“Are you asleep?” The voice filtered through the layers of Nicyes’s mind, like rays of light through a murky pool of water, but it was enough of a disturbance to bring him out of his meditation.

His voice was coarse, though not wholly of his own intent. “I was in prayer. Do you require something of me?” He hadn’t opened his eyes, and assumed he was speaking to one of the priests.

“I only ask, because there are more comfortable places to sleep.” The voice was soft, a woman. Nicyes opened his eyes. She was standing in front of him, looking down at him over an armful of scrolls. Her eyes were bright and her hair long, disappearing somewhere behind her shoulders. She was wearing a scribe’s tunic, which explained the scrolls she was carrying.

“Would you like help–” she started to say, but Nicyes stood up before she could finish her question. “–Oh. Never mind.”

He grunted at her. “You a scribe for the temple?”

“I’m sorry, what did you say?”

Nicyes repeated himself. “Do you scribe for this temple?”

“Oh, no, I’m a scribe for the temple of Hestia. I’m on loan for uh–” he cut her off with a glare. “Uh, no. No, I’m not.”

He grunted again.

“I’m sorry?” she said, confused.

“What business is it of yours where I, or anyone else sleeps? Next time, mind your own damned business,” he said.

Nicyes stalked off, and out of the temple, leaving the confused scribe behind.

One of the priests who saw Nicyes walk out approached her and asked her what had happened.

“I don’t know, I thought he was asleep. I just asked him. I don’t know why he got so angry. I was just going to tell him about the beds, or suggest another place. He kept interrupting me. He seemed so angry,” the scribe said.

“He’s an outsider, probably lost. What can you expect? Who knows why he’s even here?” They exchanged glances and the priest shrugged. “As long as they don’t cause any trouble. Let me know if he bothers you again.”