She likes legislacerators because they’re so… self-assured. Arrogant, some people say, and there’s always the casteist rumblings of paid too much for sorting out an argument, the jokes of being a paid ashen partner - but she has a dragon for a lusus and for all Pyralspite tells her she’s dragon-hearted, it doesn’t feel like it when she’s chatted up by a subjugglator who likes how she looks with a sword in hand and obsesses over her polite refusal for hours afterward - maybe she should have said yes, she’s got her collection date coming up soon, but she didn’t feel anything - and she wishes she was certain enough of herself to be joked about as a paid conciliator.
She aces her schoolfeeding, because problems are easy when they’re not your own. The subjugglator runs a close second, and her collection date hasn’t gotten any further away.
She applies to the legislacerator ranks afterwards before she can convince herself not to, turning in paperwork she’s had filled in for seasons. (She spends the day curled up in Pyralspite’s shadow, her lusus flooding her with calm assurance even as she’s unable to sleep.) The uniform feels like armour, like authority, and she isn’t herself when she wears it. She’s a legislacerator, and people listen to her.
The habit of talking around herself, second-guessing her every statement, gets beaten out of her pretty quick. Nobody has faith in a legislacerator that doesn’t have faith in herself.
(She spends an hour after her first solo case in the ablutionsblock, sitting on a shut loadgaper and trembling because she lost, she lost, all she’s learned and how far she’s come don’t even matter-)
Marquise Spinneret Mindfang, larger-than-life Mindfang, I-rode-in-on-a-flaming-ship-and-casually-sauntered-off-the-docks Mindfang rolls her eyes the first time Redglare challenges her. She lets her dice drop and doesn’t even bother staying to watch, to see if she’ll win.
She doesn’t say a single word, and Redglare hates her. It’s easy: you’re good or you’re bad, and Mindfang is Bad, and it’s Redglare’s job to make sure she doesn’t hurt anyone else.
(She learns about the Church of the Signless, the iron shackles, spies on them from Pyralspite’s back and-
-shreds every report she drafts for her superiors. There’s Right and there’s Wrong, she decides, self-assured, she has to be self-assured; she’ll never get another case if she annoys her superiors into beheading her, and this isn’t a big deal anyway.)
She sees the iron symbol around Mindfang’s neck too late, the fear under her contempt far too late, and never even has a chance to say me, too.
Maybe she didn’t have to.