The room did not seem very crowded, but the list seemed to go on forever. Great-Aunt Mirabella’d had extensive holdings, after all, and with those holdings came promises, deals, arrangements, and piles and piles of sealed envelopes.
Senga had her eyes on the envelope that held her deal, but that one hadn’t gone up yet; the cousin had gotten only what the lawyer called the “common” envelopes, which Senga thought probably involved human dealings or dealings that appeared human.
She had ended up sitting a few rows away from her tall, dark, and handsome friend, and as the readings went on, she could see that he was growing more and more tense. His attention seemed to be aimed at the same pile of envelopes she was worried about, but he was very nearly vibrating.
“Senga, daughter of Claudia, called Senga Monmartin?” The lawyer cleared his throat. “Ah. Yes, miss, there you are. To you Mirabella has said: ‘I leave to you the house on Monmartin Hill, which should have been yours anyway, and the number bank accounts listed in the gold book, as well as one million dollars from the general fund, and the small pink notebook of names. All this however-’” here the lawyer had to raise his voice to talk over various upset relatives. That was more than she’d left her daughters, if there was anything other than pennies in the gold book accounts. “-However, is contingent on you, that is, Senga Monmartin, taking Erramun Silence as your bond servant for a time no less than six years under the Law of the People.” His eyes bored into her.
There was no question what “bond servant” meant here. Great-Aunt Mirabella wanted her to Keep someone. Some Erramun. Some -”
“No.” The voice came from tall-and-dark. “No.”
“I am not yet finished,” the lawyer admonished. “And your name is next on the list, Mr. Silence.”
Tall and dark fell – ha- silent.
“In addition, if you, Senga Monmartin, do not agree to the terms of this inheritance and do not fulfill them, then the protections listed under Clause Seven will be revoked.” The lawyer flipped pages, leaving Senga sitting stunned, feeling as if the air had just been knocked out of her. “Please come see me after the will-reading to discuss these terms.”
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