Things could not have gone more wrong. Sinch is asleep, under my cloak. I'm sitting with my back against the wall of the city. I don't know where we'll be tomorrow, but at least I grabbed the journal before we left. I didn't want to leave it behind. Thank Canis it was at Sinch's and not at the palace.
I don't think the guard followed us out here. Sinch knew some back alleys that got us to the wall, and the guards there hadn't been alerted to us. Around the wall, off the road, there was a little stand of trees, and we stayed there all day. Sinch went out and got some food, while I looked to see if there were any caravans we could hook up with going south. I spotted a couple likely ones, but I didn't want to go out today in case the guards were still looking for us, especially since we'd got enough food.
It's possible that the guards would only be looking for Sinch, but I can't just abandon him. Sure, he was the one looking through the law clerk's chest of documents. All I was doing was talking to him, the clerk, I mean. I don't think he even noticed—weasels have small ears too. But then I went through all of my story and I didn't have anything left to ask about, so I asked the clerk to walk me outside. Sinch picked that moment to try to get out of the window. He saw me and the clerk and started running right away, so before the clerk could ask any questions, I said I had to go and walked very quickly around to meet Sinch. He had a guard chasing after him, but we lost him pretty easily—he was a big stag—and got back to Sinch's house. His mother wasn't around, so we just grabbed some things and ran outside.
In a way, this is kind of a relief. Just me and Sinch, on our own. I think we should go down to Vinton first and see if Mother will let us stay there. I'm sure she will.
Father and Volyan left last night. Sinch and I made some plans today about what we're going to do tomorrow. I don't want to write too much of it down even though Sinch is sure there won't be any danger. I don't know how he can sleep. Normally after we come back to his room, I'm pretty sleepy, but my fur feels all prickly and my stomach keeps dancing and my tail twitches every minute or so.
Today was great. I got Sinch into the palace and we had dinner in Father's chambers, all alone. Even Vinnix was gone. I wanted to just leave the plates, but Sinch insisted we clean them up, so I helped him. I took him into Father's bedroom, but the scents were too strong in there for us to stay long or do anything.
Sinch says it's nice practice for when I'm a lord and have my own rooms, so for a while I pretended I was. I told him I would have to see some of my people to settle their disputes, and then meet with a neighboring lord to talk about something boring like trade policies or farming lands. Sinch wanted to be the neighboring lord, and then we talked about things we could trade, and we ended up trading things right on my bed anyway.
But we came back to Sinch's place because we need to get up early, and his place is closer.
I can't go to sleep, but I should try.
Sinch and I started practicing weapons together. He has a dagger that he can throw. So we can go to the shooting range and he can throw at the closer target while I shoot at the farther ones. He's better than I am, but I'm learning fast. And I practice all the time, not just when he's around. I almost beat him this time, and he said that the first time I beat him, I get to go first when we get back to his room. It doesn't really matter 'cause we both get a turn, but now I really want to get that good.
He's asked around a bit about Haley's family. There's a house where the main branch of them live, but there's an old grandmother who's infirm and always there. That makes me think of Grandmother, and how she died. But this grandmother is still alive and that makes it harder to break in. Her family does do business with a bank and a law clerk, but we're not sure how that will help. Sinch is checking his contacts and I'm telling him I'm talking to mine, which I would be doing if I could think of anyone who would be helpful. In the meantime, I'm trying to find out more about Dewanne. Like maybe Lady Dewanne has to be able to string two sentences together without giggling or folding her ears down and going all quiet.
In the meantime, I have another nice vacation coming up, because Father and Volyan are going on the King's winter retreat, and taking him along. So for two weeks I will have the chambers to myself, just lessons and Sinch and whatever else I want to do. It's going to be great.
Sinch's mom is baking again. The house smells fantastic right now, and if I weren't so tired I'd be going downstairs to get one of her small bread rolls. It's cold, but not too bad now that my winter coat is in, and it's quieter here than at the palace. If I get really disgraced, maybe I can just come live here. Maybe Lord Dewanne will hear about me and disinherit me. It wouldn't be so bad, I don't think.
I think I'm just going to keep this journal at Sinch's. I don't trust Volyan not to be looking at it. He already sniffs at me funny when I come back from Sinch's even though I wash with water and everything. He doesn't try to drag me down to the Cup and Crown anymore, so I only really see him at lessons and meals. And sometimes not even lessons, if he's got a girl of some kind hanging around.
But anyway, Sinch had a really good idea today! He said if we could show that Haley's family wasn't all respectable and noble, that I wouldn't have to marry her. He said that sometimes girls were kicked out of the palace if they had any stain on their family, even if the lord already had cubs with them. So that was good, but I didn't know how we'd prove it. He thinks we can sniff around and see if any of her relatives have been in trouble.
I got a letter from Mother a couple days ago. I guess I hadn't written her in a while because nothing was going on here, but her letter made me feel guilty and homesick again, so after classes I went and stared at the river and the boats going down it. If I jumped on one of them, they'd have to take me at least to the next port. Then I wouldn't have to worry about any of this stuff. Volyan would do that in a minute if there was some responsibility he wanted to get out of. Sometimes I wish I was more like him.
I'd miss Sinch, too. But I could send him a letter and he'd come meet me. He can read and everything.
At least, I think he'd come meet me. He's pretty attached to his mom. And I'd miss her bread, too. Even at the palace there's nothing that good. Plus I think she likes me.
I gotta think about how I can ask around about Haley's relatives. She doesn't get back for another month so there's some time.