Again my apologies for this being late due to Jury Duty.
This was from Chapter 10 of Heart Thief:
A warm puppy nose nudged at her cheek and woke Ailim. Primrose panted in distress. *Me not feel good.*
"Scry bowl, voice only, call D'Ash," Ailim commanded.
Swearing came across the link, a holo showing intertwined bodies. "Holo off!" said T'Ash. His voice was followed by a lighter one. "D'Ash here."
"D'SilverFir, my Fam is ill."
"Stones don't have these sorts of emergencies," grumbled T'Ash and almost made Ailim smile through her anxiety.
"Can she still speak to you?" asked D'Ash.
Primrose made a small yip. *D'Ash!*
"Not too terrible, then. I'll teleport to D'SilverFir Residence within the next quarter septhour," D'Ash said and ended the call.
*Aunt Whitey,* Ailim mind-called her housekeeper. *Please arrange for an elegant breakfast in the nook next to the solarium. D'Ash comes. I'd like an assortment of pastries. Please inform anyone who asks for me that this is to be a private, uninterrupted, meeting.*
*Humph!* her Aunt snorted. *We have no budget for elegant pastries.*
Ailim grit her teeth. *The no-time box index I saw yesterday showed enough pastries to host a breakfast for the full NobleCouncil. Indeed, haven't we been feeding our visiting Family from the no-time?*
Whitey's distinctive sniff came through telepathically, but she didn't respond to Ailim's last question. *No-time foods do not taste as well as others. Why some of those dishes were prepared when my Father'sDam was D'SilverFir!*
Ailim ignored her aunt's protest and dressed hurriedly in a soft tunic and trous suit of teal that came to hand. Though it was one of the days she sat in Judgment Grove, a dark purple robe would cover what she wore. With a quick spell, her hair was intricately arranged in braids.
She picked up Primrose. The pup felt hot and her little tongue flopped out of her mouth.
"D'Ash is coming."
*You say pastries? Me like pastries, like from no-time.*
"You'll eat what D'Ash says, and nothing more. And I agree, there's no difference in taste in no-time dishes, unless it's that we could afford a good pastry chef during the era of the generations ago D'SilverFir. Ignoring no-time stocks while preparing fresh is only Whitey's foolishness, a stupid Noble custom to make us more exclusive. Donax was right in indexing the no-time larders, and in recommending we use what we have," she muttered, petting Primrose and hurrying down to the breakfast nook set in the curve of one of the towers.
A glass table was set with the best china and held a three-tiered set of platters heaped with mouth-watering sticky-buns, scones, rolls, cakes and filled croissants.
*Yum,* Primrose said weakly, eyeing the bounty.
"No." Ailim set her Fam down on a cushioned chair and poured herself a cup of caff.
"D'Ash arrives," said the mellow tones of the Residence.
Ailim looked out the arched window that faced the lake and the drawbridge, but couldn't see beyond the trees of the estate to the great greeniron gates.
"D'Ash here," said a breathless, cheerful voice, transmitted by the resonating stone embedded in the wall by the gates. She looked as optimistic as she sounded and relief lightened Ailim's heart.
"Come," Ailim teleported the GreatLady to the nook.
D'Ash examined Primrose. "What we have here is a puppy who has been eating well, but not too wisely. No doubt taking advantage of the banquet yesterday, the Ritual foods, and all your fascinated relatives who'd slip her anything she begged for."
Primrose opened her eyes very wide, tilted her head, flopped her ears and looked pathetic. It didn't soften Ailim's heart. "I'll make sure the family knows that she must strictly adhere to her diet."
Primrose whimpered. *Candies. Wildrunner. Honied CeltaHen. Cat food so goood.*
"Cousin Canadena will have to stop feeding you. You can't visit her kitten if she's going to ignore my orders," Ailim said.
D'Ash stroked the long hair falling over the Fam's eyes. "I can heal her, but using such Flair on a bellyache is a little overmuch. If you'll let me, I'll take her with me, treat her with a bit of herbs and spells, and return her later in the morning."
"I'm in Judgment this morning."
"I've always wanted to take a look at Judgment Grove when something interesting is going on. Now that I make my own schedule, I can." D'Ash unfolded a carrier bed lined with fluffy CottonSorbaroot and carefully placed Primrose in it. The animal healer touched a finger to Primrose's head. "Sleep, and feel no pain."
Primrose's body settled limply into the bed.
"She will be fine in a few hours," D'Ash said, pouring herself some t'caff and reaching for a cocoa-filled croissant. "Oh, these are delicious. For my fee, could I take them all?"
"I owe you more than that."
The GreatLady raised green-hazel eyes, and Ailim saw a wealth of compassion. A flush of embarrassment at her Family's lack of funds heated her neck.
"As T'Ash says, we are GreatLords, what we choose to set as our fee is completely up to us. His Fam, Zanth, has a habit of terrorizing our chef. A terrorized chef doesn't have a very light hand with pastries." Danith sighed. "And we all have a taste for sweets."
"The pastries are yours, then."
Primrose's stomach rumbled.
D'Ash glanced at the puppy. "I'd better be going. I'll be at the Judgment Grove at mid-morning bell. See you later, D'SilverFir." D'Ash expanded a visible sphere of Flair around her, the pastries on the table, and Primrose.
"Call me Ailim, and my most heartfelt thanks. Merry meet."
"And merry part."
"And merry meet again," Ailim said, just before D'Ash winked out.