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.Miller wagon's people (#8) were doing the same.The dark line of chugs had reached the sand.Hearst wagon carried Tanya and Angelo Hearst, Angelo's grandfather Glen, and the Winslows.Five merchants meant room for only one yutz.Miller cookwagon carried three yutzes to make up for that.Glen Hearst made small concessions to pay off the debt.Thus: the caravan would be here two nights.Not all could afford to dine at Warkan's Tavern or go into town, but it didn't take both cookwagons to cook dinner.Hearst wagon would cook on the first night.The line of chugs flowed into the waves.Jeremy and Harlow moved well together, unloading and deploying tools, hanging an ostrich and four chickens the hunters had shot.At this their steady efficiency and decades of practice made them the best in the caravan.Yutzes from all the wagons were gathering Destiny firewood and digging out the pits.Something was bothering Glen Hearst.He spent less time supervising than in looking toward town, or the Tavern, or- Far up the Road, two electric wagons approached.Jeremy glanced that way from time to time as he worked.Atop one he picked out the glitter of Begley cloth.The wagons stopped short of the pointed structure, and men began unloading them.The barrier stood just at the border between Warkan's Tavern and Bloocher Farm."Glen, what is that thing?""Never saw it before."Hearst and Miller wagons had made all reasonable preparations for dinner, and no sign of chugs.The fires in the long pits were beginning to catch."Mind if I go look?""Set up the tents first."Jeremy and Harlow exchanged glances.Jeremy hadn't meant now! There was time to break out the tents and set them up, but not to walk most of a klick, almost as far as Warkan's Tavern! Glen knew that.What had made him so touchy?They busied themselves setting tentpoles and deploying tents and inflating pillows, until a long black line of devilhair weed rolled out of the sea.Then all the traders and yutzes dropped their work and returned to their wagons.As the chugs emerged pushing devilhair ahead of them, Hearst wagon's crew settled on the roof with a liter of lemonade and their guns.The chugs fed placidly.Then they all broke off at once and rolled uphill.Six long low shapes darted from the water, all at once and wide apart.Only six.A few guns sounded: overeager yutzes, quickly silenced.Four sharks stopped at the black weed.Two came on.The caravan fired, one long roll of thunder.The two fell.Four sharks darted from the weed and into the next wave.Two lay dead.Jeremy was pretty sure he'd hit one.A few yutzes were still firing into the shredded bodies.It wasn't just Glen Hearst.The elders were in a fury.At dinner they gathered in a small, tight circle.They fell silent when yutzes came to serve them.Harlow and Jeremy approached the circle and were rebuffed.Yutzes did most of the work of serving dinner.Jeremy only had to get it off the fire while it wasn't yet charred.In dying orange light he stopped to look at one of the dead sharks.They were too chewed up to show detail.He'd look up LUNGSHARK if he ever reached another library.The light was dying, and so were the coals.Jeremy set his pan of pureed cherries and gelatin where the.heat wouldn't char it.He'd practiced that, and ruined several batches during the training period.He'd brought gelatin and honey and twenty pounds of seeds to roll it in.All along the Road he'd found fruit to make jell.Every batch of festivity was different.Harlow was watching him.She said, "I think your festivity candy was what really put us here.It made us just that extra notch more desirable.""You're very desirable." He kissed her.Harlow gestured toward the circle of elders; lifted one brow.Harlow didn't like being treated as a child.He said, "Maybe when you're older, dear.""We're Glen Hearst's age! Let's eavesdrop?""No safe way.Love, the yutzes know how to clean up.Let's go look at that gate."Warkan's Tavern was full of light and activity as they strolled past.At the edge of Bloocher Farm, they stopped beside the arch.It was poured stone in a cast-iron frame.It straddled the Road, narrower than a caravan wagon.The chair beneath it was made of iron and poured stone, though lined with pillows.As Jeremy approached the man in the chair stood up, tall and massive, though armed with no more than a stick at his belt.Harlow asked, "Are we barred from Spiral Town?"The man didn't respond.Jeremy touched Harlow's hand: Take it easy.He reached into his special pocket for three thumbs of candy."Try this."When the man didn't react, Jeremy put one between Harlow's lips, ate one, then offered the other.The man ate it."Oooh.What is it?""Winslow's festivity candy.I'm Winslow.Are we barred from Spiral Town?""The caravans are.Yes, sir, merchants are too, unless you have special business.But you can go to the Tavern.""There's a Carolyn Hope Hearst buried in your graveyard.I was a Hearst before I married.I'd like to visit her grave."Harlow stared.The guard missed that.He wasn't seeing Harlow.He said, "We haven't buried a lifegiver from outside in more than fifty years."Jeremy said, "More like ninety for Carolyn Hope.Way too old to visitthe Tavern, sir.You have one of our men, too, more recent.Father wasn't so sure of him."The guard was massively embarrassed."Sir, I don't doubt you'll be let visit your ancestors, but I can't, and not at night.""When did the rules change? Since the spring caravan?""Yeah.""If they did something awful, they never told us [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]