Phaedra stared down her long nose at Tenk and allowed herself a moment to revel in this small triumph.
Weeks of preparation, hours in the darkness and cold, the constant and exhausting work of tracking down difficult bits of this-and-that made, at times, nearly impossible by the persistently bitter weather. Whole days, it seemed, spent walking the dark passageways of the city walls, trying to avoid the hazards that lived there-in, searching for a sign. But here he was, at last, at last, no more neatly laid out for her than Ariel had been for Prospero.
She sat and lifted his head gently, laying it on her knees. She pulled a comb from her pocket and combed his hair, singing a song soft as a lullaby. She turned his head to the side and using a length of silk thread she began to tie a small knot into the hair where his spine met his skull. Sweat broke-out on her forehead as she concentrated, trying to keep the steady rise and fall of her song in time with the twisting of the thread, occasionally reaching up to pluck a hair from her own head and tying it in.
When she was done she lay his head back on the moldy old mattress he was sprawled on and, still singing, picked up his hand, turning it over and running a finger along the lines there. Then with deft fingers she mussed his hair again, twisting the locks back into their previous disorder. She had to repress the urge to break her tune and tisk at him when she saw the state of his ears.
Then she stood carefully, as if she were worried the air around them had turned to glass, and backed away from him. She mussed her footprints out of the stone, kicking the dust this way and that to obscure her presence from him. She paused in the doorway, letting her voice fade into the silence of the room and allowed herself a long moment to savor this triumph. Then she shoved the old door shut again and lifted her lantern, whistling a happy tune that echoed back at her as she walked down the dark corridor and out of the city’s walls.