Jenny: The Heart of the Primrose

Contrary to Tactius' remarks, feeling as I do that I have some expertise in the matter, the Island of Britain is subject to bouts of chilly cold weather. While the winds through the kinder parts of the year are wont to bring warmth, the frequent rains produce very cold atmospheres. Sparse weeks of sunshine and warmth pepper spring and summer, flanked on both ends of the year with damp and gale-ridden days. The weather is continually changing, fitful and uncertain. What possesses mankind to dwell on this Island is beyond my understanding, but for those who choose to live here, there can be no other home.

Perhaps it is that the mildew has got into the natives' heads and dulled their wits -

Master Lucius glanced up as Domita and the Guttersnipe approached. Both of them exhibited the look of the rest of the valley: a surface calm, a firm and stately face - and beneath that, behind some veil in their eyes, a shifting, tense, wary darkness reflecting the brazen light of the setting sun. It might be their setting, that sun, he thought.

"You are rosy and looking well," he said enviously. "I have not made it past the atrium: the solarium was too close for me."

The Guttersnipe leaned down to look at his maps and charts and scraps of notes spread out on the table. She touched the edge of one tenderly, and it gave back a tinsely crackling, which reminded him too much of log-bark in a fire. "It has been very windless today. There was a little in the orchard, but not much. And it is so quiet," she added in an husky undertone, flinging up a pointed glance at his face. And he knew what she meant. All day the atrium's quiet had been broken only by the scuff-scuffing of maid's feet, and the occasional click of a hound's claws. No jaunty trilling of a bird, no child's laughter. He twisted in his chair and looked toward the empty vestibule where the sky showed up beyond the courtyard walls, deeply blue as the inside of a primrose, and still.

"The angel is coming tonight," he murmured.

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