Chapter Two: §3

Spring – 1021 YD
Miggest

Rumours of a foreign man acquiring friends in the northern aristocracy found their way to Sevína. Only esteemed nobility, wealth, or skill could quell the natural hostility Miggestians felt toward outsiders; her mistrust was piqued, and she began to seek him out. When word arrived that the man would be hosted at Tenenum Temple over Imbolc, she departed the capital for Ona. She was received at Tenenum Temple, which stood in the forest east of the city, with warmth as she frequented it often to assist in the orphanage. Its black marble structure and elaborate engravings were also beyond compare in the region, and it was here she had trained as a priestess before becoming a weaver.

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Wanting to study the foreigner before being introduced, she took the black attire of the adherents and tended the temple with the others.
   He was immediately recognisable when he arrived. Bronze bearded, rust-haired. She took a broom and swept the marble floor as he conversed with the priest, minding their conversation. His speech was thickened with the Iulithan dialect, and his manner—she observed without notice—was imperial. Commanding.
   When their conversation turned toward weavers in the region, Sevína began to exit—but halted at the mention of her name. Strange that he knew it; she turned slightly to watch him again.
  ‘I have heard that her skill is recognised in Delus.’
  The priest knew she was listening. ‘Sevína trained here as a priestess before beginning as a weaver. She is highly respected in the temple, and the court. She has been assisting High Priest Arnaud in his old age.’
  ‘I should like to meet her.’
  Embarrassment crossed the priest’s face as Sevína approached. The foreigner looked at her and smiled tersely before averting his eyes, expecting some administrative interruption. However, she simply stood, eyes focused in assessment. He looked again, a frown shadowing.
  ‘I present to you the weaver Sevína,’ the priest said.
  The man saw instantly.
  ‘Sevína, I present to you the Lord Vilsonius, Duke of Edeen.’
  She extended her hand, and their palms met; her grip was less than amicable. The priest sensed the tension and made his excuses.
  Once alone: ‘I see you have been asking after me.’
  He bowed slightly in admission. ‘Your skill as a weaver is known around the region.’
  She locked the broom against her knee and held its handle before her, fingers tight. ‘What interest do you have in weavers?’
   ‘Not so much weavers generally; my acquaintances have sung your particular praise.’
   She was not susceptible to flattery. ‘How does a Iulithan noble find himself in Miggest cultivating influential friends?’
  ‘Through a rather long series of circumstances.’
  The broom began to vibrate. Flecks of maroon moved on the floor. ‘I suppose you heard of our plight and saw some opportunity for yourself?’
   He was watching the flickering energy, but threw his eyes on her again. ‘I have no interest in commerce.’ His disdain was patently genuine.
  Slowly, she wrung the wooden handle and two cords formed from the energy at their feet, curling and tightening around Vilsonius’ legs. ‘These are difficult times. Perhaps you will make your interests plain?’
   He watched the bindings move, apparently unconcerned. ‘I have been seeking an adherent trained in weaving. Preferably a respected one.’
   ‘Why?’
   He waved a hand, and the binds recoiled from his skin, lashing back at Sevína and encircling her arms. The broom fell to the floor.
   ‘I require a capable guide to show me the Black Dragon’s path.’

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