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He loomed over her, leaned down; very gently, a feather s touch wouldn t be
softer, he brushed his thumb across her mouth.  Speak thou, he murmured.
 What have you done and how? Why have you done it?
She struggled to resist, but it was like being caught in the river, carried on
without effort on her part.
The story tumbled out of her: Tre s peril, Harra s Legacy, the Cave of the
Chained God, Toma and the medal, Daniel Akamarino, the Blue Seamaid and all
that hap-pened there, what Brann organized to get her home un-seen (she fell
silent a moment and stared as he burst out laughing. I stopped watching, he
said to her, before any of that went on. All that effort wasted), the Chained
God s command to come to
Isspyrivo, take the chains off him, return with him to destroy the talisman
that Settsimaksimin was using agairist a god.
When she finished and fell silent, he brushed her lips a second time with his
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thumb, stepped back. He pointed at the bench.  Bring that. There. He
pointed at the center of a complex of silver lines, a five-pointed
star inside a circle with writing and other symbols scattered about it, within
the pattern and without; he didn t wait to see her do it, but whipped away,
robe billowing about him as he strode to another corner; he came back with a
long, decorated staff. He looked her over, nodded with satisfaction, tapped
the silver circle with the butt of the staff. The wire began to glow.  Don t
move, he said.  Don t cross the line. There will be dangerous things beyond
the pentacle; you can t see them and you don t want to feel them. You hear
me?
 Yes.
He stopped beside a second small pentacle, activated that, moved to the
largest. There was an odd looking chair in it, big, made from a dark wood with
tarry streaks in it, his chair, even before he settled into it, its shape
suggested him, she could see him sitting in it, his massive arms resting in
the carved hollows in the chair s arms, his long strong feet fitting in the
hollows of the footboard. He stepped across the dull gray lines, smoothed his
hands over his hair, tucking in the short straggles that made a black and
pewter halo for his face. With a complicated pass of his flattened hand, he
wiped the wrinkles and dust smears from his robe, then he tapped the pentacle
to life, climbed into the chair and settled himself into a
.
proper majesty, the staff erect in its holders, rising over him, its wire
inlay catching the light in slippery watery gleams. He turned his head to look
directly at her (she was on his right off to one side), grinned and winked at
her as if to say aren t I fine, then faced forward and began intoning a chant,
his voice filling the room with sound and beats of sound until her body
throbbed in time with the pulses.
 PA OORA DELTHI NA HES HEYLIO PO LIN LEGO IMAN PHRO NYMA MEN
NE NE MOI GALANAS
TRE TRE TRAGO MEN.
And as he chanted, he moved his hands in strange and disconcerting patterns;
something about the ges-tures stirred her insides in ways that both terrified
and fascinated her. She felt the power surging from him; in spite of her fear
she found herself swept up in it, exult-ing in it (though she felt sick and
shamed when she realized that) it was like being outside, walking through an
immense towering thunderstorm, winds teasing at her hair and clothes, thunder
rumbling in her blood, lightning striding before her.
She gasped, jumped to her feet though she didn t quite dare cross the lines.
Tre was in the other small pentacle, curled up on his side, deeply asleep,
his fist pressed against his mouth.  What are you going to do to him, she
cried.  What are you going to do?
-
Settsimaksimin sighed, the talisman glimmering as it rose and fell with the
rise and fall of his chest.
 Put him where his god can t reach him,  he said; the resi-due of the chant
made a derni chant of the simple words.  If I kill him, child, there ll only
be another taking his place, another and another until I
have to kill everyone. So what s the point. He ll sleep and sleep and sleep
... He turned his head and smiled at her.  .
until you and only you, young Kori, until YOU come and touch him awake.
 I don t understand.
 Wait. Watch. He straightened, closed his eyes a moment to regain his
concentration, then began

another chant.
 ME LE O I DETH O I ME LE OUS E THA NA TOL/ S
HIR RON TO RON DO MO PE LOOMAY LOOMAY DOMATONE
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IDO ON TES HAY DAY THONE.
His gestures began as wrapping turns. A shimmer formed about Tr6 s
body, solidified into a semitranspar-ent crystal; Trd was encased in
that crystal like a fly in amber. The gestures changed, fluttered,
ended as he brought his hands together in a loud clap. The crystal cube
vanished.
 He has gone to his god, Settsimaksimin said.  In a way. He got to his feet,
stood leaning against the chair looking wearier than death.  He is in the Cave
of Chains. If you can get yourself there, Kori, all you have to do is touch
the block of crystal. It will melt and the boy will wake. No one else can do
this.
No one, god or man. Only you. Do you understand?
 No. Yes. What to do, yes. Why?
He reached his arms high over his head, stretched, groaned with the
popping of his muscles.
 Incentive, Kori. He dragged his hand across his face.  I want to save
something out of this mess. I
can t save myself. Cheonea? All I can do is hope the seeds I ve planted have [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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