Jenny: Faces

From under her lashes, the Guttersnipe was watching Cunorix as warily as Artos was. She had caught Ambrosius' glance for just a moment, for as long as she dared lest Cunorix see, and he had given her through his eyes the briefest steadying look, all seriousness, though the little flare of smile had never gone from his lips. He knew what he was doing. But knowing that did not stop the hammering of her heart in her chest. Oh! she was proud: fiercely, furiously proud of him, as she had been for Artos when he had slung himself half-lamed into the saddle and gone off into the jaws of hell. So proud! And yet the fear, just as fierce, threatened to smudge the dark lining round her eyes.

And so she kept her eyes fixed on Cunorix, finding safety in filling herself with the loathsome sight of him. He moved with decisive ease, like a girl, like a stallion. He kept patiently in one place, shifting on his feet, a cool little smile on his face, doing nothing to provoke the watchful Companions. He knew better than Calidus did, not being charged with unreasoning hatred, to snatch up a knife and fly at Ambrosius. But what would he do? she wondered. He did not strike her as the sort to easily lay down the hope of promised glory: lands, fame, the loveliest woman in the insular country. What was going on, she desperately wanted to know, behind those cool blue eyes?

Suddenly the eyes flared to life, and the Guttersnipe realized they had lighted, at first only in passing, and then with fixed interest, on Domitia, who was on one knee scrubbing at the goresome mess Ambrosius' whip had made of Calidus' ear. Trying not to remember how he had laughed at her across the distance when her own cool mask had come down, she lifted the hem of her skirt and moved at once to Domitia's side, just in time to hear Cunorix muse swift and soft, "Why, you! I am remembering you, the little chit like a broken harp that I caught and sold in Erin. How the gods do weave our lives... Ambrosius' slave! It is something sweet to taste, this fate."

The Guttersnipe flung out a hand between them, gesturing for him to be silent, but having no desire to be pitting with him in conversation. She let her hatred burn at him through her gaze. His own look was all mockery.

No comments:

Post a Comment