The Hawks and the Weasels – Day 3: A hawk and a weasel

Most of all, Kora liked the dawn. Shepherds’ horns in the hills, Nenet hovering high in the sky, sleepy streets, and the sense that her whole day – and her whole life – was still ahead of her. If something could be better than dawn, it must be spring dawn.

The blur of spring foliage, the first fragile flowers, and a small slender mammal still in its white winter fur basking in the warm spring sun on the roof of the watchtower. This was a shiny new watchtower roof that they completed in Appius’s fortress in those few days.

A hawk and a weasel noticed each other at about the same moment.

“No, Nenet, stop!” Kora leaned over the parapet, trying to prevent the fight, and realized that it was unnecessary. The weasel had already jumped down from the roof, hopped inside, and ran down the stairs, shaking his tail, screeching in excitement. The animal looked weirdly satisfied as if it had completed some tasks successfully. Strange. Kora had known only one creature like that before, and it was her teacher’s pet. An old hawk. She moved her eyes back to the hills and suddenly realized what both the weasel and Nenet were trying to show her.

After closer inspection, a cloud’s shadow cast on the valley was, in fact, an army camp. The Romans! And so close!

She quickly grabbed the spyglass from the guard’s room and rushed back. One, two, three… 24 camps. They were preparing to attack, and the first group was far more significant than the others. It was supported by 24 catapults. Twenty-four.

Kora put down the spyglass and slowly sat on the chair. Everything had not been in vain. The attack on Appius’s fortress was merely a lure. The real target would be the old vulture’s nest. And thanks to Marcus, they had just enough defenses to resist.



In the far distance, two travelers prepared to start another day. A young Roman with dark hair listened attentively to an older man feeding his pet. A white-furred weasel.

“As I’ve already told you, kid, kingmakers do not take simple orders. They bring kings to power. We do not necessarily need to kill, though. What we really do is precisely calculate which action would lead to which consequences. Sometimes, it’s enough to push a tiny stone down a hill to cause an avalanche. Like what happened with the Manticore and the King of Rebels. With burnt villages and the revolt in the province. Or a tiny woman with an old hawk coming to a small Hibernian village and fixing the grain mill…”

The end.

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