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and a moment later the old man's eyes came open, looking first at Jeremy, then
past his shoulder.
And the old man's reedy voice murmured, with great certainty: "It was Apollo,
then, who saved us. Saved everyone."
Everyone hadn't been saved, but no one was going to quibble. "Of course. The
Lord Apollo. I will make
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Fred Saberhagen - The Book of the Gods 1 - The Face of Apollo rich
sacrifices or I would, were it not well-known that he is one god who has
little taste for such extravagances."
"What does he have a taste for, then?"
The old man had suddenly sat up, as if he might be going to recover after all.
"Ha. Who can say? Devout prayers from his followers, I suppose. Beautiful
women, certainly, any number of them and I've heard it said that he is not
averse to now and then taking a handsome boy or two to bed, just for variety."
Jeremy shuddered inwardly at the thought of coupling with even a
girlish-looking lad. The Intruder was going to have to fight him for control
if he had any such diversions planned.
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A few Honeymakers, at least a few legendary ones in the past, had enjoyed the
power of summoning a swarm by magic from a distance.
"But I have never seen it like this," the old man said. Looking up and down
the street again, he shook his head. "Never anything like this. All thanks to
great Apollo."
"Thanks to great Apollo," Jeremy murmured automatically, joining his voice to
a dozen others.
Problems sometimes arose, as Katy explained, with people who wanted to steal
or lure away the queen and start their own hive somewhere else.
Jeremy tried to imagine what might happen if a swarm were summoned to try to
fight off a fury or a whole flight of furies. Memory failed to come up with
any examples immediately, and he let the idea drop. Bees are restricted to
altitudes near the ground. If there was flesh and blood inside a fury
accoutrement, the long stingers would find it out.
Heavy smoke and hailstorms offered a temporary defense against a swarm, as did
sufficiently cold weather or heavy rain.
"Some of the old folk claim that our bees fly for many miles, as far as
halfway up the Mountain of the
Oracle there's some rare good things grow there, if you get up high enough."
"You've been there?"
The girl nodded. "Sometimes I carry bees from our hives to meadows where the
flowers are good and thick. Release them there, and they know how to find
their way home and tell their hive mates. Then a thousand workers, or ten
thousand, will go to where the blossoms are prime."
"That's good for the honey, I suppose."
Katherine nodded, large-eyed and solemn.
Gods, but she was beautiful!
"Do you go by yourself? Isn't it dangerous?"
"Folk around here know that we in this village are best left alone. These . .
. these men must have come from far away."
Due to the timely intervention of its patron god, the village as a whole had
suffered comparatively little damage, though a few individuals were
devastated. One house had burned almost to the ground, but none of the others
had suffered more than minor vandalism.
As the day faded, and the sense of terror turned gradually to rejoicing,
Jeremy was introduced to a drink
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Fred Saberhagen - The Book of the Gods 1 - The Face of Apollo made by the
fermentation of honey and water and called madhu.
Memory assured him that it was of course a form of mead.
Jeremy Redthorn had gained a minimal knowledge of wine-making, hearsay picked
up while laboring at his uncle's elbow, but the Intruder had vastly more.
Jeremy could step in and make mead pretty successfully, with the magical help
of his augmented vision and other magical enhancements having to do with the
preservation of crops. Or at least he might discuss the process with local
experts.
But the experience of Jeremy's blood and brain in the consumption of alcoholic [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]