[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Something like a bag, or a bird, or …‘Lurker!’ she yelled, the blood rushing to her cheeks.Seven days, they had been gone.Seven days she had worried and fretted, punched cabinets, kicked stones.Her boot had even found a mangy dog one morning, she was ashamed to say.But now here they were, waltzing back into town as in nothing had happened.Maker, did they have a nerve!‘Merion!’ she yelled again, beginning to march.She could see them clearly now, barely half a mile away.The boy’s head was up.Lurker’s was still down.Neither of them shouted back.Cowards.It did not take her long for her to close the distance, jogging across the hot trail and shaking with anger, the knife still glinting in her fist.If either the man or the boy had wanted to speak first, to offer an explanation perhaps, they would have been sore out of luck.Lilain started ranting at twenty paces’ distance, even before they could bumble to a halt.‘Lurker, I ought to knock you to the dirt and thrash ten shades of shit out of you! What the hell were you thinking? Dragging Tonmerion out into the wilds? Into the desert? How dare you expose him to such danger! No note, no word, nothing! I was worried sick!’‘Lil—’ Lurker tried, but Lilain hushed him with a menacing wave of her blade.‘And you!’ she cried, pointing at Merion.‘You’re more of a fool for going with him and disobeying me! Now you listen here and you listen good.I’m your aunt and guardian, and what I say goes, you understand? No ifs, no buts! I’m your father’s sister, not some servant or kitchen slave for you to ignore.Oh, you’ll be workin’ long and hard to right this wrong, Tonmerion Hark!’Merion reached up to scratch his nose, nonchalant as can be.Merion looked right back at her, with a gaze as flat as the very desert.He did not seem browbeaten, or guilty, as Lilain had hoped.He was angry, she could tell that much, but he boiled underneath his skin, holding it back for the moment.Lilain glared at him.‘You hear me, nephew?’ she snapped.‘I hear you alright,’ Merion hissed in reply.‘but I don’t care.’‘I beg your p—’Merion cut her off.‘I know what you were hiding from me now.The Shohari told me,’ he said, his voice rising, the way it did when he knew he had the upper hand.Lilain did not wilt.She was a veritable bonfire of rage.She turned on Lurker and pointed the knife at him.‘The Shohari? Well, you’re a fucking idiot, John Hobble.A fucking idiot and a liar, and I don’t want you in my sight! Get away, until such time as I can stomach to look at you!’ Lilain screeched, wrinkling her lip in a way that made Lurker’s heart fall just a little, though he wouldn’t have admitted it.His only reply was a grunt and a tug of his hat, before trudging off down the path and into Fell Falls, his head drooped even lower than before.Lilain turned back to her nephew.‘You’ve got some nerve…’ she growled.Merion wrestled Gorm back onto the trail.‘And so do you.How dare you lie to me, keep me in the dark about secrets like your little vials of blood? Oh yes, I know all about your little hobby now, and why you keep such things.’Lilain smiled, though it was one that was cold and devoid of humour.‘Whatever they told you, you don’t know the half of it.’Merion smiled right back.Amongst all his righteous anger, his confusion and the disappointment he had spent the last few days trying to ignore, a tiny part of him had doubted the Sleeping Tree and its strange words.It was a talking tree, after all.But there it was: an admission of guilt if ever he had heard one.There was no doubt about this now; the tree had spoken the truth, and with that revelation came a fresh rush of excitement and fear to swirl alongside his anger.Merion leant forwards in his saddle.He spoke very quietly and very firmly.‘And that’s why you’re going to tell me every last, tiny, little thing.’All Lilain did was wave her knife and turn away, stomping back to the house.Merion scowled, He tugged at Gorm’s reins and led the pony down the trail and up the rise to the house.He was not surprised to see yet another body lying on the cart.The railwraiths had been at work again, that much was obvious.He wondered how many had died since he had left.Lilain was by the cart.‘Three,’ she said, interpreting his look, her voice still strained with anger.‘In a week, the railwraiths have come three times.While you were off gallivanting with Lurker, going behind my back, I had to do all the work.On my own.’‘I saw one,’ Merion said, slowly sliding from Gorm’s back.‘On the plains.’Lilain looked up.‘A wraith?’ she asked.‘Big as a house.’Lilain gave the cart a kick with her boot.‘That damn Lurker!’‘He was trying to help.’‘Dragging you into the desert and filling your mind with nonsense don’t help one tiny bit!’‘But it’s not nonsense, is it?’ Merion challenged her.‘You’re lying.’Lilain grit her teeth and busied herself with the body.‘Who told you? Was it Lurker? It was, wasn’t it?’Merion shook his head.‘No, a Sleeping Tree told me.The Shohari took me to it and it told me everything.About what you do, down in that basement of yours.About what my father was capable of, and how I’m like him.I know it all.’ He sounded proud of that fact, proud and resentful.‘And what else did this tree say?’ Lilain’s tone had abruptly softened.‘That father was killed for money,’ Merion answered her.If he wanted the truth, he supposed he had better dish some out as well.Besides, he wanted to see what Lilain would say, see whether he could spy another flicker of guilt in her face.‘But you knew that already, didn’t you?’Lilain sighed.‘Well, he wasn’t short of it,’ she said, in a quiet voice.There was no flicker of guilt there.Not a trace.Instead her eyes were hard, and Merion knew she was telling the truth.‘No, I did not, Merion.But I suspected it.Karrigan was a rich and powerful man [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]