“You tore the city down?” Ric’s voice was the tone usually used for discovering someone had murdered a pile of babies.
The woman in front of him held up both hands placatingly. “We took pictures. We took pictures of everything and I used a flyer to get photos from the air. And everything written was saved and put in the library. There’s some artifacts you might find interesting in our museum – that is, if you take the job.”
They were back to the job again. “Why me?” Ric frowned. The woman spread her hands in an expressive shrug; Ric plowed on. “I mean, you said that your power could find anything. I can understand that.” Finding your missing pen didn’t register as all that strange; Ric, it seemed, could grant wishes. “But why me? There have to be plenty of teachers in the world, even Ellehemaei teachers – even teachers from Addergoole.”
For a split second, it seemed as if the woman was blushing. She coughed and looked away. “I know your father.”
“…that’s nice. I mean, I don’t.” He’d met his father – four times now, if his count was right. That was different from knowing him.
“I Kept your father. I’ve Kept quite a few people, over the years. One a year, more or less, since my second year. So… quite a few.”
Ric’s mother had been Twelfth Cohort, his father something earlier. He’d lost track of the years, but he was pretty sure they were somewhere in the late 30’s or early 40’s of Cohorts now. If this woman was older than his father… “That’s quite a few Kept. So, again… why me?”
“Well, ‘child of someone I’ve Kept, who happens to have the skills I need, might be interested in the job, and could benefit from it’ – that’s a pretty refined search to start with. And I mayyyy have,” she dragged the word out, and again Ric thought he might see a blush, “limited it to only a few of those Kept. My favorites, as it were.”
“That’s a pretty specific power you have.”
“I’ve pushed its limits. I like pushing its limits.” She smiled brightly. “You don’t have to answer today, you know.” Her smile slipped easily back into a professional expression.
“You brought a teleporter today.”
“Well,” she looked back to where her teleporter was waiting, reading a book and seeming to pay them no mind, “he does make things easier.”
Ric looked her over again. She was clean, her (dyed-red) hair, her fingernails, her clothes. Her clothes looked new, too, brightly colored and with no patches or thin spots anywhere. She looked rich. “Does this job pay?”
She grinned at him, as if she knew she had him. Well, she probably did. “That all depends on what currency you want to get paid in.”
Ric is Athanaric; he is the son of Hroderich, who I don’t see in any stories except as a mention (Cya Kept him directly before Pellinore. Hroderich is a grandson of Aelfgar (as is Howard; Leo is Aelfgar’s son; Aelgifu is his daughter… Aelfgar has a lot of kids…)
Also new Djinni Icon!
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