Jenny: The Fair Folk

The boy narrowed one eye. "I am listening..."


"How is the leg?"

Artos looked up into the silhouetted face of his uncle, and as the other spoke, the wound began to jangle with redoubled pain. He smiled back, teeth on edge. "It is mending," he replied.

Ambrosius turned and sank down into his chair, pulling it close to the table. "It is mending. So. Let me have a look at it myself, cub."

Caleb, who had been standing nearby, shifted out of the light as Artos obediently turned in his chair to give his uncle's probing hands room to work. He watched the thoughtful darkness come and go as the other's brows pulled. "It is mending," he said finally. "It is cool, and the skin is beginning to take across the stitching."

He leaned back in his chair and poured himself a cup of milk. The Guttersnipe returned, bangles ringing gaily, to slip into her own chair, hands tucked between her knees. Making himself comfortable again, Artos asked her, "What are you up to today?"

She swung her head toward him, giving him her bright, shy smile. "Domitia and I are picking apples today, keeping out from underfoot."

"Take Frip with you," he admonished her. "And don't stray far or go looking for Fair Folk under tussocks. I'll send Jason up to check on you when he gets back."

Her freckled face folded into a mocking frown. "I am not wanting to be looking for Fair Folk," she told him. "My Fair Folk are here."

Ambrosius, finger in his cup as he fished out a stray speck, said, "Best they not hear you say so. They will get jealous."

At a gesture from him, the Guttersnipe began pouring a cup of milk for Artos. "Hmm?" she replied, watching the stream of liquid carefully. "But I think I will be more than a match for the people of the hollow hills. Let them try me!" And, to show she did not really mean it, she laughed prettily and handed the cup over to Artos.

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