Chapter 2 - Eirek

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"Ena, you need to resurface that dirt. It needs to be level and not clumpy." Mara Surg hadn't looked at the saddle in her hands for ten minutes. "Osker, retrim the hedges. Daphne, bring water here for the flowers."

Eirek tapped his fingers on the side of his hip. How much longer is she going to order them around before she finally approves of the last saddle? He looked around to the open expanse of yard with multiple flower gardens and pine trees, tall and strong.

"Kywin, bring the tarp to the back; there will need to be shade once the guests arrive."

"Lady Surg, the saddle, if you will," Eirek said, hoping to draw her attention away from her servants so he could leave her battalion.

Mara Surg twisted her lips and clicked her tongue. After glaring at Eirek for a moment, she twisted her hands and examined every inch of the saddle. They ran over the leather three times. "It will have to do."

Thank you.

"Payment?"

"Both saddles come to a silver spell and six copper cures."

"Wait here. Do not come inside; I do not want the dirt on your shoes to affect our floors. They are being done." Mara Surg turned around, opened the door, and walked into a lobby with a checkerboard floor of white and black. "Ella, you missed a spot before the stairs. And do not forget to polish the stairs either." She walked up the staircase, constantly looking at the unlit chandelier. "And the chandelier needs to be lit—still. I suppose I will have to do that."

How does Angal treat with these people?

Ever since abandoning Eirek twelve years previous, Angal had spent his time traveling to various families of power and telling tales. He was good with words, but never good with family. But Eirek wasn't his own, so what did it matter? He was only the uncle.

When Mara Surg came back down the staircase, she held a candle in her hand. Eirek saw her lips move with her hand as she flung multiple separate fires to the candles on the chandelier. Power! Eirek stole a quick glance at his hands. It was not quick enough.

"Do not worry about being able to cast. You probably cannot. Here is payment. Also, here is a golden bond. It is the birthday of my twin daughters, so I am feeling generous." Mara Surg extended agolden coin.

How does she know I can't cast? Eirek avoided looking at her, not wanting to chance ruining the opportunity to get additional money. He held out his hand and let her drop the coppers and silvers and gold coin into it. "Thank you, Lady Surg."

"Yes, well, safe travels." She reentered the lobby and closed the door behind her.

Eirek turned around and walked back to his caravan located on the gravel path that led to the estate. He climbed up and sat down on the bench, setting the golden bond next to him—it was the only pleasant thing about the appointment.

As he drove the caravan away, he saw all the workers under the watch of the open suns: Freyr, the great red sun, and Lugh, the small blue wanderer. How can they stand this? At the end of the path, he steered the horses left, to a road that would eventually lead through the Amon Forest and back to Creim. Is she always this demanding or is it because it's her daughters' birthdays? Still, Eirek was impressed with how she was able to cast power.

A slight bump due to a strewn tree branch signaled that they had reached the skirts of the forest. Eirek let go of the rein with one hand and held his other to eye level. "Palo."

Nothing.

Looking toward the suns, Eirek held his hand up high. "Palo."

Still nothing.

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