Porone Belltower walked through the streets, wrapping his scarf around his throat. It was late autumn, and the cold had reached Marsillion's Folly. It was a hard cold, the kind you felt in your bones--the kind of cold that actually made Porone glad he'd gotten some weight on him over the years. It is good insulation, after all, he thought with a shake of his head. On the whole... I've done well for myself...
He could remember the boy he had been in the tower, small, weak and frail. But I had wits, I had luck, and I had the opportunity...
And that was what kept him in the Necklace, in the end. That opportunity he'd been given. That is how they bought my life. They gave it to me. That was what kept him spying on a sad old men like Astynax, who was only of interest because of the information the Chain of Gold sent to him gave an inkling of what they were planning.
We need them for their funds, he thought. And their occasional bit of intelligence. But damn it, they are a nuisance. He scowled and stepped into Armida's.
Tisiphone was there, playing her lute as he walked in. "Good evening, Friend Porone," she said, fingers dancing nimbly on the strings.
He nodded at her, realizing the foolishness of the gesture just as he did it, and went to warm himself by the fire. "Good evening, Friend Tisiphone." He glanced around the room. "Where is everyone else?"
"Tending to our guest," answered the blind woman with a smile.
Porone bit his lip. "Ahh." He rubbed his hands as the fire warmed the chill out of them. "The Chain of Gold still doesn't know about her," he stated after a moment. "Or rather, they've said nothing of it to Astynax, and as it all flows to him anyway, that means they aren't planning to do anything in the near future."
"Very good," she said. "And very soon, that will not matter."
Porone considered how to reply to that, and decided not to. He sat himself down by the fire, and took a long breath. "Is there any chance I could have a pot of wine?"
Tisiphone gave a smile. "I've been warming some for you."