"I hight Elmyra, 'prentice Emeric."
"The guild has found me a place with a master Peryn in the household of a minor baron hight Kenneth a Kenneth in the north-country, near the Highland border. Know ye either of them?"
"Nay, lad. I know them not. But be not disappointed, we are new come to this realm."
"Whence come ye?" She gave him a sharp sidelong look, but his manner seemed casual enough .
"All over, lad, hither and yon like the rest of our folk, but from the West most recently."
"Ye sound like a native, that's why I asked."
"So yer from the Highland border, eh?"
"Aye, though they try like thunder to beat the lilt from me tongue."
"Well, Emeric, we hail from Rotherham, originally, though we were not met until after we reached the Hall in Umbria ourselves, and weren't forged into a troupe of our own until after we had become journeymen."
"I'd have guessed ye were natives. You have no trace whatever of foreign tongues about yer speech."
She bowed her head at his courtesy.
"I thank ye, lad. Ye are well spoken, for certain."
"I'd have said ye hailed from some sort of large town, but I'd never have been able to pick out where. Ye don't seem to have any sort of regional accent at all." 'Elmyra' nodded.
"I and my brethren here worked many long, hard months to 'beat' the accent of Pur Pale from our own tongues." The lie slid smoothly from her lips, yet she allowed herself a grimace at the thought of the work she had truly had in learning the vulgar language of Shanria herself and then drilling it into the others, all except Basithia, the only native Shanrian in the band, and of cosmopolitan background not needing much work on dialect at all. Bandar and Nileus had given her a demon's own time of it. In the meantime, she had had to keep up a charm to guide their tongues so they could all speak to one another. Her skill with that handy little charm was now greatly strengthened, but none of their work in learning the language had been able to overcome their dreadful foreign accents. Bandar and Nileus had sort of a warbling overtone and a cadence completely wrong for the meaning of the words, and she and Tarl had had the most wicked tendency towards using gutturals and glottal stops, slurring their S's and shaping their vowels to make the words fit their more familiar Germanic Meiderhofman forms. In the end she had resorted to implanting subconscious suggestions to banish their pride in their native tongues and the fear of embarrassment in adopting a foreign one. That had finally done the trick, and the results remained until she chose to release them from the suggestions, even indefinitely. That brand of manipulation, merely aided by magick, could be far more permanent than true magick itself, at least moreso than that of the spheres of power she had mastered thus far. The band's native accents now came out only when they spoke their native tongues, against which she had had to place another suggestion, so they could only use those when no strangers were around. The pains to which she had been forced to go ....