Jenny: My Mare Among the Chariots of Pharaoh

Women! Women were so - Jason cut off his thoughts as he watched Domitia fling off the Guttersnipe's arm and run from the room, cut off his thoughts as he remembered that the Guttersnipe was a woman herself. Was she? He got up from his chair. She stood by the table, shoving her mass of hair up from her face, countenance dark with confusion and not a little pain as she stared after Domitia. No, she had never been a woman. She had gone from a girl, a brown-flecked, tempestuous girl, to a lady like love and thunder. She is native born, he thought, and the native born are always so. He remembered with perfect clarity the day it had dawned on him that she was no longer just a girl. They had all been down at the bathing pool looking for fish, and before getting in, the Guttersnipe had slipped off her shoes with a delicate precision, had turned aside to tuck up her white gown, and only then did she climb down into the water. Looking back, it was the most common of gestures - the sort of thing any girl would do - but somehow she had unwittingly conveyed to him that she had grown up, that she was no longer the skinny, flat-chested little snippet that he had run alongside during his boyhood years.

And so she stood now, very still, angrier and confused when she had been in perfect control of serenity that day by the pool. But when he approached and slid his arm around her waist, her face cleared and she pulled her attention wholly to him, dropping her hand from her hair to his shoulder. "Another failure," she sighed.

"Sometimes the colt shies more times than is rational," said Jason. "You have to be patient."

"But I am not patient!"

He dropped his face into her hair, laughing. "I know, I know. But what have I told you? She sees the world out of stranger's eyes, and she is often ill like a sick animal: wanting to hide away and be alone, afraid of being alone. She is a woman. What more explanation do you need?"

The Guttersnipe turned her head, pressing her darkened cheek against his arm. "I will never understand women," she murmured. "Faugh! Foolish, empty hens." Then, more quietly, "I hate it that she always runs away, as though I meant her harm. I mean to be gentle."

"You have not had much practice being gentle," Jason admitted. "What was Ambrosius thinking! letting you run among the war-mares as though they made good dams for you."

She cast up two enormous amber eyes to his face, all of a sudden still and cool, her lips drawn together in worried thought. "Do they not make good dams? Should I have had a mother? Would I be better that way?"

Jason shook her from the hips. "Don't be ridiculous. You know you wouldn't give up your breeding for the world - you can't lie to me. And no, you would not be my Guttersnipe otherwise. I like my girl a little wild."

She turned her head away and blushed profusely, utterly pleased.

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