Jenny: Two Minds, One Purpose

In the open sunlight, Lucius could not help feeling a little like a ghost. The wind seemed to blow straight through him, he was so thin. When Lord Artos had said he felt like a paper-window, Lucius had understood the young man's meaning all too keenly. It was a feeling that accompanied him like a shadow. He was faintly breathless and his lungs ached with the need to cough when he reached the out-of-doors. He stood leaning against the door frame, catching his breath; a little cool wind rattled the privet and dog-rose at his side. But it was almost pleasant to feel so. Autumn, when all the world was drenched for a brief moment in a cool, refreshing atmosphere, quickened his senses. The world felt sharp and clear, like thin yellow wine, laced with the heavy richness of the apples.

He broke away from the vestibule and continued across the courtyard. The week's march south and the friendly solitude of Ambrosius' solarium had taken the worst off his affliction. For a time he had been borne on the wings of urgency, and now that the thing was finished, he found that he did not drop out of the sky as a stoned bird, but he had a perch on which to alight and continue his quiet meditations. And, too, he was needed. He had not ever minded not being needed - though he suspected his companionship was welcome to Gwenhywfar - but now he felt a desire to be wanted among these people, and he found the wanting there, easy and friendly, and without really knowing how it had happened, nor how quickly, he found himself walking as a fixture in their world. It was a good feeling.

From the gateway of the villa yard he looked down the length of the valley. The poor fields had taken a mortal blow; they would not recover until spring. But other than the busy figures of the men and boys, the place seemed oddly empty. He cast about, expecting the odd figure of the Fox to come round the bend at any moment; but the only person who showed himself was a boy. Lucius hailed him, and asked where the Fox had gone.

"Up yonder with his pack, sir," the boy replied, gesturing in a northerly direction. "L'rd Ambrosius sent him up among the Brigantes for scout work, sir."

Lucius squinted into the northeast, cupping his hand over his brow. Then he gave a little bark of laughter, succumbed to a racking cough, and said, "Well! So much for that." He thanked the boy, who nodded and darted off. He sat down on a stone in the thin warm light to wait until breakfast.

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