2c (Argentum’s Song)

As she watched, Argent fished something from his pouch and then glanced around. His blue eyes met her own and he quickly made his way over to her.

“Put a string of fifteen knots in this.”

She looked at the piece of sinew he was holding out to her. Ladin had made some power drunk demands of her and her family since they hadn’t been able to cover their debt and been forced into indenture. However, this was by far the most arbitrary thing she had ever been ordered to do. She might have swallowed her pride and done it anyway if Ladin had ordered it, to keep him from having an excuse to increase their term of indenture. Argent, however, had no such power over her and she wasn’t about to let this barbarian treat her as if she was his slave too.

“Do it yourself.”

Argent sucked in a breath and whispered.

“I can’t … I can’t count that high. Please just do it before Simon notices.”

Now it was Martha’s turn to blush as she realized that this time she had refused to give the benefit of the doubt. She quickly added the knots to the sinew and tried to phrase an appropriate apology. He was already walking away with the knots in hand before she had the chance to voice it. As Argent started up the mountainside, hefting a burden that would make most men twice his weight stagger, she heard her father’s voice at her side.

“What was that about?”

“He wanted me to tie fifteen knots for him.”


“I think so he could learn to count. I’m not sure.”

Franklin’s guffaw surprised her. She hadn’t heard him come up on the other side.

“What an idiot. If he wanted to learn math he should have asked for ten knots. Or possibly eight if he were travelling to the Eastern continent. No math system has base fifteen.”

For some reason it hurt her that Father joined him in laughing at the esoteric joke.

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