“He is sulking,” Shasha said, and stalked from the room.

Kabul, spring, 1323

IT TOOK A month for Jaufre to force himself back into health, or enough so that he could walk some distance mostly without aid. He never sat where he could stand, never stood where he could walk, and if he could only run ten steps before he had to stop, breathing hard, then he ran those ten steps. He had begun to practice form with Shasha every morning and again every evening, Félicien joining in, Hari off to one side chanting his interminable oms. Yesterday he had taken down his father’s sword and practiced some of the parries and thrusts that Firas had taught him, no matter that after five minutes the yard had begun to revolve slowly around him and he’d had to let Shasha replace the sword because he could no longer raise his arms that high.

This morning Félicien had announced his intention of walking into the city to see if the first caravan of spring had arrived. “They say in the market that there should be one any day now,” he said. “I’ll go with you,” Jaufre said.

Félicien glanced at Shasha. “There isn’t much to see,” he said.

“Go ahead,” Shasha said, waving a hand in airy dismissal. “Kill yourself.”

When they had left, Hari said gently, “He is sick at heart.”

“He is sulking,” Shasha said, and stalked from the room.

Dana here — Not a good patient, Jaufre. Nor does he do well when he doesn’t have Johanna right under his eye. Ah, young love.

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Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

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