She should have thought of it before she agreed, she supposed. She might be stepping into some long-held family feud — their mountain had several of those — or maybe into the sort of thing where the city wanted to move someone whose home had stood in the same place for three hundred years. Their town had dealt with that, too. She might be running into another conspiracy sort like Trinner Tralen, who thought, perhaps, that the city or the empire or this architect were out to get him.
And maybe they were. She thought about Trinner Traln and the spectre sliding into him. She didn’t even know if she’d done the right thing there.
The architect’s nervous cough interrupted Raizel’s train of thought.
“Well, you see,” Nadya began, “there was a time when he and I were – well, we were close, in the way that young people often are, before they settle down into a marriage or a home or something of the sort. And he went off to be a wizard and I apprenticed to a builder, and then we came back. And we had both changed, and both grown or at least shifted, and he – well, he hadn’t decided to be an adult, he’d decided he wanted to be young forever.”
Raizel studied the woman. She wasn’t all that much older than Raizel – maybe five years, maybe ten if she was careful with herself. But Raizel’s sister had gotten like that, too, very serious about being adult right away. “And you wanted to be an adult.”
“We were adults! It was time to move past childhood romances, move on to being who we were going to be for the rest of our lives.”
Raizel frowned. She didn’t think Amos or Emma were childhood romances and didn’t like the idea of moving past them. They might not be able to commit to her, but if they could, if she could –
That was a road to walk another time. Her road today, it seemed, involved lassoing a wizard. “So you were done with him.”
“I was done with being young and in my parents’ home! And this place, where the town wants to put this building, there is a very old chapel there. Nobody lives there anymore, nobody prays there anymore, it was just a place that we used to go to get away from our families and be alone together.”
“And he won’t move. And you think it’s because he’s trying to get back at you for moving past him?” She’d known grown people to do things at least that ridiculous, if not more.
“I think he refuses to be an adult! He’s a wizard, or at least he’s studied as one! He could be building something of his life, and instead he wants to sit in an old chapel and pretend to be a child for a little while longer!”
Raizel could understand the urge. “You want me to tie him out and move him from the chapel. That’s all.”
“That’s all. Once he’s moved, he can be put somewhere else, where he won’t get hurt and won’t interfere with the building. We’ll release him when we’re done with the demolition.”
“What if-” what was she saying? “What if I just bring him with me?”
“If you don’t release him until he is far enough from Esteronzerai that he can’t get back in less than a week, that’s fine. As far as I know, the Yederya-school wizard cannot fly nor move through the non-space.”
“If he could, he might be able to get me to the capitol quicker,” Raizel muttered. “I will do as much as I can.”
“That is all I can ask. We are nearly there. Is there anything you need, Raizel ry’oya Ennizaba?”
It still meant “Enizaba child,” but she found she liked it quite a bit more.
“He is not guarded by anything, is he? Pixies, ghosts, demigoddesses?”
“I have never seen anything of the sort.” The architect looked amused. On some level, Raizel couldn’t blame her. And yet, on another, she found herself irked.
“Does he have any magical trip-wires, special senses, fireballs?”
“They’re a mage thing, but then again, I don’t know what all wizards can do. And this trip has been strange indeed.”
A peek over at the woman and her son found that they were staring. Well, let them. Raizel did not mind curious eyes; she had naught to hide.
“I do not believe that he can throw fireballs; I do not think he has tripwires. His powers appear to be sulking and, when he is feeling very strong, sulking more loudly.”
“I knew a man like that, back home. I boy, I suppose.” He was interested in her the way she was interested in Amos and Emma, but there was something about him that made her want to be elsewhere, and he had no good prospects, to boot. “Are they common, do you think?”
“They seem to be. A friend of mine knows a girl like that.”
“My first husband,” put in the woman. “And this one’s first prospect at husband as well.”
It seemed that sulking would-be love interests was a universal joiner, and the four of them spent the remainder of the trip to Esteronzerai complaining about those who were just a little less than bearable.