An Act of Treason

When he arrived at the academy, Nazeed was pacing restlessly in the receiving hall, which was empty but for the bawd, who was careful not to look at either of them.

“We don’t have much time,” Nazeed said as he led Masiph through the twisting hallways of the brothel to the alley behind, and from there to the gnarled byways that surrounded it. “We have to be across Uenam by nightfall.”

Masiph did not reply, nor did he say anything when a covered palanquin materialized on an empty street and, after they had slipped within its confines, began to carry them farther to the west. He knew better than to ask what they were about, especially with the ears of the carriers so near. Instead he settled back into his seat and put a quid in his cheek, hoping the aslyn would shake off the drowsiness he felt from the ale he had been drinking. Nazeed paid him no mind throughout their journey, staring off into the palanquin curtains, lost in his own thoughts, which only made Masiph more nervous. It was unlike him; normally he was quick to set the youth at ease.

They switched palanquins several times in their journey, exiting on one empty street and following a circuitous route set by Nazeed to another quiet avenue, where a palanquin awaited their arrival. In this way they gradually made their way to what Masiph recognized as the eastern edge of the Uenam, where Nohritai families of middle rank had their estates. He did not understand the abundance of caution Nazeed was using, given that they could both reasonably account for their being in the area without issue. Unless he was worried about them being followed, but who would know to follow them? Continue reading