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Bosaru shook his head.  The roamers aren t Cintealios. But something about them
reminded me of them.
 I remember reading about them, when I was a girl. My father  she stopped.
He knew her from somewhere. He knew it. He just couldn t figure out where.
 Who was your father?
 Nobody, she replied immediately, looking to the side, then behind him. Bosaru
recognized the mannerism she was going to try to slip away again.  I am nobody, and
my father was nobody. I don t have any information that you w 
Not again.  Stop!
She froze.
 You re not getting away, not this time.
She stared at the pulse blaster Bosaru was pointing at her.  Isn t that overkill? she
asked, her tone bordering on mockery.  I m not armed. There s no reason to point that
thing at me.
 I know you, Bosaru said, narrowing his eyes.  But I don t know you. Imreen Dal
doesn t exist. Not even incomplete archives could excuse that. Who are you? Why do I
think I know you from somewhere? Besides his dreams, but he wasn t going to
mention that.
She threw her arms up and sighed.  You do. Think back, she whispered, her eyes
flashing, the gold in them glinting in the light.  When you were a child, and so was I,
and Neoti Prime was still our home. But there was a chasm between us, one not of our
making. Remember. She opened her fist and revealed a small polished stone, dull red,
almost glowing in the dim light. Then she tipped the stone over to reveal the other side.
 Do you remember this?
Bosaru hissed and leaned forward, nearly forgetting for an instant that he was
pointing a weapon at the woman.
His family crest was etched on the surface. Unmistakable. Two gehn feathers
crossed, within a roped circle. That had been the Bosaru family crest for ten generations.
His family s surstone. His, the one he thought he had lost as a boy.
 Where did you get that? he demanded, reaching out for the stone.
85
Eilis Flynn
But she closed her hand and would not reopen it.  You gave it to me.
 Then give it back.
She looked up at him and for the first time he sensed she was stronger than she
looked. She tilted her chin.  No, I will not. You gave it to me.
 Who are you?
Imreen Dal or whoever she was, truly continued to look him in the eye, not
flinching.  Think back. I was crying because my brother had taken my doll and you
wanted me to stop. You thought you would be punished because someone would think
you had made me cry. You didn t want to look after me, but no one else was there, and
my nurse was nowhere to be seen, let alone my brother. So you sat down next to me
and reached into your pocket and drew out the stone and showed it to me. And you
told me the story behind your family crest, and that way you made me forget to cry.
Bosaru stared at her. There was something familiar about the story he
remembered a cloudy day, with intermittent sunbursts, and he remembered sitting next
to a little girl, with wide, sad eyes the color of gold, tears rimming them, and then he
remembered her smiling, with a missing tooth right in front.  My father was in a
meeting, he said.  He was an emissary to the Vozuan administration that year. He had
brought me with him because I had never been to that part of the planet, and my
mother thought it would be a good experience. But the meeting went overlong& 
Imreen Dal or whoever she was nodded.  My father was in the meeting also,
she whispered.  He was an advisor. My mother had died not so long before that, and
my nurse had been called away. So I sat and waited. But I was afraid.
He shook his head.  That was a small meeting, he said, threads of memory coming
back to him as he fought to remember that long ago.  Not publicized, to either Neoti or
Vozuans. The governments were trying to clarify national boundaries, trying to forestall
violence, but that didn t work. I remember my father s assistants. I would have
remembered you if you had been the child of one of them.
 My father was not one of your father s assistants, she said. She looked away.  My [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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