Raizel shared a look with the Raven. He looked at her, then at the two attendant, at the woman, and back at her.
She cleared her throat. “Your husband is a sword?”
“My husband is The Blessed Sword. It was given to him by the gods. To become the sword so that he not die! That’s what they said. But I want him to be alive again, not just a sword. I want him to be up and talking and bringing in money and doing all those things he is supposed to do! And he’s not here anymore, and I do not like it.”
Both attendants flinched backwards. Raizel took a step forward instead.
“I’m afraid the gods are playing a trick on you.”
She was expecting the slap and caught the woman’s hand. She seemed like the sort that liked to slap people, after all.
“The gods told me to talk to you!” She yanked her hand away; Raizel let her. “How dare you suggest that I am being foolish!”
“I didn’t say that, ma’am. You might have, though.” This time, she ducked. “Look, I am getting a reputation, I guess, but I’m not really the sort of person who can bring anything back to life. I’m just a mountain girl who’s trying to pay her taxes!”
“The gods said you could do it!”
“Let’s see” The Diamond Raven stepped forward. The woman stared, as if surprised he could speak. “At first, you said I asked the High Priestess of Arlke what should be done, not what would bring my husband back, right?”
“Yes, but that was obvious…!”
“And then,” he continued, you were simply looking for Raizel here. There was no Raizel will bring your husband back. There was no Raizel will solve your problems for you. And, to be honest, from what I know of the lady Raizel here, I cannot imagine that she would solve your problems for you.”
“If you were nicer,” Raizel said, feeling both unkind and justified, “I might have been able to use some of the favors owed me to find out something for you. But you have offered me nothing but demands and give me nothing but rudeness. My mother and my grandmothers would be ashamed of me if I gave you anything for that.”
The woman seemed to only hear the find something out for you part. “You could? I’ll give you anything! You just have to name the price and I will give it to you, anything for my husband back as he was.”
“I’m not offering-”
The Diamond Raven cut her off. “You have to listen better, ma’am. Nobody is offering your husband back as he was. Nobody knows how that can be done, at least not anyone here. But it is possible that the Lady Raizel here could find something out for you – if you had been kind to her.”
“I was kind! Wasn’t I, Tamsen? Wasn’t I?”
The left-handed attendant, so addressed, nodded mechanically. “Yes, madam, of course.”
“You know, if you need someone to tell you that you were kind-”
“Oh, pshaw. If you have information, you should give it to me, you know. And if you don’t, I don’t know why the gods would have sent me to you.”
“Sometimes the gods have a sense of humor.” She was beginning to think that they were pulling a prank on her more than on the woman. “I’m sorry, you haven’t offered me anything I want and you don’t have anything I need.”
“I’ll give you anything! Anything!”
“Your slaves,” the Diamond Raven spoke up abruptly. “Not just these two, all of them. For all of the information Raizel can get from calling in one favor.”
“What?” Raizel stared at him. “What am I going to do with slaves?”
“Well, you’re going to have them be not belonging to her anymore. I don’t know. Demand train tickets for them, too, and bring them with us to the capital? Let them go? Have a retinue worthy of this reputation you’ve got following you around?”
“I’d never get anywhere!”
“Take them all! All of them and, yes, train tickets for all of them I can buy more. You, you, go home and get all of the rest of them and come back here-”
“Train station.” It looked as if she were being railroaded into this.
“-come back to the train station. Bring enough money to handle your train fares to the capitol. And enough fifteen forn.”
The attendants, looking rather lost, bustled off with muttered “yes, mistresses.” The woman stared at Raizel expectantly.
“At the train station.” The Diamond Raven was being surprisingly firm. “There, when the slaves are in her custody, then Lady Raizel will seek for the answers you are looking for. Remember, we can perhaps find an answer – there is no guarantee that it will be one that you want.”
“I just want him back! I just want – I just want to know…”
She looked suddenly much smaller and sadder. “I’ll find out what I can,” Raizel assured her. “Let’s get to the train station while we wait.”