Jenny: Blood

"It's in our blood."

It was quiet for a moment between them, this time without the awkwardness. There was a little fiercely burning fire inside the Guttersnipe's chest where Domitia's words had hit, like one of Artos' fire-birds.

And perhaps it was that that made her see it, the movement out of the corner of her eye that otherwise would have been only the background movement of the barnyard. She jerked her head around and saw Calidus, pale in the broad daylight like a thing used to the dark, and she knew at once this was it. This was what Artos had said all those six years ago.

This would be to the death.

She launched off the barn door, shoving the basket skittering along the top into Domitia's lap. Calidus came at her, lithe and quick, ready for her moves. Fury was on Calidus' side this time. Mordred had told. She had not reckoned on the anger being so great as she locked into the fight with him. His arm dug around hers, wrenching the shoulder nearly to the breaking point. She locked her leg around his, struggling to bring him to the ground. The whirling, shouting world around them was closed out. It was just the two of them, grappling in the dust.

"That was a mistake," Calidus panted in her ear. "I might have let you - live!" He jerked upward. Pain flashed into her brain. Her left arm all but immobilized, she wrenched backward, giving him a blow under the ear. She could not quite remember what Artos had taught her. When he came in teeth bared like a native, closing his jaw over her arm and digging his hand into the soft of her side, she abandoned Artos' teaching, unable to remember as the old red wave came back and she did not know how she fought after that. Teeth, nails, fists, elbows and knees, they grew slippery with blood.

Somewhere behind the roaring in her ears, she heard the familiar rhythm of a horse in full gallop.

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