Scion of Cyador

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Authors: Jr. Modesitt L. E.
might be able to find some others, placed elsewhere for safekeeping, now that we know what the Majer-Commander has in mind."
    "I'm certain you will do your best." Lorn smiles briefly. "Now, how does our payroll get here?"
    "We get a chest every other eightday," replies the senior squad leader. "I take the travel chest to the Emperor's Enumerators, and they fill it, and the guards and I bring it here and put it in the strongroom until we pay the men on sevenday."
    "When you do next receive that payroll?"
    "The day after tomorrow."
    "Good. From now on, each time you do that, we'll count it here in the study, and we'll both sign a record showing how much we received." .;
    "Yes, ser. I'll talk to the enumerators."
    "That's a good idea. They should know what the Majer-Commander has in mind, too, especially before they provide the next payroll."
    "I would think so, ser."
    "I'll have to meet with them. Perhaps we should do it together."
    "Ah... yes, ser."
    Lorn smiles again. "I want to make sure that we're supplying them with the services they need."
    "You said your consort was the head of a trading house, ser?"
    "Yes. I've learned a great deal from her."
    Helkyt smiles. "I am certain the enumerators will wish to learn that the commander has some understanding of trade and merchanters."
    "You might send them a message to that effect, but I think we should meet with them tomorrow, as early as possible."
    "Yes, ser."
    Lorn glances at his handwritten list again. "The north wing of the barracks. We'll need to hire a cart or a wagon and carry all the junk off. Is there a rag-picker here in Biehl that might pay us something for the cloth and the wood?"
    Helkyt's face blanks.
    "You need to find out if there is. Also, we'll need to see about whether there enough cuprite for the coppersmith to pay us..."
    Lorn stops as Helkyt's eyes begin to glaze over. "I've offered enough for now. Why don't you start on working out who can do the training?" He stands. "We'll talk later."
    Helkyt lurches to his feet. "I will have those names for you shortly, ser. Most shortly."
    The smile does not leave Lorn's face until the senior squad leader closes the door behind him.
    In the spring evening, sitting at the desk in his quarters' study, Lorn examines the payroll and expense-draw figures once more. He shakes his head. Without additional golds, he cannot afford both mounts and saddles for two full companies, even if he does not recruit the second new squad until midsummer. He may be able to draw upon the District Guards. He shakes his head once more, then jots an addition to his list. He needs to send a message to the District Guard Commander, and then visit the commander, for another aspect of his duties is to ascertain and verify the numbers and capabilities of those guards-something that has not been done in years. He sets aside his list and picks up the payroll figures again.
    After yet another series of mental calculations, he sets aside the reckonings, knowing that unless he can obtain good horses more cheaply or saddles or... something... he will not reach his goals, and so many of those goals are but within his own mind. Knowing what he must do, he tries not to dwell on the audacity required. Yet, without audacity his future is dim indeed. And without knowledge as well, he reminds himself.
    He laughs to himself. Still... he assumes that a man can make the times, when it is not at all clear that such is possible, or even that the times make the man. He will see; he must see.
    He slips the chaos-glass from the single drawer and sets it on the polished wood. While Lorn knows that he must be successful in using the glass in order to survive and prosper, it has been difficult enough to follow those in the glass with whom he has little connection. Yet a chaos-glass would prove most useful as a battlefield tool-if only to see where the barbarians-or any enemy-might be riding.
    Lorn concentrates. This time takes longer, far longer, than when

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