Jenny: Flint and Steel

"I am here," the Guttersnipe replied, knowing even as she said it that she was not, knowing that Domitia knew. She was as Champion on Ambrosius' arm, wings splayed to the rolling gait of the horse, looking into the darkness and hating it, looking for the mark.

Where is Champion...?

She came back with a jerk to the smell of hot iron, realizing that Domitia had asked her something. "" she replied, moving mechanically after the other girl.


Beyond Gaius' wall there was nothing but the formless black, the pasture swelling in a pale wave up between the hillsides, quiet, menacing. Overhead, beyond the reach of the torchlight, the stars pricked out in a diamond-scatter of brilliance, with the feather of moon heading the milky train. Small things, small, beautiful things one noticed. The stand of woods at the bend of the stream where it came down and poured white over the shelving rocks were pale silvery forms above them. A horse shifted, blowing hard; a bat weeked overhead; the stream murmured by ceaselessly.

"Anything yet?" Artos asked.

His uncle shook his head. Beside him, Gaius curled his reins in his hands. The boys, all of them slingers and archers in their own right, stood behind them in the quiet outside of the ring of torchlight.

Suddenly Cyrus flung up his head and squealed, and far off at the top of the pasture a tongue of light went up, small, uncertain at first, then growing higher and spreading.

They had fired the turf.

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