Section 12: Di Mon Visits Eva
Eva pulled Von close, and then eased off, crinkling her nose.
“Vanilla again,” she said disapprovingly. “Is Liege H’Us giving you Demoran perfume?”
“It is just the way I smell, all right?” he told her, moving away.
“Von!” Eva laughed at him. “Not even you can sweat perfume!” She took his face in her hand, smiling. “Must I keep reminding you I’m not a paying client?”
Von ducked away, irritated by her failure to see how much the new smell frightened him. He thought it might be an early sign of some disease he had picked up.
They were interrupted by a novice in a white toga, who came dashing towards them from the entrance hall near Eva’s office.
“Eva!” the girl cried excitedly. “It’s Liege Monitum. He’s coming!”
“Di Mon!” Eva breathed the name like a prayer of hope.
The one hundred and third liege of Monitum, known by the use name of Di Mon, was Eva’s best hope for a comfortable retirement.
But Von hated his visits. The grim, Vrellish Sevolite stared at him as if he knew his worst secrets. Von couldn’t help feeling jealous of the attention Eva paid her favorite client, either.
Di Mon strode across Den Eva’s floor flanked by his niece, Tessitatt, and two household retainers called errants dressed in his livery. He wore the emerald sword of Monitum which Von found less impressive than its literary descriptions, and a sweeping cloak with liege marks prominent at its collars. He swept the cloak off into the arms of a waiting den attendant.
“I would speak with you,” Di Mon told Eva, down-speaking her by the five birth ranks between a Sevolite of the Highlord birth rank and a commoner.
“Of course, Your Grace,” said Eva, and conducted her favorite client to her office, trying not to favor her injured leg.
Von focused on Tessitatt Monitum, a capable looking woman who wore Monatese house braids on her jacket, and carried her sword with self-assured confidence. Tessitatt returned him a game smile but apparently was not at leisure. She led the house erants away down one of the spoke-halls radiating from the central stage floor.
Von stood alone for a moment, wishing Eva good luck with Di Mon, with all his heart — as if to make up for his selfish twinge of jealousy, earlier. He knew he could never take care of her in her retirement.