As always, this is unedited and shared for your enjoyment. On we go!
The bird knew if you were talking about it. This was a problem because, and don’t ask me how, it told Bran.
By the time he turned fifteen, the palace gossip had it well-established that if the bird didn’t like you, Bran didn’t like you, and that was bad for business.
All business. Any business. We were employees, not slaves. This was an expensive opinion to juggle.
But how to get a good opinion from the bird was lost on us all.
Some folks took to leaving it bribery, but it never ate any of them. Anyone trying to address the bird directly received such looks from the Prince that the rambling turned to mumbling and then to silence. Those folks, too, lost favor.
I, meanwhile, did the smart thing and kept my head down and my hands busy, fixing the mess, returning his clothes, never embellishing, simply giving him back the things he’d wrecked without an ounce of accountability.
Then one day, Bran stopped me.
I was handing his usual stack of outfits back, all neatly folded and pressed and mended, and he put his hand over mine and met my gaze with his own – two firsts in one mad second.
The third first came next: “It’s Eden, isn’t it?” he said. “Listen, Eden, I need a favor, and it has to be done secretly. Think you’re up for a little professional skulk?”
What’s a laundering tailor with designs on the peace that comes from employer-approval to do but say but yes?