"I killed a man once." The boy couldn't have been more than eighteen, with a mop of dirty blonde hair. His dusty green eyes focused far in the distance, he did not even spare a look at Agostino to gauge reaction. He just stared at the horizon, jostling slightly as the wagon wheels negotiated ruts in the dried mud. The confession was unbidden, unasked-for. Agostino smirked, resting his elbows on his thighs and entwined his fingers, slumping forward with the motion of the wagon. The two dangled their feet off the back of the wooden caravan. "When did you ever kill a man, Andreas?" Agostino asked, his accent thick as he watched the younger boy with an amused expression. Andreas didn't answer. Not right away. Instead he lowered his gaze to watch one of the lanky hounds that padded along in the dust behind the wagon. Agostino, noting the change, watched where Andreas did. "He killed one of my dogs. My best hunter. Could flush out birds like you never saw. Heidi. A red hound." Agostino's expression sobered as he looked from the dog back to Andreas. "Who killed your dog?" "Dunno his name." Andreas shrugged nonchalantly and shifted his weight, resituating himself. "He got drunk and threw rocks at Heidi. Told 'im to stop, but he wouldn't listen. Damn fool." Agostino pressed his lips together and looked back at the ragtag pack of three hounds that followed them. "I got mad. Real mad. She wasn't just a dog, ya know?" He looked at Agostino, who nodded thoughtfully, before continuing. "Can't see how people can be that way. He took out a knife and started threatening her to get to me. I couldn't let 'im do that. Yelled at 'im to go home an' sober up. But he didn't take to it. So I ran at 'im. He staggered around like a jackass and fell on Heidi. Knife went right through her neck. She just laid there twitchin' and couldn't control 'erself anymore. He righted 'imself fast, and put the knife through her skull. Said it had to be done, she was dyin' anyway." With that, Andreas went silent again, his eyes searching the horizon that was always retreating behind them. "Ah, so you spared no mercy for a sadistic fool who destroyed someone you loved, si Cousin?" Agostino drew a measured breath and looked back at Andreas with an unreadable expression. Andreas didn't meet his cousin's eyes. "Where ya goin', Gus?" "Magincia." The answer was matter-of-fact. "You ever kill anybody?" Agostino's dark eyes unfocused as he watched the earth pass beneath his feet, chasing the horizon, and he lied. "Not yet."