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wood in the attic room of the stone house on Sophren Bay. The mage
glanced at him and Isranon knew the mon was wondering about his eyes.
Sa'necari eyes became amaranthine without pupils, irises, and
whites after their first act of mortgiefan. Isranon's were the same as
he had been born with: black.
Nevin and Olin lay on the floor at Isranon's feet in wolf-form. They
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had helped him change the mage into clean clothing.
"Why did that sa'necari keep calling you half-a-mon?"
Isranon felt drawn to Josiah. If he could have let him go, he would
have. So he answered. "Because I have never committed mortgiefan,
or any of the other rites. I have never taken a life out of appetite. Only
in self-defense or the defense of others. There are so many things I
wish I could tell you, all the secrets of the sa'necari."
"Don't endanger yourself."
"The Darkness hunts me and the light does not want me. If you
swear not to betray me to the others I will tell you what I am."
"You have my word, Isranon."
"I am Isranon Dawnhand's last descendant, Isranon son of Isranon
son of Isranon for generations. We need the blood to survive, but we
take no lives. I am the last Dark Brother. The sa'necari have slain the
rest of us."
Isranon twisted in the dreams as he had so many times, trying to
wake and finding that he could not. His best efforts simply dragged
him to another scene, another memory, another nightmare. It was the
price he paid for a taste of Sanguine Rose, for the only thing that
could ease him waking and let him sleep at night.
He dipped the cloth in warm water, squeezed it out and bathed
Josiah's face, gently cleaning away the blood and vomit from Hoon's
most recent session with the mage. Josiah stirred, opening his eyes
under Isranon's ministrations. Isranon carried the basin back to the
small table across from the bed.
The residents of the house had changed. People came and went
constantly as Hoon brought his army secretly into position around the
city. Isranon thought the house was empty that late afternoon. Then he
heard the door open and looked up.
"Hello, half-a-mon. So this is the great and terrible mage that
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leveled the ruins at Dragonshead?" Bodramet stepped across the
threshold with a spell on his lips to snare Isranon before the mon
could reach for his blades, wedging him into a corner. "I've come to
pay Mephistis back for humiliating me when all I wanted was a little
taste of his catamite. Give me what I want and I'll leave you alone."
Isranon struggled against the spell imprisoning him as Bodramet
ran a finger along his inner thigh. "No."
Josiah levered himself up. He dragged the whiskey from the
nightstand, taking a long pull from the bottle. Over Bodramet's
shoulder, Isranon could see the change in the damaged mage as his
power flared.
"Josiah!"
Bodramet released Isranon. He threw a snaring web of dark magic
at Josiah and drew his blade. Isranon, freed in that instant, seized
Bodramet's blade hand. Bodramet whipped back on him, angrily,
shoving the spell in Isranon's face and the blade in his gut. Then
Josiah was on him. The wasted, puny drunkard came like a tiger, his
magic searing through Bodramet. The sa'necari screamed as he was
thrown backwards, hurled from the room and down the stairs.
Isranon slipped to a sitting position between the dresser and the
wall. Josiah drew the blade from his body and began that strange
spell of his, shared life, giving from his own wasted body to strengthen
Isranon's. Isranon's sa'necari constitution received the blood
differently from ordinary humans and the wound closed. He felt odd.
Something was changing inside and he could not say what.
Josiah screamed, losing control of his spell and flooded Isranon
with pieces of himself. Isranon broke the contact, shoving Josiah
away. Hoon stood over them.
"I told you, you were not to touch anyone in this building!" Hoon
shouted.
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Josiah writhed, clutching at his head and sobbing.
Hoon must have hit Josiah through the link of compulsions he had
set. "Bodramet attacked us," Isranon said. "He was trying to rape me
and then cut Josiah."
Hoon spun. "Anksha! Punish Bodramet."
She scampered out with Hoon following behind her.
Again the scene shifted in Isranon's dream and became three days
later.
He cradled Josiah, trying to get a little broth down him. The mage
had become so weak that he could no longer rise to dine at the table.
"What did you do?" Isranon asked.
"Shared life& random factor. I don't know. I'm not a Reader."
Josiah closed his eyes, turning his head into Isranon's shoulder.
"Josiah, please don't pass out. Please." Isranon shook him gently.
Josiah stirred again. "Isranon, don't tell them& what I did& I
was& only trying to help."
"I know. I won't tell them."
Isranon finally freed himself of the tangling folds of his dreams
when he heard a voice call his name. It came as clear as if he heard it
aloud rather than with that inner spirit-ear of his gift. Since he had
been dreaming of Josiah, Isranon thought at first it would be his
friend's ghost. He was wrong. This was the ghost of a different friend.
"Isranon."
He rolled onto his side by digging his fingers into the earth. Anksha
slept beside him with a contented expression, his blood rimming her
mouth. He felt half-dead. His neck on both sides was such a mess of
healing wounds that she had begun to feed from his shoulders. He
knew, also, that he had partaken of far too much Sanguine Rose than
was good for him. "What is it?" He looked and then he stared at the
ghost. "Mephistis?"
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The ghost seemed sad. "Hadjys has me in his hells." [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]