Jenny: Lively Childhood

The Guttersnipe shielded her eyes against the beating heat of the fire, watching Domitia lift up her skirts and run out into the rain. She knew how the girl felt. She wondered where Jason was, and what he was up to.

"Oh, Jason...!"

He rolled over, squinting up at her disapprovingly. "Oh what?" he asked, ending in a pained grunt as the ewe gave one more game squeeze, clenching down on his arm.

She hunkered down, gathering her skirts about her knees. "How many is it? Two? three? four? Is it four?"

The ewe squeezed again, and the girl could see the corded veins on the young man's arm bulge rather more than usual as the animal's pelvic bones ground over him. "Just one," he grunted, "and I swear it's trying to run out the other end away from me." He drew his brows in concentration. She held her breath as he fished. The ewe, turning her head around to see what was causing the trouble, gave one despairing bleat with all her yellow teeth showing. "I got it!" Jason gasped at last, and began to pull. At the squelching noises, the Guttersnipe pressed her hands against her ears, but kept her eyes wide open as the lamb's forelegs and sorry, matted head emerged into the upland wind of a chill spring day.

As she turned from the fire, her eyes fell on Master Lucius' work, and she paused, naturally curious, to see what he wrote. She stood behind him, silent as he worked at the wreck of his clotted pen, reading his lines with bated breath. Her cheeks began to burn, and as she picked up a length of her skirt to move away, she fully expected Artos to close his hand over her neck again and give her a swat for eavesdropping on Master Lucius' writing. Epona - Epona! As a child she had been the lovely horse-maiden running about after the boys - when she was not dressed in her mock-scarlet and playing at the Massacre of the Three Legions - the fair maiden who always magicked up the immortal steeds the boys rode to glory on. She hastily retired to the fireside, hoping to cover her blush with the heat.

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