It also saved her the embarrassment of admitting she wasn't studying wizardry anymore, that her apprenticeship had been ended.

'They're not going to-' Aowena broke off with a squeal. 'Oh Eckhart, they've got their swords out!'

'There, there, my dear. They won't do anything upsetting.'

Judging by the way Aowena squealed again and covered her eyes, Tennora suspected the Watch couldn't cross the square without being 'upsetting' to her aunt.

Add it to the list of things that upset her, Tennora thought, along with me moving away, learning something useful, having friends I wasn't introduced to at a party at the Roaringhorns', and wearing my hair like this. Ever since Tennora's parents had died of a featherlung epidemic when she was fifteen, she had been struggling to find a way to please her aunt and uncle without making herself miserable. The idea of telling Aunt Aowena about losing her place at the House of Wonder, a school for wizards, made Tennora wish she could trade places with the madwoman.

She leaned over Aowena's shoulder to look out the window. It was a grayish, drizzly day, and the silvery armor of the Watch seemed faded and insubstantial in the gloom. The captain of the patrol was inching toward the woman. She slung another pebble up at the God Catcher.

'All right, mistress,' the captain called. 'Put your hands on top of your head and come along quietly. No need to disturb the God Catcher further.'

The woman turned to him with a contemptuous grace and looked the captain over as if sizing him up. She was too far away and spoke too softly for Tennora to hear what she said next, but the captain stepped back as if jolted and shouted an order to surround and subdue the madwoman.

'Oh!' Aowena cried, her eyes riveted on the advancing guards. 'It's just too terrible to watch!'

The Watchmen slipped through the crowd, ordering the bystanders to step back and clear a path. The woman seemed to coil, preparing for the attack, relishing it-though Tennora suspected that was only her imagination. Who would relish such a thing?

The patrolman behind the woman sprang forward and twisted her arm behind her back. The woman slipped from his grasp, fluid as an eel. A second patrolman with ginger hair peeking out from his helmet snatched her around the waist and tried to lift her off her feet-and got a heel to each knee for his trouble. He dropped her but managed to hold tight to her waist.

'She ought to be ashamed of herself!' Uncle Eckhart said. 'Making such a scene! Didn't her mother ever teach her to respect her betters?'

It would be more useful, Tennora thought as the madwoman twisted against her captor, if her mother had taught her to fight off an attacker. The guard holding the madwoman had positioned himself perfectly for a sharp punch to the kidney She caught herself in the midst of the thought.

I would never do that, she reminded herself. Just because she'd made a point of learning to protect herself when she'd moved deeper into the city and away from her family's guardsmen didn't mean she fantasized about using those skills.

Except, a little part of her said, you just did.

The first guard and one of his comrades-a woman with a brown braid down her back-grabbed the madwoman by the wrists. The captain shouted for her to stop resisting and come along. The madwoman's laughter rang through the courtyard.

She broke the woman's grip and sprang backward. She cast a hand high over her head.

And then she vanished.

The Watchmen all fell back, staring at the empty space. Something powerful had just happened, to be sure. Tennora leaned out the window, scanning the crowd for any sign of the woman-there were spells that let a body move through the air with a thought, but not too far. The Watch seemed to be thinking the same thing. They spread through the crowd, searching the bystanders. She might have been invisible. A disturbance in the air, a phantom brush against an arm, the sound of fabric sliding against itself-there were clues, to be sure, but no one seemed to notice anything amiss.

Only that the woman was gone-no trace, no trail, no aftereffects.

A shiver ran up Tennora's spine. Something powerful indeed. 'Well,' Aowena said. 'I do hope she's learned her lesson. Now, what were you saying about your studies, dear?'

An hour later, after the street had calmed down and the Timehands chimed tharsun, Aowena and Eckhart finally went home to the North Ward, thanking Tennora for the visit and reminding her that the position of tutor was still available.

'But don't count on it forever, dove,' Aowena said, handing the coachman her handbag. 'I do need to fill it soon.'

'Never mind her,' Eckhart said once Aowena had stepped into the coach. 'You're always welcome to come home, tutor or not.'

'Oh!' Aowena cried, sticking her head out of the window. 'I nearly forgot! We have a trunk for you. I told them to send it this morning, but you know how the servants can be.'

'What trunk?'

'Oh, they found it tidying up the Phoenix Room-that was your mother's room, remember, dear?' Aowena's tones had not, to the casual observer, changed, but to Tennora's practiced ear the enmity Aowena had felt for her late sister-in-law rang clear. 'It was pushed back under the bed, behind all her boxes of clothes.'

'What trunk?' Tennora asked again.

'Just some old things of your mother's,' Aowena said. 'I thought you might like to have them. It should come by this evening.'

Tennora tried not to look too surprised. Those things of her parents' that hadn't been destroyed to ward off the disease were kept at the Hedare family manor-where they belonged, according to her aunt and uncle. She had some few relics of their lives: a portrait of her mother, her father's silk handkerchief, the quilt that had lain on their marriage bed. The trunk was likely full of odds and ends, bits of junk that her mother had wanted out of sight and out of mind. Probably trinkets of her life before she'd married into the noble family.

Still, it had been hers.

Tennora agreed to watch for the errand boy and no, she wouldn't let anyone else into her home. She kissed her aunt and uncle on the cheeks, went back to her apartment, locked the door behind her, and sat down in front of the window to watch the rain that had started pouring down in earnest. A fitting complement, she thought, to the past two days. She tugged at a loose thread at the hem of her skirt.

All her worries came back to her in a rush: There would be no more lessons. There would be no more chances. She closed her eyes, the afternoon that had ruined her life running through her mind.

She had been in the library of Master Rhinzen Halnian's tower, researching for a test on enchanted objects. Carefully balancing on a wobbly step stool, she scanned the shelves for a book she'd found mentioned in a footnote- Ritual Development and Magical Restraint. Not a book she needed, to be fair, but the footnote-itself in a book she had not strictly needed to be studying-implied intriguing information about how imbuing magic in items often created drawbacks if the ritual was more powerful than the caster intended. Master Halnian's test wouldn't ask anything about magic item creation, she was sure, but Tennora's curiosity begged to be sated.

Behind her someone cleared his throat. Startled, Tennora looked down at a handsome young man wearing blue robes similar to her own.

Cassian Lafornan was a fellow apprentice to Rhinzen Halnian. If there was a better-looking young man anywhere in Faerun, Tennora hoped they kept him locked away somewhere to avoid riots. He had soft brown hair and hazel eyes so bright and warm, Tennora felt as if she were melting when he looked at her.

She had not-of course-told Cassian any of that.

'Coins bright, Cassian. You scared me. Can I help you?'

At that moment the stool wobbled. The young man reached out to steady her, grabbing her hands. Warmth flooded Tennora.

'All right there?' Cassian asked, giving her a charming smile.

'Yes!' Tennora said. 'I mean, thank you. This old stool is… They should replace it.'

Cassian gave her a curious look, and Tennora blushed as he helped her down.

'I was just looking for a book,' she said, mentally kicking herself. What else would she have been doing up

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