Glory and Ashes


The music is very loud. It encases them, insulates them, separates them from reality. Which, just for today, is exactly what they want.

Caradoc spins Dorcas around once more as the music swells, and laughs as she overbalances and clutches at him to remain upright.

"Bastard!" she says, but she is laughing breathlessly as she says it. The song comes to an end, and they fall together, Dorcas' head on Caradoc's shoulder, his arm round her waist, both of them gasping for air, but both happy in their forgetfulness of the real world they face every day.

On the edge of the dance floor, two couples are sitting at a table and regarding them with a frown. Benjy Fenwick was one of the first members of the Order, his friend Edgar is a relatively new recruit. Their wives are not in the Order because of family responsibilities, but they know all about it. All four of the people at the table know the seriousness of what they face every day and are inclined to regard the antics of the younger couple with disapproval.

Dorcas and Caradoc, coming over hand in hand for a swig of their drinks, see the looks on their elders' faces and know exactly what they mean, although Jenny Fenwick smiles at them and asks them if they are having a good time. They are not stupid, they know that Benjy and Edgar and their wives think that this is not a suitable way to behave in the middle of a war. But they know too, that the others are wrong.

A new song starts and Caradoc grins and pulls Dorcas into his arms and back onto the floor. Within seconds they are dancing again, forgetting the world and the war.

This is exactly what they need.