[from “A Woman’s Work,” a Mnemosynean short story written for Unusual Suspects]
The Barka cast off and stood out in short order. There was a shout from the rail. “There’s a good inn about a mile out of town! The Soldier’s Rest!”
“Thanks, Thanos!” Crow said. “Safe voyage!”
“Ominous,” Sharryn said. “He sounds like he thinks we might need it.” She looked at Crow. “They could have stayed to fill us in a little on what we could expect. We would have.”
“Maybe,” Crow said, and looked around at the gathering crowd. They were all men, some curious, some lascivious, some distinctly unfriendly.
“Witches,” someone said in a voice meant to be heard.
“And maybe not,” Crow said. The remark had come from a group of young men better dressed than the rest of the crowd, with gold and gemstones at their wrists and throats. One arrogant dandy with a supercilious arch to his very long nose waited until he caught Crow’s eye and spat deliberately before Blanca’s hooves.
Sharryn gave a sunny smile. “Ready?”
Without answering Crowfoot touched a heel to Blanca’s side. The dandy waited to give way until Blanca and Pedro were almost on top of them, his red cloak actually brushing Crow’s stirrup. His eyes were dark with contempt and, yes, and hatred, Crow thought, but there was something else there as well. The Sword against her back seemed to hum in agreement.
She decided to put him to the test. “Pardon me, goodman,” she said mildly, “but Blanca doesn’t care much for being crowded.” She smiled. “And I would just hate it if she mussed your pretty red cloak.”
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