Elysia carefully disentangled herself from her sleeping lover’s arms and hair, and quietly rose from the couch the two of them shared. Dircea had been a sprawling sleeper as long as the two of them had shared sleeping quarters at the temple of Hestia, though how deeply she now slept was difficult for Elysia to determine at the present time. Elysia had a lot to do, and not a lot of time in which to do it, and so the fewer people to whom she had to explain her actions, the better.

The evening was mild, having not quite rid itself of Boreas’s cold embrace, so Elysia found and draped a length of cloth over her shoulder. Though she couldn’t see in the darkness, she knew by touch that the cloth was one she’d received as a gift from one of her students — one she knew who would gladly pursue her hand in marriage if she desired such a thing. She wound the fabric around herself in a modest style, and she secured with a cord around her waist and a clasp at her shoulder, leaving her legs bare and one shoulder exposed.

It was dark outside, and neither the waning moon, nor the occasional brazier, conspired to provide her with much in the way of illumination. Still, Elysia knew the temple complex by heart, and could navigate it without any particular need to see where she was going. She crossed the grounds — which consisted of a large and lonely sanctuary, and adjacent treasury and dormitories. She nodded to one of the treasury guards in passing, the woman sleepily acknowledged the gesture, before she arrived at the sanctuary. It was not a long walk, and she did so barefoot.