by Tsuki Akari (月あかり)
illustrated by halcyonjazz
She had wandered too close to the road. Lettie knew the instant she’d heard the beat of hooves at her back. Her father had warned her, of course. It was a ways to the next town, and the roads were rife with vagrants and highwaymen. For that reason they had camped a safe distance from the dirt path, seared into the plains ages ago. For that reason she had been advised to stay with the troupe, and let her brothers do the wood gathering. Lettie had not listened. Lettie had a terrible sense of direction and a tendency to lose her head to silly fancies. So now, she fancied herself about to be robbed. She knelt in the grass and plucked the topmost stick off of her bundle. Angling it upwards, she readied herself for a fight.
The shadow of the horse blanketed her. It was a dun palfrey, gnawing tiredly at its bit. Dust from the dry season patterned up its chest, but it was well adorned, and did not look half-starved or poorly bred. Its rider held as much quality. An older gentleman, it looked, bracers glinting and cape wavering in the feeble summer’s breeze. Lettie let her stick drop a few inches in surprise. Robbers and rapists, these she had considered, but she had not expected a knight.
Continue reading “The Showman” »