Moving on and moving up
So, I’m moving on. I waved goodbye to him this morning, as he sailed out on the tide. He won’t be back for a week, and will find the house empty. He may be sorry to find me gone, but I’ve been here six months already. Now my bones are aching for moving on. How did Mamie and I ever survive 7 years in the same place? I feel like I would burst if I stayed here another minute. There’s a ship in the harbor bound for Adrianobel, the capitol. It’s a diplomat’s ship and very fashionable. You can only get on board with special papers, but I know where to get them. The lady Helena Populosavos is well connected and will get them for me. I’m sure she would love for me to leave, especially if I assure her that I will forget all about the sleeping potion I concocted for her, and what I discovered she used it for. And maybe if I tell her what her nephew (and heir) has bought from me, she will supply me with enough means to travel stylishly. To do well in Adrianobel I must arrive in style.
Well, well, I will arrive in style. The lady Helena paid me very handsomely, and her nephew too. He will have to be patient, because she will be suspicious of him for quite a while, but then he will get his chance. He’s a pleasant enough fellow, that one, and he deserves to be treated better. The powder will change her mind to that purpose. To my good luck an almohadh merchant had just delivered to the cloth both and I got myself many yards of several lovely fabrics, so that I can arrive with three new beautiful outfits, besides the ones I already have. And the jeweler had some lovely pieces for me too. I didn’t spend it all; that would have been silly, but I certainly leave the lovely place with a whole lot more than I arrived with.
Adrianobel is wonderful! Beautiful and white and shining! And filled with extravagant people easily dazzled by an exotic figure. I arrived in my red and gold outfit complete with veil. I was transported by litter to the finest hotel in the city, and was given a room that was wildly luxurious. I may be able to pay for a week,tops, but that will empty my purse completely. I hope to have secured some sort of patron before then. The diplomatic envoy offered me a letter of introduction to some of the fine families in the capital, and with a little effort on my part one of them will bite.
The lady Bavoxa was almost too easy a mark. She is still in mourning – after more than three years a widow – and needed only the slightest bit of persuasion (applied to her tea) to think my company unbearable to be without. She has sent for my things and installed me in quite a fine room. She will introduce her friends to my services, and will otherwise not bother me. I will keep a somewhat low profile, I think, no reason to push my luck too far. A soft bed, regular meals and a reasonable amount of service from the lady’s staff is all I desire. Well, that, and access to the kitchen after hours.
Every day these past months I have taken a walk at the same time every day. I stroll through the better quarters, take a rest on a bench in the park and return home. Always veiled, always glittering. Common people have started to approach me with whispered requests. Many wants their fortune told… Supplied with enough vague hints and mysterious predictions most leave me satisfied. It gives me a sort of pocket money that I mostly spend on the homeless children. They have so many stories to tell, so many interesting news and secrets. My amulets are also sought after. And the love potions off course. The ladies and gentlemen that seek my services at the lady’s house often have more curious desires. I do what I can to meet them within my limits. Many ask for poisons to kill with, but I will not supply that, though I have the recipe. I keep a small vial by me, but it is not for sale. I will not kill, or supply the remedy with which to kill. I have learned to carve the amulets to fit the current fashion, and they have become something of a fashion themselves.
Things got a little too hot at the capital… Colonel Georgas and his wife took me with them to their country house (with a little persuasion). The incident with those two young ladies using love potions to win the same young man needs to calm down a bit. And Madame Pallas’ suicide attempt with a sleeping potion (as if that would have worked… honestly! You cannot overdose on the stuff - merely sleep for at very, very long time!) also needs to be forgotten, before the storm around me calms down. It is lovely here. Green and fragrant. I do love the scent of olives and pines. I go for long walks and talk to the locals as they work. I practice almost no magic and it is rather nice to have a break. I get tired of all the mysteries. The colonel’s son, Stavros, has been kind enough to walk with me most days. He is most charming and I enjoy his company very much.
We have talked about the labyrinth all week! The mythical one with the bullcreature in it. The colonel dreams of a labyrinth (without the mythical creature to haunt it, though). I know I shouldn’t… But I could actually make that dream come true…
How’s that for gratitude? I summon Calficer. He builds the most magnificent labyrinth this country has ever seen, and the colonel shuns me! Calls me a witch! Well, I am off course, but he makes it sound like it’s a bad thing. He actually threw me out of the house. I could possibly persuade him to think otherwise, but it would be wrong to go so much against his nature. Stavros has promised to take me back to the city.
The captain has agreed to take me to Ryendor. I can pay for a good cabin that I don’t have to share. Good thing my clothes doesn’t take up much room – flimsy things that they mostly are. The captain has advised me to buy some warmer clothes, though, as the journey to Ryendor – and Ryendor itself – will be quite a bit cooler than Epirus. I’m looking forward to seeing a completely different country. The years in Epirus have been good to me. But it really was time to move on. Stavros wanted to come, but I told him not to. He should reconcile with his family. I got myself a book about the language, so I can communicate with the locals. It’s well enough to look foreign and exotic, but if I cannot communicate, it’s all for nothing. I’m sure I can practice with the captain on the journey. He has offered me and the four other passengers to dine with him every evening. Two of the passengers are ryendorians too, so that will be quite a fine arrangement. I shall look forward to sailing again. I have missed the oceans and winds.