“Have you not considered,” asked Ortho, " that if the almighty wished you to fly, he would have provided you with suitable appendages?"

“App – what?” replied Jathos, crossly.

Ortho sighed. “Wings, my boy. Wings.”

“Aye, and such have I created! They bore me aloft!”

“And set you down again, upon your scrawny arse. God’s mercy, perhaps, that it was not your head – but for whose sake, I am not sure.”

“Your are disrespectful, old man, " sniffed Jathos haughtily, his imperious tone belied by his appearance – a gangling boy, shaking in the lamp light.

“Let me ask you this, oh Brother of Davidicus,” continued Ortho, “if the birds in the air are masters of that element, are they not nearer to God than man?”

“They are surely God’s creatures…” began Jathos, uncertainly.

“And the lice that they bear – also closer to the Almighty?”

Jathos trembled. “Have a care, Ortho, lest your words travel beyond this hovel.”

Ortho smiled. “I am not afraid of you, Jathos. Or at least – not as afraid as you are of yourself.”

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