Emshalur’s Hand Stays
By Anaea Lay
I returned to Irishem with three sources of power: a letter from Kelian, a clear memory of why I left, and the space between my hands. The letter proved my right to enter as a citizen at the outer gate. It also got me past the boy keeping Kelian’s door when I arrived, though the house was closed for the evening. “Sealed save for family and Emshalur,” go the ritual words of denial.
Though the boy gave me entrance into the hallway, I had another obstacle to pass before admittance to the hearth room. Before seeing Kelian again. A young woman with Kelian’s narrow eyes and full lips, but a flatter nose and a head of glossy curls, emerged from the depths of the house mere moments after the boy disappeared to fetch a member of the family. “Tyman says you have a letter to admit you. You will show it to me.”