My feet had led me to the breweries near the docks. Even my wandering mind could not ignore the odor of yeasts and hops and spillage, and the spoilt barrels set out on the loading docks, from which the poor could drink at their own risk for half of a split copper tael or some shred of barter. Horses, too, the district always had that smell of horse, for the sake of the monstrous great beasts that drew the brewery wagons around the city.
Beer I was fine with, horses I mistrusted deeply. The broken screw that had borne me on my fateful trip with Septio, leading to his death and my pregnancy, had been a wicked animal with a special hatred for me in its liquid eyes.
An ox, now, there was an animal with which you always knew your place. No question of standing with an ox. They never got above themselves, and generally were not independent thinkers. No wonder Endurance had manifested as he did. I shuddered to think of the moods of a horse god.
|Originally published at jlake.com.|