About Time [Darkover series]
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by Patricia Cirone
Category: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Description: Renunciates are sworn to be sisters to each other, no matter how different their personalities and habits. But sometimes they act like biological sisters, so it can be difficult to stop the squabbling and work together.
eBook Publisher: Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, 1991 Renunciates of Darkover
eBookwise Release Date: November 2008
18 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [28 KB]
Reading time: 13-19 min.
"Where is she?" Delaa demanded in a grunt as she cinched the chervine's belly strap tighter. "When she goes to the market for one hour, she takes three. It she says her trip will take five days, it's six or seven before she arrives. She's never on time!
"Relax, Delaa. We're going no farther than the beginning of the vale tonight. It doesn't matter if we start a little late," Sharyl said placatingly.
"That's not the point," grunted Delaa as she slung the saddlebags into place. "If you say you're going to start two hours after dawn, that's when you should start. Octavia is no true Amazon."
"I never heard punctuality was part of the oath," Sharyl replied in a voice tinged with laughter. "And don't let Mother Anna hear you saying Amazon."
"Being responsible is part of being a Renunciate. And not being on time is irresponsible."
"Delaa, Octavia is hardly irresponsible. She does the work of two women, even three. So, sometimes she does so much she's late. That doesn't make her irresponsible," Sharyl chided.
"Oh, I know," muttered Delaa. "She always has a good reason why she's late. But if she were truly so wonderful, she'd organize herself so she was on time. I'm busy, too, and I don't like being kept waiting for her to show up." She swung her tall body up onto her chervine and held her reins as if she were prepared to depart any moment.
Sharyl signed. It was no use. Delaa and Octavia were chalk and cheese. She had told Mother Anna that pairing them for a journey would never work, but Mother had said skills were what were important, not personalities. Until the newly established Derin Guild House built up their numbers and their members learned the skills, they needed the loan of a midwife, a swordswoman, and a guide. She, Octavia, and Delaa were the ones with those skills. And since Derin House would likely think it a favor to house the three of them together, they would be cheek by jowl not just for the journey, but for the entire six months of their stay. Sharyl sighed and wondered if she could persuade the Derin Guild-mother to give them separate quarters without revealing the shame of two Guild-sisters who could not get along.
Quick footsteps sounded down the overgrown path.
"Hello. Sorry I'm late," Octavia said cheerfully, shaking her brown hair out of her eyes. Her wide, mobile mouth curved in a bright smile. "I heard Tayish was coming in to market, so I waited for him to arrive. I got that rope you were unable to find yesterday, Delaa. Good herring weave," she said with satisfaction, giving a tug on the end of the thin, strong rope. "Here."
She handed several lengths of it up to Delaa, who was still ensconced upon her chervine.
"Thanks," Delaa grunted ungraciously, a twinge of guilt making her expression even more sour. It had been her job to get the rope; she was the guide. It would be needed for breaking horses and chervines for the fledgling Guild House, and possibly on the trip itself. They would be traveling through some pretty rugged foothills, and you never knew when you might need extra rope. She had gone to the market yesterday to purchase it, but she'd found only a weave good enough for hanging wash or belting a pair of trousers, but worthless under the demands she would put on it. She could have searched further, she supposed, but she hadn't wanted to be late for her before-dinner chores.