hand, guide me, guide me o’er the land.’ Of course, you must say them in Atul.”
“Is it only for the land?” said Peino.
“No, there is a second verse. ‘Mirror, see what I do see; guide me, guide me o’er the sea.‘ However, as the lady’s adventure was upon the land, we shall only need the first verse.”
“Just as well,” said the prince, watching the lowering clouds, the approaching flashes of lightning. “Smell the wind.”
“Aye,” said the wizard, “we’ll be as wet as that gentleman you jettisoned before we’re done, I think.”
“That’s the storm that chased us up from Kledy, Captain Lafitte,” Peino said with another broad grin at the eorman before he finally adjusted his own mask over his face. “We made good time on it, did we not?”
A few minutes more would bring the party to the dockside of the Plaza of the Dovecotes, so named for the multitude of the small, gray birds that roosted in the high towers around the square. The last time Lotye saw this place, it had been in the chaotic whirl of a panicked crowd and the echoing whistles of the guardians. This very dock was where she had slipped through the cordon of the marines and run in her long blue skirts across the canal boats in her attempt to escape the guardians.
Now, a few days having passed, the Plaza had returned to the regular traffic of the Feast. The players with whom Lotye had been traveling were still there, living out of their boats and caravans, providing entertainment and wares for sale to the festival-goers up and down the walks and on a make-shift stage in the center. Their colors and music and the swirling flights of the doves greeted the town-boat well before it glided up to the dock.