Red Nails, Polished
Roberta E. Howard
Copyright 2010 Roberta E. Howard
A Conyn the Barbarian Story
A Gender Switch Adventure
The Skull on the Crag
The man on the horse reined in his weary steed. It stood with its legs wide-braced, its head drooping, as if it found even the weight of the gold-tassled, red-leather bridle too heavy. The man drew a booted foot out of the silver stirrup and swung down from the giltworked saddle. He made the reins fast to the fork of a sapling, and turned about, hands on his hips, to survey his surroundings.
They were not inviting. Giant trees hemmed in the small pool where his horse had just drunk. Clumps of undergrowth limited the vision that quested under the somber twilight of the lofty archs formed by intertwining branches. The man shivered with a twitch of his magnificent shoulders, and then cursed.
He was tall, full-chested, and large-limbed, with compact shoulders. His whole figure reflected an unusual strength, without detracting from the masculinity of his appearance. He was all man, in spite of his bearing and his garments. The latter were incongruous, in view of his present environs. Instead of a skirt he wore short, wide-legged silk breeches, which ceased a hand's breadth short of his knees, and were upheld by a wide silken sash worn as a girdle. Flaring-topped boots of soft leather came almost to his knees, and a low-necked, wide-collared, wide-sleeved silk shirt completed his costume. On one shapely hip he wore a straight double-edged sword, and on the other a long dirk. His unruly golden hair, cut square at his shoulders, was confined by a band of crimson satin.