Lora entered the Anyaver with something akin to relief. She tugged the head covering closer around her face and hoped that the temporary brown tint to her eyes held until she made it to a room. The gold rims of her irises burned through the dye at an alarming rate. Her clothing was of good quality, but nothing that proclaimed her true rank. After all, why would the heir to the throne of Andiri need to frequent a hotel a short glide trip from her own quarters in the Courts?
To escape. Just for a while.
She approached the front desk, knowing that she would have to talk to a live person rather than simply key her request into a machine. Today’s attendant was a young lady with light brown skin, just hinting at the laska color common to the higher ranked Andiri. Lora’s own skin was pure laska, the light orange-pink of the morning sky on Andiri. One of the new Personal Appearance Modifiers (PAMs) had managed to dull the color to that of an aristocrat for this trip.
Lora inserted a credit chip linked to her alternate identity into a slot on the counter. “One room, two nights,” she stated to the employee.
The young woman’s eyes widened slightly at whatever her screen told her. Then her professional mask returned and a friendly, if curious, smile slid into place. She handed Lora a room key chip and pointed off to the side. “The private lift over there will take you directly to your room.”
Lora raised her eyebrows. That wasn’t common at all but she wasn’t in the mood to argue. “Where do you need my print?” The transaction was keyed to her account via her credit chip, but it needed her fingerprint to authorize it.
“No need. This room is always available to you. You don’t even need to check in or out. Just take the lift on up.”
Before Lora’s tired mind could argue that none of this made any sense, Jorand stepped off the private lift and moved towards them. His strides ate up the distance between them. Somehow he seemed to note everything at once. He directed a passing hotel employee to something that needed attention at the front of the lobby. As he passed by a large potted tree, he plucked off some dead leaves, dropping them in the base. And yet he remained focused on Lora.
When she’d needed to get away from the Courts but still be accessible, this was the first place she thought of. Even if Jorand found out she’d taken refuge here, he would keep her secret. Now she was getting the idea that he was several steps ahead of her.
“I’ll show the lady up, Tennya. Thank you.” He motioned Lora to precede him to the lift, taking her small bag as she passed him. Lora was used to these small courtesies from him. Once the lift doors had swished closed, she turned to him, still peering out from the depths of her head cover. “I have a permanent room here?”
“A suite actually.”
“An entire suite that will hardly ever be used?”
“With a garden.”
“Surely that’s a waste of money and space, Jorand. You’re a keen businessman. Why would you do that?”
He shrugged. “What wouldn’t I do for my Coravi and the guardian of my family?”
She scoffed. “It was an accident that I aided your family a few times. Coincidence.”
“No. It is who you are. You are the Coravi in deed as well as in name. We recognize this and are grateful for it.”
“You don’t owe me anything, Jorand. You or your family. Regardless of my actions, you are the ones who capitalized on it to make your lots better. You might not be at this same place today if I hadn’t played a small part in your history. But I have no doubt that you would have done equally well on your own.”
“Your words are that of a true Coravi, bolstering her subject’s morale.”
She narrowed her eyes at his obtuseness and stalked from the lift when it opened. These people insisted on believing that she was something more than she was. Didn’t they realize what a farce having her as Coravi was?
She didn’t notice his small smile as she strode away.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Hiya folks! I didn't really have anything else to say, so I'm just posting a snippet from my SciFi story, The Sunlands. The following piece falls in place at chapter 9.