Janiya listened to the numbers, then reluctantly fetched paper, ink, and a pen, and laboriously wrote them down as the aeriko recited them again.
"This was a good idea," she said to me. "Thank you for suggesting it. I'll send him back in a few days to count again."
I hesitated before leaving the yurt. "And in the meantime?" I asked.
"What do you mean?"
"What are you going to do with the djinn in the meantime?"
Janiya set down her paper. "What are you suggesting?"
"You can send it out on other errands, you know. You could have it fetch supplies from somewhere else, if there's anything we're running out of. You could even have it take you to wherever the eldress is, if you think she ought to know about the rumors, and then have it bring you back."
Janiya stroked the spell-chain absently for a moment, then said, "I have to admit, Lauria, I have mixed feelings about using the djinn at all." I thought she was going to say that she feared the dangers it posed, but instead she said, "It's a slave; we don't... usually... keep slaves. It's not the Alas.h.i.+ way."
"It's not really like keeping a human slave." I said.
"Oh, I know. A human slave would pose far less temptation." She stroked the spell-chain again. "I guess right now I don't feel like we can risk freeing him; we too desperately need information on what the Greeks are doing, not to mention where the bandits are." She sighed. "Anyway, I kind of wonder if I should let him, well, rest for a few days. What do bound djinni do when they're not out on errands?"
"I have no idea." I looked for a moment at the necklace, glittering at Janiya's neck. "I guess you could summon it-him-and ask, couldn't you?"
"I could. I suppose I could." Her eyes were distant. "Anyway, thank you, Lauria. If you have any other suggestions regarding the djinn, please let me know."
As I stepped back out of the yurt I found myself thinking about Janiya's question. What did bound djinni do when they weren't following orders to work on some task? Did they sleep? Perhaps they wandered around and possessed irritating slaves like Aislan. Perhaps they visited their friends and families, if djinni had friends and families.
I hadn't thought about Aislan in a while. I wondered if she was still the smug, self-congratulating little a.s.s-kisser she'd been during my short tenure in the harem. Probably.
Saken summoned me after the midday meal for a lesson in swordsmans.h.i.+p. "You seem to have a knack for it," she said. "Like Tamar with the bow. But you'll be more effective with some practice." She'd brought two wood practice swords f
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