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.They had lived and died by the decree of a madman.These people were, understandably, quite terrified of authority.Verna had cautioned Cara that if she really wanted to get answers then she had to stay back and let Dario get those answers for them.Verna watched Dario, standing in their midst, quietly asking questions.The people surrounding him became excited at certain points, pointing this way and that, and making signs to him.Dario nodded from time to time and gently asked more questions, which drew more of the silent language from some of the staff.Dario at last returned.“They say that there is no problem in this corridor.Everything here is fine.”Cara spoke through gritted teeth.“Well then if they don’t-”“But,” Dario interrupted, “they say that in that corridor there”-he pointed ahead to the right-”there is something wrong.”Cara studied the man’s face for a moment.“Come on, then, let’s have a look.”Before Verna could hold her back, Cara marched in long strides right up to the knot of a dozen and a half people.Verna thought that several of them might faint of fright as they cringed back, fearful of what she was going to do to them.“Dario says that you think there is something wrong in that corridor up there.” Cara gestured to the intersection ahead.“I think there’s something wrong, too.That’s why I wanted to have all of you come show me what you think.I’m the one who called for you.I called for you because I know that you people know more about this place than anyone.”They looked uneasy about her intentions.Cara looked around at the faces watching her.“When I was a little girl, Darken Rahl came to our home and captured my family.He tortured my mother and father to death.He locked me up for years.He tortured me to make me be a Mord-Sith.”Cara turned a little and lifted the red leather at her waist, showing them a long scar along her side and back.“He did this to me.See?”The people all leaned in ogling the scar.One man reached out and tentatively touched it.Cara turned his way to let him.She took a woman’s hand and rubbed her finger along the bumpy length of the scar.“Here, look at this,” she said, pulling her sleeves up and holding out her wrists for them to see.“These are left from the shackles when he hung me up-chained to the ceiling.”The people all leaned in looking.Some of them gently touched the scars on her wrists.“He hurt you, too, didn’t he?” Cara knew the answer, but she had asked anyway.When they all nodded, she said, “Show me.”The people all opened their mouths wide for her to see their missing tongues.Cara looked in each mouth, nodding at what she saw.Some held a cheek aside, turning their heads to be sure she saw their scars.Cara carefully looked at each one until they were satisfied that she had really wanted to see.“I’m glad that Darken Rahl is dead,” she finally told them.“I’m sorry for what he did to all of you.You all have suffered.I understand; I’ve suffered, too.He can’t hurt us anymore.”They stood listening carefully as she went on.“His son, Richard Rahl, is not at all like his father.Richard Rahl would never hurt me.In fact, when I was hurt and dying, he risked his own life to use magic to save me.Can you imagine that?“He would never hurt any of you, either.He cares that all people can have a chance to live their own lives.He even told me that I am free to leave my service to him any time I want and he will wish me well.I know that he’s telling me the truth.I stay because I want to help him.I want to help a good man for a change instead of being a slave to a bad one.“I’ve seen Richard Rahl weep for Mord-Sith who have died.” She tapped her chest over her heart with a finger.“Do you understand what that means to me? In here? In my heart?“I think Richard Rahl is in trouble.I want to help him and those fighting with him against people who harm others.We want to protect your lives from all those men outside, on the Azrith Plain, who would harm or enslave you all over again.”The people were blinking tearfully at her story, a story they could understand in a way that others couldn’t.“Will you help me? Please?”Verna knew how heartfelt Cara’s words really were.She felt shame that she had never really thought Cara could be kind and understanding, that she mistook Cara’s steadfast defense of Richard as merely a Mord-Sith’s aggressive nature.It was much more than that.It was appreciation.Richard had done more than save her life.He had taught her how to live her life.Verna wondered if, as Prelate, she could ever hope to do as much.Two of the women, one to each side, took up Cara’s hands and started leading her down the corridor.Verna shared a look with Dario.He lifted an eyebrow, as if to say that now he’d seen everything.The two of them followed after the shuffling group of people who had adopted Cara as a patron sister.A number of the people reached out as they made their way down the corridor to touch her, to run a hand down the red leather of her arm, to rest a hand on her back as if to say that they understood the pain and abuse she had endured and were sorry that they had misjudged her.As they went down the next corridor, Verna realized that she was no longer sure where they were.The tomb area was a confusing maze that occupied several levels [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]