William looked up from his notes at the pile of boxes that had just been delivered. He sighed and rolled up his sleeves, picking up a crowbar to get them open. Bottles clinked together as he counted them. All there. He grinned and stuck his head into the main part of his new tavern. “We got everything. Rai, can you come help me for a second?”
Raidho, his first real legitimate employee, approached with a smile. “Let me guess, need a hand unpacking?”
William rolled his eyes, chuckling. “You know I have a bad knee.”
She shook her head and pushed open the door, moving to pick up some of the boxes.
William moved back to his notes, double checking a few receipts. He’d have to go talk to Alonso before too long, see if he found that consierge he was looking for. He had mentioned Isadora… He sighed again and stood back up when he heard the door open. He stuck his head out the door again and smiled. “Azra. You finished the sign?”
“Yes sir.” They bowed and William frowned.
“I told you, you don’t have to call me that.” He shook his head. “You’re in the Throne now, free. You don’t have to call anyone sir anymore.”
William sighed, but didn’t comment on it. Instead, he looked toward the pile of boxes Rai was unpacking. “Will you please help Rai with this?”
“Yes sir.” They moved to do so.
He shook his head again, but smiled and nodded. Yawning, he left the bar to see how Azra had done. Excellent, as always. He nodded and flipped the sign to open.
Not long later, William sat back at his desk, journal open in front of him.
‘Finally the Lily of the Valley is now open in Silbran. I never expected things to happen so quickly Lile. But here we are. I hope you approve. You would’ve liked it here. Silbran is nice, small town. Baroness Drake is certainly intimidating, but I’ve worked for her before. Do you remember?’
William put his quill down and sighed. He looked out the window and thought for a moment.
‘Hekte has recently become Master of Coin in Silbran. Things move so quickly here. Corvo is leaving, Saoirse’s made some good friends with the other Duns in the area. There’s quite a few of them that you would’ve liked. Niamh and Elona both remind me of you. I am curious, by the way. Saoirse says that her mother’s name was Sloane. Coincidence I’m sure, but it’s crazy to find out that there was another Sloane Tiarnan. But if it’s not coincidence… That would make her my niece I suppose. Don’t even know what to think about that.’
He sighed again. “Can’t believe it.” He shook his head.
‘I’m thinking about getting back into singing. You always loved that. I just found it too hard after you were gone. Saoirse thinks I should. Maybe I will.’
He paused, taking another breath.
‘I wish you were here. I’ve been relying on your memory, and that’s been enough for me, at least for now. This valley could certainly use your touch. You were always more adventurous than me. I didn’t expect things to be so hard here. Maybe in the future things will become better. But starting with nothing here was not the best of ideas. I probably should’ve brought more with me, maybe returned to Dunland first. At the same time, I’m almost glad I didn’t. Kirk Rennet showed up here. Apparently, he arrived a few months ago. If I had gone back, seen your family maybe, I wonder if more than just him would’ve followed me here, though Dame Kirsa Blackiron said that she took care of the problem. I owe her. She said that I don’t, but you know I can’t leave things like that. Apparently, we’re worth three gold apiece, Saoirse and I. That’s all we’re worth.’
He tapped his quill on the table for a moment, thinking.
‘I made some new friends in the meantime. A freed Jharad, Shazaad Jharad Azra ibn Jahan. I wish that they would understand that they are free though. They’ve been treating me just like their new master and I hate it. But they’ve started to work for me, just helping out around the place, maintenance stuff mostly. My other employee is named Raidho. It means Journey. I think you would’ve liked her too. Though frankly, I wish I could’ve found someone who knew how to use a sword for the place. I wonder if the MacLaren siblings would be willing to come this way.’
William looked up. The door was opening again. He grinned and set down his quill. “First Customer.”