Now Quinn sat on the window ledge of the acolyte’s dormitory and watched the coming storm. He wasn’t destined to live in a kingly palace, but he could smell rain. Unusual disturbance was also in the air. Rumbles reached him that shouldn’t because the storm clouds had yet to cross the Guyana River. Even as he watched, funnels of misty gray rose in the Bottom, the oldest part of the city where the Nawabs lived.
The black cloud was proceeding from the Nevers with rapidity. Rain, of course, but there was something about the intensity of its blackness that promised more. Violence. Damage. If his farmer’s instincts were right, the whole kingdom would be covered with dark by afternoon. It was a little after one o’clock now. By three, the whole sky would be black while the Lords and Ladies sloshed out of the castle. He savored the thought.
Quinn decided to leave for Larnes now. Now, before the others returned gorging themselves at the feast. Now, before they came back to insult him. Now, before he was cuffed. Quinn interpreted the black cloud as a sign and decided he’d had enough.
He packed his rusk sack. He put aside the clothes they’d given him, then picked them up and stuffed them in. They owed him something. He took the thin blanket from the pallet and also his own rulla pouch from beneath.
Quinn looked around, saw some cheese and bread left on the table, and wrapped it in his old shirt. Then, he left.
He passed under the arch of the long sleeping room and down the first flight of stairs. He didn’t try to hide, there was no need. No one was about. The sounds of a chaotic feasting crowd could be heard from the top of the stairs.
Only when he got to the first floor, readying himself to cross the hall that ran in front of the Great Throne Room did he stop, arrested by the sound of a woman weeping.
It was the Shivelite girl, wailing as loud as she could, walking back and forth along the hall before the Great Throne Room. Quinn knew he had to move quickly, else someone come to see what was the matter.
As quick as the thought, came the sound of the swish of a robe.
A Sacred Servant was coming.