Dim LightMature

Seeing what is more than before what is less than tempts madness.

"These shipping logs are peculiar."  the sandy haired administrator sighed.  The back of the seat shifted against his back as he slouched and flipped through another leather-bound folio.  Just over the brim of the tome, the image of Dawmas directing some of his more trusted colleagues to search the other rooms broke the light from the lamps, echoing a frantic dance.

Wide shoulders shrugged.

"Some of these I can't make heads or tails of.. And the rest, I can't even read."  He thumbed the corner of the book as he counted the letters sticking out from under a stack of bound manifests.  Seven.  He repeated it three times, until his anxiety subsided.

"Perhaps it's best if we retired for the night." Dawmas offered.  "The watch has already lit the paths."

"You'll be gone by the morning."  Maron stated emotionlessly.  He dared not betray the comfort he found in the old soldier.  Perhaps it was the life debt, but he tried not to dwell on it.  There were other things too, things he could account for.  "Just about the only thing I could read were the manifests. And it says your packet is set for first light tomorrow."

"And what about you?"

It took Maron longer than he would have liked to admit, understand what was meant.  "I'll be fine.  Things like this require an administrator.  And Lohta made sure to fill that capacity himself."

The two stepped out into the night air, Maron carrying Lotha's more personal memoirs under his arm.  The air did not taste like the sea in Quarter Harbor, her docks never proven against the salt.  Another guard passed the two with a exposed cone of hammered metal, handling a fagot with an oversized glove, and wiped his brow.  The smudge could be seen by the dim light and Maron fixated on it for as long as it was in view.   

At last, he asked, "Smoke and fish?"

"No."  Dwamas thought about it and repeated, "No..."

It must have been later than they realized.  They passed by the open, empty harbor, together before retiring for the night, Maron lost in his thoughts.  Perhaps he would dream of the deaf girl, again.

The End

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