Dixon looked down at the band he wore. Either Lilith had concluded that he was in little danger from the mob, or she intended to leave him at a disadvantage if trouble came. Still, it would likely be only moments before she assigned someone to keep an eye on him. Not prepared to go inside as yet, he paced around the fountain.
“Hello there, Dixon.”
“I see Lilith wasted no time in sending someone to watch over me.”
He wondered what she was telling the palace staff. The truth? That I am here against my will and at her demand? That she banded me as she would a common criminal or a traitor?
He turned around. The burning torches gave off a smell of pitch that tickled his nose. They flickered in the breeze and made popping, crackling noises. “Oh, Bernard, hello.”
Bernard, a doorman, had served at the palace for many years. He knew everyone, and nearly everything about them. A small man, slightly stooped at the shoulder, he was well into the fall of his life. As with the earthly seasons, his autumn was accompanied with the loss of things: hair, a bit of hearing, his formerly acute eyesight, energy, patience, and time. People tended to overlook him, but Dixon knew better.
Bernard held a wealth of information about the comings and goings of everyone at the palace. Although his perspective seemed somewhat naïve at times, in that he always looked for the best in everyone, when you needed information, he was often of assistance. Dixon was certain the man was not losing, with advancing age, his ability to observe, his memory, or his unfailing pursuit to do the right and proper thing.
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