Sif’s next week passed in a blur. Under Falthejn’s comforting guidance, she signed a contract with the guild and received her aspirant’s allowance—ten crowns, more money than all the rest she’d ever seen put together. Much of it vanished over the next few days, as she hired a tailor to provide her with ceremonial luftsmagiker’s robes plus a few sets of more practical clothing, paid the lodgekeeper for her parents’ stay, and bought a patch of bare ground where they might build a house in the district called the Riverfront, outside the High Quarter’s west gate.
One evening late in the week, Falthejn returned with Sif to the lodge where Alfhilde and Hrothgar were staying. They enjoyed a meal together, full of warmth as the first flurries of winter fell outside. Toward the end, Sif presented Hrothgar with the deed to their land.
Alfhilde’s eyes welled up. “You didn’t have to do that!”
“You gave me a home,” Sif said. “The least I can do is give you a house.”
Hrothgar laughed heartily and clapped her on the shoulder. “You’ve done more than that, daughter. You’ve given us a head start—a foundation.” The weight of it settled on his shoulders. “There will be others who follow the path we walked to get here, and they will be less fortunate. Now we will be able to help them. Thank you.”