Jenny: "He Is Sullen," Said Publius Piso

The boy held fast against Aithne's advances. She thought he was just a boy, but he knew better. He held fast, sniffing at her words carefully as though to catch the elusive scent of magic in them, faint, yet cloying, like myrrh in the fire...

She crouched looking back at him, her face open, nothing flickering behind her eyes. She was either a very good witch, or a very bad one. Still not satisfied that she was not a witch, the boy turned his head and regarded her out of one eye, as a bird will do, the cake somewhat dry and tasteless in his mouth. Finally he said, still a bit dryly, as though she did not know: "There is nothing dangerous and cruel in Ambrosius' valley. He makes sure of that. We all make sure of that. We kill and drive out everything that is cruel and wicked." And, just in case she was a bad sort of witch, he added with florid emphasis, "The man who kept the cloister before Master Gaius, Lord Ambrosius dropped his own head on his own doorstep: a clean sweep with a sword to the neck. That's what happens to wicked people around here."

He did not add that he had not been there at the time, that he had only been a small child. Nor did he mention Aithne's dog, pushing the incident sullenly into the back of his mind. One did not discuss near defeats with womenfolk. He folded his broken wings, still sullen, and worked at a piece of cake in his mouth.

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