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An unusual tall, gawkish-looking man in a battered top hat ambled in the alley way.

He wore a waistcoat of dulled black satin and a crushed red velvet vest. His top hat was adorned with a collection of tattered silk roses such as might have been found at someone's grave.

Over his shoulder was a sack not half full of his burden, and not very heavy. He whistled and nodded to passersby who were too far in proximity to notice the speculation in his wine-colored eyes.

He availed himself of the secret entrance to the underground establishment of his pack, and slung the sack the ground in the entry way. "What news, Lady Cassandra," he called in the practiced tone of a ring leader. "Come and get the post."

Cassandra hurried at the sound of his call, rushed to his side before Kell or any other could interfere with the post.

"Is there a letter for me?"

"There is," he drawled.

Cassandra slit the envelope with her fingernail and quickly withdrew the contents. She remained silent as she slowly moved to the window, growing more still with each passing moment.

Jeremy directed a careless glance toward her. "Bad news, Lady Cassandra?"

"No," she said, slowly sinking onto the window seat. "It's just what I had hoped to hear." She examined the alley way below, gilded with morning light. "Monday morning I start work."

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