Sneak peek In Luck’s Shadow

This is still really rough. It even has a few (NEEDS INFO OR CHANGING) notes to myself, but I thought you might like seeing what Jedda is up to:)

Jedda looked down at the house.  It was bigger than most homes in Tatak Rhe, nestled in amongst the sloping hill and trees.  It was easy to get close, although he disturbed a small flock of chickens as he rounded the corner of the barn. He stopped for a moment, and listened for any sign of people while he waited for the chickens to settle back down. Then he followed the low wall that ran along the lane between the barns and the main house. It was low enough that he could hop over it and hide on the other side if anyone came out.

A cat was sitting on the pillar at the end, a splash of dark fur in the moonlight.  It watched him through slitted eyes, but didn’t seem concerned. Jedda stopped to pet it, but didn’t feel any sense of alarm in the animal.  Within a moment, the cat was pressing its head into Jedda’s hand, purring. 

After a few moments, he gave the cat a final pat and moved around so that he could get a better view of the house.  From what he could tell, there was the main hall with two wings. One one side was what looked like the main suite, containing some offices, a study or meeting room and a large bedroom.  On the other side of the house was a second wing. The downstairs floor was kitchen, a small dining room and library. From the sound of the voices, he guessed that the upstairs was the children’s wing.

It was a fairly safe bet that Diya would be somewhere near the children, if that was in fact what she was doing out here.  He tried to imagine her washing and feeding and caring for them. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t. Diya was born to be waited on and pampered. He couldn’t imagine her any other way. But now that he was this close, he could barely control his drive to see her.

From what Trey had explained, though, Diya was living under an assumed identity. Good.  He had been so relieved to know she had gotten his warning and taken it to heart. Now that he was this close, he hesitated, unsure of himself.  What would he say to her? Was she angry at him? He had left in the middle of the night, leaving only a letter.

He watched the house, patiently waiting, while lights slowly went off.  There was a soft light coming from the lower floor of the MAIN SUITE, PARENTS ROOM.  He crept closer to get a look inside. He saw a man and a woman snuggled close on a couch.  His heart lurched, thinking Diya was with someone else. But this woman had red hair, more like Kirrin’s than diya’s rich auburn hair. He let out a sigh of relief. Then he looked again, head cocked, curious.  Something about her looked off. Even from his perch outside, she looked frail.

Not Diya, so he turned away, to check out the children’s wing, where he saw several lights on. He shimmied up a drainpipe to the roof and edged along the gutter so that he could check out each of the rooms. Fortunately, clouds covered the two moons, so there was little chance of him being noticed.  He hung his head down over the edge long enough to catch sight of a young girl hunched over a book, her head down. Asleep. He smiled, remembering how many times he had fallen asleep over his own studies. Kirrin had spent countless time, teaching him to read and write, as well as enough basic education to pass himself off as one of the elite merchant class. In the room next to it, he saw a boy about the same age, sound asleep in his bed, one leg sticking out from under the covers. He pulled himself back up, almost slipping on the slate roof.

He eased his way further down.  This room had a balcony. Good. Much easier.  He listened for a moment, but the room sounded quiet.  It was an easy hop from the roof to the balcony railing, then he landed softly, stepping back into the shadow of the house.  He thought he caught a hint of Vanilla and lemongrass (SOMETHING DIYA WORE PERFUME). His hands felt sweaty, and he wiped them on his pants. Another wave of uncertainty washed over him.  

His stomach felt queasy and his palms were sweaty.  He straightened his hair and tried to tuck in his shirt. He moved the curtain and poked his head inside.  He could make out the foot of the bed, and from the rumpled look of the blankets, someone sleeping in the bed.

He took a step into the room and paused, holding his breath. He remembered watching her sleep, back in Tatak Rhe, one hand curled under her chin and a stray lock of hair falling across her face. 

Should he call out to her? Maybe he should make sure it was really her, first.  He didn’t want to wake the wrong person and rouse the entire house to shouts of ‘intruder.’  He took another cautious step, hoping to see the rest of the bed.

An invisible hand threw him backwards and he crashed against the wall, frozen. He couldn’t move.  Whatever had hit him was holding him, preventing him from moving. He could barely turn his head, just enough to see Diya standing there, her hand stretched out.

“Jay?” 

He recognized her voice, the rich animated tone, mixed with utter confusion.

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