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They ll investigate the spell that motivates you, and we ll fast put a stop to
this unsanctioned meandering.
Satisfied, he resumed his seat and, a bit more intently than usual, continued
with his reading. Another hour passed, at which point he decided it was time
to call a servant to bring some drink. He rose from the chair.
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Into the Thinking Kingdoms: Journeys of the Catechist, Book 2
There seemed to be a weight on his thigh. Looking down, he saw the figurine
clinging with tiny but powerful hands to the leg of his pants as it worked its
way steadily upwards. And this time, each minute, a perfectly carved eye was
glowing a vivid intense yellow.
With a cry he grabbed the carving and wrenched it free of his leg. Without
thinking, he drew back his arm and threw the suddenly hideous little manikin
as far and as hard as he could. It slammed into one of the tall windows that
lined the library s west wall. Even before it did so, he found himself
wincing. Fine leaded glass was immoderately expensive.
But the windows were thick and well made, and this one did not crack. Neither
did the carving bounce away. As he stared, it adhered to the transparency and,
beneath his incredulous gaze, began to diffuse into it, glass melting into
glass. The figurine grew smaller and smaller as a black stain spread across
the center of the window. It continued to disperse and disseminate until it
had disappeared completely.
Realizing that he was breathing hard enough to make his lungs ache, Bisgrath
forced himself to calm down. Approaching the window, he reached up to feel
gingerly of the place where the carving had struck. There was no sign that
anything was amiss. The thick glass was not chipped, and even up close there
was no sign of the corrupt foreign blackness that had appeared to diffuse
within the material.
Quite astonishing, he thought. He would have to inquire of learned
acquaintances as to the meaning of the episode. Meanwhile, there was work to
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be done. But first, something to drink.
Using a pull cord to summon a servant, he once more returned to his chair and
to his malicious scrutiny of the ledger s contents. Finding several more
prospective victims helped to relax him and set his mind at ease. When the
servant knocked, he barked an irritable  Enter! without looking up from his
work.
The choosing of unwitting innocents to savage never failed to raise his
spirits.
Entering silently, the servitor approached with tray in hand only to signal
his entrance with an abrupt metallic crash that caused Bisgrath to look up
sharply.  What the blazes do  He halted in mid-
accusation. The servant was not looking at him. An expression of utter terror
was imprinted on his face.
The silver tray lay forgotten at his feet, the contents of the pitcher it had
held having spilled out across the immaculate hardwood floor.
Puzzled, Bisgrath turned to follow the man s gaze, whereupon he whipped off
the reading glasses and flung them aside, unable to believe the evidence of
his own eyes.
Peering out at him from the window and occupying most of its height was an
outline of the black glass carving, its eyes burning like oil lamps on a
particularly dark and chill night.
With a stuttering scream, the servant fled the room. Rising and backing slowly
away from the window, Bisgrath fumbled along the wall for the weapons that
were mounted there. Arraigned in a decorative
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Into the Thinking Kingdoms: Journeys of the Catechist, Book 2
semicircle, they included a great number of killing devices more suitable for
use by common infantry than a cultivated gentleman like himself. That did not
stop him from wrenching a short, heavy war ax from its holding clips.
Uttering a cry of defiance, he charged the window. The inhuman fiery gaze
seemed to follow him as he rushed across the room. It went out when he slammed
the ax into the glass, bringing more than half of it down in a shower of
crystalline fragments.
Panting heavily, the ax clutched convulsively in both hands, he backed away.
Birdsong filtered in from outside and a cool Bondresseyean breeze blew
unbidden into the library. The tall black image had vanished.
Help, he thought fearfully;
I need a magician here to tell me what is going on.
He knew several names and would send servitors to summon them immediately yes,
immediately. He turned for the doorway. As he did so, out of the corner of an
eye he caught sight of a discrepancy.
The carving had reappeared, its eyes burning as fiercely as ever, in another
of the tall library windows.
And this time it was not a flat, picturelike image, but a mass formed in
glistening, solid relief, its thick arms reaching out, outward into the room.
Ten feet tall, the dreadful apparition was composed entirely of black volcanic
glass, as if it had drawn strength and substance from the leaded glass of the
window itself.
Screaming wildly, Cuween Bisgrath hurled the war ax at the glossy, brutish [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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