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By Hook and by Crook

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Summer had come early to Camorr, bring with it the smell of flowers, fruit and people who imagined they had managed the trick of dressing appropriately for the weather.

A casual observer would probably have decided the three young people who were having a conversation in a quiet corner of the market place had been living in the city all their lives - and had even, in those years, managed the trick of finding the right clothes to wear during this time of year.

A not so casual observer would have noticed that while one girl was wearing reed sandals, the other was not. Furthermore, they would have concluded that the boy could not possibly be related by blood to either of them, being neither a redhead nor a beauty.

Needless to say, both observers would have been wrong.


"Look," said Nazca, "anyone smart, we'll have Sabetha charm stupid."

Sabetha flashed a quick smile. Jean cleared his throat.

"What about anyone stupid?"

"Anyone stupid, you get to turn smart." Nazca beamed at him. "It's perfect."

Sabetha snorted. "Sounds like Jean'll be doing most of the work."

"Nothing new about that," said Jean cheerfully.

"Give it two, three years and we'll be in a position to make some serious changes in the way this city works. Give it five and we will own it."

"Assuming it's worth owning," said Jean.

"I suppose, if my brothers ask really, really nicely, I might consider giving it back," said Nazca. "Maybe."