It was neither as difficult as Mera had feared or as easy as she had hoped to find her place within House T'o'lz. As Ladye of Teir, she had handled all domestic affairs, but in T'o'lz those duties were handled by T'o'lz Inik's wife Lur Jena, a formidable woman who brooked no interference in what she considered her realm. It was Lur Jena who ordered about the small army of dsks who served the House; Lur Jena who ensured each member of T'o'lz received their share of the fees collected by T'o'lz for its services, and it was Lur Jena who quickly saw that it would be better for Mera to be apart from the other Negative Psis for the time and assigned her a small room near the top of the House.
Mera appreciated the privacy, though she was somewhat wary of it. In Teir Epor, she had been at the beck and call of all and had slept in the house's communal sleeping room. She found the small room that looked out over the desert garden unusually quiet and cold without the presence of other warm bodies.
Her family had not been a demonstrative one, but they had always been about. Though the privacy allowed her time to adjust to T'o'lz, it also reinforced her feelings of being an outcast.
There was little time to mope however. Mera had a lifetime of Psi lessons to learn. Several ˇratÝmi each day were spent in learning the customs and history f T'o'lz and how it related to each of the other Houses. While T'o'lz might insist on informality between members of its household, when they dealt with the other Houses and off-worlders the strictest protocol was followed. In that Mera was somewhat advanced. While Teir Epor was a minor House among the Minor Houses, she had been carefully instructed in the ways of the Six Major and Twelve Minor Houses since birth. Dsk Tage, who was her instructor in these matters, was most impressed.
"Well done, H˙smˇir Mera," he said after she finished conjugating the forms of address for the Lord, Ladye, and dsks of a Secondary Minor House on the Receiving End of a Snub. "Few of T'o'lz inflect so well."
Mera smiled slightly and lowered her head, feeling her cheeks warm. Compliments had been few in House Teir. She lifted her gaze to find Tage's green eyes were still studying her. "Is something wrong?"
She was with some surprise that now it was the dsk's cheeks that were taking on a deeper hue. "It is just...I had wondered...," he said before trailing off.
Mera leaned forward. "Please ask," she said impulsively. In the normal course of things, a member of the House and one of its dsks did not grow intimate on the personal level; but T'o'lz was more informal than most and Tage was the closest thing to a friend Mera had.
She was isolated by more than just the distance of her room from the others in the House. There were very few Negative Psis to begin with, it being an extremely rare Talent, and most NPs were seldom at the House, being out and employed at its Business at all times. She had Psi lessons with T'o'lz Inik, who taught her how to control her Talent and build the mental shields that would protect her from other Psis; and she had seen T'o'lz Ixzander and a few others of the House in passing in the halls.