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A Secret History (Book Of Ash, Book 1) by Mary Gentle

By Mary Gentle

Bankruptcy One"Gentlemen, stated Ash, "shut your faces!"The clatter of helmet visors shutting sounded all alongside the road of horsemen.Beside her, Robert Anselm paused together with his hand to his throat, approximately to thrust the laminated plate of his metal bevor up into its locking place over his mouth and chin. "Boss, our lord hasn't informed us we will assault them . . ."Ash pointed. "Who supplies a fuck? That's an opportunity down there and we're taking it!"Ash's sub-captain Anselm used to be the single rider except herself in complete armor. the remainder of the eighty-one fixed knights wore helmets, bevors, reliable leg armor -- the legs of a guy on horseback being very weak -- and inexpensive physique armor, the small overlapping steel plates sewn right into a jacket known as a brigandine.""Form up!"Ash's voice sounded muffled in her personal ears by means of the silver hair she wore braided up as an arming-cap, padding the interior of her metal sallet. Her voice used to be no longer as deep as Anselm's. It got here resonant from her small, deep chest hollow space; piercing; it sounds an octave above any noise of conflict other than cannon. Ash's males can constantly listen Ash.Ash driven her personal bevor up and locked, retaining mouth and chin. For the instant, she left the visor of her sallet up in order that she might see larger. The horsemen jostled round her in a packed mass at the churned earth of the slope. Her males, in her company's livery: on geldings of usually medium to sturdy quality.Down the slope in entrance of her, an enormous makeshift city littered the river valley. shiny lower than midday solar, walled with wagons chained jointly, and full of pennon-flying pavilions and thirty thousand males, girls and luggage animals within it -- the Burgundian military. Their camp sufficiently big (confirmed rumorhad it) to have "two of its personal markets ...You may infrequently see the little battered walled city of Neuss contained in the enclosing army.Neuss: a 10th the scale of the attacking forces camped round it. The besieged city rested precariously inside its gates -- rubble, now -- and at the back of its moats and the extensive keeping Rhine river. past the Rhine valley, pine-knotted German hills glowed gray-green within the June heat.Ash tilted her visor all the way down to colour her eyes from the daylight. a bunch of approximately fifty riders moved at the open floor among the Burgundian camp that besieged Neuss and her personal Imperial camp that (theoretically) was once the following to alleviate town. Even at this distance Ash may well see the men's Burgundian livery: purple criss-cross slashes, the go of St. Andrew.Robert Anselm introduced his bay round in a neat circle. His unfastened hand gripped the company's commonplace: the azure Lion Passant Guardant on a box Or. "They should be attempting to sucker us down, boss."Deep within the pit of her belly, expectation and worry churned. the large iron-gray gelding, Godluc, shifted lower than her, responding. As consistently in probability ambushes, the suddenness, the experience of moments slipping away and a choice to be made --"No. now not a trick. They're overconfident. Fifty fixed males -- that's an individual out with simply an escort. He thinks he's secure. they suspect we're not likely to assault them, simply because we haven't struck a blow in view that us and Emperor-bleeding-Frederick came 3 weeks ago." She hit the excessive entrance of the battle saddle with the heel of her gauntleted hand, grew to become to Anselm, grinning. "Robert, inform me what you "don't see.""Fifty fixed males, such a lot in complete harness, don't see any infantry, no crossbowmen, don't see anyhackbutters, don't see any archers -- "don't see any archers!"Ash couldn't cease grinning; she suggestion her the teeth should be all that used to be obvious less than the shadow of her visor, and also you may perhaps most likely see all of them the way in which around the occupied undeniable to Neuss. ""Now you get it. while will we "ever get to do the natural knightly cavalry-against-cavalry cost in actual war?""-- with out being shot out of the saddle." His brows, seen lower than his visor, furrowed. "You sure?""If we don't take a seat right here with our thumbs up our arses, we will be able to seize them out at the box -- they can't come back to their camp in time. Now let's shift!"Anselm nodded decisive compliance.She squinted up on the darkish blue sky. Her armor, and the padded arming doublet and hose less than it, burned as though she stood in entrance of an armorer's furnace. Godluc's foam soaked his blue caparisons. the realm smelled of horse, dung, oil on steel, and the downwind stench of Neuss the place they'd been consuming rats and cats for 6 weeks now."I'm going to boil if I don't get out of this lot quickly, so let's "go!" She raised her plate-covered arm and jerked it down.Robert Anselm's thick-necked horse clipped its hind-quarters after which sprang ahead. the corporate typical lifted, gripped excessive in Anselm's armored gauntlet. Ash spurred Godluc into the thicket of raised lances and during, sooner than her males, Anselm at her shoulder now, part a speed in the back of her trotting mount. She tapped the lengthy spurs again back. Godluc went from trot to canter The jolting shook her enamel to her bones and rattled the plates of her Milanese armor, and the wind whipped into her sallet and snatched the breath out of her nostrils.Percussive concussion shook the realm. the loads of steelhorseshoes amazing tough earth threw up showers of clods. The noise went unheard, felt in her chest and bones instead of heard together with her ears; and the road of riders -- "her line, "her males, candy Christ dont enable me get this incorrect! -- collected pace down the slope and out onto transparent floor.

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It was his genius which was being cultivated; it was his taste which set the standards. Beauty didn’t really know anything about music, except for dancing. She liked pretty tunes, but didn’t know why everything had to become so complicated and so noisy. But that was the way Kurt liked it, and that was the way he had it. Now here was another kind of genius, another strange and bewildering art; Beauty listened, and it seemed to her a chaos of sound, going on without any discoverable reason for either starting or stopping.

From watching him rather than from listening, Beauty had come to understand that he was trying to find something to take the place of the war; trying to vent his rage and despair, his love for his own people, his grief at their humiliation and defeat. Watching his face while he played, Beauty lived through her agonies with Marcel, and then those with Kurt, shifting back and forth between the German soul and the French. The composition was supposed to have an orchestral accompaniment; Lanny could read this with his swiftly flying eyes, and would sit with the score and imagine it while Kurt played the piano part.

Lanny saw his father on board the steamer, and gave him messages for the many Budds, and hugged him hard, and then stood on the quay and watched the steamer warped out into the harbor. Waving to the receding figure on the deck he thought: What a wonderful world, what a blessed state, when one can see one’s father off on a comfortable seahotel, and know that neither in the Mediterranean nor in the outside ocean will there be any submarines watching for a chance to send it to the bottom! II Three months had passed since Beauty and Kurt had returned from Spain, and nobody had manifested the least suspicion of or hostility toward a Swiss music-teacher; so gradually peace settled in the woman’s heart, and there began the burgeoning of new impulses toward her fellow-creatures.

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