(Legacy story: This is no longer canon, as I’ve reworked this scene entirely.)
An hour later, there was a knock on her door. She sat legs crossed, on her bed, still furious about everything, but that knock could only mean one thing. “Enter,” she stated, making a conscious effort to relax.
Gaelin walked in, ducking a bit as he passed beneath the archway and closed the door behind him. The ashen skinned Tenshari smiled as he met Esmina’s gaze. The same dirty servant clothes covered his thin frame, and his right arm was thoroughly wrapped as was customary for his people. “Greetings, mistress. Given the recent circumstances, your room is considerably cleaner than I expected it to be, if you would pardon my saying so.” His voice was of a higher pitch than most people might expect, but it helped soften his very inhuman appearance. Familiarity helped too, of course.
“Not my bedroom, Gaelin. It’s a study.”
“Of course. My apologies, how could I forget?” He looked around the room and smiled at the stacks of books as well as the desk littered with notes. Notes all about her findings on that dot in the sky were at the top of this pile.
Esmina watched as the servant paced about the room. Simply being in his presence helped ease her mind. “My father destroyed my spyglass today,” she mumbled. “He is the most wretched creature on the planet. Perhaps even both planets.”
“Yes, yes,” he nodded. “I witnessed your quarrel in the gardens. You would do well not to antagonize him so. He is a busy man, after all. Dealing with your differences is simply another thing brooding in his crowded mind.”
Esmina clenched her fists and looked away. “The only thing crowding his mind is how much money he has to gamble away in the tavern. Stars above know how much he spent on a Night Seal so he could sneak off in the first place. Gambling is the only reason a noble like him would even want to leave the house at night.”
Gaelin frowned. He gestured forward with his left hand at a place on her bed next to her. “May I?”
“Yes, of course,” she said, uncrossing her legs and shifting over to allow room.
The servant walked over and sat down next to her, allowing for a moment’s pause in the conversation. “You and your father misunderstand each other a great deal. You live in separate worlds, you see. There is much you can learn from him.”
“Like how to destroy dreams and ruin childhoods?”
The Tenshari sighed. “Perhaps you are still too young to-‘”
“Do you know what he said to me today, Gaelin? He said it wasn’t my place to be clever. Not that I’m stupid, but that my intelligence has no value. If I don’t have that, I have nothing. I refuse to be some noble’s plaything. I know I can be far more valuable to the world by finding new ways of looking at it. I just want to live my own life.”
He sighed, then turned his ashen face to her, looking into her eyes. “I do not wish to argue with you, but there is still much you do not understand. I realize it is difficult for you to see, but he has your best interests at heart.”
She realized that he wasn’t going to see reason. Perhaps it is best for a servant to respect his master, even if that master is a horrible person.
“Gaelin,” she started, changing the subject. “Do you remember that dot in the sky I mentioned last week?”
“The one you keep going out during the Shadow to see?”
“It’s the best time of the day to get a good view,” she justified. “But yes, that one.”
“What about it?”
“I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit. If I were to describe it, it looks like a tiny planet. Much, much smaller than Asamos and Eranos. But it moves strangely. It’s almost as if another object is pulling on it.”
Gaelin looked at her. “Another object, mistress?”
“What if there was a big object in the sky, smaller than Eranos, that was directly behind our sister planet? If it was always behind Eranos, then somebody like me would never see it. Nobody here would even know about its existence because it’s Eranos is always blocking it from view. Is such a thing possible?”
Gaelin touched his bandaged arm in a deliberate gesture she couldn’t recognize. “Like a third planet?”
“Yes!” Her demeanor brightened as he caught on to her line of thought. “Exactly like that! If the three planets all fall in the same line, then we couldn’t see the furthest one! It’s the only explanation I can think of for that little dot in the sky. It’s being pulled by something behind Eranos. Does that sound crazy?”
“It does, yes. I would recommend keeping that idea to yourself for now, mistress.”
“Well, I wasn’t planning on telling father, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
The Tenshari smirked at that. “It was not my first thought, no. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some business to attend to.” He stood up and moved towards the door. “And please, at least try to get along with your father. Times are hard for all of us.”
Esmina grimaced, but Gaelin rarely made such requests. He must think it was important for some reason. It was almost physically difficult, but she did manage to nod in reply.