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He must see about getting some new things. These were all old: serviceable,
but not exactly stylish. Clostan, the Hold's healer, was always so well
turned out that he might ask the man which tailor he used in Tillek. Clean at
last, Robinton became conscious of the reek from the carisak of dirty
clothing. He'd take it down to the washroom himself rather than have it
contaminate his quarters. After all, maybe Kasia... and he cut short that
delightful thought, although the prospect might be possible.
He was apologizing to the old auntie in charge of the laundry drudges for the
state of his clothes and she was grinning toothlessly up at him, when light
steps on the stairs alerted him to Kasia's arrival with her bundle. Their
eyes met, and he was sure he was blushing at the intensity of her gaze. That
her cheeks reddened, too, was an excellent sign.
"Juvana wants to hear how we fared, Robinton," Kasia said, almost formal in
manner. She passed over her clothing to the auntie, all too casual, and the
woman's grin broadened as she looked from one to the other.
"Well, by all means let us relate our adventures," he saidThe colour of the
water and the thin slick of oil suggested that he was wise to soak. His hands
stung a bit from the soap-sand, and he'd several broken nails as well as
various scrapes and nicks. Nothing that wouldn't heal. Salt water was good
to clean wounds, even tittle ones.
So he tended to his appearance and nails as he dressed in clean, warm clothes.
He must see about getting some new things. These were all old: serviceable,
but not exactly stylish. Clostan, the Hold's healer, was always so well
turned out that he might ask the man which tailor he used in Tillek. Clean at
last, Robinton became conscious of the reek from the carisak of dirty
clothing. He'd take it down to the washroom himself rather than have it
contaminate his quarters. After all, maybe Kasia... and he cut short that
delightful thought, although the prospect might be possible.
He was apologizing to the old auntie in charge of the laundry drudges for the
state of his clothes and she was grinning toothlessly up at him, when light
steps on the stairs alerted him to Kasia's arrival with her bundle. Their
eyes met, and he was sure he was blushing at the intensity of her gaze. That
her cheeks reddened, too, was an excellent sign.
"Juvana wants to hear how we fared, Robinton," Kasia said, almost formal in
manner. She passed over her clothing to the auntie, all too casual, and the
woman's grin broadened as she looked from one to the other.
"Well, by all means let us relate our adventures," he said as blandly as he
could, and taking her arm in his with a grand gesture
- at which the auntie cackled - he led her up the stairs.
This time they did not race but walked slowly, eyes meeting
when their legs brushed as they climbed the steps. At the top, Robinton was
almost trembling. Oh, he'd sung lover songs and knew the various degrees of
loving as well as the next harper. But to be himself immersed in precisely
what the lyrics described was another experience entirely. To see Kasia
responding to him was an even greater miracle.
They spent an hour with Juvana and helped her to sort mending yarns, allowing
their hands to meet in the process. Robinton knew how to spin out a good tale
about his inadequacies on board a working ship, while Kasia loyally corrected
him with her version of the mattel
"I have considerably more respect for fishmen now, I assure you, Lady Juvana,"
he said when the bell sounded for the midday meal.
"D'you think Gostol will give Vesna her ticket now?" Juvana asked Kasia as
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they made their way down to the dining hall.
"I know he was pleased with her docking ... stylish and accurate," Kasia said
after a pause to consider her answer. "And she certainly knows her craft. Is
she after the new hull in the shipyard?"
"Which joumeyman isn't?" Juvana said in a droll tone. "Now you're back, will
you help me with fitting the children's new clothes?"
"Did you get the borders all done?"
"I didn't waste my time while you were having fun sailing ..."
"Fun?" Kasia protested, giving her sister a stern look. "In the weather we
had?"
Robinton felt left out of this exchange, but told himself not to be silly.
Just because he was besotted with Kasia, it didn't mean he could expect her
undivided attention. And she might not wish to ascribe more to that quick
kiss than the whimsy of the moment.
Gloomily he added to himself that it might only have been the elation of
getting home. There were other men, as he'd told Gostol, who showed a keen
interest in Kasia. What did he, a journeyman harper, really have to offer a
girl of good Blood?
So he plunged back into the work he was contracted to do and tried not to
think of ways to intercept Kasia in her daily rounds. But it was hard and
they did seem to keep meeting - in the halls, on the steps, certainly in the [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]