Jenny: Reckless Steel

"You don't have a knife?" The Guttersnipe glanced round, and was relieved to see the boy, as if magicked out by Domitia's worry, coming from the direction of the solarium. Pointing back the way he had come, she called, "The trunk in my room - fetch out the knife you'll find under the cloak!"

He whirled on his heel and disappeared.

"Hopefully you won't need it, but you had better be prepared any road," she told the other girl. Straightening, she gestured to her right side under her ribcage. "Give a good thrust and twist up here, and you should go a long way to rupturing the liver. I don't think I know of anyone who can live with the insides of his liver spilling around in his body. If you come up behind someone, give them some steel in the kidneys. In and out, don't stop to chat." She gave Domitia a comforting smile and took a firm hold of the other's shoulder, while not feeling much comfort herself.

Then she saw Artos on the fringes of the gathering, in the doorway, his head up, nostrils distended like a horse's as he took in the bustle. She murmured something vague to Domitia and broke away to run to his side. He watched her come with eyes that saw right through her, and there was much of him that did not seem all there.

"Caleb felt eyes in the north hill-lands," she told him, "and the dogs are mad with the scent of intruders. I've closed off the solarium, and the kitchen should be shut too."

"That leaves only the vestibule. God forbid they should fire the roof with you all in here," said Artos.

She jerked one shoulder. "We are all prepared to take that risk. There is nowhere else big enough for Jason's work." She did not add it, nor did he, but she knew they were all wondering if Jason would even have any work, or if he would merely be crouching by bodies and closing their eyes...

"Snippet," Artos asked quietly. She looked up into his face. "Snippet, is Nutmeg saddled?"

"She is."

A moon-sliver of a smile lit up the olive-darkness of his countenance. "Fetch her up for me, then."

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