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."I like that.""You can tell such things simply because I am standing out here alone?"Jojonah replied."I might be thinking of nothing at all.""Not at the forward rail," Captain Al'u'met said, taking a spot right beside the leaning monk."I, too, know the inspiration of this place.""Where did you get Matthew?" Jojonah asked abruptly, blurting out the words before he could even consider them.Al'u'met gave him a sidelong glance, surprised by the question.Helooked back to the prow spray and smiled."You do not wish to think that I, a man of your Church, purchased him from his par-ents," the perceptive man reasoned."But I did," Al'u'met added, standing straighter and looking directly at the monk.Master Jojonah did not return the stare."They were paupers, living near St.Gwendolyn, surviving on the scraps your Abellican brothers bothered to toss out for them," the captain went on, his tone deepening, growing somber.Now Jojonah did turn, eyeing the man severely."Yet this is the Church you chose to join," he stated."That does not mean that I agree with all of those who now ad-minister the doctrine of the Church," Al'u'met calmly replied."As to Matthew, I purchased him, and at a handsome price, because I came to think of him asmy own son.He was always at the docks, you see—or at least, he was thereat those times when he could es-cape his wrathful father.The man beathim for no reason, though little Matthew had not seen his seventhbirthday at the time.So I purchased him, took him aboard to teach him anhonest trade.""A difficult life," Jojonah remarked, but all animosity and hints of accusation were gone from his voice."Indeed," the large Behrenese agreed."A life some love and others loathe.Matthew will make up his own mind when he is old enough to betterunderstand.If he comes to love the sea, as I do, then he will have nochoice but to stay aboard ship—and hopefully he will choose to stay withme.Saudi Jacintha will outlive me, I fear, and it would be good to haveMatthew to carry on my work."Al'u'met turned to face the monk and went quiet, waiting until Jojonahlooked at him directly."And if he does not love the smell and the roll of the waves, he will be free to go," the man said sin-cerely."And I will make sure that he has a good start wherever he chooses to live.Igive you my word on this, Master Jojonah of St.-Mere-Abelle."Jojonah believed him, and his return smile was genuine.Among the toughsailors of the day, Captain Al'u'met surely stood tall.They both looked back to the water and stood in silence for some time,save for the splashing prow and the wind."I knew Abbot Dobrinion," Captain Al'u'met said at length."A good man."Jojonah looked at him curiously."Your companion, the wagon driver, spread word of the tragedy inBristole while you were seeking passage," the captain explained."Dobrinion was indeed a good man," Jojonah replied."And a great loss it is for my Church that he was killed.""A great loss for all the world," Al'u'met agreed."How did you know him?""I know many of the Church leaders, for, given my mobile pro-fession, I spend many hours in many different chapels, St.Precious among them.""Have you ever been to St.-Mere-Abelle?" Jojonah asked, though he didn't think Al'u'met had, for he believed that he would remember this man."We put in once," the Captain replied."But the weather was turn-ing, and we had far to go, so I did not get off the docks.St.Gwen-dolyn wasnot so far away, after all."Jojonah smiled."I have met your Father Abbot, though," the Captain went on."Only once.It was 819, or perhaps 820; the years do seem to blend as they pass.Father Abbot Markwart had put out a call for open-seas sailing ships.Iam not really a river-runner, you see, but we took some damage last year—powrie barrelboat, for the wretched dwarves seemed to be everywhere!—andwere late getting out of port this spring.""You answered the Father Abbot's call," Jojonah prompted."Yes, but my ship was not chosen," Al'u'met replied casually [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]