The Weight of Rubies
Cassick's sister, fell in with the wrong cult
Amalia Arnaud, the 22-year-old sister of Cassick, was never cut out to be involved in the Arnaud family business – a business that is a combination of hard-nosed trading and covert smuggling. A sweet girl with neither the sharp intellect nor the flexible morality of her parents … or siblings … or cousins …, Amalia aspired for the straight-forward existence as farm wife and mother. At 20, she met and fell in love with Eitri, a good-looking and good-natured young man from a distant village in the East Redding, Tagahir. Ignoring the warnings of her grandmother about the odd religious views of the Tagahir residents, Amalia happily married Eitri and moved to Tagahir – she was, in fact, relieved to find a way to distance herself from her family.
In her first year in Tagahir, Amalia reveled in her new life in Tagahir, troubled only by the infrequent visits of her cousin, Crevan, who used his relationship with Amalia as an excuse to open up trading relationships with the folk of Tagahir. Unlike Amalia, the more observant Crevan picked up fairly quickly on the weird under-currents of Tagahir and their worship of the fertility god, Varaz. He may even have learned something about the small, odd cemetery, full of small graves, on the outskirts of Tagahir.
Amalia, however, did not – at least not until her twin sons, Cadell and Penn, were nearly a year old, when she learned the price demanded by Varaz’s priests in exchange for the richness of their crops.
DM’s Note: Portrait is a detail from Heinrich Maria von Hess’s “Portrait of Fanny Gail.”