TITLE: House of the Adepts
After spending her birthday picnicking with friends, Chara comes home to her embittered kinswoman.
When Aimer saw Chara home it was late, and she was tired but happy. Chynane was still up. She sat by a candle plaiting reeds.
“Greetings, Chynane! Did you enjoy the festival?”
Chynane smiled sourly, “Festivals can make no difference to me. While you were gadding about with your fine friends I was working. Some one has to keep this place up. As you won’t help, it falls to me.”
Chara knew better than to argue.
Chynane saw Chara’s pouch with the presents in it, and her eyes gleamed. “What’s in the sack?”
“Just some odds and ends,” said Chara. She’d have to keep her treasures up at the House so Chynane wouldn’t take them. “Are you making hats?” When warmer weather came Chynane added reed-woven hats to her stock.
“I am. The least you can do is cut those reeds for me.”
Chara was not at practiced at weaving as Chynane, but she sometimes she helped gather and dry reeds, and she knew how to trim and split them so they could be woven. She settled herself on the other side of the candle and began. “Did you find the gifts?” she asked.
Chynane snorted. “What good are those things to me? What I need is coin, girl.” Chynane went on, “You make such a fool of yourself. ‘Did you find the gifts?’ Talking like quality or trying to when you are nothing more than a servant. How stupid is that? Do you really think you fool anyone?”