For better or worse, Waterdeep had accepted Clytemorrenestrix. Once of the Calim, now of the City of Splendors.


Winter brought a chill to the streets of Waterdeep even though the snows were late that year. A wind blew down the Sword Coast, stirring dead leaves and the hems of cloaks as it raced through the city's streets. Tennora pulled her own cloak a little closer, as she stood opposite number thirteen Dust Alley, and the light turned rosy with the setting sun.

She wore the heavy ring from her mother's chest on a chain, and she rubbed her fingers across the crest as she waited and watched the door. She was due at another party in an hour and needed to get back to the Sea Ward to change into something suitable and get Nazra's information on the other guests-something she would have dreaded a few months earlier. But under the Masked Lord's tutelage, dull conversations were suddenly spangled with gems of information.

And when the hosts weren't watching, she slipped into their private rooms and left the treasures stolen by the Shadow Wind. Though it felt, in some small corner of her heart, like giving up a piece of her mother, the jewels were never Liferna's. She'd enjoyed them as the Shadow Wind and had been ashamed of them as Lady Hedare. And now she was done with them, and it was time to say good-bye.

The ring remained a mystery. The crest was no one in Waterdeep's. Whether it was stolen or a relic from the mysterious family to the east or something else, there was no way to know. Just as there was no way to know who her mother had really been, why she had changed, or whether she regretted becoming Lady Hedare. In both cases, Tennora allowed herself the pleasure of what she had-the knowledge that her mother had a complex life and the weight of the ring on the chain.

The door opened, and a young man with scars and dark hair came out, twirling a ring of keys around one finger. He spotted Tennora and froze.

'Well met,' she said.

'Well met,' he said, 'and a good evening, duchess. Sorry, but my shop's closed.'

'I'm not here to peruse your wares,' she said. 'Nor to let you peruse mine again.'

'For the record,' Sovann said, 'those carvestars cost far more than what was in your purse.'

'I believe it,' Tennora said. 'I was a bit short on coin that day. You should have worked out from the weight that those were mostly nibs instead of presuming.'

He squinted at the sunset behind her. 'So? Why are you here, duchess? Break your lockpicks?'

'I need a teacher again,' she said. 'I've got a patron who wants me to learn about disarming warding spells. I know how a wizard would do it.' She looked at him through her lashes. 'How would you do it?'

He turned and locked the door. 'Your patron wouldn't go by the name Master Watch, would he now?'

Tennora smiled and flipped her braid over her shoulder. 'Certainly not. Anyway there's not a thing illicit about knowing how to break a ward. This is purely research.'

Sovann clucked his tongue. 'Canny as an archdevil, you.' She fell into step beside him. 'How'd your last… research turn out then?'

'Well,' she said. 'Well as can be expected, anyway.'

He nodded sagely. 'It's a rough business.'

'Your lessons certainly made the difference a few times,' she said. 'And the carvestars.'

'Glad to be of service,' he said with a florid bow. She caught his hand as it darted near her coin purse again and held it out with a disappointed expression.

He shrugged and smiled crookedly. 'Just trying to recoup my losses,' he said. 'You can't blame a jack for trying.'

'Can't I?' Tennora said. 'You want to recoup your losses, come find me at this address.' She held out a slip of paper and tucked it into the pocket of his jerkin. 'I'll make sure you're paid handsomely.' She let her hand linger on his chest a moment and stood close enough that the heat of their bodies banished the winter chill.

He raised an eyebrow and smiled. 'Oh, I'll wager you will.'

She shrugged and gave a smile of her own, then started down the cross street. Half a block away, she thought better of it. 'Sovann?' she called.

He turned as she tossed his coin purse back to him.

'Now we're even,' she said and, leaving him with his mouth agape, returned home in a much better mood.

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