The King's Peace By Jo Walton
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was built Vincan fashion, with a covered colonnade along the front. I had sent a messenger ahead as we approached, so when we drew near the household came outside and stood a moment under that shelter. I drew up the ala neatly outside the hall as best we could in the miserable weather, our brave banners and bright cloaks sodden with the weight of the rain. Duke Galba was there and my lady mother Veniva, holding a baby about a year old, and beside them a small boy, about three years old, and
introductions. They named themselves to me with their father’s names or their land names without even a thought. Some of them even that first night gave their own names, as family do, or those who fight together and may die together. Many of them thought that I must belong to another of the king’s alae. I rapidly learned from their talk that he had three already and soon the whole country would have them at every stronghold and the Jarns would be sent back across the Narrow Seas where they
try and build the new capital anywhere else would be folly. I spent many days there among the ruins, looking at the lie of the land. As I walked the ash-strewn streets an old woman came out of a shack and spoke to me, saying that her son was an oracle, who had seen in the flames while the city burned that it would burn twice more and be rebuilt each time. I asked her where her son was now, but she just smiled with toothless gums and fled. I learned from others that he had thrown himself into the
the gates and ride out, then all of us were to leave Tevin to Sweyn. The prisoners were to be left inside, unharmed. The herald was to enter the fortress and see that everything was done according to form. “Where is my mother?” asked Angas. “Dead by the sword, the day we retook the fortress,” said Galba, smoothly. It is hard to tell from above when a man is wearing a helmet, but it seemed to me that Angas looked relieved. “Then bring my brother out to me when you come,” he said. We made a
you can find them in your sleep.” I giggled, and proved her right. I came back in after a few minutes, yawning. “I’m hungry. Do you think there’ll be anything to eat? What’s happening? Everyone was rushing about. Where’s Fourth Pennon?” I had only vaguely recognized faces. “Let me finish cleaning your face first. Nearly done, and you shouldn’t really eat with it like that. Sit down again.” I sat down gingerly on the edge of the straw. “There’s only the one scrape on it, I think. All the rest of