He ducked inside the hut, returning in a moment with a spindly table that was nearly as tall as Keira. “Just make sure these are in order.” Untying the cord, he licked his fingers with a vellum tongue and spread the small, rectangular certificates carefully on the polished counter. “Proof of residence. Proof of citizenship. Certificate of Specialization.” The last prompted him to look at her more closely, take in the runes stamped on the buckle of her satchel, the charms hung neat from her belt. “A Spinner, eh?”
“Yes, sir.” Keira looked toward the horizon, resisting the urge to fidget. The sun was creeping above the hills, reaching out to touch the sky with weak fingers.
His head bobbled in something that was neither shrug nor nod. “Huh.” He fastened the papers closed and returned them. “London, you said?”
Fog began to rise from the wet ground, thickening and swallowing the surrounding fields. The gate-keep licked his lips and squinted around. “The Hind in Berth Four departs for London this morning. If you speak with the captain, you may be able to negotiate passage.”
“Thank you.” She bit her lip, uncertain if the information should be rewarded with a pip. But he picked up his table and ledger and set them inside the door, then turned his face toward the muddled sky.
“The weather's turning nasty.” He drifted into the hut and gears screeched, then the doors into the airstation grated open. “Be persistent. And generous, or Hart will refuse you.”