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.‘But I cannot help you with it! This is your poison! You take it!’Wynter sank to a chair, weary to her bones of trying, and put her head in her hands.There was an abrupt scrape of the King’s chair, and the table thudded beneath her elbows as he jerked clumsily to his feet, but she did not bother looking up.All is lost, she thought.All is chaos.The surrender was almost blissful.The ensuing silence made her glance up.Razi and Jonathon were gaping at her, and for a moment she did not know why.Then she realised she was slumped at the table, slouching like a beggar with a bowl in the very presence of the King.She blushed and went to rise, but Jonathon waved her down again and sank to his seat once more.It was perhaps this, more than anything else – the very uncourtliness of Wynter’s gesture, the complete and utter lack of art in her despair – that made him believe.‘I swear to you,’ whispered Razi, ‘I recall nothing of which you speak.I am a doctor, your Majesty, I am a scientist.Everything else,’ he gestured to his head, ‘is gone.’To Wynter’s amazement, the King huffed a laugh.‘What a twisted joke.to give me what I always wanted, instead of what I find I need.’ He looked up to the heavens in bitter amusement.‘You always claimed that God had a blackened sense of humour, Lorcan.’ He sighed.‘We can but bloody laugh.’‘Your Majesty,’ said Wynter, ‘whatever the future holds in store, Alberon does not come to you at arms.He comes with only the smallest entourage of men, his intentions nothing but peaceful.’The King huffed again.‘What needs he of arms, when the damage is done?’‘Will you read the documents, your Majesty?’ asked Razi.‘What for?’Razi thought for a moment.‘That you may know what is in store?’ The King regarded him closely.‘That.that you may do more than simply lash out in the dark?’At the King’s grimace, Razi stepped to the table, diffident and uncertain.‘I have one other thing,’ he said.‘I have never been certain if it is part of our journey, or if it is a personal possession of my own.I must confess, I have longed to open it, but the fear that it might be yours has swayed me to caution.Can you tell me.?’ With a final hesitation, he reached into his coat and withdrew a small document, folded to a square and sealed with wax.Wynter recognised it at once.‘Alberon gave that to you,’ she said, ‘just as we were leaving camp.I had assumed you would place it in the folder.’Razi shook his head.‘For some reason I did not.’ He offered the letter to his father.‘Your Majesty? Do you suppose he meant it for you?’The King took the letter.He opened it.Alberon’s writing was firm and neat; it took up barely a page.The King read it twice, then placed it on the table.He turned it, obviously intending Razi to read.Wynter leaned discreetly forward, reading from a distance.Father,I am a dull, knot-headed boy – did my tutors not always tell you thus? I have no power over words, unless I speak with soldiers, who seem to understand me well enough.You have always wished it were not so.I have wished so myself.Next to my clever brother, I am a toad.But you and I found our common ground this last five years, did we not? In all that horror, you found a pride in me, and a use for my own peculiar strengths.Though I wish it had not been in such a manner as war, I was glad to be of service to you.That I could help protect your wonderful hopes for our people’s future.I am doing this still.I wish I had the power to persuade you of it, to convince you and make you understand.I have waited and waited for Razi’s return, knowing he would be the one to put into words that which between us has only ended in screaming and blows.If I could take all the curs who threaten this kingdom and pile their heads at your feet, I would do it.I wish only to be your guardian.I wish only to be your strong right hand.I believe in this kingdom and that which you wish to do with it.Listen to Razi.He will assure you of it.Wynter tells me you may have destroyed my things [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]