Daver brings in retired staff, children of staff even grandchildren of staff and performs miracles. “All of this needs to be sorted so we can focus on your wedding,” he informs me, as people scurry about, and off duty guards are drafted to provide muscle for all the moving parts.
Adls and her family are settled in the village, their house reasonably furnished, and Daver himself checks Hunk’s inventory to be sure there are enough supplies in the village for the times that blizzards will keep them from making it even to Misthold. Canor purchases passage for himself and his ‘shy’ granddaughter, while other of Daver’s minions gather the list of things mother has decided they need to take to their new life. Canor causes major consternation when Daver offers money to purchase their passage and Canor admits he had freed a moderate sized bag of coins as he and Flower were fleeing the swamp-wizard’s keep.
“And it didn’t occur to you that spending Caeel coin would provide a trail that would lead to you?” Alan is very miffed and Rage is flatly angry. Canor has come close to negating all of the effort they are about to put forth. Jes just demands to search everything they are planning on taking with them.
I lurk around the edges of Alan’s workroom as the three of them get ready to do whatever they are planning to help Flower stay invisible. While they are waiting, Alan finally asks Rage if he is willing to scry for father, and when he agrees—without even seeing father’s offer of a stipend—Alan tells him why.
“That is really clever of you.”
“Clever of Adava, she thought of it.” Alan smiles at me. And then chases me out of the room as Canor and Flower enter, along with staff carrying all of their bundles.
I’m not happy about it, but I have to admit he is right when he whispers our rule: “Don’t irritate the King before the Wedding.” And having me in the same room with multiple spells being cast would definitely count as irritating.
After a while Jes comes out and joins me where I’m on the parapet again looking out over the city. “They are as invisible to seeking as we can make them. Alan and Rage are doing one last check of their bundles.” He shakes his head, “Planning on using Caeel money was not wise, but we found nothing else.”
“Will they be ready to go when mother’s diversion starts?”
Jes nods, and smiles at the thought of mother’s plan. “And I plan on staying up here during the whole thing.”
“Definitely,” I agree. I see one of Alan’s guards leave the infirmary and head toward the main keep. Looks as if the show is about to start.
Mounted guards arrive from the stable area, with three saddled, but riderless horses being led by their bridles. The main doors to the keep open, and the screaming and crying starts. Two of mother’s younger and stronger Ladies drag a protesting Dena out the door and down the steps.
“You can mount your horse, and ride,” Lady Nila tells her, “Or you can be tied on like a sack of wheat. I don’t care. One way or the other, you are going to your grandmother.”
Dena looks toward the keep door and wails again, and is shocked when the door closes. She looks around and sees me watching from the wall. For a moment her face turns really mean, but she doesn’t resist when Lady Nila and Lady Fosit bundle her into the saddle.
“She hates you,” Jes unnecessarily points out.
“Only because she dares not hate mother.”
They move out the gate, Dena sniffling and wailing about people being mean to her, and generally causing enough of a spectacle the people in the streets wouldn’t have noticed much more than just two people leaving one of the lesser gates with a small cart heading toward the river. Taver has positioned guards along the way, so it seems as if they are traveling alone, but are still well guarded and will be until the hour the barge pushes off up the river.
I can still hear Dena wailing as the troop moves down the city street outside the castle, and I just shake my head, there is just nothing to say. Dena had boasted to her cronies that she would succeed in seducing Alan within a month after our wedding. Most of the girls who hang around with Dena aren’t too bright, but one of them was troubled by the morals, and talked to her mother, and one was troubled about angering the Princess, and talked it over with her brother. So, of course, mother found out, and decided to send Dena to her grandmother.
Once the party is on the road, three guards will split off and head to their new duty posts, with letters for the commanders from father about large white boards, with daily reports. Father is really pleased about getting daily reports from seven different parts of the kingdom.
Once the courtyard is empty, Rage and Alan join us. “It went well with Canor and Flower,” Alan tells me.
“I don’t think anyone will find her.” Rage agrees, “And the Shaman won’t have any interest in what she knows.”
“Why don’t you,” Jes asked. “You know enough to have used the swamp-wizards secrets if you could have found a way for her to tell you.”
Rage shakes his head. “His power enslaved. Some accepted slavery willing for the powers it gave them, and other’s of us were forced to it, but all were slaves. And it…was addictive. We were slaves to him, and he was slave to his power.” He shakes his head again, “I want no part of it.”
“And he is still mostly Sorcerer,” my Sword comments. “So it wasn’t fatigue.”
I suddenly have a really bad thought, “Was The Wassak’s grimoire burned?”
“He didn’t have one. He laughed at mine, told me he didn’t need such aids since his memory was perfect. I’m sure he wasn’t lying, he enjoyed taunting me about my inferiority too much.” The look on Rage’s face changed from serious and angry to smile, and I didn’t have to turn around and look to know Mychl had walked through the gate.
“Sister Mays says that I can go home today.”
I wonder if he even notices he has called the house ‘home’, or maybe he is calling Mychl and the two children ‘home’.
“As long as I ride on a donkey.” He sounds slightly disgusted.
“It will be easier on you,” I point out. “And easier on Mychl.” He looks at me in confusion. “A wounded Sorcerer riding on a donkey won’t be as threatening, won’t upset the neighbors nearly as much.”
“Understood. But I am Sorcerer; I will remain Sorcerer.”
“But a demon-less Sorcerer,” I answer.
He ignores me and starts down the stairs, but then turns back and says ‘yes’. I think he means it.