The following week Mistress Tirelle and I were in the courtyard beneath the shadow of the pomegranate tree. The air was strangely chilled, and the sun a tiny, sullen disc in the sky. We were exercising my fruit choosing skills. She would whip a blind off my face, and I would select a pomegranate with only a moment's glance. Down it would come, and we examined its defects together.
"See," she said, "how much your eyes can know before your mind does. Let that first choice be true, and all else will follow from it. Let that first choice be labored or false, and troubled effort will follow from it." The duck woman leaned close. "Never let yourself be seen to make the effort. It must come from within, on the moment."
We were interrupted by an iron clangor which took me by surprise. I had not heard that sound once in the whole time since being brought here by Federo. Mistress Tirelle looked up and passed a tiny quirk of her lips which might have been a smile.
"Your next mistress is here," she said.
For a moment, I thought I might be free of Mistress Tirelle. That flash of elation must have shown upon my face, for her eyes narrowed and the smile which hadn't truly been there vanished with the finality of a tight closed door. She drew back her hand to strike a blow, then stayed herself, instead saying, "Come with me."
[writing|WIP] Progress on Green
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