Jenny: The Armory.

The Guttersnipe found Caleb in the rear of the Long Barn on the west slopes where the armour was kept. He was seated on the half-door, heel tapping out a rhythmic staccato on the wood as he scraped the encasing oil off a sword. Catching the scent of the sausage, Fripp rose from his side and gave a little huff of a bark. Caleb looked up and smiled, but frowned as she approached and began to offer Fripp's breakfast.

"Why, whatever is the matter, Guttersnipe?" Caleb asked. His hands lay idle in his lap. "You were so happy last night."

She knelt in the straw by the dog. Behind her, the mares that had been left behind moved quietly in and out of the shafts of golden sunlight. "I don't know," she replied pettishly. Then, more honestly, "It's Domitia. I don't know what to make of her. She is so unlike us!" And then she related the most recent encounter to Caleb, and he sat patiently through the whole thing, his hands working again at the sword. And at the end of it he was still quiet, and she was quiet, and Fripp licked the juice off her fingers frantically.

"Well, that is unfortunate," he said at last.

"It is as though we speak a different language."

His brows flickered up. "Don't you?"

She pinched her lips closed.

"Guttersnipe," he sighed, "I know patience is not one of your virtues, but in Aithne's case - Domitia's case - you must be. You said yourself, she is not like you. She didn't come to us so young that she can remember nothing else. She's a grown woman, Guttersnipe. She's far from her homeland among a people who can't speak her native language. She's confused, awkward, and lonesome. Yes, she is cross. Yes, she is stubborn. Yes, you are going to talk to each other and flying at each other for misunderstandings. But she will learn. Give her time."

The Guttersnipe rose and pulled her hands from Fripp, frowning steadily at a spot on the floor. "I don't know what I would have done if Jason hadn't intervened. I - I hate it that I am younger than she is. Gwenhywfar could fly into a rage and I would do as she said, because she was terrible when she was angry. But I'm just the Guttersnipe. But I find it hard that after all I have done to get her here, I am still no more than that."

For a while Caleb worked in silence and she stood listening to her own words, hurt and raging and confused inside. Gwenhwyfar's face, sharp between the mellow tumbles of her auburn hair, came to her, which hurt still more, so that Caleb had to repeat himself before she heard him.

"Who is Gwenhywfar?"

I wasn't to tell, she thought desperately, horrified that she had let it slip. But she knew Caleb could keep it a secret. She did not know why Gwenhywfar was so insistent on her being kept secret, but she respected the bard-woman's wishes. "I can tell you that she cared for me while I was in Vortigern's place," she said. "That is all. Gwenhywfar - she is a story herself, and I think she had best tell it."

"I look forward to hearing it some day," Caleb said. Then coming round to the first subject, he said gently, "I'm sorry you're hurting, Guttersnipe. I know it's hard. Ambrosius suffers this among his peers as well."

She went to him and put her arms around his neck as she had as a little girl, dropping her face into his shoulder. She swallowed, thinking of how she could go to any of them - even Kay - for comfort, and Domitia seemed to want no one to comfort her. It seemed inhuman, and she shivered.

He pulled her chin up in a greasy finger, smiling lopsidedly. "Come now, I'm hungry. Are you going to hold a grudge?"

"Yes," she said honestly. "For a while."

"You are pathetic," he said, just as honestly. But she went with him as he left the sword behind on the rack to rejoin the others in the atrium at their meal. Only, the food seemed to be tasteless and get stuck in her throat as she ate.

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