Crumpets, biscuits and croissants. Butter, sweet jam and honey. Fresh fruits, ham, cheese and fish. Hot tea and coffee. The breakfast table was nearly too cluttered for Lotye to see everything that was on it. Some things on it she had never seen before, some she hadn’t eaten for a long time and some reminded her of better times. There was a pot of honey on the table that tasted just like the honey of a friendly old beekeeper she had sometimes stolen a few honeycombs from as a kid in Farind. The sweet, smoky taste reminded her of those simpler times when only the old faerie had chased her, laughing and playfully threatening the small eorman girl. Now the people chasing her weren’t laughing, and their threats were dead serious.
After sleeping surprisingly well for the rest of the turbulent night, Lotye had gotten up early before any houseservant of the embassy had been able to wake her up. With the first rays of sunlight penetrating the still cloud-covered sky, she had begun her quick morning routine of washing herself, followed by extensive care for her hair and finally had put on her clothes before leaving her room. She had sat down at the table and quietly had begun to enjoy the breakfast.
But the quiet didn’t last for long and this time Lotye was happy about it, as Aeto Arrowwise brought an undoubtedly good message. She was free. The bracelet would be taken off her. Once again she was free to go wherever and to do whatever she wanted. Lotye wanted to get up, to dance and to hug her lawyer. At least until she heard that she also was free of all of her belongings now. Ah, forget, it all that crap wasn’t worth anything really, was her first thought, still under the impression of the happy message. But then she realised that everything really meant everything she had. The old horse, the small carriage she had called home for over a year now. She had nothing more than what she had on her body and as far as Lotye knew, the clothes she wore probably also were property of the Grand Duchy. She had nothing.
That was bad news, but it didn’t dampen her new-found enthusiasm for very long. She would find a way, she was sure. She always had and she would once more. As soon as the guardian had taken the bracelet off her wrist, she quickly signed the parchment with her scrawly handwriting. It was done. She took in the congratulations Jeneyeru uttered with a warm smile, knowing well that he was the main reason she was free now. Before she planned to answer his question, she wasn’t sure about the answer herself yet, she took another big bite of a crumpet. The honey on it tasted even better now.
Still, Lotye nearly choked on it when Aeto mentioned her “friend”. She had no friends In Sesus. It was clear what this meant and the way Aeto had raised the question and the way Jeneyeru looked at her now showed that both of them knew it as well. Lotye sunk a bit deeper into the cushions, this time not just with her smile visibly fading.
Someone knocked at the door of the apartment. Lotye startled, as if she expected that an assassin had already found her here. It only was Captain Lafitte, the strange eorman who had produced so many problems the last day. Still, that didn’t comfort her all that much. While the Lord Magus greeted the Captain, Lotye stayed silent and her ehad tried to find different conclusions.
“Maybe,”, she finally said to Aeto Arrowwise, “it was just one of the travelling imposters I came to Sesus with? I don’t know if they are still in town today, but they were on the square yesterday. Though I really doubt any of them would be stupid enough to go to the keep …”
Who am I trying to fool? There is nobody in here Sesus I know who would go to the guardians to ask for me. Those thugs from the alley have found me, even in prison. And I doubt they want to admire my new bumbershoot a bit more.
“Dammit! What can I do now? How did they find me? If they are really after me … I’ve got nothing, how will I even get out of Sesus quick enough without any money?”