Through Chrishton's belch, Dorcas eyed Kamar. Gastronomic feats aside, he was more intriguing in mien at the moment. He wore a montage of facial expressions. While this rogue's appearance and mannerisms were outwardly sly, it had just dawned on Dorcas that he was the less cryptic of her two companions.
When Chrishton began to speak his excuses, her gaze shifted slowly to his bare feet.
. . . So we're hidin' out 'till we figure out what t'do 'bout it all.
Dorcas didn't seem to blink for some time. She looked up first to Chrishton, then to Kamar, her dull brown eyes made bolder with a hint of flinty severity.
"So, magic stuff again," she said in a brisk, low voice, a cold poshness creeping upon her accent. "I'm no stranger to this place anymore. I know what this stuff is and why you're in such trouble. I . . ." Pausing, she shifted her gaze between the two again. " . . . I don't see a reason to exacerbate your situation by any of the many ways I could. But--if I'm going to alleviate your worries any, help with this lying low--I want you to tell me what is going on. Where're you goin'
with this stuff you're doin'?" She stiffened her lip, her bargaining chip out on the table as eloquently as she could place it.
She had only a moment to let her ante sink in when the rustle of the curtain at the back of the room interrupted the silence she'd imposed. Mydjeken, having been out for nearly five minutes, poked his head back into the front room. His dark hair was tousled into a fluffy bird's nest and his otherwise clean face bore a rosy dusting of rouge and what appeared to be a smudge of lipstick on one side. The boy, who could hardly be older than Dorcas herself, cleared his throat as he stepped past the curtain. Dorcas's cheeks flushed as rosy as his when he patted his hair flat again.
"Well, Udorl is in, ah . . . fine form . . . tonight." Mydjeken rolled his eyes slightly and fidgeted as he spoke. "My dear sister," he supplemented.
"Sister in law
," Dorcas hissed quietly. She refused to meet Mydjeken's gaze and seemed to fidget as well.
"Anyhow--" The boy tried in vain to catch Dorcas's eye, and he sighed before he went on to address the men. He said this in as businesslike a manner as he could muster, given his appearance. "My room shall be free for a guest tonight, which clears up and makes more comfortable the matter of sleeping arrangements. Conveniently."
He turned to leave with haste. Dorcas looked up into empty air for a moment before slowly turning to face Chrishton. Her look was no longer severe, and it was clear that the news did not come as convenient nor did it bring her comfort. Her eyes were saucers in a flushed face. Her raw lips formed a slack, down-turned crescent. Around her face, hair the color of molding straw hung in lank locks, messy with the wisps that had curled and thus tangled themselves in the steam from her drink. She wrapped both hands tightly around her mug and her gaze slid off Chrishton to hang dully on the sleeve of his ill-fitting vestment.
"Not actually . . . real sister . . ." she mumbled almost incoherently.