Chapelwood: Opilio takes a hands-on approach to spring. He throws on some work clothes, gets out with all the new tenant families and helps everyone get fields plowed and new houses/barns erected. Dechera fusses about the plans for the wedding, and angles for Harvest’s Birth, the autumnal equinox and last day of the calendar summer, as a fine time. (It would mean that any children conceived on the wedding night would be born in the busy summertime, but Dechera feels that with her new position, Ambira will be able to have time to be a new mother even in the summer. Discussing this in earshot of Ambira encourages Ambira to go spend the night over at the Borsari’s again.)
Vesper’s Travels: The young Sespech visits at the Chapelwood and Borsari estates in mid-Weyrun. She converses with Ramilante about the Taribolto affair. She also chats with Ambira about the winter, asking “girl” questions such as “Did you kiss Alesci?” Ambira explains that she and Alesci were encouraged to kiss in front of everyone at the festival after Alesci said he would like to marry her, and it was embarrassing but she was rather fine with it anyway. She also mentions that the two of them managed to steal some more kisses before he left (even though it meant dodging his parents quite a bit), and somewhere along there was a bit of… rump-handling on both person’s part, but it was nice. She also confides that she’s been writing letters to Alesci, and he has been writing back, but she’s had to be alert and intercept them before her parents could read them because occasionally he says something that would not do for her parents to see even though they’re formally betrothed and all. Ambira then claims to be torn about showing Vesper the letters — wanting to keep them private, but also wanting to show off what beautiful love letters Alesci writes — and she shows them to her Sespech friend anyway.
Vesper returns to Cinquedea in the spring, and begins correspondence with Ambira anew upon arrival. She spends much of her time at the Quiet House, but also socializes at the Tyliel and Vargari households from time to time. She meets the youngest of the Cinqudean Vargari, the Alvorite acolyte Iliska (younger sister to Kosvach and Tarvana), and learns that Tarvana has traveled to Cynelorn and perhaps beyond to the Iron Marches for the warm season. Along with Alesci, Kosvach and often Floressa Tyliel, she also continues to indulge her taste for opera.
Vesper carefully observes Floressa’s interactions with Alesci and particularly Kosvach. At first it’s not clear at all whether the Tyliel apprentice is demonstrating interest in the Vargari. She does not flirt, makes no overtures — never does anything that he might be inclined to reject or deny her. Rather, when she directly interacts with him, she asks only for things that he is inclined to say “yes” to anyway: offering him a refill of wine, asking his opinion on a sword school, entirely harmless things. Vesper gradually realizes that Floressa may be subtly and patiently encouraging him to think of her as someone that it is pleasant to say “yes” to. Somewhat taken aback by the remarkable subtlety of the Tyliel way, she pays careful attention to Floressa’s techniques.
The Riddle of Kosvach: Over the spring, Vesper begins to wonder whether or not Kosvach has the potential of viewing her as more than a friend. His cool demeanor is difficult to penetrate, but a few hints seem almost encouraging. He smiles more often during their group outings as time rolls on, and sometimes even laughs outright. Every once in a while, when Floressa’s not looking, he glances over at Vesper and rolls his eyes a bit as if to say “Can you believe this girl?” It seems that Kosvach finds Floressa entertaining enough (and, slightly to Vesper’s vexation, pleasing to look at), but he doesn’t really empathize with her — he treats her politely, but seems to keep her at arm’s length.
As the month progresses, Vesper gets a better feel for Kosvach’s natural defensiveness — he’s always on guard, but for whatever reason he seems to relax his guard a bit around her. She can’t be sure if it’s because he’s starting to think of her as a third sister, or as a confidante, or as a friend akin to Alesci, or as something more — but he does clearly respect her and likes talking to her about other lands, the history of Rasenna, ghost stories and monsters and other interesting subjects. He’s not a dyed-in-the-wool opera fan, alas, but after one night hanging out late and enjoying a fair amount of korzalka, he reveals he has a surprisingly rich baritone and a fondness for Lokvan hero-songs. Floressa is most impressed with his impromptu recital (Alesci shows the signs of already being familiar with his skill), but her praise seems to deter Kosvach from singing another. The Vargari blade is apparently uninterested in song as performance, and more interested in singing just because he’s enjoying himself.
One morning Kosvach shows up at the Iron Fang early to watch Vesper spar. After the fighting, when she’s sweaty and aglow in triumph, she gets the impression that he likes what he sees — though she can’t tell whether he likes looking at her for her fighting performance alone, or if he also likes looking at her as a woman. Over brunch, they talk about bugbears. All in all, she decides that while it’s too early to rule out the possibility of Floressa winning him over, the signs are slightly encouraging — but still too open to the vagaries of interpretation.
Alesci Astray: As spring moves into summer, word arrives that Alesci and Kosvach have gone missing – the two took a voyage to Redoris, the Raggavante “City of Freedoms,” and did not return within the two weeks that they were expected. Ettorio, Vesper and Carenza pursue the news on the street, and are able to put together that apparently Scorpis Rovino had traveled to Redoris shortly before, and that Alesci had been making discreet inquiries about Scorpis’ trip.
Ambira goes missing immediately after the news reaches Chapelwood – her horse, some provisions, traveling clothes and other gear go missing as well. Investigation at the Borsari estate reveals that not only is she not there, but that over the winter and spring she has been taking knife-fighting and swordsmanship lessons from Ramilante. Apparently she has also been straining against settling down and starting a family within a year of meeting her adventurous intended, and did not want to be “the kind of wife that a husband leaves at home while he goes off and does something dangerous.” It is expected that she has run off to Cinquedea to go in search of her betrothed.