Two days after Sethbert’s visit the first supply wagons pushed their way along the ash-strewn road, delivering tools, food and clothing to the workers.
Petronus tasked Neb with inventorying and assigning them. The boy was quick with a pencil and ciphers. Over the days, as word spread to the outlying villages, more workers drifted in. A few refugees-tradesfolk who’d relied on Windwir for their livelihood-showed up. And at least two Androfrancine caravans had stopped, en route to the Summer Palace to heed Pope Resolute’s call. When those wagons-and their Gray Guard contingents-stopped, Petronus marked his face with soot and talked to the ground, though he knew it was unlikely that anyone would recognize him.
But the boy recognized you, some part of him chided. Of course, the amazing thing about boys was that they actually paid attention to busts and portraits even when it seemed like they didn’t. But someday, he thought, someone who really knew you will recognize you. You were lucky with Sethbert, the same voice said.
Now that Introspect was dead, there were no other Androfrancines who knew about Petronus. And back at home, in Caldus Bay, the few still living who knew his secret were too grateful to have their limerick master back to ever break it. And of course, Vlad Li Tam had known. He’d helped locate the roots and flowers that Petronus’s particular poison had required, and had arranged for and financed the runaway Pope’s escort home after an appropriate period of time in hiding at House Li Tam on the Inner Emerald Coast.