Dorcas stewed quietly for a long time after Chrishton chewed her out. The dusty plains had taken the wind out of her sails--with nowhere to stomp off to, she had to keep her temper in check, lest it lead her into confrontations that had no escape. Chrishton's dalliance--or lack thereof--with Udorl was clearly still a sticking point with Dorcas. Between her father, whose young girlfriend she'd mentioned once or twice, with no love lost, and her obvious fondness for a boy who frequently departed her company for a romp with Udorl, it stood to reason that the girl had issues with male abandonment. She had taken full-on the insult of Chris's erstwhile attraction to the hussy of her grudges.
With the horizon bobbing hazily in the distance, smudged with dirt and the vague outlines of what one could only hope were minor copses of trees, Dorcas let herself drift toward a neutral state of mind. She thought of the sorry state of Mydjeken after he'd stumbled home wretched, and still with a broken nose. She could keep herself from lingering too fondly on him if she held onto that image. With his brother surely returned home by that point, he probably didn't even have the luxury of a fawning sister-in-law salving his wounds--both physical and emotional.
When Chrishton broke the silence again, Dorcas looked down at him, and her expression had softened, like a rotten piece of fruit, into a picture of concern that belied her internal state. She looked sad and thoughtful as she considered what she said about Keltaris. The very name of the city sounded bright, like a comet or a star.
"You know, where I'm from," she said, "we gen'rally think people ought to be let to do wot they want, 'sept hurt others." Her cat stretched lazily at the base of the horse's lanky neck. "It's when people get controlled too tightly, it gets complicated . .. dang'rous."
Dorcas's expression thinned as she considered what she'd just said in relation to her thoughts on these things she didn't understand. "Seems like, though, when a whole society is . . . beholden to a . . . an intellectually flawed ideology . . . I just wish there were some sort of power in place to rule with some sense."