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She is aware of your situation, and that is why she has sent us. I am a mage now in my own right, and this is Galen, a very skilled member of our order."

As Cadmus' nervous eyes took him in, Galen nodded, pleased at Isabelle's description.

"Is that"-he rolled his shoulders in an odd, jointless way-"what happened to your hair?"

"Yes, that is our custom. My mother thought we might spend some time here while the Narns remain, to help you get through this difficult period."

Cadmus' bottom lip peeked out again. "Oh, I would be grateful for that. Not-not that I can't take care of myself. I can be as rough as the next guy." Glancing nervously toward the lounge, he reached under the counter, lifted into view a PPG, which he held between thumb and forefinger. He returned it quickly to its hiding place. "But I worry about the rest of the employees."

Galen thought that if Cadmus ever tried to shoot anyone, he'd most likely shoot himself in the foot.

"Of course," Isabelle said. "We thought we might take a table in the lounge and tell fortunes, the way my mother used to do. Then we'll be nearby, if the need arises."

"That would be fine. That would be perfect. Anything you need, anything I can do, you let me know."

Isabelle leaned toward him, and Galen could tell Cadmus enjoyed being the confidant. "We would appreciate it if you could spread the word about our services being available. Particularly to the Narns, and particularly to the second-incommand, G'Leel. You know her?"

"She has the..." Cadmus ran his finger across his nose.

"Yes. Have you spoken with her at all?"

"Only to ask her to step aside so the cleaning tech could deal with a rather unpleasant mess she'd made after drinking too much." Cadmus adjusted his curl of hair with a careful index
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