They made it to the embassy without any pursuers in sight. As they entered the building, they were out of anyone’s reach. Lotye let out a sigh of relief. She felt how the tension left her body, how her muscles began to relax from all the running and how she breathed more freely and deeply. Not even the confusing back and forth between the two brothers, the Captain and the embassy’s guards, which she watched with a bewildered, but neutral look on her face, could change that. The embassy was a safe place, there was no need to run away, to be afraid any longer.
Which was why she was all the more terrified when they were addressed from behind. Lotye jumped around, but then she realised that selkie in the clothes of sailor was no danger to them. He just seemed to be part of Lafitte’s crew, on the ship that had an even stranger name than the eorman. His reasons for being here, though were much more interesting than his introduction and also seemed to warrant her scare much more. If anyone can just find those cards lying around the streets, then an accident like mine is bound to happen again. And then, more bodies will be found in the streets. She tried to catch a glimpse of the cards as Jenyeru put them away. But even though she craned and raised herself on her toes, she couldn’t see the pictures on the cards, couldn’t hear them sing.
The other reason to worry was the message the valet had for them as they entered the apartment. The prosecutor wants to know when we’ll be done with Mistress O’Tulvar. In the thrill of the hunt for the dealer, Lotye had nearly forgotten about her judicial problem. Now it came rushing back to her. When they’ll be done with me … Not even once had the thought crossed her mind that they could just drop her like a hot stone once she had done everything she could for them. What worth had these new clothes, the cloak and the bumbershoot in prison? They won’t just send me back, will they? I can’t just watch as they betray me. What can I do? An expression of worry twisted her features until she put on a expressionless mask and let silence fall over her. Maybe they won’t. Wait and see, and then I’ll act.
While Thimble took care of everyone else’s clothes, Lotye hung her silvery cloak on the coat stand in the hall herself, leaving the puddle forming beneath it for the valet to take care of. The bumbershoot, looking not quite as new now after being used as a blunt weapon, also landed on the stand, with her blue mask joining them. Being used to wear a set of clothes often for several days, Lotye didn’t even think about changing. The cloak had done it’s job rather well, as her clothes were mostly dry, apart from the seam of her britches. So she just slipped into the bathroom, a way she could find well enough without Thimble’s help, and grabbed herself a towel and a small, golden hairbrush.
She took care of the worst of her hair the bathroom. Under the strict influence of the towel and long, determined strokes of the brush, the wet, ruffled strands soon became something more resembling her pride. The last part of her nearly ritual hair care she moved to the main room, from where she already heard voices. With both items in her hands, she sat down on the couch and continued to towel and brush her hair. Lotye didn’t lose a single word, not even as beverages and foot were brought for them. She felt like she had already eaten enough for this day and so just poured herself a small glass of mead. After that, she just continued to take care of herself and listened, hoping that the subject of her interest would soon come up.
It didn’t. And while she couldn’t deny that the new information gathered about the dealer of the cards and the gangs involved only made the case more complex and, in a way, fascinating, she couldn’t really care much. Looking out of the window and into the storm, she was bothered by her own thoughts. What will happen to me? What will Arrowwise have to say when she returns? After a short while, she couldn’t keep it back any more. Careful, Lotye.
“If I may interrupt … I’m sure the weather is very interesting,”, if you aren’t inside a warm, secure house, “and certainly you’ll be be able to find out more about all that business with the the cards soon.” She stopped for a short moment, looking into the round of people of which two most likely wouldn’t even really understand what she was talking about now. “But there is a little bit more pressing concern … at least for me.”
She broke it off at that point. The confident, playful Lotye from out on the streets seemed to have vanished. She had never known how to speak about things like that. The whole atmosphere of class and power in the embassy made it even harder, just like when she first had been brought here. She didn’t belong in places like this. Her voice had lost most of its strength, she was biting her lip in the pauses of her speech and staring at the table, as if she was angry at the plates on it and not at herself.
“What will happen when Mistress Arrowwise returns? Will you return the favour of my help or will I have to go back?”