A/N- I wrote my biggest chapter ever (2,500 words) and it all disappeared twice, and I was actually rather proud of bits. Argh!!! Out of spite, and a desire to actually post something, the chapters will remain short until I get to the point where I was. Also, they might not be very good, because I'm very bad at rewriting things. I was definitely happier with the originals.

So thin the moonlight seemed to shine through her near translucent body, Maya Dadi's ancient sari shimmered on her ancient body. Her bones creaked with every step with every movement, cackling like the embers of a fire.

"Yes," she said, her raspy voice almost a whisper. Her blackened nails rubbed against my hands, examining the lines. "The marriage should go as expected. There will be a surprise not too long after the wedding, but it will not derail anything. The stars smile upon all of this."

Mother wanted my marriage to be approved by a city fortuneteller, and I would be sending a palm leaf inscription with her seal on it, even though my illiterate parents couldn't make out what it said. Another deception would have to be added to the litany of lies I had already told them. I was a paragon of honesty to them, and they would probably not dare touch the money I sent home if they new it was tainted. But it was a month before I would see them, a month before my wedding.

Incense wafted through the room, masking the dingy smell of the room. The air was damp I felt like I could suck to the water out. Moss, growing in complex patterns, hugged the walls. A small lamp glowed in the back corner, and the room was basked by ethereal moonlight flooding through the wide windows.

For years, she had read the fortunes of the Adarsh servants, bringing smiles to the faces of the battered servants. She said what people wanted to hear, and people paid her what she wanted to be paid. But she was a good woman, working hard cleaning the dishes by day, and giving much of her earnings to help the servants if disaster ever struck. The dogs howled outside to the moon, predicting my future just as accurately as Maya Dadi could.

She sat on her spare bed, scribbling her seal onto the paper, holding it only an inch away from her face because of her poor eyesight. Except for a small bed, and papers and utensils strewn over the floor, the room was eerily empty.

"You'll have to pay twelve coppers," she confidently said, baring her rotten teeth. How much I paid was something she could actually predict, I ruefully thought dropping the coins scarred hands.

Soon, even more money would be wasted on my wedding. Of course, that was if I still had my job. Thakore's accusations frightened me, and my bribe income had dried up. If caught, I would certainly be fired, though I was confident I could avoid real punishment.

Yet what irked me more was how Thakore knew so much about my life. And if his sources were accurate about my personal details, could he be about the armies amassing to the south.

"You can go now," said Maya Dadi, snatching me away from my thoughts, gesturing me to leave.

A small boy was bent over one of the vases, polishing it until it gleamed. That could have been me once, I ruefully thought, four years ago. I hated the life of a servant. I hated working from dawn till dusk, until my hands were callused and bruised and until my legs felt like blocks of wood.

Ever since I taught myself to read and write, I had found employment with Sahib, surveying the docks, maintaining the tax rolls, serving important tea to dignitaries, and nearly any small job he could find. To this day, I was Sahib's servant, and not a servant of the Samgha.

Torches cackled under the beautiful melodies of a flute wafting through the nearly empty hallways. But I was too tired to listen to any of the bards that seemed to infest the house like insects. My feet fell softly on the expensive rugs, died in the extravagant purple that made Amarnagar so expensive.

The door creaked loudly as I entered the large closet that was refurbished into a room. I fell into the mattress on the floor, and was asleep in a matter of seconds.

-A/N- Is there any point to this chapter?