The Night Runners: First Year

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Chapter 13

Emalynn, mentally recounting what she had packed, leaned back in the large padded leather seats of the train coach. Beside her, propped up in the corner by the window, Katrynn was settling down as was her wont when traveling. Sure enough, as the train pulled out the station, slowly at first and then picking up in speed, Emalynn watched Katrynn nod off. No surprise there, Emalynn reminded herself. I’ll have to be the one to take guard duty for the entirety of the trip. Not that I have to guard against anything much, but it is still important to be prepared for the unexpected.

Since the two girls were traveling alone without adult supervision beyond that of the conductor and the four train attendants, Emalynn felt more nervous than usual. It is only a short, one-stop ride to Bell Falls, the girl told herself. Then we will have to separate – which won’t be an issue for me since I have been to Karrowyn already – and I know Master and Mistress Busby. They were so helpful last time. I am sure they will have been alerted about my current mission.

Emalynn couldn’t help but compare her current ride to her last trip with Master Colin. It is much quieter. Other than Katrynn and herself, the carriage held a few other passengers. There were two elderly gentlemen, dressed in black suits and smart top hats, each holding a leather briefcase. Their long beards hung long, styled carefully over neat dark blue cravats and high collars. No doubt they are lawyers or some kind of government workers, Emalynn guessed.

The last passenger in the coach was a homely housewife surrounded by bags and baskets, obviously returning from an extended shopping trip. Her cherry red shawl, pulled around her thick, dark fleece cape-coat, looked cheery among the dreary surroundings of the dim coach. From the housewife’s capable hands, a pair of bright blue stockings hung, half-knitted. Emalynn found herself nearly hypnotized by the flash of the metal needles.

Watching the early morning sun rise, lighting the dark winter sky, Emalynn stared dully out of the carriage window. Mile after mile of barren fields passed by. What had once been fields full of wheat and corn and other grains was now covered in a vast white blanket of snow. It was not an encouraging view and rather uninteresting as the hours passed by.

By the time the train slowly ground to a halt before the platform at which they girls had to disembark, the sun was overhead and shone brightly. It was time to seek out the platforms for the second part of their respective journeys. Emalynn was tired, but knowing Katrynn’s habit of getting lost, she consulted her careful notes. The directions were simple for her own passage to Karrowyn; Katrynn, on the other hand, had a little more complicated train connection ahead of her.

Poking her sister and then jumping back to avoid Katrynn’s reactive leg kick, Emalynn roused her younger sister who sat up, blinked, yawned, and then stretched before standing up. Letting the two gentlemen and the housewife pass, Emalynn handed Katrynn the satchel and knapsack designated for Katrynn before hoisting down her own two sets of baggage.

“I’m hungry,” mumbled Katrynn.
“You have your packed lunch in your satchel,” Emalynn reminded the younger girl, “and you have a few sovereigns, don’t you? Maybe there’s a pastry shop on your platform.”
“Where is my platform?” Katrynn absently stepped off the last step of the coach while trying to read the minuscule notes she had written. “Platform 4.”
“You’ll get lost trying to find it, no doubt. You know what happens when you miss your connection! You’ll have to stay here all night. I’ll take you there myself since you are leaving sooner.”
“Alright,” Katrynn nodded.
“Follow me,” Emalynn said, eyes already raised as she read the signs carefully. “It’s a matter of following the signs.”
“What signs?” asked Katrynn.
“Above you,” Emalynn replied shortly. She mumbled to herself: “Of course, you don’t notice them.”
“I’ve never traveled on my own before...” Katrynn said in mild defense.
“Yes, I know. Why we thought letting you go alone was a good idea is beyond me. But, here we are.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“I hope so,” Emalynn said absently. “Aha! There it is! Platform 4. As the pamphlet said, we have to go down these stairs, underneath the tracks and up on the other side.”
“Complicated,” Katrynn noted, following her sister down the stairs to the underground tunnel.

“Well, large transfer stations like this are complicated,” Emalynn pointed out. “Well, here we are. The tunnel. It should be on the other side.”
“I can navigate a tunnel by myself,” protested Katrynn.
“Hmmm...” Emalynn raised a skeptical brow.

Once her sister was safe on her platform, Emalynn followed the signs to her own platform. Platform 9 was not as busy as her sister’s. There are more people off to Stone’s Throw[1] than Karrowyn, Emalynn mused. That doesn’t surprise me now that I know what Karrowyn is like. With a pack of gruff fishermen and noisy dock hands, five giggly young ladies, two quiet Clergy, and seven very bored-looking merchants, Emalynn waited for the train. I hope it isn’t delayed. This assignment seemed to be going better than I had thought – at least until now. Really, the sooner I can lay these questions to rest, return to the Capital, and finish this group assignment, the better. It’s been an interesting... experience, Emalynn winced at the memories of the briefing her group had held before Winter Solstice. It had been a bit trying to say the least. However, I’ll be glad when it is over and our grades are in.


Katrynn, leaving the train station, looked up and down the street in hopes of locating the local cabbie stand. To her left, she noticed a short line before a small window with the dingy white placard of “Cab Hire” above it. Joining the line, the young girl waited patiently until it was her turn at the high set window. Knowing that the clerk could barely see her, Katrynn stood on her tiptoes and peered over the lip of the window ledge.

“I’ll need a cab for this address,” Katrynn said, slipping a page over.
“Hmmm...” The thin man pursed his lips as he perused the crumpled note before him and then gazed down at the dark head and large brown eyes before him. “What is your name, young lady?”
“Miss Katrynn,” said the young girl.
“Creighton,” the clerk twisted round in his tall chair and spoke into the room. “Your charge is here, I think.”
“Ah’ll be raight oot,” said someone.
“Master Creighton has been hired to take you to your rooms,” said the clerk handing back the note. “It has been arranged already. You are in good hands.”
“Thank you,” Katrynn said, trying to hide her uncertainty.

I wonder… Is this the person whom Mistress Athylee told about? Emalynn said that when Master Shermore and she arrived in Karrowyn, they had help already arranged for them. Is Master Creighton like the people in Karrowyn? She wondered. Stepping aside, the short girl waited as Master Creighton, the cabbie, joined her and led her to his waiting horse and cab which stood waiting at the cabbie stand around the corner from the station. The man, young and round-faced and blue-eyed, was dressed in the usual black uniform of cabbies, complete with a black greatcoat and a blue scarf.

“It’s a cold day oot naow innit?”
“Yes, I suppose,” Katrynn said, pushing her knitted cap more firmly down on her brow and making sure her scarf was extra tight. Putting her gloved hand in her right pocket, the young apprentice double-checked the location of her favorite long-bladed jackknife. For just in case, she told herself.

“Mistress Jane will be awaitin’,” the cabbie went on. “Nao time tew waste then.”

With that, the cabbie helped Katrynn up into the seat, took his own, flicked the reins to start up the horses, and rolled out of the cabbie stand. Forcing herself to stay awake in a moving vehicle so late at night was quite a feat for Katrynn, but somehow she managed. When Master Creighton pulled the cabbie up into an alleyway and eased it through a narrow gate, Katrynn sat up straighter and began to adjust her coat and scarf in preparation to dismount.

After he stopped the horses, the cabbie opened Katrynn’s door, helped the girl down onto the snow-dusted cobblestones (They are lightly dusted because people actually do shovel their back yards and streets in the city.) and pointed her in the direction of the back door before turning back to his horse, which he un-clipped from the harness of the cab and led by the bridle to a small stable adjoining the house.

A green door with an elk head for a knocker – just as Mistress Athylee told me! A secret house! A hide out for grownups! Realizing that the cabby was putting up the horse and talking about looking forward to a bite to eat, Katrynn’s mouth formed a silent ‘o’. As she had hoped (and suspected), her kindly cabbie was in fact an assassin. The silent assassin, she imagined, rolling through the streets of Stone’s Throw, an unseen face in the crowd. I want to be a killer cabbie.

Realizing that someone was calling her name, Katrynn hastily turned and moved the slight figure on the back stoop who was motioning her inside the house. As she divested her shoes, hat, scarf, gloves, and coat, the woman introduced herself as Mistress Jane. Once her things were hung to dry on a few hooks, Katrynn was properly able to look at her hostess. Recalling Emalynn’s description of the Busby household, Katrynn felt surprised. Mistress Jane was not an older housewife, but a very plain looking young lady with blue eyes peering through a pair of fragile-looking pince-nez and blonde hair rolled back in a bun.

“I’ve got your room waiting,” said the slight young woman, brushing her hands off on her apron for the third time. “But I think you’ll want a small snack, and I have some hot soup on the stove waiting. Let’s get you a bite to eat and then a bath and then bed.”
“That sounds wonderful, thank you,” Katrynn said politely in return, putting on her best “company manners”, which her mother had hammered into her head.
“I am glad,” Mistress Jane gave Katrynn a small smile before leading the girl into a back room and then the kitchen beyond.

As promised, there was soup waiting, and when Katrynn was finished with both her soup and her bath, the young girl climbed into a large bed, snuggled underneath the covers, and fell asleep.


When Katrynn woke the following morning, she swiftly dressed, repacked her small bag, and descended the stairs in search of Mistress Jane, who was in the middle of preparing breakfast in the kitchen with Master Creighton. Master Creighton, smoking a pipe by the kitchen window, flipped pancakes in a quiet, laconic manner, while Mistress Jane began to set the table, laying out cutlery and flatware and cut fruits and freshly squeezed orange juice. Katrynn, never a great eater in the morning, sighed, knowing that she was going to have to force something down.

“Ah,” Mistress Jane looked up and caught sight of Katrynn hesitating in the doorway. “There you are! I did not think you would wake so early.”
“I have a lot to do,” Katrynn smiled, her brown eyes gleaming with barely contained excitement. “I am on a mission!”
“Yes,” Master Creighton turned then, shuffled a pancake off onto a plate stacked with other pancakes of varying sizes. “We unnerstan’ yew need tew make some inqueries ’bout Marble Vale,” he added. “I will accumpanee yew for seck-kurity’s sake. We’ll say thet yew hired me for th’day as yer driver.”
“Undercover work!” Katrynn sighed with happiness. “I can make up a back story.”
“Well, it doesn’t need to be complicated, dear,” Mistress Jane smiled at the girl’s enthusiasm. “’The simpler the better,’ I always say. Where did you need to go exactly?”
“I need to visit the local Register,” Katrynn said carefully, taking her seat and helping herself to a couple slices of apple and a small mug of tea. “Perhaps the local cathedral as well.”
“Ahh...” Mistress Jane nodded. “That would be the Cathedral of Riaine. Close to the center of town, that is.”

“Easy ’nough,” Master Creighton agreed.

“After breakfast, he’ll take you out to the Registrars if it’s information you’re seeking. On a family, I take it?”
“Yes,” Katrynn said, wondering how much she ought to tell her new acquaintances. “A local family called the Cravanaghs.”
“Ahhhh...” The woman nodded. “Well, Creighton will be able to help you get about then if that is all the investigating that is needing to be done.”

Mistress Jane and Master Creighton took their seats and began their breakfast with great gusto, slurping down the coffee, pancakes, and fruit before them. When he was done, Master Creighton, ignoring Mistress Jane’s sharp looks, leaned back in his chair and enjoyed another pipe. Eventually however both of the older assassins were done and Katrynn, once she retrieved her notepads and pencils and erasers, was ushered out to the backyard where Master Creighton hitched the horse and mounted his high seat. Clucking his tongue, the stout young man got the cantankerous old horse moving out the gate, which Mistress Jane closed behind them.

Opening the little hatch, Katrynn leaned forward and looked up at her driver.

“Mistress Jane isn’t coming with us?” she asked.

“Nao, nao,” Master Creighton grinned crookedly. “She’s gotten her ahwn affairs now. Nobbit we can say ’bout that, naow. I fehgure we’re ri’t dandy on ahwr own though.”
“Of course,” Katrynn agreed and she leaned back, letting the hatch spring shut.

Once inside, Katrynn approached the front desk where a young lady sat slouched in her chair, flipping through an old newspaper.

“Excuse me,” Katrynn asked politely. “Where would the ‘C’ section of the records be?”
“Over there.” The archivist flapped an idle hand in the direction of an aisle.

This is going much easier than I thought, Katrynn mused. I haven’t even gotten lost yet! Well, she amended, I’ve not been the chance to get lost. Mistress Jane and Master Creighton have really taken good care of me and seem to be ready to help me.

Katrynn’s optimism waned however at the sight of Marble Vale’s Archives. It looked nothing like the neat rows of bookshelves which she had envisioned from Chrystyna’s reports. Many of the bookshelves sagged with the weight of bins which overflowed with random scraps of paper. The books that were there, upon closer inspection, did not seem to be correctly labeled. Perhaps they aren’t in their correct spots, Katrynn realized with horror. How could a capital city allow their records to become so disordered?[2]

“I guess I will have to ask the bored looking girl up front. I should have just asked her for further details when I came in, but she looked really incompetent.” Katrynn sighed. “What kind of an archivist just waves and says ‘Over there’?”

The girl turned and turned, looking up at the tall bookshelves and the low plain white ceiling, and then paused as she realized that a wall had sprung up suddenly in front of her – or so it seemed.

Where was... Katrynn trailed off. Ah – there’s the aisle. Now – Katrynn stopped as she looked up and down the aisle. There was no hint as to what way she should go, neither were there handy signs labeled ‘To Reception’ or ‘To the Sign Out Desk’. Well, she thought, I can go right for a bit, and if it doesn’t look like I’m going anywhere, I’ll just turn around and go the other way!

Unfortunately, as was her wont, Katrynn discovered after a few moments that she was no longer certain she was on the same aisle she had been before. Just as she was about to call for the bored archivist, said young lady poked her head around a bookshelf and gave Katrynn a discouraged look.

“Did you find them yet?”
“There are no records for ‘C’ here,” Katrynn said flatly.
“Oh, well, they are here...” The archivist, pushing back her thick braid of black hair, leaned forward to check the shelves. “Oh, the ’C’s are here.”

“But the Cravanaghs aren’t,” Katrynn sighed, deciding to give the ‘civilian’ a hint of what she was looking for.

“The Cravanaghs?” blinked the archivist and then she sighed. “They’re over in the High Class section.”
“‘High Class section’?” Katrynn asked disbelievingly. “They get their own section?”
“High falutin’ folk think they deserve the special attention, I guess,” shrugged the young woman. “Come on, I’ll take you there.”

She slouched off mumbling stuff Katrynn could barely catch much less understand. Things about meddling cabbies and annoying girls. Master Creighton is in here? Katrynn wondered, eyeing the silent rows of bookshelves. There is no sign of him.

Within five minutes, Katrynn was led to the other side of the room where a small door opened to a low roofed walkway, which led to another hall filled with more bookshelves and bins and stacks of paper.

“This doesn’t look much different from the other section,” Katrynn noted dryly.

“It isn’t,” said the archivist with a shrug. “The Cravanaghs are...” She disappeared down the far left aisle and shouted. “Here, here they are!”
“Thank you,” Katrynn said, looking down at the pile of dusty ledgers, thick tomes, and old papers. before her. “These are all the records?”

“All the public records,” stressed the archivist. “Anything they don’t want seen... well, good luck finding what you need!”

With that, the young woman disappeared, the door shut a few seconds later with a heavy doom-filled clang, and Katrynn was left alone in the room with her mountain of research before her.

The good news is we have some dates, Katrynn reminded herself. Let’s see if I need to dig out my notes… I think it was around thirty-some years ago, the Cravanaghs made a donation. For some reason, Chrystyna wants to look into it. Of course, this may have nothing to do with our assignment, but Emalynn says there’s nothing wrong with humoring Chrystyna. Being thorough is part of the assassin life anyways.

With that thought, Katrynn chose the records that were clearly labeled 1430 DO to 1450 DO[3], knowing that the records for the financial transactions, if they were public, would be most likely found there. If they have been archived correctly, Katrynn shook her head as she staggered over to the table with her arms full of dusty parchment and rolls of crumpled paper and thick heavy navy tomes respectively labeled Accountings, Histories and Lineage.

The gold and red embossed book labeled Lineage was exactly as its title promised – long, never ending lines of black ink connecting bored or stuffy-looking people together in intricate lines of marriage and intermarriage and parentage. I wonder… Katrynn thought as she glanced over the dates on the front page. All really old dates here. I bet the new ones are at the back. Flipping to the end, Katrynn spotted and carefully copied the marriage lines for the Cravanaghs.

I think we already have a general idea of what the family line and history of the Cravanaghs, but it is never bad to go to the source and double-check the facts all over again. Besides, it isn’t as though this generation of the main branch of the Cravanagh family is that large anyways. Finding Lady Matilde’s name (a dark-eyed beauty) next to Lord Sadon of Tawyrs (a dour looking man with a large beard and bristling mustache), Katrynn smiled.

There you are, she thought triumphantly. No children, just as the gossips said in Brittainy’s report! And of course, Lord Sadon is a little older... I wonder what it felt like to leave your family and your home province and be swept away to a desolate cliff mansion. Katrynn imagined a forlorn, fashionable, purple cloak wrapped around the shoulders of a dark-haired, dark-eyed beauty seated on the back of a horse overlooking a grey-black sea. Behind her rose a dark tower – the lighthouse of Tawyrs now unlit and forlorn in the desolate vista. The imaginative girl shuddered and shut the book quickly, moving on to

Accountings.

Accountings was related to the family’s public spending. Just as Chrystyna had noted in her research, there was indeed a large sum given to the Clerics. There were also various notes on special events (hunting parties and Winter Solstice balls and the girls’ coming out soirees) and how much they had cost the Cravanaghs, a testament to their wealth and economy. The Cravanaghs also seemed to spend a lot of money on buying seafood (Katrynn approved) and couriers (Katrynn tilted her head and blinked).

They seem to be using the same couriers quite often. Zimmers and Sons Ltd... Katrynn took note of the names. Quite a few parcels to the Capital. Perhaps Chrystyna and Brittainy should look into these couriers. Perhaps the family has some connection to drugs after all – or perhaps there is some other hidden connection.

With that, Katrynn moved onto Histories. Here, things looked a little more interesting. Some secretary or writer had yearly chronicled the doings of “The Greyt Hawse of Cravanagh”. For a brief moment, Katrynn wondered if all the other ‘great houses’ also had chronicles. What would our family’s chronicles be like? The girl wondered. I suppose the entries would be fairly short with things like ‘This be the year in which Mistress Romayan put up cherry-colored drapes’ or ‘Master Romayan was absent for a month in the fall’... Let’s see what the Cravanaghs did.

At first, things did not seem too interesting. There had been a drought in 1431; a mill had been erected in 1432; two bridges had been destroyed in a flash flood; and the Cravanagh marble mine had let go a number of workers in 1433 which had led to some unrest. 1434 seemed uneventful as the family had spent most of their time in the Capital attending to Lady Matilde’s ‘coming out’[4].

Coming out, Katrynn laughed. How old-fashioned – not for them, I suppose. And 1435... hmmm... ‘Many men sought out the hands of the Cravanagh young ladies and pursued their hearts with much fervour’. Probably the family’s money they were pursuing, Katrynn sniffed. Lady Matilde seems to have had a fun time. Then in the latter part of the year, around the beginning of autumn, the family gone traveling... Did they leave the continent or stay in Doran? Or... Katrynn turned the page and kept reading. Apparently, the girls and their mother went for a round trip in Quartz Hills and the provinces surround it. That’s odd. I don’t remember Chrystyna’s financial notes mentioning that... “After some time, they returned to the Marble Vale estate outside of town and stayed there for the rest of 1436, taking their ease.” ‘Taking their ease’? Katrynn frowned. What does that mean?

Taking notes from the first few years, Katrynn moved onward. Toward the end of 1436, the Cravanaghs blessed Marble Vale’s Cathedral with a generous sum of money. What the money had been used for was not clear, but the money donation had happened. Katrynn leaned back and looked at her notes. I’m going to have to go to the Cathedral, she sighed. First, I will look at the other papers and parchments here, but I have a feeling that I’ve got to go to the Cathedral for more specific information.

After making sure there was no additional information and that all the other dates (Lord Sadon and Lady Matilde’s marriage in 1436, a miscarriage in 1442 (!), the slighting of Lady Koralee in 1445) aligned with the notes Chrystyna had supplied her, Katrynn returned everything carefully and left the Archives.

Stepping outside, she drew in a deep breath of fresh air and sighed.

“How diddit goo then?” asked Master Creighton.

“I’ll need to go to the Cathedral,” sighed Katrynn. “I wish I could have gotten it all in one go. I suppose that never happens.”
“Ah well, life happuns.”
“It could be worse,” Katrynn agreed. “I could’ve been lost for a longer time than I was.” She decided to keep the story of the archivist and her mumbling to herself. “Is the Cathedral close by? Can we go there today?”
“Easily dun, nao trubble there.”

With that, Master Creighton brought round the cab, helped Katrynn into her seat, took his own, and started off down the street. After a few minutes, he drew up his dark hansom by a meat pie seller and bought one for Katrynn and another for himself.

“Lunch,” he explained. “Riaine knaows how long yeh’ll be in’the church. Them clerics culd tawlk a hind leg off a dawnkey.”

“Thank you,” Katrynn said and politely began to nibble on her pie.

No sooner did the gravy fill her mouth, then the girl sighed with rapture. The pastry was perfectly flaky and the gravy just the right sort of thickness. The beef inside the pie melted in her mouth. Nodding happily, Master Creighton shut the door, and they were off. Within twenty minutes, the cab drew up into a long lot which ran alongside a high wall. Hopping out, Katrynn’s eyes widened as her eyes traveled up the arched, graceful height of the Cathedral of Riaine which loomed above the stone wall. Katrynn looked about and located the great iron gates set within the speckled black stone wall, standing wide open.

“Th’walls were bilt w’marbul,” her chauffeur said with comfortable ease. “Orded by thuh Bishup himself. Bishup Carvoranon. He wus th’one who’d made thuh extruh nayve as well.”
“Nave? Two naves?” Katrynn asked, supposing she was to be impressed by this information for some reason.
“Bishup Lawrence a hun’red yeers later ordered the Orphunage dun. Fer the childrens. Thet’d be ovver two hun’red years ago. Recentlee, they’ve begun recunstrukshun on th’Refrectory.”

Refrectory? Katrynn blinked. Does he mean ‘rectory’, where the clerics usually live?

“Fancy.” Katrynn finally decided to say. “Well, I suppose I should just go in. Follow the path, right?”

“Yes. Jus’ fallow th’path.”

“Alright. Hopefully I’ll be back soon.”

Katrynn, however, ended up spending over an hour and a half in the Cathedral’s staff parlour, trapped in conversation over several cups of tea with a forlorn-looking thin nun, dressed in a severe gray-blue and white habit. Sister Clarice had apparently been warned of Katrynn’s coming and had already done some research for her young guest. After the Sister had intoned one of the three greetings which Mistress Athylee had taught Katrynn, the young Apprentice realized that the slender, gray-haired nun before her must also be an informant – or another kind of assassin.

An assassin nun? Is she a... Shadow Cleric? Katrynn’s eyes widened in awe. Or is she merely an informant? Does she stab people in the Confessional Boxes? Or bury the evidence of her capable hands in the deep of midnight in the most remote section of the graveyard! Katrynn’s mental image evaporated as Sister Clarice continued on in her mournful, slow manner. Is this her cover? Is she really this strict and quiet? Katrynn wondered. I suppose I can’t really ask.

“The notes I took,” said Sister Clarice giving the girl two small pieces of paper on which had been written, in neat cursive, a variety of information, “you may have for your own keeping.”
“Thank you, ma’am.” Katrynn glanced over the notes.

“You may call me Sister Clarice, dear.”
“Yes, ma- Sister Clarice.”
“We do not often get such young apprentices visiting us,” Sister Clarice nodded slowly, pouring Katrynn and herself another cup of tea. “Especially ones from your establishment – from the Capital. How times are changing. Quite exciting, I suppose.”
“It says here that the Cravanagh’s donated money to the church in the year 1436… specifically to the Orphanage? Isn’t that a little… odd – that it be so specific?”
“Indeed,” Sister Clarice gave Katrynn the tiniest hint of a smile. “I thought so as well. So, I brought this along.” The woman pulled out a book from the stand beside her seat on the sofa and set it down on the table before them. “The Orphanage’s records going back a hundred years.”
“Oh,” Katrynn blinked. “You think the answer is in there?”
“Well,” Sister Clarice said, “the Cravanaghs are quite a traditional, upright family. One of the better landed families within Marble Vale. They owned several mines and a few estates, and they attended church on a semi-regular basis—took part in the Solstice celebrations.” The older woman watched as the younger girl flipped eagerly to the years in question, her big brown eyes filled with quiet intensity as she searched the pages. “However, despite their social standing,” Sister Clarice continued, “such a large amount – how much was it again – five hundred sovereigns? That is quite the sum to donate.”
“These records show the acceptance of various children into the establishment throughout the years,” Katrynn paused and then looked up. “Oh...” Realization dawned, and her fingers suddenly flipped through the pages quicker.

1436. Three children had been brought into the Orphanage, two of which had been newborns. Their names, apparently given by a certain Master Tilsby, were noted below each entry. Katrynn tilted her head and frowned.

One of those... looks... familiar...

She needed to send a message by pigeon post – immediately!


[1]Stone’s Throw, the colloquial term for Marble Vale, is so named since it is ‘a stone’s throw’ from the Capital. Once Capital of the country, Stone’s Throw has a certain air of importance and nobility about it and serves a center for trade within the south-central section of Doran. Furthermore, Marble Vale (or Stone’s Throw), capital of Quartz Hills, is famous for its quartz and marble mines and for its minced pies.

[2]This speaks in general to Katrynn’s Youth. To begin with, the girl should have known better than to trust the glib statements of Chrystyna regarding the general state of her surroundings. This is, after all, the same girl who lived in a tower with a hole in the roof and rusted open windows. Furthermore, everyone knows that archives and libraries (and anything labeled ‘records’) tend to be nexuses of disorder, regardless of how organized their keepers are.

[3]DO stands for Doran Origin. 0 DO stands for the first year that Doran was created and every year after that is numbered in relation to the august country’s inauguration. BDO, which means Before Doran Origin, is a mysterious time to most historians – a time of derring-do and great adventures to most children since the pre-Doran region consisted of warring city-state factions and powerful assassin clans. However, sadly, in relation to this story, that is neither here nor there and is best saved for another story all together.

[4]Coming Out is a term to describe the celebration of a young lady’s coming of age. At the age of 15 or 16 (depending upon one’s parents), a young lady is able to attend balls, social functions and a variety of events -suitably chaperoned, of course. With the passing of the years, ‘coming out’ has become less and less ceremonious, which is a sign of social moral corruption to some of the older people who believe in Doing Things Right.

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