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datatime: 2022-09-27 09:41:03 Author:WlQUXCju

Go away, she told the Niskie. She tried to push her head back under the blanket, but Gan Itai's strong hands clutched her and pulled her upright.

Gan Itai's voice was puzzled. No, we are still becalmed. Why do you ask such a strange question?

The Niskie turned to her, solemn-faced. He did not leave it here. He only wears this with his best clothes, and I saw how he was dressed when he came on deck in the night. In any case, he was wearing his other dagger on his belt.

The Niskie shook her head. By the Uncharted, then it is true Oh, girl, this is not what you want, is it?

Miriamele could not imagine how she could ever again walk across the deck under the eyes of those grinning sailors-could not imagine it any more than she could imagine standing naked before them. It was one thing to be suspected, another to be part of the casual knowledge shared by the entire ship: when he was needed in the night watches, Aspitis could be found in her bed. This latest degradation seemed to creep over her like a heavy, numbing chill. How could she ever leave the cabin again? And even if she did, what did she have to look forward to in any case but a forced marriage to the golden-haired monstrosity? She would rather be dead.

The Niskie shook her head. By the Uncharted, then it is true Oh, girl, this is not what you want, is it?

Go away, she told the Niskie. She tried to push her head back under the blanket, but Gan Itai's strong hands clutched her and pulled her upright.

Gan Itai's voice was puzzled. No, we are still becalmed. Why do you ask such a strange question?

Miriamele climbed the ladder as quietly as she could, lifting her head above the hatchway just far enough to make sure that Aspitis was still talking to the helmsman. They seemed to be having a very animated discussion, waving their lamps so that the flaming wicks left streaks across the black sky. Miriamele dropped down to the passageway as quickly as she could. A kind of cold cleverness had come over her along with her new resolution, and she moved quietly and surely along the corridor to Aspitis' doorway. When she had slipped through the door and closed it behind her, she took the hood off her lamp.

The chest was, as she had seen, full of bags of money. The coins were mostly silver, but each sack contained more than a few gold Imperators as well. It was a small fortune, but Miriamele knew that Aspitis and his family were the possessors of a very large fortune beside which this was a mere handful. She carefully lifted out a few of the sacks, trying to keep them from jingling, noting with some interest that her hands, which should have been shaking, were as steady as stone. Hidden beneath the top row of sacks was a leather-bound ledger. It contained lists in Aspitis1 surprisingly fastidious handwriting of places the Eadne Cloud had stopped-Vinitta and Grenamman, as well as other names that Miriamele decided must have been ports visited on other voyages; beside each entry was a line of cryptic markings. Miriamele could make no sense of it, and after a moment's impatient study she put it aside. Beneath the ledger, rolled into a bundle, was a hooded robe of coarse white cloth-but this was not what she was looking for either. The trunk contained no further secrets, so she repacked it as well as she could, then pushed it back beneath the bed.

Miriamele covered her eyes with her hands, trying to keep out the light. Has the wind come up?

The Niskie shook her head. By the Uncharted, then it is true Oh, girl, this is not what you want, is it?

But if the life that stretched before her was so unbearable that death seemed preferable, then she need be afraid no longer. She could do anything.

I don't care, she said, but the look on Gan Itai's face touched her: the sea-watcher could think of no other way to help. She reached out her hand for the mirror. The hilt of Aspitis' dagger, which had been covered in the folds of blanket, caught in her sleeve and clattered onto the floor. Both Miriamele and the old Niskie stared at it for a moment. Suddenly, chillingly, Miriamele saw her one door of escape closing. She leaped from the bed to grab it, but Gan Itai had bent first. The Niskie held it up to the light, a look of surprise in her gold-flecked eyes.

Miriamele could not imagine how she could ever again walk across the deck under the eyes of those grinning sailors-could not imagine it any more than she could imagine standing naked before them. It was one thing to be suspected, another to be part of the casual knowledge shared by the entire ship: when he was needed in the night watches, Aspitis could be found in her bed. This latest degradation seemed to creep over her like a heavy, numbing chill. How could she ever leave the cabin again? And even if she did, what did she have to look forward to in any case but a forced marriage to the golden-haired monstrosity? She would rather be dead.

Gan Itai's voice was puzzled. No, we are still becalmed. Why do you ask such a strange question?

Gan Itai's voice was puzzled. No, we are still becalmed. Why do you ask such a strange question?

Girl, wake up

At last, groaning, Miriamele rolled over and opened her eyes. Gan Itai peered down at her, a look of concern furrowing her already wrinkled brow. Morning light from the hatch in the passageway outside spilled in through the open door. The achingly painful memories of the day before, absent for the first few moments, rolled back over her.

Go away, she told the Niskie. She tried to push her head back under the blanket, but Gan Itai's strong hands clutched her and pulled her upright.

Go away, she told the Niskie. She tried to push her head back under the blanket, but Gan Itai's strong hands clutched her and pulled her upright.

Go away, she told the Niskie. She tried to push her head back under the blanket, but Gan Itai's strong hands clutched her and pulled her upright.

Miriamele slipped from the bed. After dressing quickly. she edged out into the narrow passageway.

Go away, she told the Niskie. She tried to push her head back under the blanket, but Gan Itai's strong hands clutched her and pulled her upright.

What is this I hear on deck? The sailors are saying that Earl Aspitis is to be married on Spenit-married to you Is that true?

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