As Jeneyeru Nightwise led Captain Lafitte into the salon, he heard Lotye O’Tulvar exclaiming, “I’ve got nothing, how will I even get out of Sesus quick enough without any money?”
“Why, my dear, why don’t you come and work for me?” the wizard said.
He directed Lafitte to a chair and sat himself down on the sofa in a billow of green silk, and he looked at Lotye with a gleam in his dark eyes that suggested this was a plan he had been thinking about for some time.
“You won’t be the first follower of the ways of Pwyll to enter my employ — will she, Thimble?”
“Master Nightwise is open-minded in that regard,” said the diminutive faerie, always lurking around the edges.
“I am certain that your … special abilities will be of good use to me, if you choose accept my offer. It is simply this: Serve me well as long as you wish, and I will reward you well as long as you do. Won’t I, Thimble?”
“Master Nightwise is as good as his word, and his gold is even better.”
“Tsk, he is so vulgar,” Jeneyeru muttered, but he smiled indulgently at Lotye. “Think on it, milady, and consider this: While you are here in our embassy, you are already out of Sesus. In fact, you’re out of Raurugia entire, as this building is the territory of the Sovereign Duchy of the Grand Navigators. There, you see? You wished to be out of Sesus, and you are.”
“A nice trick, milord,” said Aeto Arrowwise. “I would point out as well that if the Prosecutor were informed that Mistress O’Tulvar has found gainful employment under a noble lord who will remove her from his jurisdiction, that would close out her case very neatly and to everyone’s satisfaction.”
Jeneyeru nodded to both the attorney and the thief, in turn. “No doubt, no doubt, and to strengthen that impression,” he turned to Lafitte, “that is where you come in, Captain. Tea?”
Pushing up his long green sleeves, he poured fresh, herb-scented tea into tiny cups for everyone at the table.
“My brother Starhand tells me that you have a particular interest in chasing down the traffic in and source of the Daemon Arcana,” he said. “He also tells me your ship is a ship of the air, capable of flying over the land without use of spells or aura. How fascinating, sir. Why, I have a thousand questions and a thousand after that, but I must begin with two. The answers to these are vital, Captain, vital.”
“First, why are you interested in these cards? What is your goal, your purpose in chasing them?”
“Second, assuming favorable weather, how quickly do you think your ship could complete passage from here to Mt. Isolla, approximately 150 leagues north-northeast, as the crow flies?”
The wizard bit into a lemon puff pastry and then leaned back with his delicate teacup held between his long, dark fingers, and watched the two eormen, waiting with that wizardly smile playing about his lips.