The Leeds Point gaol was a small building of rough-hewn wood. Two of the constable’s men stood on either side of the dark doorway. To Japheth, the look and demeanor of the guards was a reflection of the gaol’s meanness; all that separated these men from the man they held prisoner was the fact they hadn’t been caught in the bloody act. Japheth knew their type; hard-bitten men who ranged the local forest. He found himself musing over the wilderness here, with its strange, stunted pine trees that predominated. What twisted them into their small, unnatural size? And did the force that deformed them also do the same to men’s hearts?
The guards made no effort to stand straighter as he approached. They continued to lounge against the splintered wood, watching Japheth with hooded...
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