In that great time before -- when she is Lucinda and so very little more and has as yet no thoughts of a daughter – she takes it upon herself to visit a fortuneteller. It is not yet the thing to do, but she is young and has not yet tamed the impetuous desire to do what is not to be done.
(She will never so fully tame herself, but when young, thinks still perhaps she might.)
There is not yet a grand place for fortunetellers to gather. Instead, she slips into things slightly worn and oh so gray and makes her way to Spite. This is practice. Though she feels the fumbling fingers of the urchins, her real money is tucked where they cannot reach, and the bits of jade she’s left for them will only whet their desire to steal more.
Soon enough, she will have a need for their light fingers and loyalty to their gangs. Hers is a long game, and to sacrifice some of her wealth to it is no significant thing. Her mother, and her grandmother, and her great-grandmother before, far back and forever, have taught her the ways of this great game.
Just past the market –
she lingers some short time, watching the silk-weavers spin their designs and tossing tiny pieces of cheese to the feral cats. One twines around her ankles, tail curling secrets against her skin, and though she still thinks herself ready for this, the subtleties of the exchange leave her slightly breathless
– she finally finds the fortuneteller. It’s in a flower shop, the blooms startlingly bright against the gray gloom. There’s no one inside when she lets herself through the door, and for a moment, she stops and she waits.
Continue to Chapter 2.