Jenny: Peas and Horses

The Guttersnipe tucked up on the edge of the door, back to the frame, the basket cradled between her knees. Across from her Domitia sat like a pretty hand-bird perched on a branch too high, very daintily and a little uncertainly, plucking up the green felt as though preening.

"Master Lucius has his own herd," she explained while throwing pea-shells away. "That's another reason why it's not easy for him to leave: you don't simply pack up a whole herd of stallions and mares and foals and one-year-olds who haven't been broken in and two-year-olds who still don't like halters and head off down the road with nowhere in mind to wash up.

"Now, horses and I," she grinned to herself; "we go back a long way together. Oh, I've told you that. My whole family and horses go back. Take Maidenhead. She's Gwenhywfar's mare, not belonging to Lucius, but I should love to see my stallion cover her. They are both great horses, and just think of the stock you could get from them!" She sighed, feeling a twinge of homesickness come nagging at the back of her throat. But she rushed on from that and considered to herself what it was that Master Lucius and Gwenhywfar were planning. The secretive looks and gestures were not meant for a simple departure: they wanted to go where Vortigern would not let them, and that made her heart race.

Coming back, she jerked a finger at Domitia's work. "Those are for the two-year-olds bound for Votadinii territory. Felt comes cheap and it makes warm coverings, and it makes the horses look smart. Master Lucius has a reputation for seeing to details."

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