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I am sure you will find the right boy, given time."
The girl stamped, almost losing her balance again.  I don'twant anybody else!
You've been the only person who's been kind or good to me since my parents
died, and I owe you my life. I want to give that life to you . Don't you see?"
Despite the young sorcerer's intention to re-assert himself, as befitted a
mage, he felt a lump growing in his throat. He had forgone any normal sem-
blance of childhood, and he saw a long, lonely road ahead of him; a world
bereft of love and passion, a world of cold duty and responsibility.
Will the bluff camaraderie of the Guild be my sole comfort for the rest of my
life?He wanted to take the girl in his arms and drink in the sweet, heady wine
of her kisses, to run his fingers through her hair, to...
He stopped his thoughts from wandering any further. It was not just for his
own sake that he pursued this course; he had sworn to redeem his sullied,
reviled family name at all costs, and he could not,must not , forget that.
"I'm ...I am so sorry, Drex, he said, in a husky voice.  This is the way it
must be between us. I wish it were not so, but I have others to consider: peo-
ple who are very dear to me. I gave you your freedom, and I beg you to take
it. We cannothave any future together. You are young and beautiful, and any
number of more suitable young men would give their eye teeth to be yours; as
would I, if I were free.
"Unfortunately for both of us, I am wedded to my sworn Oath. It hurts me,
more than you can ever imagine, to ignore you this way, but it will become
easier in time for both of us, I promise you."
He stopped in his tracks and bent to kiss the top of Drexelica's head, to
drink in her perfume for the last time. Then, with a shuddering sigh, he began
to walk on, turning his back on the beautiful girl.
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It will get easier,Grimm told himself, gritting his teeth, but he did not
feel convinced by this facile phrase. For the next ten minutes, Grimm fought
tears as he pushed on, until he thought his heart would burst; he heard soft,
choked sobs behind him, but he forced himself not to look back, fighting the
pain within him.
After a while, the sun reached its zenith, and the unrelenting toll of the
journey began to make its mark upon him. The sand had looked so flat and easy
to negotiate as the party had begun its trek, but the golden surface was
treacherous and strength-sapping. All conversation stopped, and Grimm wondered
how he would face even another day of this purgatory.
As the last rays of light faded from the sky, Foster called a halt.  That'll
be all for today, people. You see? It wasn't so bad, was it?"
Grimm saw Tordun cast the Haven man a look of pure hatred as he shrugged off
his heavy pack. The tents went up in silence and, this time, Grimm was not
deterred from sleep by Xylox's snoring.
Chapter 18
Mutiny!
By noon the next day, Grimm felt almost as if he were sleepwalking. It seemed
as if his mind were drifting several feet above his head. The hot sand seemed
to suck at his feet, draining his strength and seeking to devour him.
The Questor saw dark shapes circling in the sky above him: carrion-eaters.
Do they sense a meal in the offing?
He had followed Foster's dictum to drink as much as he needed when he was
thirsty, but he wondered if the ever-ebullient pilot had made a bad
misjudgement as to their supply of the life-giving liquid.
"Foster, Xylox called.  Are yousure we have enough water? It seems to me
that we have depleted our reserves by a considerable amount. I accept that you
have received desert survival training, but could you have miscalculated?"
Foster's usual cheery expression was absent, replaced by an uncharacteristic
frown.
"It was a long time ago, he confessed.  I thought the sand would be easier
to walk through than this."
Xylox bristled, breaking his earlier vow of non-communication with the pilot.
 So, what would be yourinvaluable advice to us, Foster? Do we have sufficient
water to last the journey, or not?"
"I don't know, the pilot confessed.  Itis advisable to drink enough to
satisfy your thirst when you can; I'm sure of that. But we might get a little
thirsty later on."
"Alittle thirsty!  Xylox snapped.  We are relying onyou to tell us what to
do in this arid region. Should we drink, or ration ourselves?"
Foster seemed to vacillate between the two alternatives, his eyes rolling
from side to side.  We should drink, he said, but his tone was uncertain. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]