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would never become a problem to my world.
As we descended the hill I asked, "Anybody think there might be a connection
between the Shadowmasters and the Voroshk? They seem to have gotten their
start about the right time. And the Shadowmasters tried to sever all
connections with the past in Hsien. It was just too big a job. I wonder what
we'd find out if we talked to some ordinary farming stiff over there?"
"I can ask Shivetya," Tobo said. "And the prisoners." But he did not sound
particularly motivated.
Chapter 49
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Nijha: Place of the Dead
Sahra kept calling for more torches. As though bringing in enough light would
nullify the disaster. By the time the Captain arrived there were fifty
torches, lamps and lanterns illuminating what had been a stable before the
Company arrived.
"Strangled?" Sleepy asked.
"Strangled."
"I'm tempted to use the word `ironic' but I fear there's no irony in it at
all. Doj. That white raven of Croaker's was hanging around outside. Find it.
There were little people hanging around here, some of them supposedly watching
Singh. I want to know what they saw."
Sleepy had a good idea what she would hear from the Unknown Shadows. It would
be a variation on reports she had had before. She said, "I'll want to send the
news south, too."
Nothing happened around the Black Company without some hobyah there to witness
it. The soldiers from Hsien understood that perfectly. They took it for
granted. They tended to be well-behaved. But someone without experience of
life in Hsien would not take the Unknown Shadows as seriously.
A minute later, Sleepy asked, "I don't suppose anyone's seen Goblin, have
they? I don't reckon anyone knows who was supposed to be watching him?"
Riverwalker said, "He was right over there till a minute ago."
Sleepy looked, considered, muttered, "No doubt right up to the second I
decided to consult the Unknown Shadows about what they saw." Which would have
been the same moment he would have realized that his recent history was no
mystery to anyone. The moment when he realized that Sleepy had been paying out
the hangman's rope while seeing what she could learn.
Riverwalker asked. "Want him rounded up? In one piece?"
"No." Not now. Not when the best wizard she had was an old, old man whose
skills, outside using a sword, were too weak even to put hexes on people and
animals. "But I wouldn't mind knowing where he is." Doj could manage that. The
Unknown Shadows communicated with him. Sometimes. When the mood took them.
"What you do need to do right now is get extra guards around the Voroshk.
Goblin showed a lot of interest in them while we were traveling. I don't want
anything happening to them and I don't want them wandering off." It did not
occur to her to reinforce the company responsible for the comatose sorcerer
Howler. But Fortune stood behind her there.
Goblin, it developed, had grabbed a couple of fast horses and some loose
supplies and had gotten himself out of Nijha, headed north, all without
attracting any particular notice. Sleepy very nearly indulged in profanity
when she received the report. Someone pointed out that the little wizard
always had had that knack. Sleepy growled, 'Then somebody should have been
watching for him to take advantage of it."
Uncle Doj told her, "I can't stop him or control him but I can make life
miserable for him."
"How?"
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"His horses. The Black Hounds can have a lot of fun with them. And when he
tries to lead them to water... " He chuckled wickedly.
"Send them." Sleepy beckoned Sahra. "I kept leaning both ways during the
meeting. Looking for a sign. I've just had it. We're not going to rush in
anymore. We'll move ahead slowly, into more hospitable country, and stop
somewhere where we can support ourselves without much trouble. We'll wait till
everyone catches up. And issue a call for volunteers willing to support the
Prabrindrah Drah and the Radisha." If anyone even remembered them.
"Wait especially for my son. Yes." Sahra was angry and unhappy but too tired
to fight much. "Now that Murgen is no longer the major tool."
"Especially for Tobo, yes. Tonight it was clear that without Tobo we're in
trouble bad."
Sahra said nothing more. She was tired of fighting a battle in which even the
men she wanted to protect refused to honor her concern.
Chapter 50
The Taglian Territories: The Palace
The Taglian field army slowly assembled astride the Rock Road in lightly
settled country midway between Dejagore and the fortified crossings over the [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]