Chapter no 83: Return

The Name of the Wind

THAT EVENING I GATHERED up my things and made my way down to the common room. The townsfolk eyed me and murmured excitedly among themselves. I overheard a few comments as I walked to the bar, and realized that yesterday most of them had seen me wrapped in bandages, presumably with terrible wounds underneath. Today the bandages were gone, and all they saw were some minor bruises. Another miracle. I fought to keep from smiling.

The sullen innkeeper told me that he couldn’t possibly dream of charging me, seeing as how the entire town was in my debt and all that. I insisted. No no. Absolutely not. He wouldn’t hear of it. If only there was something else he could do to show his gratitude.

I put on a thoughtful expression. Now that he mentioned it, I said, if he happened to have another bottle of that lovely strawberry wine…

I made my way to Evesdown docks and got a seat on a barge heading downriver. Then, while I was waiting, I asked if any of the dockworkers had seen a young woman come through here in the last couple days. Dark haired, pretty…

They had. She had been by yesterday afternoon and shipped downriver. I felt a certain amount of relief, knowing that she was safe and relatively sound. But other than that, I didn’t know what to think. Why hadn’t she come to Trebon? Did she think I had abandoned her? Did she remember anything we had talked about that night as we lay on the greystone together?

We docked in Imre a few hours after dawn, and I went straightaway to Devi’s. After some spirited bargaining, I gave her the loden-stone and a single talent in order to wipe out my extremely short term loan of twenty talents. I still owed my original debt, but after all I’d been through, a four-talent debt no longer seemed terribly ominous, despite the fact that my purse was largely empty again.

It took a while to put my life back together. I’d only been gone four days, but I needed to make apologies and give explanations to all manner of people. I’d missed an appointment with Count Threpe, and two meetings with Manet, and a lunch with Fela. Anker’s had gone without a musician for two nights.

Even Auri reproached me gently for not coming to visit her.

I’d missed classes with Kilvin, Elxa Dal, and Arwyl. They all accepted my appologies with gracious disapproval. I knew that when next term’s tuitions were set, I would end up paying for my sudden, largely unexplained absence.

Most important were Wil and Sim. They had heard rumors of a student attacked in an alley. Given Ambrose’s smugger-than-usual expression of late, they expected I had been run out of town, or, at worst, that I was weighted down with rocks at the bottom of the Omethi.

They were the only ones that got a real explanation of what had happened. Though I didn’t tell them the entire truth about why I was interested in the Chandrian, I did tell them the whole story, and showed them the scale. They were appropriately amazed, though they did tell me in plain terms that next time I would leave a note for them or there would be hell to pay.

And I looked for Denna, hoping to make my most important explanation of all. But, as always, looking did no good.

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