As Three to One

Dorothy J. Heydt

He was almost upon her before she moved: a little man's shape atop a tall horse, its eyes white and staring, its nostrils flared; his eyes were sunken and he seemed not to breathe at all. Valmai stood up almost under the horse's nose, and it reared; she dodged its hooves, stick at the ready. As the horse descended, she raised her splinter and let the ganger's own momentum drive it smoothly up into his heart. He fell, snapping the stick off squarely at the skin: she'd have to give it a new point.

The townspeople were cheerying under their breath. "Well, yes, that's the way it's supposed to go," Valmai said, bowing right and left like a juggler.

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