What Baranyi did was to start paying particular attention to where and when she saw the two girls in question. She confirmed her suspicions that they must either be being turned out of doors as soon as it was light out or that they were, in fact, never indoors. A little more poking around, and not that much more really, was all it took to find the lean-to in the dead-end alley behind her back garden wall. Baranyi didn’t think the young occupants had realised the significance of the drain that also occupied that back alley, and so she kept an eye on the weather while she waited for an opportunity to talk to Tizanna about them.
A little rain wasn’t going to be a problem and so she didn’t think anything of it when the clouds started forming the next afternoon. She still went down to the dock to paint the sunset, both for the challenge of capturing the pre-storm light as the sun went down and because, well, Buldaveho. The weather was still only mildly threatening as he walked her home, chatting as he carried her easel for her.
“Your Bitrani is beginning to sound like you come from Gaeta,” he warned her.
“I speak Calenyena like someone from three days south of Lannamer,” she shot back at him. “Better I should speak Bitrani like someone from Gaeta than I should sound as if I learnt it all from a book three days south of Lannamer.”
“There’s that,” he agreed. “Of course, all Bitrani’s provincial these days, but our Bitrani’s a bit more provincial than some places’.”
“It’s big enough,” replied Baranyi.
“Would you want to live here forever?” The question hung there, suggesting other questions that could come later, depending on her answer.
“That would depend on my incentive,” that was as leading as she was prepared to go in answer to what might have been idle curiosity, “but I would always want to visit my family up north sometimes. Perhaps not while it’s snowing.”
“Agh, snow and sleet.” He shuddered dramatically. “The first time I ran into those I realised why the Calenyena wear so many layers. I never expected to go north when I left here back then, shot my mouth off a bit about what I intended to do, but none of that turned out the way I expected.”
“Oh?” She was interested.
“A long story for another time,” he said with a lazy smile, “because now we’re back to your house.”
“We are.” She smiled up at him. “Thank you for helping me home again.”
“My pleasure. Let me carry this inside for you?”
A hesitation from both of them because she hadn’t asked him in before.
“Yes, please.” Baranyi unlocked the front door and let him in. “If you can put it in here,” she led him into the smaller front room where she was keeping her art supplies and her paintings, “and lean it against the wall there.”
He’d just put it down where she’d directed and she’d just carefully set down her newest paintings, her paints and brushes, and there was an almighty crack of thunder. It was followed immediately by the sound of rain dumping itself on the roof and the ground outside.
Baranyi remembered the girls. “Oh no. There’s something I have to do right now. Grab the other umbrella if you want to come with me.” She was already back at the door, pulling her dyed umbrella from the stand beside the door, leaving the segmented one for him if he wanted to use it.
She stepped outside, putting up the umbrella as she did so, and Buldaveho followed her with the other. “Where are we going?” He added, “You do realise that it’s going to be out of the gutters in a few minutes, don’t you?”
“That’s the problem.” She wasn’t running because she didn’t want to fall over, but she was hurrying enough that he had to stretch his step a little to keep up as she led the way into the back lane behind her house. The water was already gushing along the gutter and beginning to spread across the alley. Baranyi strode up to the lean-to and rapped hard on the roof. “Girls, you need to gather up your things and come inside with me now.”
Two small, grubbyish faces peered out of the makeshift shelter. “Why?” It was the blonde one who demanded that.
“It’s raining out there, and we’re dry in here,” added the dark one.
“Not for long,” Barany told them practically. “Even if your roof and walls hold, the water in the gutter going to the drain is rising and you’ll get flooded out soon. You really need to come with me now.”
This is now followed by Legacy 9.