Now that Kirei was back in Rynmere for the first time in seven arcs, there was a lot that needed to get done in a short amount of time. She had managed to find a farm that suited her needs quickly. It was located just over a break's ride away from the city. That made it perfect for her needs. The farm itself offered her the comforts of familiarity; her family back in Rharne lived on a farm, after all. It was what she knew...what she craved. But she was no farmer. While she could manage well enough to provide for herself and her adopted daughter, she simply didn't have the skills to make a living as a farmer. And that meant that she needed easy access to the city in order to get a job. This farm gave her that.
The next two orders of business were to get reacquainted with the city, and to seek employment. After all, if she couldn't find a job quickly, she wouldn't be able to pay her loan back on time. So as she made her way into Andaris, it was with those two thoughts in mind, and a heart full of determination. By the end of the trial, she would have a job, or die trying.
As she approached the main gate, she saw a beautiful tree growing just outside the gate.
Warrick's Watch her mind provided after a few trills.
Kirei had good memories of that tree. She hadn't attended school as often as she should have as a child, but on one of the trials that she had gone, her class had taken a field trip to Warrick's Watch. The trip had been a lot of fun for the young street brat she'd been back then. It was one of her fonder memories of both going to school, and of the city itself.
"See the pretty tree, Tauriel?" Kirei asked her adopted daughter.
The nearly one arc old girl giggled happily, and pointed at the tree with her hand. It was clear to Kirei that she wanted to touch the leaves of the tree. Tauriel loved the feel of leaves for some reason. She sometimes wondered if that meant that she would be a farmer like her mother had been.
"That's Warrick's Watch, Tauriel. It was planted by Henry II on the morning of the birth of his two sons. Henry II was the son of Henry Warrick. And Henry Warrick was an original member of the Sacred Seven."
Kirei laughed at herself softly. Tauriel couldn't understand a word she was saying; she was far too young for history lessons. But it was very important to talk to young children like Tauriel. And it was never too soon to foster a love of stories in a child. Kirei approached the base of the tree, and read the plaque there out loud.
"May all who pass this tree know true joy and see it grow."
"Henry II's sons placed that plaque there, Tauriel. I think it shows the great pride that they must have felt for their city. Don't you?"
Kirei grinned at the little girl.
"Yes, exactly." she responded.
Kirei placed Tauriel's hand on the trunk of the tree gently, allowing her to feel the texture of the bark beneath her tiny hand. But with the guards standing watch at the gate, she didn't quite dare pluck a leaf from the tree for her to play with. She didn't want to risk getting in trouble when she was trying to find a job. After a few bits, it was time to get back to the matter at hand, so Kirei moved away from the tree, and towards the main gate. The guards gave both her and Tauriel a cursory look as they passed through the gate, but they didn't look suspicious, or offer any resistance.
Once inside the main gate, Kirei's eyes narrowed. The streets of Lowtown lay before her. The child she had once been knew them well; having grown up there, she should know them. Even now, all these arcs later, Kirei thought she would be able to find her way around the poorest section of the city. Some things you just didn't forget.
Kirei kept a sharp eye on the people around her as she passed through the streets of Lowtown. This wasn't a safe place for the unwary, and Kirei knew better than to let her guard down even for a trill. She moved swiftly, and with purpose. In doing so, she made herself look more confidant, and as such, less like a target to pickpockets and thieves. As she walked, Kirei came to the entrance of an old underground water duct. She paused, and shivered as bad memories overtook her.
The Water Street Marketplace had a reputation of being able to provide anything you could possibly want from foreign slaves to jacdon hearts to killers for hire...if you knew who to talk to, and could afford their price. It was very unsafe...even more so than the rest of Lowtown. Most of the dwellers of Lowtown were careful to keep their children well away from the market unless they were with them. And for good reason. The knights got at least three reports a trial of people going missing from the marketplace. Most of them were either killed, or sold into slavery. Kirei herself had been one of the many to disappear from the Water Street Marketplace seven arcs ago.
Kirei shuddered once more as she tightened her hold on Tauriel and moved on. She passed by a stable, and decided to stop and take a quick look. Since she would likely be riding to work most trials once she got a job, she was going to need to know where she could keep her horse while she was working. Unless she got a job at an inn or something, it was highly unlikely that she would be able to stable her horse at her place of employment.
"May I help you?" a woman asked politely as Kirei entered the stable and started looking around.
"Maybe. I'm new to the city, and I am looking for a place where I can keep my horse while I'm at work."
"Then you've come to the right place. I'm Ruth Calder, and I run the Andaris Stables. I'm quite good at what I do, if I might say...and I should be. I've been looking after horses my whole life."
Kirei smiled at the older woman. She seemed friendly enough. More importantly, she had a confidant air about her that suggested that her words were more than mere boasting.
"What can you tell me about this place?" Kirei asked.
"Well, we're sitting on five acres of land, and can house up to 700 horses, so we have plenty of room for yours should you choose to stable it here. We are one of the biggest and most wealthy businesses in Andaris. Both the royal guard, and the Moseke Knights trust us enough to house their horses with us." Ruth said proudly.
Kirei nodded slowly. That sounded like quite an accomplishment, even if her memory on exactly what the royal guard did was vague at best.
"If you are ever looking for a job, we are always looking for help here." Ruth continued.
Kirei considered asking her about a job, but she knew more about cooking than she did about horses. Feeling that it was better to play towards her strengths, she set the knowledge aside for now. If she couldn't get work as a chef, it was something to keep in mind, but she wanted to try for that first.
"Our prices vary depending on the level of care you expect to get for your horse. We also offer riding lessons and other services as well as stabling."
They discussed what those prices actually were for a bit. Then Kirei thanked Ruth, and promised to bring her horse in sometime soon to make arrangements. With that, she took her leave. From the stables, it didn't take Kirei long to find the gate that led into Midtown. The guards standing at the gate eyed her warily, but she and Tauriel must have looked harmless enough because they let them pass through without any hesitation.