Title: The Lesson Man
Author: pristineungift
Rating: T
Character: Salindra
Wordcount: 318
Warnings: Implied adult/minor sexual relations in context of the historical period.
Summary:Written for the LotS Bingo Prompt "Salindra - Pre-Wizard." Salindra will never forget her first love, and the things he taught her.

The Lesson Man

She remembered the first man. The Lesson Man, she sometimes called him.

She was a young thing then. Salindra, a girl of fourteen summers.

The Lesson Man was tall and golden, with a smile like the sun. He called her 'love' and gave her gifts, but never actually said he loved her.

She didn't think he needed to. Surely no man would take a girl off the street, no matter how beautiful, and buy her dresses and jewels and give her a cottage to live in, unless he loved her.

And so Salindra loved him back. With all her heart. She gave him everything of herself, and would have continued to love him even if his fortune turned to dust.

And then the day came when he brought another girl to Salindra's cottage. She was small and lithe, with golden curls, her budding breasts just full enough to show. She looked just as Salindra had looked, the first time the Lesson Man saw her.

"Who's this?" she had asked him, thinking perhaps he wanted to help the girl. Maybe he wanted Salindra to raise the girl. Maybe he wanted to be a family.

"Your replacement," he told her, as if she were stupid. "You've gotten too old."

"I don't understand," she cried. But she did. Dark understanding filled her mind up and broke her heart.

"Now, Salindra," the Lesson Man said, wiping away her tears with his thumb. "Be practical."

Salindra screamed, and wept, and threw things at the new girl as if everything was her fault. But still, the Lesson Man's mind was unchanged.

Salindra's love was ruined, tossed away like unwanted refuse.

Men came and packed a trunk for her. She was allowed to keep her gowns and her necklaces, and given an allowance to travel on.

So Salindra, a woman of sixteen summers, dried her eyes and hired a cart.

Lesson learned.