Careful so the guard wouldn’t notice, he tossed his handkerchief over the side of the cart. Someone would find it.
Jasen had not been told who. Not when Kynbessne and Jennika explained the plan to him, all three of them gathered around the expertly drawn, delightedly stolen house map. Not a few minutes later when he had asked. Explicitly. Someone would watch the manse while they were inside, and someone would have a way to signal Jennika if the mistress of the house returned while they were still scouting inside.
Kynbessne had looked resolute and patient when he questioned her, perhaps protecting an associate who she’d rather he didn’t arrest. It wouldn’t have been the first time. Jennika, however, had cocked her head slyly, her constant smile tilting her mouth. Like she might just be enjoying the spectacle of leaving him in the dark.
The beach was not a good place to hide. There was very little cover, though the few heavy rocks that scattered through the surf were pleasantly hulking and the wind was sharp enough to steal the sound of heavy running breaths and careful footsteps. It took too long to find that cover, and the soft sand took footprints jealously. Even the fierce wind that swooped in from the open water couldn’t swipe them away without a few hours persistence.
The sand near the water was harder packed, wet from old tides and beautifully dark. Soft steps could hide in the top layers, and the wind scoured them away quick enough. But it kicked up loose sand as well. Everywhere but the path of prints would be still and stoic, but wherever those careful prints had landed the sand would skitter and prance, the wind catching it by the hip and spinning it in a haphazard and happy country dance. The trail stayed obvious until the next tide came up to dampen the mood.
Wick knew three people who made better watchmen than him.
Two of them – his mother, and his grandfather – were long dead, more memories than flesh, with lists of valorous stands that might have been made longer and greater by the time that had passed. He suspected at times, that his mother hadn’t actually stood watch over a door for seven days and eight nights without sleep. He suspected his grandfather had never kept watch over a King’s window, even if it was just to make sure no competing thief took what his employer had an eye for. He suspected neither of them had gone two and three months without being seen at all while personally stacking unwanted guests in the alleys behind their watches for their friends to wake and put back together.
But they were his mother and his grandfather. And they were long dead. Wick had no intention of trying to wrestle any medals off their chests.
The third was a blind man who worked the west quarter behind the warehouses with a stick the breadth of Wick’s forearm. There was no accounting for a blind man.