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CHAPTER TEN

Harry had trouble falling asleep that night; she listened to the gentle sound the water made walking down the three stone steps, and often she stretched out her hand to touch the hilt of the blue sword that lay beside her, carefully laid upon a small carpet of blue and green and gold that she had found in a corner of a hall on her way back to her mosaic palace after the feast. She had appropriated it, rolled it up, tucked it under her arm, and glared at the woman of the household who was conducting her. The woman dropped her eyes, but did not seem unduly disturbed. Who would grudge a damalur-sol a little rug? Harimad-sol thought airily.

But each time she touched the blue sword it was as if a shock ran through her, and she listened to the quiet night, hearing the echoes of sounds that had rung themselves to silence hundreds of years ago. Her restlessness made Narknon grumble at her, although the cat did not offer to leave the bed and sleep elsewhere. At last Harry tucked her hands firmly beneath her chin and fell asleep, and in her sleep she saw Aerin-sol again, and Aerin smiled at her. "Gonturan will do well for you, I think, child, as she did well for me. You can feel it in the way she hangs in your hand, can you not?" Harry, in her dream, nodded. "Gonturan is far older than I am, you know; she was given me with the weight of her own years and legend already upon her. I never knew all she might lead her bearer intoand as it was, I learned more than enough.

"Gonturan has her own sense of honor, child. But she is not human, and you must not trust her as human; remember it. She is a true friend, but a friend with thoughts of her own, and the thoughts of others are dangerous."

Aerin paused, and the dream began to fade; her face was pale, and half imagined, like a cloud on a summer's dawn, with her hair the sunrise. "What luck I had, may it go with you."

Harry woke up, and found the sword gleaming blue in a light that seemed to come from the blue mosaic walls, from the blue stone in the hilt, even from the silver water of the stream.

Several days passed, while some of the Riders went forth on errands; but the newest Rider did not. She spent long hours in the mosaic palace, staring at the air, which hung, or so it seemed to her, like tapestry around her; and in that tapestry was woven all of historyher own, her Homeland's, as well as Damar's. Sometimes she saw a little bright shimmer like someone tossing back a fire-red mane of hair; and sometimes she saw the glint of a blue jewelbut that was no doubt only some chance reflection from the glossy walls around her.

But most of all, she slept. Mathin had been right about the sorgunal. For several days she was content to sleep, and waken to do nothing in particular, and sleep again. Narknon enjoyed it as much as she did. "I'm sure Mathin did not put any of that stuff in the porridge," Harry said to the cat; "there's no excuse for you."

On the fourth morning Mathin came to her, and found her pacing from fountain to fountain and from wall to wall. "This is not a cage to enclose you, Hari," he said.

She turned, startled, for she had been deep in her thoughts and had not heard his approach. She smiled. "I have not felt caged. I haveslept a great deal, as you warned me. It is only today I have begun tothink again."

Mathin smiled in return. "Is it so ill, this thinking?"

"Why am I a Rider?" she replied. "There is no reason for Corlath to make an Outlander girl, even the laprun minta, a Rider. Riders are his best. Why?"

Mathin's smile twisted. "I told you, long agolong ago, more than a week since. It is a good thing for us to have a damalur-sol. It is a good thing for us to have something to look to, for hope. Perhaps you do yourself too little honor."

Harry snorted. "Has a laprun ever been made a Rider before?"

Mathin took a long time to answer. "No. You are the first to bear that burden."

"And an Outlander at that."

"You Outlanders are human, for all of thatas the Northerners are not. It is not impossible that some Outlander might havea Gift, kelar, like ours, as you dofor you do. There is something in you we recognize, and we know it is there, for Lady Aerin has chosen you herself. Corlath makes you a Rider toto take advantage of whatever it is you carry in your Outlander blood that has made you Damarian, even against your will."

Harry slowly shook her head. "Not against my will. At least not any more. But I do not understand."

"No; nor do I. Nor even does Corlath. He" Mathin stopped.

Harry looked sharply at him. "Corlath what?"

The faint smile drifted across Mathin's face again. "Corlath did not steal you of his own free will. His kelar demanded it."

Harry grinned. "Yes; I had guessed, and once he told mesomething of the sort. I saw dismay on his face often enough, those early days."

Mathin's face was expressionless when she raised her eyes again to his. "You have not seen dismay there for a long day since."

"No," she agreed, and her eyes went involuntarily to the mosaic walls around her.

Mathin said, "You are a token, a charm, to us, Daughter of the Riders and Rider and Damalur-sol."

"A mascot, you mean," Harry said, but without bitterness; and still she looked at the mosaic walls. She asked timidly, not certain of her own motives, "Does Corlath have no family? I see here, in the castle, the people of the household, and theusRiders, but no one else. Is it only that they are cloisteredor that I am?"

Mathin shook his head. "You see all there is to see. In Aerin's day the king's family filled this place; some had to live in the City, or chose to, for privacy. But kings in the latter daysCorlath's father married late, and Corlath is his queen's only surviving child, for she was a frail lady. Corlath himself has not married." Mathin smiled bleakly. "Kings should marry young and get heirs early, that their people may have one thing less to worry about. There has been no one in generations whose kelar is as strong as Corlath's; it is why the scattered folk along our borders and in the secret hearts of our Hills, who have acknowledged no Damarian king for many years, rally now to Corlath. Even where he does not go himself his messengers are alight with it."

After Mathin left her, Harry thought of taking another nap, but decided against it. Instead she rode out on Sungold, Narknon deigning to accompany them. She found at the back of the stone castle and beyond the stone stables a practice ground, stepped into the sides of the Hill, for those wishing to practice horsemanship and war. It was deserted, as though the menace of the Northerners was too near to permit of practice. But she jogged slowly around the empty field, Sungold stepping up or down as they came to each edge, and decided to practice anyway: she who was laprun victor, who had never held a sword till a few weeks ago, who was suddenly a Rider: she felt, a little wildly, that she needed all the practice she could get.

She was wearing Gonturan, a little self-consciously, but she had felt somehow that it would be impolite to leave her behind. She unsheathed her and wondered if the ancient sword had ever been used to hack at straw figures and charge at dangling wooden tiles. She galloped Tsornin over poles laid on the ground, piles of stone and wooden logs, and up and down turfed banks, and over ditches. She felt a little silly; but Tsornin made it plain that he enjoyed it all, whatever it was and however humble, and Gonturan always struck true.

Harry took Tsornin back to his stable and put him away with her own hands, studiously ignoring the brown-clad groom who hovered near her. Hers was the first human face she had seen since she rode out. The stables were on the same scale as the castle: large and grand, the loose-boxes the size of small fields. There were over a hundred stallsHarry lost count when she tried to multiply them out in her headin the barn Sungold was quartered in, and two other barns as big stood on either side of it. Sungold's stable was nearly full; sleek curious noses were thrust out at them as they left and returned. Harry saw no other men or women of the horse; they must reappear at some point, she thought, to tend the horses. Unless Hill horses can be trained to take care of themselvesit wouldn't surprise me. The silence was uncanny. Tsornin's hoofs had echoed around the practice field; and when she thanked the brown woman and said no, she needed nothing, her voice sounded strange in her ears.

Over the next few days she rode out again and again, and spent some hours slaying straw men with the Dragon-Killer's sword, and then some hours riding out from the stone ring of the castle, and into the stone City, down the smooth roads. She saw mostly women and young children, but even of them there were rarely more than a few. The women watched her timidly, and smiled eagerly if she smiled at them first; and the children wanted to pet Sungold, which he was good enough to permit, and Narknon, who usually eluded them; and sometimes they brought her flowers. But the City was as empty as the castle was; there were people, but far fewer than its walls might hold. Some of this, she knew, was because the army was massing elsewhereon the laprun fields, before the City; messengers came and went swiftly, and the gathering of forces hung heavily in the air. But most of it was because, as the king's family had dwindled, so had the king's people; there were few Damarians left.

She thought again of the mounting strangenesses of her recent life; and she wished, if she was to be given to Damar, as apparently she was, that she would be given no more long pauses of inaction in which to brood about it all.

One of the young women who had assisted her at her bath brought her food, in the blue front room with the fountain, or outside in the sunshine where the other fountain played; and she managed to convince her and the other women sent to wait upon her that, at least as long as there were no more banquets requiring special preparations, she might bathe herself. For three more days she slept and watched the shimmering of the air and rode Tsornin and played with Narknon. There was a friendship between the horse and the hunting-cat now, and they would chase one another around the obstacles of the practice field, Narknon's tail lashing and Sungold with his ears back in mock fury. Once the big cat had hidden behind one of the grassy banks, where Harry and Sungold could not see her; and as they rode by she leaped out at them, sailing clean over Sungold and Harry on his back. Harry ducked and Sungold swerved; and Narknon circled and came back to them with her ears back and her whiskers trembling in what was obviously a cat laugh.

And Harry polished Gonturan and tried not to brood, and looked often at the small white scar in the palm of her hand. But with all her inevitable musings she found that a certain peace had come to her and made its way into her heart. It was not like anything she had known before, and it was only on that third day that she found a name for it: fate. Yet she wished that the business of war were not so all-consuming, that she might have someone to talk to.

On the fourth day when the woman came with her afternoon meal, Corlath came with her; and evidently he was expected, although not by Harry, for there were two goblets and two plates on the tray, and far more food than she could eat alone. She was sitting on the flagstones beside the fountain in the sunshine, watching the prisms that the falling drops threw into the air; and Narknon was washing Harry's face with her razored tongue, and Harry was trying not to mind. She was trying not to mind with such concentration that she did not realize till she looked up, still dazzled by tiny intricate colors, that he was there; and she remained sitting, blinking up at him, as the woman set down her tray and retired.

"May I eat with you?" he said, and Harry thought that he seemed ill at ease.

"Of course," she said. "I woulderbe honored." She pushed Narknon's head away and started to scramble to her feet, but Corlath dropped silently down beside her, so she settled back again, grateful that her bones decided not to creak. He gave her a plate and took his own; and then sat staring into the fountain much as she had done, and she wondered, watching him, if he felt any of the queer peacefulness that crept into her with the same looking; and if he would call it by the name she had discovered.

"Eight days," she said, and his eyes drew back from the water spray and met hers. "Eight days," she repeated. "You said less than a fortnight."

"Yes," he replied. "We are counting the hours now." He made a swift sweeping motion with his right hand, and Harry said suddenly: "Show me your hand."

Corlath looked puzzled for a moment, but then he held his right hand out, palm up. There was one short straight pale mark across it, obviously new; and many small white scars; she didn't have to count them to know there would be eighteen of them, the still-freshand longestcut a nineteenth. She studied the hand a moment, cupping it in her own, not thinking that she was poring over a king's hand; then she looked at her own right palm. One tiny straight line looked back at her.

He closed his hand and rested it on his knee. "They don't fade," Harry said. "The old ones don't disappear."

"No," said Corlath. "It is the yellow salve, before we make the cut; it is made of an herb called korimforever."

She studied her own palm again for a moment. The scar cut through the lines a fortune-teller would call her life line and her heart line; and she wondered what Damarian fortune-tellers might see in her hand. She looked up at Corlath, who absently put a piece of bread in his mouth and began to chew; he was staring into the fountain again. He swallowed and said: "There is a story of one of my grandfather's Riders: the Northern border was restless thenbut only restless, and this man had gone North to see what he might learn. But they caught him, and recognized him as from Damar; but he knew they would find him a little before they did, and he slashed his hand that they might not find the mark and hold him for ransomor torture; for the Northerners, if they wish, can torture with a fine prying magic that no mind can resist."

Harry thought: If the Northerners know about the Riders' mark, they must be a bit slow not to wonder about a spy caught with a cut-up hand.

Corlath continued after a moment: "He had traveled dressed as a merchant, so when he knew they would find him he freed his horse and sent it home, and took off his boots, and began to climb the near-perpendicular face of one of the Hills that is the boundary between our land and theirs. When they found him he was half mad with sunstroke and his hands and feet were as tattered as autumn leaves. They decided they had not caught a prize at all, and after they had beaten him a bit, they let him go. He finished climbing the mountain with his hands and feet, because he remembered that much of what he was doing; and just over the summit, just inside the border of Damar, his horse was waiting for him, and she took him home. He recovered from the sunstroke, but he never held a sword again."

Harry swallowed a lump of bread that didn't want to go down, and there was silence for a bit. "What happened to the mare?" she said at last.

"Your Tsornin's dam is a daughter of his mare's line," Corlath said, but it was as if he were tracing some thought of his own. "The mare lived till she was almost thirty, and dropped a foal every year till the last. Many of our best riding-horses are descended from her." Corlath looked at her, coming back from wherever he had been.

"That mare's line is called Nalanfaithful. You can see it in Tsornin's pedigree."

Harry asked lightly: "And is there a name for the line of the kings of Damar?"

Corlath said, "My father's name, and his father's, and mine, is Gulkonoth: stone."

Harry looked at his right hand resting quietly on his knee. He paused and added as if inconsequentially, "There are other names for the king. One of them is Tudorsond. Scarred hand."

"Does the korim scar the foreheads of the household, and the faces of the hunt and the horse as well?" And Corlath said, "Yes."

There was a silence again, and Harry wondered how many other questions she might be able to gain answers for. She said, "Once in the mountains before the trials, Mathin said to me that he could teach me three ways of starting a fire, but that you knew a fourth. He would not tell me what the fourth was."

Corlath laughed. "I will show you one day, if you wish. Not today. Today it would give you a headache."

Harry shook her head angrily, her feeling of contentment gone. "I am tired of having things only half explained. Either I am damalur-sol, when it is convenient, or I am to be quiet and sit in a corner and behave till it is time to bring me out and show me to the troops again. Did you choose Mathin to teach me because he is close-mouthed?"

Corlath looked a little abashed, and Harry guiltily remembered how much Mathin had told her, althoughshe defended herselfit was not enough. Never enough. But she could not help remembering his answer when she had asked him why he had been chosen for her training.

"I chose Mathin because I thought he would teach you best; there are none better than he, and he is patient and tireless."

And kind, thought Harry, but she would not interrupt when she might learn something.

"We of the HillsI suppose we are all, as you say, close-mouthed; but do you think you have learned so little of us?" And Corlath looked at herwistfully.

"No," she said, ashamed of herself. There was a pause, and she said, "Could you perhaps, please, tell me why Mathin would not tell me any of the legends about the Lady Aerin? They are a part of your lives that all of you shareand it is her sword you have given meand the legends, why, there are a few sung even at the spring Fairs in the west, where Outlanders can hear them."

Corlath tapped his fingers, one-two-three, one-two-three, on the brim of the fountain. "Aerin is a part of your destiny, Harimad-sol. It is considered unlucky tomeddle with destiny. Mathin would feel that he was doing you a disservice, speaking much of Aerin to you, and II find, now, that I feel the same." Tap-tap-tap. "If you had grown uphere, you would have heard them. But you did not. And if you had, perhaps you would not now be what you are.

"I am sorry." He turned and looked at her. "Ifafter we have met the Northerners, and the gods have decided between us, if you and I are left alive, I will tell you all the stories I know of Aerin Dragon-Killer." He tried to smile. "I even can sing a few."

"Thank you."

Corlath's smile became more successful. "There are a very great many of themyou may not wish to hear them all."

"I do wish to hear them all," said Harry firmly.

Corlath took his hand away from the stone brim and began to shred a chunk of bread into fragments on his plate. "As for the first question," he said, "watch." He blinked a few times, closed his eyes, and a shudder ran through him; then he opened his eyes again and gave a hot yellow glare to the little heap of bread crumbs, which burst into flame, crackled wildly for a few minutes, and subsided into black ash.

"Oh," said Harry. Corlath looked up; his eyes were brown. They stared at one another. Harry found herself saying hastily, in a voice that was a little too high-pitched, "What is this placehere?" and she jerked her eyes away, and waved to the mosaic walls. "I have seen nothing else like it anywhere in the City."

Corlath shook his head. "Nor will you." He got slowly to his feet, and looked around, and cupped his scarred hand under the fountain, and drank from it. "My father built it for my mother just after he married her. She was fond of the color blueand I think he wanted to tell her that he did not mind that she would never carry the Blue Sword, the greatest treasure of his family, the woman's sword." He looked down at her inscrutably, but his eyes did not focus on her. Then he turned and left her, going through the door into the castle.

Two days later the army rode away from the City. Corlath and his Riders rode together down the highway from the castle to the gates of the City, with men and women of the household and the hunt and horse, and pack horses behind them; and the people of the City lined the streets and silently watched them go, although many raised their hands to their foreheads and flicked the fingers as they rode by. Harry had not seen so many before; some were refugees from northern Damarian villages, and farmers from the green lands before the Bledfi Gap. And they rode down to the plain where the army Harry had not seen, for she had not left the City since she rode into it, lay before them; and behind her she heard a sound no Damarian had heard in generations: the City's stone gates closing, heavily, mournfully.

Tsornin was restless. Now, with the ranks upon ranks of the Hill army drawn up upon it, the plain looked like some other place than the plain where Harry and Tsornin had fought with blunt staves and sword points. Tsornin was too well bred to do more than fidget slightly in place; but his shoulder, when she ran her hand down it, was warmer than the morning air deserved. The muscles under the golden skin were hard; she felt that if she rapped her knuckles against his shoulder ridge it would ring like iron.

She stood, a little awkwardly, in the group of Riders, only a little way into the plain from the end of the City highway. They were on a little rise of land, so they looked out and down over the rest of the company, and Harry felt unnecessarily conspicuous. "Why couldn't you be liver chestnut or something?" she whispered to Tsornin, who bowed his golden head. A new helm fitted closely down over her bound-up hair, and there were new boots on her legs, with tops that rolled up and lashed into place for battle; and she felt Gonturan hanging expectantly at her knee. Ten days were not enough to accustom herself to being a Rider, however hard she had driven herself and Tsornin round the lonely practice fields with their stiff wooden silhouettes of enemy swordsmen; and while the Riders themselvesparticularly one or two: Mathin, and the merry (for a Rider) young Innathclosed ranks around her and accepted her as one of them, she could not believe that they did not themselves wonder, a little, about her presence among them.

Sungold blew impatiently and began to dig a hole with one front foot. She booted his elbow with her toe and he stopped, but after a moment he lowered his head and blew again, harder, and she could feel him shifting his weight, considering if she might let him dig just a small hole. She looked around: the other horses were showing signs of stress as well. Mathin stood next to her; Windrider, although rock still, unlike the younger Tsornin, wore a dark sheen of sweat down her flank. Corlath's Fireheart was standing on his hind legs again; the king could bring him down as he chose, but Harry rather thought the horse was expressing the mood of both of them. Narknon, so far as Harry could see, was the only one of their company who remained undisturbed. She sat in front of Sungold, just beyond the reach of pawing forefeet, and washed her chest and combed her whiskers.

They marched west. They crossed the low but steep ridge of mountains between the City and the desert plain that stretched far away, up to the back door of the Outlander Residency in Istan. They retraced Harry and Mathin's route, going in single endless file through the narrow paths; and they came to the desert edge at the end of the second day. Beyond the ridge they turned north.

All the spiesthose still living, for the North had caught a fewthat Corlath had sent out in the last several years had come back in the last few months, in a rush, all with the same word: the waiting was over, the Northerners were moving. The last man of them had returned not six days before; it had taken him so long because they knew about him, and he had dodged and fled and scrambled to get away from their creeping tracking magic. His tale was that their army was only days behind him, and that it was many thousands strong. He had delayed and delayed to take a fairer tally of the total; and yet, he said, even as the army marched south, hundreds and more hundreds appeared as if out of the air to march with it. Out of the air, Harry thought, and wondered if the phrase was more than just a manner of speaking. She had been included in the council of Riders that heard the man's tale; and the candlelight seemed to cast more shadows when he was through. Yet there was nothing to be done; the army that would stand for Damar was already gathered; the plans to face the Northerners were already laid.

Of the Northerners' dread captain no spy was sure; no Damarian dared get that close, for the uncanny way he was said to smell foreign blood.

There were hundreds of mounted men and women now following Corlath's word; and as they rode with the eastern Hills at their right hand, they looked a great many. A few hundreds more would join as the southern army made its way to the wide plain before the Gap. But that was all.

Innath, riding at her elbow, said conversationally, "Less than half of the Northern army will be mounted; and not many of them will be riding horses; and very few of their horses will match the poorest of ours. One can double our tally at least, just for our horses; for they are Damarians and will fight for Damar as fiercely as we human beings, for all that we are the only ones who talk about it."

"Yes," said Harry, her voice only a little muffled. Noontimes they stopped briefly, loosening girths to let the horses breathe, and eating bread and dry meat and water. At night they camped behind ridges of shale and scrub, and lit fires enough to boil the terrible dry meat to a slightly more edible consistency, and rolled up in their blankets to sleep where they sat. A few of the hunting-cats and a dozen dogs were with them; but they could not spare the time at present to use them. Narknon continued at Harry's heels and, as she had done once before, began hunting on her own, and brought back some of her grisly victories to lay at Harry's pillow. As the days passed and Mathin's stew pot became generally known as the only one reliably containing fresh meat, it grew very popular.

The nights were clear and quiet, and the weather-casters among them promised no sudden windstorms; the edges of the Damarian Hills were known for their unpredictable weather, where mountain storms bottled up by the steep slopes might suddenly find their way to the flatter lands where they could rage and riot as they chose.

Corlath was not trying to strike at once for the center of the northern mountains and the Bledfi Gap. After the Hill army crossed the narrow range behind which the City lay, they worked their way around the curve of the mountains, trotting through the sandy sour grass and broken rock at their feet. At first this made them ride almost due north, then in an increasing arc to the west; and the sun moved across the sky before them. Often in the mornings when the mist was still lying around them, trailing from the mountains' shoulders into their camp, a little group of riders, or even a solitary figure on horseback, would loom up at them from nowhere; but Corlath always seemed to be expecting them, and they always knew what to say to the guards that they might pass; and in this way the army a little swelled its ranks. Occasionally Harry heard a woman's voice among the strangers, and this made her glad; and often she'd rub a finger over the blue gem in the hilt of Gonturan and think of the sword no man could carry. Mathin said to her once: "We did not think to see so many womenfew have fought with us within any man's memory, although in Aerin's day it was different. But I think many fathers are letting their daughters join us who had not thought to till they heard of Harimad-sol, and that Gonturan went to war again."

Many of these women she met; particularly after Mathin had spoken to her, for then she began to feel a little uneasily responsible for them. Senay she saw several timesand saw too that she was wearing a sewn-together sash as if she were proud of it. Harimad-sol asked the names of the women when she had a chance, and they answered gravely; and they often gave her the back-of-hand-to-forehead gesture of respect, and none ever asked her her name, even when she was not carrying Gonturan and ought to lookshe thoughtlike any other disheveled soldier. Most of those who came thus late to join Corlath's army did not carry a sword, and wore no sash; these were men and women who had spent their lives in their own villages, on their own farms and in their own shops, and had never attended laprun trials, nor felt the lack that they had not.

One evening they rode into a hollow where nearly a hundred strangers, all mounted, and with several pack horses and hunting-beasts besides, waited for them; and Corlath rode forward with a great hearty cry of welcome, a sound nearer happiness than any Harry had heard from him since they began their march north. A rider at the head of the group rode to meet him, and they seized each other by the shoulders while their horses bumped uneasily together and rolled their eyes at each other. A third man then detached himself from the new group and joined Corlath and his friend.

"Murfoth and his son, Terim," said Mathin in Harry's ear. "Murfoth was one of the old king's friends, though he's not much more than ten years older than our king. He might have been a Rider, had he wished, but he chose instead to stay at home and look after his lands; and a good job he's made of it too. Some of our best horses now come from him, and grain to feed many more."

"We Riders," said Innath from her other side, "as you may have noticed, tend to be fourth sons or otherwise pennilessor incurable wanderers like Mathin herebut Murfoth now, when he comes to ride with his king, can bring eighty men with him." Innath's voice, for all its careless pride, sounded almost wistful. Harry found herself remembering her father's words to herit seemed decades ago: "You haven't a penny, you know."

Terim was Harry's age, and when he and his father came to sit at the king's fireside he came to her and sank down beside her, folding up his long legs as all the Hillmen did. She looked at Terim and he looked at her; his look was eager and a little, to her embarrassment, reverent. "I was First at my laprun trials three years ago," he said; "but when I took my turn against Corlath my sash was on the ground before I had a good grip on my sword." He thumped the hilt of his sword, which jangled as it bit into the ground. "My father gave me Teksun here anyway, he said no one ever got a grip on a sword against Corlath. You did, though." His eyes shone in the firelight.

Harry ran a meditative finger over the careful seam in her sash, which she had put in under Mathin's promised tutelage. "I didn't know it was heI never thought. And he allowed me to cross swords with him; and when I realized how much of it was allowing, I gotmad." She paused. "I was surprised too." She frowned, remembering the awful headache she'd had for most of that day, and then the more awful sick lurch that seemed to start behind her eyes, where the headache was, and quiver all the way through her body, when she saw the face behind the scarf she had just removed. No one had called her baga for the cut at the corner of Corlath's mouth, though. She met the boy's eyes somewhat ruefully and said, "It wasn't as pleasant an experience as you might think."

Terim gave a little snort of laughter and said, "Yes, I believe you," and Harry looked across to where Corlath sat with Terim's father and found him watching her. She wondered if he had heard what she had just said.


CHAPTER NINE | The Blue Sword | CHAPTER ELEVEN