Janna walked back to the cart, wiping her wet hands on her tunic. Kevin looked up as she approached, "Don't you have a skirt?" he asked.

Janna looked down at herself, she was dressed the same as always: breeches, shirt, tunic. She looked at Kevin, "No."

He studied her for a moment then shrugged. "Everyone probably thinks you're a man anyway." Turning back to the cart, he hoisted a small trunk in front of him and shoved it under the seat.

Janna said nothing. She picked up the birdcages and carefully secured them in the back. Untying her horse from the tree, she tied the rope to the cart, then walked to the front and climbed in, sitting down next to Kevin. He slapped the reins and clicked at the mule to start it moving.

"Let me do the talking when we get to the gate. If anyone asks, you're my second cousin and we're visiting my friends, the Andersons. They live on Marigold Way and they run the local pigeon fancier's club."

"I don't know anything about pigeons." Janna said. She wondered why he was telling her this.

"Don't worry, as I said: only if someone asks. If they want to know anything beyond that, defer to me."

Riding in silence, they joined the slow moving line waiting at the city gate. As they came closer, Janna watched the two gate guards searching every wagon as it approached. As the first one questioned the driver, the other walked around the cart and examined the cargo. As she watched, one of them lifted a bushel of apples off a farmer's cart and took it into the gatehouse. The farmer hung his head as they waved him through. The driver of the dairy wagon in front of them leaned impatiently to one side, then the other, and grumbled audibly as he looked around the line. A carriage: red with gold trim and pulled by a team of matching white horses trotted past the line to the gate. The guards quickly cleared a path for it and it passed through the gate without a pause. They touched their helmets, saluting, as it passed.

"Move the line!" The dairy driver suddenly shouted, standing up on his seat. "I can't afford to be late! Move it! Move the line!" The guard at the gate looked at him, then turned toward the gate house. Three Guards came out and walked to the dairyman's cart.

Kevin turned to Janna, "Hand me the brown case." he said. Reaching under the seat, she opened the trunk and pulled out a battered brown leather satchel. She held it out to him, and he shook his head. "Not that one, the other one." He pointed. Janna looked in the trunk again and pulled out an identical brown satchel next to it. She held it up for Kevin and he nodded.

"What do you need it for?" she asked, handing it to him.