Out on the nightly roads of Aeldreth, people usually didn’t sleep very deeply. Most of them had learned the hard way, waking up the next morning with everything they had had, often even the clothes they had slept in, gone. Sometimes they didn’t wake up again at all. Lotye, too, once had lost a good part of her belongings and a horse, which hadn’t actually belonged to her .
So, even bedded on soft pillows and covered with finest linen sheets, she had a rather light sleep. A small sound, a little bit of noise too close to her was enough to wake her up. It probably was Peino’s voice demanding identification from someone that woke her up then, though she couldn’t remember it only a second later. She also couldn’t tell if she had just slept for a minute or a whole night. In the first moment, she didn’t know anything, not even where she was. Disoriented and confused, Lotye tried to struggle herself free of the sheets. At the same time, Peino’s second shout sounded through the apartment:
“A light, a light! Intruder in the house!”
Well, yeah, but your brother invited me in and you told me to stay, was her first, not completely clear thought. Also, why should I make such a fuss about it now, that much later? Only then Lotye realised that Peino didn’t mean her. Surprisingly fast, everything came back together in her head, another bonus of her years of training in not getting killed in sleep. The cards in the embassy’s vault, the vengeance vowed by the thug in the alley. There was more than one thing an intruder could be after in the cover of this stormy night.
Lotye jumped out of the bed, one leg still tangled in the bed sheet. She stumbled and nearly fell against the door before she was able to lose it. The sheet dragged half across the floor, only in her nightgown, unarmed and with reason still not working at fully power, she stormed out into the hallway. The cold air streaming through the apartment made her shutter. The flickering light of the Jeneyeru’s candle was nearly too bright for her eyes. But for a short moment she saw a dark figure bolting towards the windows. It seemed to be gone in the blink of an eye, though.
Yet Lotye hasted after it, against the strength of the wind coming in. She ran to the glass window next to her, to catch a second glimpse of the intruder who would certainly be down on the flooded street by now. But as she wanted look out, she couldn’t see anything but darkness and felt as if she had hit a kind of wall.