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   Chapter 18 Rabbit A Talent Mark Novel

Rabbit: A Talent Mark Novel By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 19069

Updated: 2018-03-13 12:18


Chapter 18

Rabbit waited for a few minutes to ensure the others were in their rooms with their doors shut. She cracked her own door open a sliver and peered through the crack and into the hallway. There was still commotion in the rooms of the new arrivals but Harmony's door remained firmly shut. As she watched, Sanab stepped out of the rooms and into the hallway. Realizing this might be her only chance at a warning, Rabbit opened her door wider, and leaned into the hallway to get Sanab's attention. The older woman looked over to her, frowned and walked over.

"Is there something, " Sanab began. Rabbit touched her lips for silence and waved Sanab into the room. The older woman followed and Rabbit closed the door behind them.

"Is there a problem, miss?" Sanab asked. Rabbit took a deep breath, unsure what Sanab knew about Molly's origins and activities.

"The tall thin man who was sitting with Lord Cowen, " Rabbit began quietly.

"Yes, " Sanab said encouragingly.

"Could you please tell Miss Molly that she needs to stay away from him?"

"Away from him?" Sanab asked with a frown. "Why? He seems like a decent sort."

"Please, " Rabbit said. Without knowing how far into Molly's confidence Sanab was she wasn't sure what else she could say. Rabbit frowned trying to figure out how to say what needed to be said. Sanab stared at her for a moment and then smiled.

"This wouldn't have anything to do with your escape would it?"Sanab asked. She chuckled at Rabbit's surprised expression.

"You know then?" Rabbit asked. Sanab nodded.

"The inn's been helping folks since before Lord Tessian's grandfather was born, " Sanab said. "My son even married one of the water girls who couldn't go home." Rabbit sighed with relief.

"The man with Lord Cowen is a mind worker. He has the ability to read thoughts. Will you please tell Miss Molly?" Rabbit thought about it for a moment. "Although if everyone knows then anyone who works with him will have to just keep their mind off of secret things when around him. He can only read the minds of people when they are in sight of him. He wouldn't be able to rifle through their thoughts, just hear what they are thinking about at the moment he is with them." Rabbit frowned with worry and Sanab patted her arm in reassurance.

"I'll let Miss Mol know, " she said. "Don't you worry, we'll keep good and careful." Sanab turned back towards the door, opened it a crack and when she saw the hallway was still empty slipped out, closing the door behind her. Rabbit listened to her footsteps fading away and sighed with relief when no one came knocking to find out what was going on. Rabbit added a log from the wood box to the fire to brighten the blaze and take the chill off of the room. She tried sitting in front of the fire and continuing her sewing but she found it hard to concentrate.

"How many people does a visitor at an inn come in contact with?" she thought. Her mind started making a list. "Too many, " she decided. She set her embroidery to the side and began to pace. Even the whisper of a thought at the wrong time would be bad.

"Bad for me, bad for Molly, bad for the inn, bad for Sanab's daughter-in-law. Bad, bad, bad, " she thought as she paced. So many people could be hurt. "Unless the mind working advisor didn't tell Cowen." Rabbit frowned. A knock at her door made Rabbit jump. She walked over and opened it to find Molly with a cart. Rabbit stepped out of the way and Molly wheeled the cart in.

"Mistress Harmony will be dining with Lord Cowen tonight and asked that each of you receive your evening meal in your room, " Molly said. She wheeled the cart over to the fire and straightened up. She smiled. "Sanab gave me your message. I'm sorry I couldn't get up here earlier to speak with you but with the new arrivals we have been kept busy."

"I understand I just wanted to make sure you knew."

"And I am grateful, " Molly said. "But you needn't worry. Advisor Ferris is a friend."

"A friend?" Rabbit said somewhat incredulously.

"Yes, " Molly said. "If you know enough to tell mind workers need to be in the line of sight to tell what folks are thinking, then you'll know they can communicate with each other over long distances." Rabbit nodded.

"Chieftain Drake of the Scotia Clan has had several mind workers infiltrate key areas of Heldan and the Baronies. Lord Cowen knows he can detect lies and identify other Ghada. He believes that the fact that Advisor Ferris' mark is white means that he is deformed in some way and was told he could either be exiled or killed. He passes information back through the system."

Rabbit nodded. Drake was Lucas' father and would have been her father-in-law had things gone as planned. He had a big barrel laugh and a fondness for games, especially ones where strategy played as big a role as luck. A system of informants in place before attacking the raiders would definitely be his style.

"Then I guess my warning wasn't needed, " she said, feeling almost weak-kneed in relief.

"But appreciated nonetheless, " Molly told her. "I did speak with Ferris earlier. He asked if I knew any of your names. The real ones not the ones the traders gave you. I think he intends to pass them along back to the Ghada, so your families can know you are safe. I told him I would ask."

"You can tell him my name, " Rabbit said. "It would be nice to know my family was not worried. I do not know the names of the others, but I know a few of their details." She thought for a second. "I don't know if the others will tell you their names but I know Mouse and Robin will not report your asking to anyone. I think that Tor and Wren would

hey were quite adamant, " Molly said.

"Furthermore suspicion would not only be on this Inn, " Rabbit continued. "I don't know what ruse was used to get them to accept Ferris and the others as advisors and I don't need to know the details but if one runs off and proves untrustworthy it could damage the whole information gathering system of Drake's, which could affect the Ghada campaign against the raiders." Rabbit took a deep breath and felt the lightness she had felt earlier drain away leaving her feeling like she was composed of stone.

"I can't go while suspicion would fall on this house or on the advisor. I can escape during travel."

"And if you can't get away?" Molly asked.

"Then I can get away from the keep. I have been planning an escape route and might be able to use it."

"Might?"

"Will, " Rabbit said firmly pushing all thoughts of failure away. "Even if I go back to Tessian's keep, I can still escape. It will simply take a little longer. And Advisor Ferris might be able to help me more directly if I leave from the keep." Rabbit glanced out of the window. The curtain still blocked her view, but the rain still hissed against the glass.

"Besides allowing the sea to calm a little more from the winter storms before travel might not be such a bad idea." She gave Molly a weak smile. Molly reached out and gripped Rabbit's hand.

"While I appreciate the concern, I'm not sure the Chieftan or the advisor would see it that way." Molly smiled ruefully.

"I think he will, " Rabbit said. "Can you have Ferris relay a message for me to Drake?" Molly nodded. Rabbit stood and took her leather journal from the top of her travel case. She opened it and tore out the pages where she had listed the house names from the crematory urns.

The torn pages made the journal look a little shabby, as though Rabbit might have gotten it second hand which made her feel better about carrying it. In addition the torn out pages were the only ones with writing on them. The other pages held sketches for jewelry designs and tableware and might go unremarked. She handed the pages to Molly and told them what they contained. Molly folded them carefully and tucked them into her apron pocket.

"If either Ferris or Drake balks at my decision, remind them that even though I do not carry a sword into battle, I took the same oath as my brothers and I will honor it."

"I'll tell them, " Molly said standing and wheeling the cart towards the door. "But I don't think they will be happy." Molly left the room, closing the door behind her. Rabbit shivered as though she encountered a draft and rubbed her arms.

"I will get home, " she told herself. "Just not tonight." As if to punctuate her words a loud boom of thunder sounded in the sky and the rain seemed to increase. Rabbit walked over to the window and pulled the curtains aside. A bolt of lightning illuminated the yard for a second and Rabbit could make out the sodden mess of the yard below. The tapping on the window increased and Rabbit could see what looked like small white pebbles bouncing off of the glass.

"Hail, " she thought to herself. "Even if I had been willing to go with the advisor, tonight is not a night for travel." Rabbit stared out into the darkness watching the frenetic dance of the tree tops in the high wind, their branches black against the storm gray evening sky. Whatever sun had been behind the clouds was setting, making the branches of the trees look like ink laden brushes casting blackness into the gray canvas as night descended. The small hailstones continued to ping against the glass and Rabbit let the curtain fall as another boom of thunder sounded.

"Despite Harmony's preferences, " she thought. "There is little chance anyone will go anywhere in the morning."

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