Chapter 12-18, Book One: Tesdes (and Kekdela)
“You! You, come here, would you? Come here.”
The girl grabbing Tesdes’ arm was dressed in such elaborately tailored clothes that he was surprised that she could move. Her overvest was to her knees on one side and above her hip on the other, and closed with what had to be fifty teeny pearl buttons – and that was just one layer.
She was going to find the uniform she was carrying very boring, he thought.
That was secondary. She was grabbing. Grabbing! His arm. He looked at her hand, looked at his arm, looked back at her hand.
She dropped his arm and shook her head. “People! All right, yes, we don’t technically know each other, but you’re Tesdes, right?”
“How did you…?”
“You’re holding a pile of Medicine House uniforms, you look lost, and nobody else is steering you towards a team. Now, I need you to help. I’m Kekdela. You can call me Kekla. Sorry about the grab, I mean, we are a team, that’s practically family, but I don’t know you yet. You can grab me sometime, and we can call it even?
Tesdes’ limited experience with women and girls suggested that probably wouldn’t quite work out, but that was – well, he found he didn’t mind all that much. “It’s all right. Why – the team?”
“Of course the team! We’re going to be a unit! That means we have to unit together. And that means since I found you, and I know you’re in my team, that you have to help me find the third member of our team. Riensin. I don’t know anything about him, but that sounds like a coastal name. Maybe down by the Arran cities? Where are you from?”
“Just… a town? On a branch of the [] River. It’s not a big town. It’s barely a town,” he added ruefully. “But it had a school. Has, I mean.”
“Oh, you’re shy. That’s wonderful! I haven’t met anyone shy in, oh, in forever! We’re going to get along fine – oh, look.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “Twins! TWINS. Oh, my fingers are itching.”
“Your… don’t grab them!” Tesdes, panicked, grabbed her arm. “They’re just twins. My town had two pair. Well, one was a set of triplets. They brought them to all the goats when they were breeding, just for luck, you know.” Oh, dear. He pressed his lips together.
Kekdela gave him a strange look, and then a smile, although it looked like she was feeling – guilty? That didn’t make any sense. “No,” she whispered. “I want to draw them.” She lifted up the pile of clothes in her free hand. “Art House. I’m a portraitist, or I hope to be. Some day,” she added, in an ever quieter whisper, “I want to do a portrait of the Emperor. Or Empress, depending on how long it takes me.”
“Could you… start with the heirs? They are easier to get to to draw a portrait, right?” Tesdes found himself whispering, too, although he didn’t quite know why.
She grinned at him. “You’re brilliant. Now, let’s see. The third one in our team. We need to find him. Riensin. He should be carrying brown uniforms. Brown and green.” She wrinkled her nose. “Like the side of a cliff just before you get to the stone. Oh… oh. One of the twins is carrying brown, both of them are carrying brown! Do you think… do you think one of them is…” She squeaked.
“Let’s go find out.” Tesdes swallowed a lump in his throat. What was he doing, volunteering? He didn’t like talking to people. He didn’t like talking to anyone.
Well, he reasoned, if worst came to worst, he could always just aim Kekdela at people. If he did that enough, he wouldn’t have to talk at all this year.
So Solace went and gave me two Books of all the characters, and thus is getting all the Edally ficlets ever.
This one takes place Tesdes (and everyone else)’s first day of Edally.