The Caretaker, part 11: Wedding Jewels.
Kira woke as the first rays of the sun struggled to find the wall of her little room. She needed a moment to realise where in the world she was waking. “The Library!” It came to her and she jumped out of bed, ready to face the first day of her investigation. Searching in her trunk, she came across the wooden box that she had ignored the day before. She could not resist its pull this morning. Carefully she lifted it up to the light and opened its lid. The inside was coated in a soft red fabric and on it lay two intricate golden earrings, mirror twins of each other and decorated with small emeralds. They were traditional Asurian wedding jewels.
The gold glistened in the morning sun as she regarded them with half a frown and half a smile. They were her family’s wedding jewels and she had them for one reason only. If life, and especially her betrothed, had been kinder to her, she would not have be on this mission. Instead, she would have prepared for her union to one of Asurian’s wealthiest noble house. Lyon Zareno had been a wonderful catch indeed, until he chose to run off to the Federation and left her with the painful aftermath of his abandonment.
It was not her heart that was hurt. Asurian unions were never really about love. Her pride however, had been severely wounded. But she was not done with Lyon, most honoured of House Zareno. He had broken a contract with her and her family. And no one broke contracts with Kira Marash without sincerely regretting it later.
She snapped the box close and placed it back at the bottom of the trunk. The sooner she completed her mission here, the sooner she could hunt for Lyon. And even if it would take her trough all the five nations of the federation, she would find him. What she would do exactly if she did, she had not decided yet. There was still plenty of time for that.
She dressed quickly and was about to explore the hallways by herself when there was a knock at the door. Despite herself, she glanced around the room with the uncomfortable feeling that they were watching her. She wondered if she would she ever have a moment alone outside of this room.
The same young man from yesterday entered at her call.
“I am to show you to the breakfast room, my Lady.”
He was losing his awe of her. She heard it in his voice. She hoped they would all soon forget her entrance and leave her to her own devices. Investigation was so much easier if no one paid you any attention.
She followed the man through the halls of the Library. She had expected to be taken to the refectory again, but he led her to a different room. The tables alongside the wall were filled with fruit and bread, some known to her and some not. A huge kettle burned on a stove in the corner, its aroma strong but pleasant. Curiously, Kira walked over to the kettle and inhaled deeply.
“Original Whylonian cofee, my Lady” The young man said smoothly, filling a wooden cup with the dark liquid and offering it to her. “The Library serves the best that all five nations of the Federation have to offer.” The pride in his voice was unmistakable.
Kira carefully took a sip and grimaced at the bitter taste. Was it a stimulant? She could not be sure and looked around for a better alternative. Her face lit up as she saw the familiar green leaves in a bowl next to a pot of steaming water.
“It even serves food and drink from beyond the Federation’s borders, I see. That must be Premulum tea!” She put the cup of cofee nonchalantly on a table and pored herself a cup of hot water instead and sprinkled the leaves onto it.
“This does make me homesick,” she murmured and the young man smiled at her indulgently.
“I will guide you to Master Maluk’s office when you are done with breakfast.”
The ‘my Lady’ was gone. Her distaste of a civilised cup of cofee had probably lessened her to the status of just ‘foreigner’. Kira nodded in satisfaction. The man took it as a nod of consent and left the room.
->Goto part 12: Myths, Legends and Reality