Twenty one

The Baroness of Castlehaven’s birthday was a grand event, whether she wanted it to be or not. Not that she minded too much, giving the people another excuse to celebrate was always welcome.

Their conversation was interrupted every other minute, from those who wished Nemissa well on her birthday, to those who wished to say hello to her son, or to Fletcher. Those who beckoned them to their stalls, for food, games, trinkets. There was barely a moment to speak, but when there was Fletcher tended to get to the point.

“You are twenty one?”

Fletcher sounded surprised, for a reason Nemissa could only attempt to guess at. “Yes. Do I seem younger?”

He laughed. “What a trap of a question!”

Schooling her face, Nemissa made sure not to smile as she continued. “Then I seem older.”

“You look like a young woman, where time stands still as to make one immortal. I guessed at a different age because of a different culture, not because of your appearances, my lady.”

“I accept that explanation,” Nemissa said. “What part of your culture does mine differ from?”

Fletcher stopped to look at the glass fish, colors reflecting off his eyes in a way which fascinated her. “Your son was born when you were seventeen. You seem older by way of mental maturity which isn’t apparent in the youth of other cultures.”

Nemissa reached out, plucking a blue fish from the selection as her son gestured at it. “That is the case here as well. My own youth was something I brought with me when I came here, I suppose.” A thought struck her and she gave a sidelong glance at the undead before beginning to pay for a large assortment of fish for her son’s friends who would be around somewhere. “How old are you?”

Fletcher laughed again. “Another trap? I should be embarrassed to answer.”

He didn’t seem embarrassed, but he also didn’t answer. She had the feeling it wasn’t something dramatic, but that would seem odd in comparison to the age of the living. Nemissa didn’t ask again.

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