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Roll Away Your Stone

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“Tr-tris needs gentle... structure, not... not fusspots!” burst out Rosethorn. “She’s fragile, after... plague, pir- pir- hail, quake.”

She met Lark’s look with a wry grin.

“I think she needs to know she’s doing something useful, love,” said Lark, twining her fingers around Rosethorn’s. “Tris is thorough. She managed to impress him during a plague. How many of his Air dedicates can claim that?”

This time Rosethorn chuckled outright and flapped her fingers around her head in the sign for “twitterpated”. Lark smiled, although she didn’t entirely approve of Crane’s methods of winnowing or his mercurial temper. Tris had responded to Niko’s scoldings by crying: how would she react if Crane took her to task?

“We can’t protect them forever, you know.” Gods, how fast they grew up. Had it been only thirteen months since Sandry had first stepped into her workroom? And here was Rosethorn, protective and probably a little jealous, although she’d never admit it.

Rosethorn nodded. “But if he says - any- any —“

She subsided into raucous coughs. Lark eased her upright and stroked her hair until her breathing steadied.

“If it comes to stringing him up in his greenhouse,” she murmured, “You can have as much of my merino wool as you’d like.”