It was over an hour before Buldaveho came back, looking shaken and worried, and accompanied by their mutual landlord, Hakapa. “It was my place that was on fire,” Buldaveho said tiredly as he stood on Baranyi’s doorstep. The rain had stopped so the two men weren’t getting any wetter by staying out there. “Lightning strike, although why it hit my place….”
“Three other places in that block are taller,” agreed Hakapa, “and the lightning rod should have stopped there being a fire. It could be worse though, doesn’t look structural but we’ll need to get a builder in to check.”
“So where are you sleeping tonight?” Baranyi got the pursed lipped look that Buldaveho already knew went with her being practical.
“I’ve offered him a bedroll on the rug in my main room,” said Hakapa. “It’s the least I can do – I really thought that lightning rod would do the trick.”
“I have two spare bedrooms,” pointed out Baranyi, “and the girls want to share the one. You could use the other. I have the spare sheets, and if I wash what you’re wearing then it should be dry by morning – there’s room beside the girls’ clothes in the drying room out the back.”
“There’s soup!” The two girls, now clean and each wearing one of Baranyi’s clean painting tunics instead of a dress, had arrived from the kitchen to stand one on either side of their hostess. It was the blonde who spoke. “It’s got rice and dumplings.”
“Benna and I helped make it,” added her darker twin. “With fish, and milk, and butter, and vegetables.”
“Assuming you don’t mind spending the evening wrapped up in a blanket or a sheet,” added Baranyi. “My tunics fit the girls, but I’m afraid they’re not an option for you.”
“The bed here would probably be better for you than the floor at my place,” pointed out Hakapa, “and I can send someone around with a couple of sets of spare clothes for you to borrow – so you don’t have to wear a blanket or a sheet.”
“There’s fresh hot water for you to have a bath and get rid of the smell of smoke,” added Baranyi in an unconsciously seductive tone. Buldaveho put it down to her being relatively new to Bitrani.
“Go on,” Hakapa urged him, pushing the younger man on the shoulder. “It’s a better offer than mine, if only because you won’t wind up with a crick in your back from lying on the floor, and you never know, she might be a better cook than my wife!”
“All right!” Buldaveho gave in. “I surrender – as long as you send those clothes around, Hakapa,” and with that he stumbled in, suddenly bone tired.
This is now followed by Legacy 11.