“Still, never the less, it is greatly appreciated, duty or otherwise, and no I don’t mind. I’m finding everything rather pleasant despite the major differences between here and the Cerebral Moon, which I’m sure I’ll get used to as well. Caillech is the god of Death, yes? What caveats are there? Seeing as it is rather relevant to my situation.”
“Goddess, actually,” Ruili said. “Caillech is the Keeper of the Gateways that connect this world to many others. Of course, before the discovery of the vortices, that was generally taken as a metaphor, but sink us if it isn’t literal.” The selkie laughed, as he waved to another friend on the street. “The Dark Lady’s main caveat was that the vortices are not under her control, or not yet at any rate. She rules the gateways used by souls and spirits, but anyone or anything can pass through those — oh, what do the scholars call them? Dimensional tunnels. Caillech keeps a sharp eye on whoever slips through without her leave — as you did, Milady Lavender.”
Y’lanna was eager to take in everything she could about her new home. The sights, sounds and aromas. The hour-long journey was just exactly what she needed. The weather was lovely and cheerful. It matched this place absolutely perfectly.
The Feast of the Triumvirate, with its wagering on commerce, seemed like a fairly basic form of stock market. The balancing of risk and reward — too risky and you’ll lose everything, but not risky enough and there’s not enough reward to make it worthwhile. There were echoes like this of many things but without the harsh edge of her home world.
Ruili was apparently quite popular, and though Y’lanna didn’t know the motions and gestures, the meanings seemed clear. “Alright if I get in contact with you later?” “Yeah, sure.”
There was something, however, that did surprise this ‘Lavender Lady’ — the polite bows and waves. Being merely an indentured servant for the past forty-seven years, she hadn’t been considered worthy of such even basic greetings. She could only smile and nod back to whoever bowed or waved.
“I am not used to so much attention. It’s not unwelcome just… unexpected. Though I can certainly see myself getting used to it fairly quickly.”
“We shall see to it that you do, dear lady.”
She smiled at her chaperone and host and returned to taking in what was available to be taken in. It didn’t seem all that busy to Y’lanna but considering scale and population density differences between here and the Cerebral Moon, she could only imagine what the equivalent might be back on the Cerebral Moon.
Eventually, they arrived at the destination, Merchantman House of Cherryrose Lane. This Mistress Bodling wasn’t quite what Y’lanna expected, though. Quite a lot here wasn’t, though this was mostly for the better. She probably didn’t need to but she accepted the Lord’s help disembarking from the carriage anyway. So far she had relied upon his help, and there was no reason to stop now.
She had long since learned that small beings could be the most feared, but Mistress Bodling didn’t seem all that harsh. Though the situation slightly concerned was she some kind of servant or slave — or was she a paid employee who merely performed the role usually filled by servitude, indentured or otherwise, on the Cerebral Moon. It was a fear that Y’lanna had, but she kept her face and emotions under control, not letting them show on her face.
Was she, after all, just swapping the location of her servitude? Or was she merely letting her mind go to the worst possible outcome after having experienced what she had? Y’lanna needed someway to find out, but subtly of course. The question was how? Either way, she had to respond to the question.
“Thank you, though I am fine for now.”
Mistress Bodling nodded curtly and opened the door, more than twice her height, for them. “Come in and be welcome,” she said in a dry, pinched voice, “I’ll have the tea on in just a moment.”
A joint Bazalonia/Mura production.