Part 34 Boots

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We returned to the embassy. Inside the foyer, two large packages had been delivered, or maybe I should say small sea-chests. The colonel and Hawthorn stood nearby as if standing guard.

"What are these?" I asked.

"Sanchez says they are addressed to you," said the colonel.

Hawthorn eyed the chests. "By your leave Colonel, I say we neutralize them, put them outside and shoot until they explode."

I stooped to read the label: Grus Fennako, maker of fine boots.

"We've been expecting these." I lifted a chest and said in Fenrian, "My boots."

Tyee picked up the other, and we took the cases up to my quarters. There I opened a one. The Fennako-green sea boots pleased me immensely. I slipped them on, and they fit perfectly, covering my legs nearly to my hips. Soft as suede or doeskin, they had no decoration but an understated elegance and class.

Tyee touched my leg. "Nice."

I opened the second chest and tried on the Comryez boots, liking them almost as much, black with a subtle satin sheen. The cuffs, when folded down displayed yellow and orange-scarlet, each thigh with the image of a puffin, wings aflutter as if bursting forth from a wave.

A knock thunked on the door. "Missy. Missy," said Gagnon.

"Just a moment." I removed the boots and returned both pairs to their storage chests, then opened the door.

She gave Tyee a hard look and said, "It's not wise to invite a man into your bedroom."

"But he was just helping me," I explained. It was really none of her business.

"I know how it is," said Gagnon. "But remember we share this room."

I grimaced and spoke to Tyee in Fenrian; "She's just like Auntie Docent and Captain Alop, lecturing me about decorum."

"Ma'am." Tyee gave a bow to Gagnon and stepped out.

I followed. Gagnon was wrong again. I'd gone into my quarters for privacy from her. I didn't want her to see that my new boots identifying me as a member of both Clan Comryez and Clan Fennako.


Tyee walked across the terrace and into his mother's house. Truth to tell, he'd been avoiding her. His relationship to Missy and to Shewolf had become complicated, and he didn't want to explain it.

In the kitchen, Mother laid out rounds of flatbread. "Tyee, it's so good of you to visit your mother while you're here in Fennako." Her words were sweet, but her eyes accused.

Tyee defended himself. "I have a berth on Shewolf. And work to do."

Mother raised her eyebrows. "Work? More likely dancing in the student hall."

"Escorting and guarding the delegation," said Tyee.

"So I was told, but you appeared on Multicast. There was only one member of the expedition, and you were dancing with her. You were her partner."

"She danced with others in the crew," said Tyee.

"Who is this girl and what are her intentions?" Mother slapped herring pâté on the flatbread. "You looked good together. Too good."

"Her name is Ms. Politkofsky. She's an interpreter. Surely that was on Multicast."

Mother peeled skin from an onion. "What is her clan? Her mother? Her grandmother?"

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