November 4, 2015 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Saydrie looked at Taikie and Enrie with a look so worried and so desperate, it made Enrie’s chest clench and her throat tighten. She nodded slowly. “We trust you, Sayrie. I promise I won’t doubt you.”
“I – I trust you.” Taikie sounded less certain, but she had been the one following Saydrie around the Engineering building. “I won’t doubt you, I promise.”
It was if a weight was lifted from Saydrie’s shoulders. He smiled, a tiny, faint thing, but still a smile. “Thank you. There are so many things here that are different from the way I was raised, but it is nice to now that friendship is still friendship. Let’s go up into the cupola.” He gestured down the hall.
“Into the what?”
“Saydrie found these little hideouts, almost secret passages, up at the top of the buildings. House Monitor Libkazaari helped me find him there once.” Taikie wore a wistful smile as she explained.
Saydrie echoed Taikie’s little smile. “I still think she was overstepping. But I’m also glad you found me.”
“Oh, when we were – when we were fighting.” Enrie flinched. “I remember Taikie went after you.”
“Right down here. It’s a lovely place when you want to get away from all the noise here. I haven’t shown any of the other Cevati Bitrani, just you guys. Well, I’m showing you guys now.” He turned to look at them with a nervous, twitchy smile. “I trust you.”
“Saydrie,” Enrie patted his shoulder carefully. “We’re going to trust you. We’re your friends and your team. You don’t have to be so worried.”
“Wait until you hear what I have to say, okay? I don’t want you to say anything you have to take back.”
“Saydrie, we already promised. It’s going to be okay.” Taikie mirrored Enrie and patted Saydrie’s other shoulder. “Let’s get up in the cupola and we can talk about it. Everything will be okay.”
“I’m glad you think so.” He opened the door into what looked like a small broom closet and ushered all three of them inside.
“This is…” Enrie searched for a word that wouldn’t make one of them blush or run away. Cozy described it, if you were into a certain amount of understatement. She was pressed shoulder-to-shoulder with Taikie and nose-to-chest with Saydrie. “I suppose if it’s going to be a quick conversation…”
“It’s all right,” Taikie reassured her. “This is just the vestibule. Show her, Saydrie.”
“With pleasure.” He pulled a lever somewhere behind him, causing a narrow door to swing open away from them. The door revealed a stairway, every bit as narrow, leading upstairs. “Up here.” He slipped into the stairwell and led the way.
“You two get into such interesting adventures when I’m not around,” Enrie marveled.
“Well, you’re the one that found a missing treaty. Well, the presence of a missing treaty, at least.”
“Taikie, you found a missing professor. I think that trumps a missing treaty.”
“Well, it didn’t take nearly as much research…” Taikie shrugged uncomfortably. They were nearly to the top of the stairwell, so Enrie let it drop.
“Here.” Saydrie settled himself into one side of the cupola, leaving room for the two of them. “There aren’t many places more private than this in the entire school.”
Enrie took a seat and looked around. They were in a little house-shaped structure at the top of the Philosophy building. Any more people in here and it would have been crowded; as it was, it was just big enough to be comfortable. Above them was the copper dome she had seen so many times from the outside, and around them were three circles of tiny windows. It was chilly up here, but bright, the little windows catching every possible ray of sun.
Saydrie cleared his throat. “The folk song. The stuff Darnio’s been talking about. If someone thought I was truly involved, it could endanger my whole enclave.”