[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
."I yield to you! Not to him! I give my bond to you! I swear!""And how can she tell if you're a warrior of your word? You hunt us from the darkness, giving no warning, no challenge.That is not the way of honor, is it?"All Brogan did was talk, yet each fierce word seemed to pierce the prisoner like the tip of a blade."I swear!"Looking at Helati again, Brogan asked, "Do you accept his bond?"She did by nodding.Brogan nodded back, then asked, "Will you allow me to question this one in your name?""I gave her my bond.I did not give it to you!""But I may act for her, if she desires."Twisting around, the prisoner pleaded, "Mistress Helati! I've lived here for more than six months, acting as agent of the high priest, especially when he became suspicious of this one's information.I am Yestral."Yestral.The name was familiar."I know you.You helped build the storage house.""Aye.My orders were to watch and report all.Then, when Keeli and her mate arrived, she informed me that the high priest wanted Brogan eliminated for his betrayal.Since your mate was known to be riding toward Nethosak, where it was assumed he would be captured or killed, she also commanded your execution.Keeli said she'd bring the pair of you together.Zurgas and I were to follow and await our chance.She would join us if able.I obeyed, but it wasn't to my liking.""How many others?" asked Brogan."How many other agents does His Holiness have here?""None! I swear!" Yestral's fear of the one-horned minotaur was palpable."Mistress Helati! I'm your prisoner, not his!""All right, but you'll answer all questions when I ask them.Is that understood?""I swear by the horns of Sargas."They were interrupted by the arrival of three other minotaurs.Helati tensed, then saw they were ones she was certain she could trust."You see?" said the foremost, a dark-furred, bulky male with wide eyes who acted as smith for the settlement."I told you I heard weapon play."The other two nodded.One of them looked at Helati."Are you all right, Mistress?""I am, but Brogan is wounded."He waved off assistance."It'll heal right enough.Someone should take care of this one, though, Mistress Helati.We also need to dispose of these two carrion.""Agreed." She pointed at one of the newcomers."You.Get some help to drag these two back to the main part of the settlement.I want this one bound and locked up in the storage house."They moved to obey.Brogan joined Helati."What of me?""I'll take a chance on you, but you have to tell me what you did that made him fear you so."He smiled ruefully."I've got something of a reputation.Much of it is exaggerated, but… seme of it isn't." His tone darkened."I don't make excuses for that.I'll tell you anything you want to know about my past, but I ask that you leave that for tomorrow.I think I'm going to collapse soon if I don't tend to this shoulder."Helati had almost forgotten about his wound."Let me help you.""I can minister to it myself.You have enough to concern yourself with.Get some sleep.Mistress." He nodded.farewell, then walked toward his dwelling."One more question," she suddenly called."What?""You seemed to know that something was going to happen.How did you?"He looked somewhat guilty."It seemed like the sort of ambush I might've planned once."She made no attempt to stop him when he turned away.Perhaps there was reason to be suspicious of him, but Helati doubted that Brogan was lying.What about Kaz? Yestral's words haunted her.Kaz had ridden into a trap, after all.They knew he would ride to Nethosak and try to rescue her brother.What had happened to him?I have to go rescue him, Helati thought.I have to go after him before it's too late… but what about the children?Brogan had offered to organize an armed force.She knew that if she asked for aid, he and most of the others would offer themselves, but to take so many into what certainly had to be the maw of danger…I have to go alone.There's no way around it.Ayasha will have to tend the children.She loves them as if they were her own.She shivered, thinking about that.It was fortunate that her friend cared for the twins so much.It was all too likely that if Helati did not return from Nethosak, Ayasha might find herself acting as mother to the young pair for the rest of her life.Delbin looked around the chamber.The chains holding him against the wall had so far defied his supreme lock-picking skills, which really impressed him.That left him with only sleep or staring at the wall, but he was too curious to sleep.Why did a minotaur cleric desire his presence? Maybe he had never seen a kender before and was just curious.More likely, the bad minotaurs wanted to use him against Kaz.Delbin hoped someone would come by soon before things got too boring.So far, the only visitor to his chamber had been a guard who had inspected his head for injuries.His head still throbbed, but not nearly as much as earlier.At least now Delbin could see clearly, not that there was much to see in the room.It was nicer than he would have expected from a prison cell.The place was clean and orderly.There was even a bed to one side, though he certainly had no way to reach it at the moment.A table and two chairs stood not far from the bed, also out of his reach.The room was dim at the moment because the only light source came from a pair of torches in the hall beyond his cell door.But Delbin's night vision remained exceptional.With nothing else to do, he occupied his thoughts with the memories of the dream he had experienced just before blacking out.The man in gray again.The kender wondered why he had dreamt of the strange figure yet another time.True, the dream had been interesting, even entertaining at times, but why the gray man? Why had he not dreamt of being rescued by Kaz instead?It did not matter.What mattered was that the gray man had reassured him, saying there was still hope.Hope for what, Delbin could not say.What the gray man had said after that was a hazy memory, but the kender had no difficulty keeping his spirits up [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]