Hieram is here again. My life feels as if one of the Four Lords of the Deep Dark had taken hold of it and steered it toward misery. There is no place the cretin cannot find me, save the Labyrinth! One years' growth has brought him neither wisdom nor selflessness. He has set his desires on conquering me - and there is no Ennis now to help me foil him.
Today I was helping Asta wash out the great, round, copper dye-tubs in which we dye our wool, for it is the season to pick arpe, the flower-buds of the canper plant, and they must be brewed immediately into dye or the lovely blue color is lost. The dye-tubs must be immaculately clean or the dye will be ruined. I was in the courtyard with my old green leggings and short tunic, bent and scrubbing, when he came - as he is certain to do when I am unable to defend myself. Asta watched in disapproval while he laughingly tried to grasp my legs. I moved away around the tub, unable to scrub as I avoided him, yet knowing that the harvesters would be bringing the buds in at any moment. The cobbles were running with dirty water and I flicked my dripping metal-fleece at him irritably to make him go away, but he only laughed and moved closer, his lavish tunic stippled with dark water-spots. I could see his crooked teeth as he smiled.
Luckily, my mother happened to look out her window at that moment.
"Hieram!" she called sharply, "For shame! Neddeth will be Curator someday - she is not a silly chambermaid for you to ravish. You overstep your place, and it will not do to anger the Gods."
Hieram stood back, bowing sarcastically to my mother. "As you wish, Madam," he replied, pretending gallantry. But as she nodded curtly and went back to her writing, he lifted an eyebrow at me. "Until later, my love," he said, and grinned when I reddened. Then he turned and went back toward the Palace, stepping carefully through the water with his stupid, heavy gait, like an overstuffed rooster. My love, indeed!
Asta shook her head when he had gone. "That young man is a horror, just like his uncle," she said, "Don't let yourself be alone with him for a moment."
She had an odd look on her face, and I wondered at it. Hieram is a bother and rather stupid, but I can't think of him as dangerous. Still, I would not choose to be alone with him in any case. He makes me uncomfortable and angry, and -
Oh - someone is aking I m ..