Jenny: She Beat Him, Sir


There was a scuffle on the threshold of his room, a shadow looming against the wall. He had stiffened, turning round from the window overlooking the garden. It was a soft autumn day, lowering into the evening, and he had only just put aside his battered helmet, easing back into valley life. His nephew's tone quickened in him a sense of dread.

"Artos... What is it?"

The young man had jerked his head to one side, as though trying to toss his thoughts into order. "I am sorry," he began roughly. "I have come home to break up a fight."

He had frowned, watching the young man's eyes closely. They were pale, very pale, like the sea under a sky of stormy cloud. "The Guttersnipe?"

"Yes, sir."


"Calidus, sir."

He felt no surprise. He felt something, something just beneath his breastbone that had hurt in a quiet, throbbing sort of way. But no surprise. The thing he had been watching closely took on a faintly clearer aspect. But a little longer, another glance, another phrase, and he might have the whole picture.

There was a hint of pride in Artos' tone as he went on. "She beat him, sir."

She beat him, sir.

The light played madly with the blade in his hands, standing as he was on the threshold of the house. It dazzled over the steel, running up and down, winking in and out of the battered gems of the hilt. It came to him that the sword was not very lovely. She had seen much service, and had taken a beating. But she was still firm in her hilt and she still sang a bit in the air when he moved her, and she could bite as hard as ever, and he had never needed her to be lovely.

He held it up to his face, gazing down the length of it, testing the sharpness of the edge. "You will be about Jason's size," he murmured. "Big and pretty, I can just imagine. At least you will be a man now, inasmuch as I can call you so. I could not kill a boy."

He slipped the weapon back in its worn wolfskin sheath at his hip and went down to tack up his mount.

No comments:

Post a Comment