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Towards a Cloak of Blue

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The doublet was stolen, though not from someone's back. That kind of work was not young Porthos' trade. He'd caught a glimpse of wine-dark red velvet in a paddler's heap and swept it off the cart while Charon bartered for the trousers. It ended up having a rip across the shoulder and a stain that looked like blood, but the colour mostly hid it, and Porthos could mend.

The trousers Charon bought with Pothos' share of the money they'd had lifted from a wine merchant's daughter while Flea talked the girl up. Flea said they were "sea-green," but Porthos had never seen the sea, and didn't think Flea had either. He was pretty sure no water in the world was naturally be that colour. The river certainly wasn't, not even a day's walk upstream where it wasn't choked in the city's filth.

"My," Flea had said when she'd seen him, "You're quite the dandy. I'd almost think you were a gentleman." Porthos had ducked his head, saying nothing, but secretly some of the colour in his cheeks had been pride.

It wasn't until years later, thinking back on it, that he understood the edge in her voice. She'd been the first to know that he was leaving, even before Porthos had himself.