he gasped hoarsely.
stationmaster shook his head.
“The message,” he asked, “what was the message?”
rider scowled. He
knew his rights and privileges.
The liaison officers of the Salmonil were exempt from taxes and
military service and afforded all the privileges of the lower generals.
“Time,” he demanded.
hundred twenty-two,” replied the clerk more eager to trade information
than the stubborn stationmaster.
nodded with a dripping grin.
stationmaster grew red with rage, tiring of their privileged
is the message?”
smiled; satisfied he had caused such ire.
Quietly and slowly he pronounced, “Victory.
Samar has surrendered.”
station cheered. Old
warriors embraced each other.
Children rehearsed scenes of combat.
Even the stationmaster forgot his anger and put his arm around
Scabus, welcoming him into the lodge.
The station broke out in an old victory song and followed them in
for a celebration, all except for the heavyset clerk and Lassa.
She watched Ransis disappear over the horizon towards the
fading jingle of bells followed after him.
The heavyset clerk sat back down at his post.
He saw the fly. He
swatted at it with his fan, looked at the bottom of the fan and smiled.