018 Safehouse?

Den carried me out of the hall.

Congratulations, Nyl you certainly made a mess of that situation.

Who said that?

You did.

What? I don’t understand.

I am Woethief, your other half.

Den, help! I don’t know what is happening. I tightened my grip on his collar as if I would fall. He didn’t receive my thoughts.

Relax, Nyl. I do not wish to harm you.

Who are you? I asked the unfamiliar voice that separated me from Den.

When you received the Orderer Stone, your mind split. We are both Nyla Woethief, but because of the Stone’s long absence our mind broke once it was returned.

Let me speak to Den?

“It is true Nyl; I am sorry. I didn't know it would happen,” he informed me.

My head drooped onto my breast. Even attempts to aid me failed. I could not blame Den or Thee’ of course; they did what they thought was right.

What are we to do now?

“Now, we wait. My sister will surely rejoin us and then, if you are still willing, she may plant her parasite.”

Of course we are willing. Nyl and Woe said in unison.

Den’s constant backtracking and zagzigging, brought me through parts of the city which I had never visited. Many of the buildings were carved from solid stone rather than formed from crumbling blocks. When Den set me down, we entered a tunnel and spent another ten minutes maneuvering through the labyrinth. My guide never faltered.

He said little as we journeyed. I loathed myself for the pain my actions brought him. Though Thee's venom brought partial healing to his body, I knew my actions disappointed and angered him.

After assuring himself that no one had followed us, he pulled me into the street. I stood in front of a small house with attractive carvings on the lintel.

“It is modest, but I believe you will be comfortable.”

He led me by the hand into a two-room apartment. Food and various supplies lined shelves along all the walls and a faucet stood in the corner.

You have a faucet?


You have a faucet!

Tears of joy spilled down my face as I rushed toward the object of my excitement. In utter bafflement, I stared at the device, unsure of how to operate it. Den twisted the knob. Water spilled into the basin. I twisted the knob until it poured at its greatest pressure.

The cool liquid felt so good on my skin as I splashed it onto my face.

“Are you trying to flood the house?” Den asked as he rubbed his hand on my hair playfully, forgetting his anger. My braid realigned itself instantly.

I shut off the water and leaned back into him. My head barely reached his stomach.

Thank you ever so much. I have never known such luxury.

Sadness filled his heart. He pitied me for the squalor I had lived in previously.

“I must leave you alone for a while. I advise you to remain inside.”

Where are you going?

“I am a guard for a prominent storehouse. Once you are restored to heirship,” he spoke as if it were a certainty. “I will be able to guard you at all times instead of protecting crates of loaf-plant.”

But what of your wounds?

“I'll manage; I've had worse.”

When can I expect Thee’?

“When she is ready.”

When will that be?

“I haven’t the faintest idea. She does as she wills and I do not pretend to understand her actions. Everything she does is purposeful, but I am too dull to understand her strategy.”

When you come back, buy something nice for her, Nyl requested.

“I will. Eat anything you please. There are fresh linens on your cot. The latrine is behind that door.”

Once he changed into fresh clothes in the latrine, he departed.

“One last thing, you will not be able to speak to my mind until my watch is over. It takes too much concentration on my part.”

I understand.

I surveyed the lovely, little house. To me it was a veritable palace. The cot was so soft and there was another faucet in the latrine.

This is wonderful! Everything is so beautiful in this little place! Nyl exclaimed.

The furniture is sparse and well-used. Den clearly has little money. Woe commented.

Even poverty is better than the slavery I knew.

We will not starve. He has a month’s supply of food on those shelves.

I rested on my cot under a snug wool blanket. Perhaps life could become good even if I did not become Princess.

Desperate pounding on my door broke me out of my musings. I clutched a pistol and opened the door a crack.

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