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Daine slowed her pace to look at a pair of leather boots before she realized Numair was already far ahead of her. He looked back and slowed, tipped off by the sound of her footsteps as she ran to catch up 

"See something you like?" He asked, glancing at the shops behind them, and she shook her head.

"Not really." The marketplace was crowded and she was getting annoyed with having to dodge people every couple steps. They had decided to make a day trip into the marketplace since Numair had needed some new spell materials and even though Daine had been in Tortall for a few years she still thought of it as a treat to go somewhere so busy and colourful. The two came upon Numair's favorite bookstore and Numair let out a frustrated sigh when he realized that it was so busy that it would be difficult to get in, let alone find something.

"This is going to take forever." He pinched the bridge of his nose, thinking.

"Well, you can wait here and I can go fetch the ingredients. It'd be fair quicker." She said mater-of-factly and he smiled down at her.

"Sensible, aren't you. I do need some spell materials." He quickly listed off a few herbs and Daine thought for a moment.

"I should be able to get all that at a healer's." She replied, going over the list in her head.

"Simple enough; here, it shouldn't be more than this." He handed her a small handful of silver nobles before turning back to gently push his way through the throng of shoppers.

"I'll be back soon," she waved before turning away and heading down the street.

A few moments later, Daine was still pushing through the crowds. She was sure that she had seen a healer's around here somewhere. Sighing, she ducked through and alley to avoid another crowd and found herself coming out in one of the squares. She smiled to herself when she realized the last time she had been there was for a festival a few weeks back. Her expression deepened when she remembered that night. Midsummer was always the largest of the cities festivals. She had been convinced with some rider friends to go into the city with them as opposed to staying at the barracks as she usually did. She had ended up dancing with a boy from the 6th Rider group several times that night and had seen him rather frequently since. He had been calling on her regularly and he was sweet enough, enough to put butterflies in her stomach when he kissed her anyway. She shook her head and moved on; surely the only thing he wanted from her was for her to lift her skirts.

A small part of her, however, wondered if that was really such a bad thing. She flushed and shook her head again; she couldn't believe that she was really thinking of those things. It was far too silly a thought to entertain; but then again, was it really?

Daine bit her lip as she rolled this new information around in her mind. She knew of plenty of girls who had families by now so age really wasn't a factor. She sighed again, even if she was old enough this was no time to be thinking of such frivolous things as canoodling. Gods, with war hovering over everyone's heads she shouldn't be thinking of anything else. It was nice to even be able to go out into the city.

Looking up, Daine realized that she had walked past the healer's and turned around to backtrack. She ran over the list again; feverfew, ginseng, goldenseal...

"Hello?" She called out as she entered. It was a small, dimly lit place with tables and shelves filled with various assortments of herbs and charms. Daine stopped when she noticed the far wall and the small charms that hung there. Daine bit her lip and crept forward when no shopkeeper appeared. She delicately picked up one of the gold goddess circles. How fitting.

"Here for pleasure and not business, I see." A soft voice wafted across the room, startling her. Daine dropped the charm back against the wall and spun around turning red. A woman in her mid-thirties stood in the doorway, a lilting smile gracing her features.

"No, actually; I just need some herbs." She stepped across the room quickly and repeated the list to the woman. The healer moved briskly around the shop, collecting the materials, as Daine peeked back towards the charms.

"Here you are." The woman placed the ingredients on a table next to them. "Anything else?" She asked; a knowing tone in her voice.

"No thank you, m'am." Daine stuttered, still glancing towards the glint of gold. She couldn't believe that she was really thinking about this.

"You're sure now?" The teasing was gone form the healer's voice and she looked Daine straight in the eyes. "There's nothing to be ashamed of child. Best to man the gates under chance of siege, little one."

Daine fidgeted; the woman was right and, as she knew well, preparation didn't necessitate action. 

"I suppose you're right." Daine mumbled and the healer nodded and walked over to the display.

"Which one then, I suppose you know which are the best." Daine nodded and looked over the display. There were charms made of bronze, copper, silver and gold. She asked the prices, and paled in response. She had brought a full purse but she would still not be able to afford the gold. The copper would be the best price wise but she could afford the silver—though it would be a big purchase for her. She hesitated and the healer spoke again.

"I always recommend the best you can afford. It will last a lifetime; you have my guarantee." She said quietly and Daine nodded and gestured towards the silver. "Alright, just let me add up your total."

Daine had just put the coins down onto the table, Numair's for the ingredients and her own for the charm, when a familiar, tenor voice interrupted them. She felt herself flush and wished the ground would open up and swallow her just this once. 

"Daine, I'm glad I caught you; I just remembered that I need sage." He stepped up to the counter. "Did you find everything else—" He looked down onto the table and faltered when he saw the charm lying next to the other parcels, still not wrapped.

There was a beat of silence, heavy as the incense laden air, as Numair stared at the charm. She looked at her hands and felt the heat in her face rise. Finally, Numair cleared his voice and spoke to the healer. 

"Would you happen to have any sage in stock?" He paused, bowing his head to the woman and took in a breath before continuing, "and she'll take the gold."

Daine looked up at him but he didn't turn as he slid her own money back to her and deposited replaced it with a gold crown from his purse. She opened her mouth to protest but he cut her off quietly.

"No, don't argue. The gold will be better." He looked as though he had more to say but closed his mouth as the healer returned and they finished their purchase.

They left the shop, taking the back roads back to the palace to avoid the crowds. They hadn't talked since leaving the shop and she chewed at her nail. Numair cleared his throat.

"I did say that as your teacher it was my responsibility to provide you with anything that you needed—" Daine shot a glare at him and he immediately quieted. After a few moments he sighed and pulled her hand from her mouth.


"Stop fretting, magelet. You're growing up; this is all a part of that." He put and arm around her shoulders and kissed her hair quickly. "I just have to remember that too," he mumbled to himself, too quiet for her to hear.