Vera in a temple

Vera Martique: Part One

17th of Nane, 986 A.C.

woman in a white dress, inside a temple

Brent and Aidiyah Martique were just two among the one-thousand and twenty-seven lived claimed by the sweating sickness that had swept through Endomir. It had taken the Masters of the Ithrimir seven days to find the source of the illness—a shipment of fruit from Pannarius, and the rats that had gotten into the crates—but they hadn’t been quick enough to save her father and mother.

Arch Master Pamma Bronwin had saved Vera, along with two maids and the housekeeper. To stop the spread if the sickness all bodies had been burned swiftly right on the street and the ashes gathered and returned to their loved ones. No services in the temples nor the proper laying out or prayers. Her father had been cremated in his soiled nightshirt and her mother in her bed gown.

Two weeks had passed since the Masters had brought her the plain wooden boxes with her parents’ names scrawled in charcoal on the lids and Vera had recovered her strength enough to do her duty as a daughter.

Many people, from the lamplighter to high lords filed past her as she stood at the front of the temple after the prayer service. She had purchased ashwood boxes carved with leaves and vines for her father and flowers for her mother. They had no grove of their own but as citizens of Endomir they did have the right to inter ashes in the Kingswood but Vera hadn’t decided what she wanted to do with her parents. Not yet.

A figure paused before her in the line of well-wishers and she stiffened.

Lord Samuel Collins looked down at her, eyes rimmed red. When he took her hand he squeezed it harder and longer than most. He held her gaze for a long moment, nodded once, and released her.

Vera knew, deep down in her bones, that he’d be on her doorstep soon. 

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