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Fortune's Wheel -- Enter Honoré

The last of the small introductions for Fortune's Wheel. Honoré is not a major character in this book -- in fact this is his only scene -- but he's a major character in the next one. Those of you who've read The Ravens of Falkenau and Other Stories have already met him in Small Victories. Those of you who haven't may be rightly reminded of the end of Black Ships. *sob*

The next day we saw the carts. We had just begun the descent and they were on the way up, carts drawn by donkeys on the steep path. The little beasts put their heads down, but they kept moving slowly upward.

I rode down on Nestor, moving in reverse along the column, looking for the easiest place to get our wagon down.

Some of them were sitting up, joking and calling out. Isabella appeared, walking beside the wagon in case of a runaway, and her beauty seemed to make a great hit. Men were calling out to her and she returned their calls gaily, blowing kisses and promising them tickets someday.

I stopped to wait for her. "Carts," I said.

A donkey cart toiled slowly up beside me and halted. Isabella was standing beside the cart just ahead, letting a gallant with one arm kiss her hand, her shawl stirring in the fresh breeze. I looked down.

A young man was lying in the bottom of the cart, a cloak half thrown around him. His long black hair was matted with sweat and had escaped from its queue to lie across his shoulders. His skin was the faded, sick color of olive skin pinched by the starvation of a siege, then bled white from a wound. I stopped. I dismounted without hardly being aware of it.

Lying in a cart like this, a cloak half across him, long black hair....

His head moved a little from side to side in some fever dream, and I let out a breath that I didn't know I was holding.

"The wounded from Genoa," Isabella said, coming up beside me.

He had fine, strong lines to his face, a face I should have known, so like was it to some other. No doubt his eyes would be dark, if he opened them.

The column started moving again, the patient donkeys moving forward.

Isabella reached for my hand. "Come on, Charles," she said. "Let's lead Nestor and give him a little rest going down."

I nodded. The cart moved past. What was I to do? Follow it for no reason at all? Because something in the face of a stranger that filled me with a sorrow I could not name?


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 27th, 2011 06:36 am (UTC)
Oh, that's just beautiful.
Aug. 31st, 2011 11:25 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Aug. 31st, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
Hmph. This is intriguing. If Elza (Gull) and Michel Ney (Neas) get together in this life, where does it leave this man (Xandros)? Verrrry interesting.
Sep. 1st, 2011 12:44 pm (UTC)
In about the same place Neas was left in Black Ships? Maaaaybe?

There's a much better look at him in The Ravens of Falkenau story Small Victories! Yes, that's the same guy! And Dion, as a debutante!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )