Magister Magus, made a fair living from such members of the Court as werewilling to risk disgrace by consulting them about love affairs and gamblingtalismans. Most, she knew too well, occupied small shops or cheap lodgingsand eked out their livings peddling passion potions and abortifacients, luck charms and cut-rate horoscopes, half-educated, frustrated, dodging by turnstheir creditors and the Inquisition, from whom the Council would do nothingto protect them.Kyra shivered and hurried on through the gate.
I just can’t let myself becaught, that’s all,
she thought as she slipped out onto the flagway that circledBaynorth Square.Shrouded by fog, the great square lay quiet before her. From over thewall that separated the kitchen yard from that of the Wishroms’ nearlyidentical granite mansion, she heard a serving girl’s shrill laugh and smelledstewing meat and coffee as someone there opened a door. Out of sight in themisty darkness, a man’s voice chanted, “Meat pies, meat pies, jolly, jollymeat pies . . .” and, farther off, came the iron-wheeled clatter of a cab goingsomewhere fast. Unseen in the gloom, the bronze fountain trickled amournful music, and from far off the droning of a hurdy-gurdy drifted like aspiral of colored smoke in the dark.Kyra took a deep breath. The fog was very thick now.Before her the high porch of the house loomed like a trading ship’sstern castle, the scents of tubbed gardenias and field lilies thick as music inthe air around it. Gathering her heavy skirts, she climbed the tall steps, wetnow and slippery with the moisture in the air. Her mind laid a little spelltoward the house—Briory, on her way to the front door to summon the