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She braced her palms against his chest.  I don t want to overdo it.
He brushed a kiss over her ear.  Why not?
Her lips parted, tempting, but she kept pushing him back.
 Come on, he murmured.  What is wrong?
 I& well, I don t want you to have another seizure.
 You mean like yesterday?
 Yes. She sounded subdued.
 Making love never caused them before.
 You re sure?
 Positive. He went back to kissing her. He could tell she liked it, especially when she started to move
against him.
So they greeted each other, moving together under the soft, warm quilts. He savored the warmth of her
body against his, their limbs entangled.
Sometime later, as they drowsed, she said,  Morning is coming.
 Hmmm. Eldri stretched, half asleep. Belatedly, he realized what she had said.  How do you know? It
is dark in here.
 My spinal node has an atomic clock. It keeps time.
He wondered if he would ever understand the things she said.  What is  spinal node ?
She was quiet for a while, and he sensed she was thinking of how to respond.
 It is part of my memory, she finally said.
 Ah. Now he understood.  Where you store what you learn.
 Well, yes. She sounded surprised.  Exactly.
Eldri pressed his lips to her temple, this time in respect for her duties as a Memory.  We should begin
our preparations to go down the mountain.
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Her mood brightened.  Do you think we can make it today?
 I don t know, he admitted.  I haven t much experience with travel in such weather. It never snows in
the plains.
 Well, we can try.
They climbed out of bed, shivering in the icy air, and dug garments out of the tube-narrows against the
wall. For some reason, Roca seemed surprised he stored his clothes by stacking them in a vertical tube.
She exclaimed over the blue glasswood and its gilded mosaics, though it all looked quite ordinary to
Eldri.
 And this! She pointed to a design of a blue and green sphere circling two larger gold ones.  What
does it represent?
 The gold orbs are the two sun gods. Eldri rubbed his arms to warm them. The fire had died to embers,
and it was too early for the maid to have built a new one.  The green is Lyshriol.
She seemed to expect his answer.  The star system.
He wasn t sure what she meant, but her recognition implied her familiarity with the sun gods, supporting
his theory of how she had come to him. He had no clue why Valdor and Aldan would send him such a
treasure when he had been so remiss in attending them, but he would remedy that from this day forward,
performing any expected rituals. He didn t actually remember what most of them were, but he could ask
the Memory.
They returned to the warmth of bed and dressed under the quilts, laughing and kissing. Eldri thought of it
as a dream. Then they tumbled back out and put on jackets. Roca went to the alcove and opened the tall
shutters. As soon as snow blew inside, Eldri knew the storm had returned. Saddened, he stood with her,
gazing outside while powder blew over them. Falling snow blurred the world. It must have been coming
down all night; the drifts were so deep now, they buried the bottom of the castle. Everywhere, in every
direction, he saw nothing but snow.
For a long time Roca gazed at the silent snowfall. Eldri stood behind her, his arms around her waist,
watching the storm that had gifted him more time with her, but was breaking her heart. He couldn t
imagine the great war she described. He had only one enemy, Lord Avaril, and his men had fought only
skirmishes with Avaril s small army. This pain in Roca went much, much deeper.
 I am sorry, he said.  I wish I could make it stop.
She said nothing, just turned and put her arms around him, burying her face against his neck.  Fate is
capricious, that it offers me so great a treasure, but exacts such a terrible price.
He went very still.  What treasure would that be?
She drew back to look at him.  You are a miracle, Eldrinson Valdoria.
He touched her cheek.  It is you.
 How many people will die because of it? Thousands? Millions?Billions?
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 Don t, he murmured.
 No one knows where I am. I hid my trail. She shook her head.  Another ship may not put in here for
months, maybe even longer. The port has no link to my people.
 I will take care of you.
 And who will protect you when my son finds us?
 What do you mean?
She spoke dryly.  He avenges first and asks questions later.
That didn t sound promising.  I will make offerings to Valdor and Aldan.
She sighed.  I wish it were that easy.
 Roca, we will make it work out.
She cupped his cheeks with her strange hands, her fingers so slender and delicate, her  thumb to the
side. Her palms felt warm against his cold skin.  You are a wonder.
 It does not trouble you, what you saw yesterday? He made himself ask the question he had been
avoiding.  The attack?
 It troubles me greatly. The longer your condition goes untreated the worse it could become. She
considered him.  Do you know what triggers the seizures?
 I am unsure what you mean.
 What causes an attack?
That was easy.  Stress. Tension.
Mischief flickered in her face.  Then we must make sure you are happy, hmmm?
Eldri grinned.  I like your healing advice. He brought his lips to hers and showed her just how much.
But as much as he rejoiced at having her with him, foreboding plagued him. His time with Roca was a
fragile dream that could soon shatter.
The web shimmered.
Humanity knew it by many names: Kyle web, psiberweb, Kyle space network, other ever more abstruse
designations. Kurj experienced it as a lattice extending in all directions, awesome in its central regions,
where its nodes reached their greatest numbers and concentration, but fragmented near its edges.
His command chair on the Orbiter served as a portal into Kyle space. His body remained in the chair, [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]