Cinco Capas watches the water drip from the brim of his hat. He still holds the reins in his hands even though he set both horses loose an hour ago, against his better judgment.

Next to Cinco sits the blind man, Orfeo Arcamba, with his arms folded across his chest. It was his idea to let the horses go after the capricious storm turned the dry riverbed into a grasping sludge. It was also Orfeo who argued for taking this shortcut in the first place, and now there is no way to get the wagonload of mining supplies to town by dawn as promised.

Ordeo refolds his arms and says that he does not see the situation as hopeless. Cinco reminds the old man that he does not, in fact, see anything at all.

This reference to his infirmity offends Orfeo, who reminds the young teamster of his brave exploits during the battle for control of the shipping channel during the second counter-revolution, how he was separated from his company for two weeks and subsisted on tree bark and berries, how he lost his sight in an attempt to single-handedly disarm an enemy cannon, how he was carried on the crowd's shoulders through the marketplace.

Cinco knows that Orfeo was eight years old when the second counter-revolution ended with the ill-fated Treaty of Santa Scholastica, but he says nothing. Beyond the brim of his hat a gentle rain continues to fall. The horses stare down at them from the embankment.

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