TITLE: House of the Adepts
Both Chara and her kinswoman Chynane are escaped serfs. Chara has managed to better herself; Chynane has not. But Chynane has found a powerful and secret protector and was able to inform on Chara and gain reward by it without being exposed herself.
When Chara finds out her kinswoman gave her up, she is understandably upset . . .
Chara waited until the bounty hunter left then went up to Chynane. “He’s your son.”
“Well, well, here’s Mistress Charadyn lowering herself to speak to me.” Chynane sneered. “Am I supposed to be grateful that a fine lady like you takes an interest in my business? Mind your own!”
“Your son working for the Gagans! Is he in town on their business?”
“No. His Gagan friends are displeased with him over what happened with you.” She laughed bitterly. “And he can’t give me up without being taken himself. So he’s at loose ends. Your friend the Archon wants him out of town. He was asking for money. Why else would he bother to talk to his own mother?”
“Did you promise him money?”
Chynane looked sly. “Everyone knows I’m poor.”
“Not any more. You are wearing new clothes, Chynane, and I saw you buying ham.”
“So what? My business is my own.”
“How did you come by the money?”
“Earned it which is more than you ever did. But as I do work, fine lady, I’ll be off. You need not concern yourself.”
“How did you earn it?”
Chynane laughed shortly. “I sold something. I have more wares than baskets.”
Chara wanted to slap her. “You sold me knowing what it would mean. I want to know how you managed to do a deal with the Gagans and not get caught yourself.”
For an instant an expression of shame crossed Chynane’s face only to be replaced by defiance. “Gave you up? Who says so?”
“You did--in your cups. You admitted it and, Aeglam heard you. Do you think I wouldn’t find out?” Chara’s voice rose in anger.
Chynane shrugged. “So? At last you were worth something to me.”
Chara grabbed her arm. “Who paid you?”
“Leave me alone!” Chynane tried to pull away, but Chara dug in her nails.
“Was it him? Your son? Is that why you were safe?”
“Him? He couldn’t protect anyone.”
“Who paid you?”
“I can keep secrets all right. And even if you knew, it’s someone you can’t touch.”
“I will find out, and then we will see who I can touch.”
“Are you threatening me, Chara? Living up at the House has puffed you up even more if you think you can get the better of me.” Chynane pulled her arm away and went off pushing her way through the crowd.