“Gazelle!” her mother called.
She took a deep breath, wiped her hands on her gray cotton pants and walked out the front door.
Up-close, the devil was very impressive. Scary. It turned a single, window-sized, cloud-colored eye toward her.
She stopped at the edge of the porch, staring. Even wrapped around itself like a snake, it was bigger than the house.
The leather-clad dust rider smiled at her. “Gazelle Root?”
She raised her chin. “I am not going with you, sir. My life is here.”
“Gazelle. Don’t be ridiculous. It’s a great honor.” Her mother turned to the dust rider, a greedy glint in her eye. “How much is the family’s compensation?”
“Why don’t we talk about that? Inside?”
“Of course. Gazelle, make tea.”
Fuming, Gazelle turned on her foot and stormed to the kitchen. The sitting room was steps from it and voices carried clearly.
She scowled at the pot of boiling water and pictured dumping on the dust rider’s head. Maybe her mother’s, too. Her father, too, for saying nothing at all.
She took a deep breath to calm herself, prepared the tray and carried it into the sitting room.
“Good news,” her mother said. “We settled on 5000 golds for you.”
“I wish you joy,” snapped Gazelle.