Jeanne: Fear and Courage

"Do you think you are the only one who is afraid?" Druce asked, his lips twisting in a mixture of anger and amusement. "We all fear it to some degree, girl, and we have different ways of coping - or not. It's no easy thing for a woman to think soberly of war, which, I daresay, is why my lord Ambrosius packed the two of you off to the orchard. You would have done better to stay there."

He sighed, slipping his hands around the muzzle of his horse and turning away from Aithne. He thought for a time, for she was a difficult creature to handle, and at last began again, "You must not twist the Guttersnipe's words. I do not know exactly what they were, but I know her, and I know that she will not stop fighting while there is breath in her body, and with her men around her she has no thought of giving up hope. You misunderstand her. Which," he added with a snort, "is not so hard to do. I know she has not resigned all thoughts of victory. She only looks ahead to a possibility."

Looking at her carefully over his shoulder, Druce softened at the misery in her face; he drew himself up onto the fence and spread his hands on his knees, saying with a curt nod, "She is man-raised, is the Guttersnipe. She has a manner of looking at the world that is peculiar to her, and it will take much time and patience for you to begin to understand her. Jason and Ambrosius know her best, which is understandable." He pointed his chin at her and narrowed one eye, remembering past changes in the woman's face when she saw Jason and the Guttersnipe together, and he asked gently, "Do you have a man over-seas?"

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