“Pendant?” Lorque came over, staring at the drawer as if it held an answer. “What pendant?”

“Before I left my old school, I found this pendant with my things. It was something like a brass coin, but it was covered with runes, like the mark on my hand. Actually, the mark on my hand was one of the runes on it. I was going to ask someone to read it for me, but then I got a little bit distracted by everything here and forgot all about it. Except now – now it’s not here anymore.” She began pulling everything out of her drawer and stacking it on top of the dresser, shaking each piece in turn.

“Maybe it fell down under something?” Riva offered. “Winter-blue, can you look under the dresser?”

The otter, who was still looking rather abashed, scampered over to the dresser and managed to wedge itself underneath. It came out with one stocking and then, a moment later, a mouthful of change, but no pendant.

“I wondered where that stocking went!” Lorque took it from Winter-blue happily. “But, ah, no pendant?”

“Winter-blue says that maybe a good dusting is in order,” Riva translated, “but no pendant.”

Ember, in turn, had ducked under the bed. There are more stockings under here. Does Lorque do target practice with them? If so, she needs to improve her aim a bit.

“No pendant. Some more stockings,” Nilien added, as Ember came out from under the bed with a mouthful of stockings. River, in turn, had a tie and nothing else.

Nilien checked the rest of her drawers, just in case, but there was nothing to be found. “I’m starting to doubt it was ever actually here,” she muttered.

I saw it. I told you it was probably dangerous. It was there. Ember nuzzled her hand. If I saw it, it must be real.

“Ember saw it,” she repeated quietly. “Ember has faith in its own eyes, which – I guess I do, too. Ember has good eyes.”

“So.” Riva frowned as if she was piecing it together one brick at a time. “Someone left a pendant with Rune marks on it in your old room. And then, a while later – probably while you were out getting a tree dropped on you? – someone took that pendant out of your room. And you hadn’t told anyone about it? Did you look at it for tracking spells?”

“No.” Nilien looked down at her feet. “I really should have.”

“You’ve had a lot on your mind,” Lorque soothed. “New school, new classes, magic – it’s understandable that it slipped your mind. We’ll figure it out.”

“But I-”

A knock at the door interrupted her. Riva, being closest, opened the door; Administrator Siren, with Bother wrapped around her neck, stood there holding an envelope. “Nilien? You have a letter.”

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