[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Gaelinar's sleeping formturned corpse-pale; blood welled from the mangled ruin of his throat.Taziar's scalp lay flayed open to thebone, and splintered, white skull poked from beneath the wound.No! Larson wrenched against Bramin's hold on his mind.The vision strengthened, wavered.Abruptly,another entity crashed into Larson's mind.Bramin's scene dissolved with unnatural suddenness.The halfman loosed a startled cry followed by an angry hiss.Larson clung to consciousness with the desperation of a wounded soldier on enemy ground.The effortflung him into the tangled tapestry of his own mind.The figures of Vidarr and Bramin circled, more vividthan his grasp on reality.Bramin lunged, slicing white-hot agony through Larson's mind.Vidarr dodged,inadvertently tripping a memory of theNew York skyline.Larson's anger flared against the dark elfwhofilled his life and mind with terror and the god who had, again, violated his thoughts.Though dizzied byBramin's and Vidarr's battle, Larson gathered resolve and struck back.A wall took shape, a solid bastion of brick and mortar, neatly trapping Vidarr and Bramin in a corner ofLarson's mind.Surprise broke the battle.The combatants stood in shocked silence, their contestforgotten in the face of this new menace.Larson channeled his spirit against them, clinging to the image ofthe wall.It was easier the second time, but he did not trust himself to explore the intruders' emotions orallow his thoughts to wander from his invented vision.Although Vidarr was more familiar with Larson's trap, Bramin recovered his senses first.He smirked, hisvoice echoing in the confines created by the wall."Very pretty, Allerum.Sturdy, too.Perhaps the kingmight hire you as mason."Larson gritted his teeth, mentally following Bramin's pacing.The outer edges of wall crumbled.Quickly,he turned his attention back to the structure, allowing the dark elf to wander as he would.Vidarr remained silent, but Larson suspected the aura of hatred which tainted his thoughts came as muchfrom the god as from the half man.Bramin seemed more amused than thwarted."You made a fatal mistake, Futurespawn.You trapped mehere with lots of playthings."Larson resisted the urge to track Bramin's path.He knew he had enclosed coils of recollection withVidarr and Bramin, and the realization chilled him."Hmmm."Bramin spoke with exaggerated attentive-ness."Where shall Istart.Which memory will makeyou suffer most?"Larson ignored the threat.He kept hold of his creation, not daring to speak or consider anything else.He needed time to think, but the concentration his trap required would not spare him.Vidarr's voice boomed in warning."Touch at your own peril, Bramin, and earn the wrath of a god."Larson felt someone lurch within the realm of his trap.The scent of rain-washed evergreens filled hisnostrils, summer sun glinting from droplets perched between the needles.Fifteen years old, Larsonpressed his back to the trunk, his rifle clutched to his chest.Wind ruffled the treetops, showering him withstored water.The memory of a deer hunt inNew Hampshire threw Larson off-balance.The bricks of hismental wall toppled to dust, and Bramin sprang for the opening.Larson hovered on the brink of sanity.He clawed for the remnants of his previous control, just as Vidarrdove for Bramin's retreating form.The collision scattered Larson's reason.Bramin and Vidarr skiddedthrough his mind, crashed, and tangled with Larson's memories.Larson walked through a steamy murk of underbrush in a jungle of palm, teak, and rubber trees sodense he could not guess the time of day.Ahead, he could hear the hushed whispers of the point men.The six soldiers around him reeked of sweat and mud.Beside him, the staff sergeant, Buck Curto,seemed uncharacteristically nervous.It was Larson's second sniper hunt, Curto's twenty-fifth.Curto wasaTexas farm boy, a muscled giant who had grown up branding cattle and had spent some time on therodeo circuit.Larson knew Curto as a hero, afraid of nothing, seven times decorated in the first sixmonths of his shift.This time, though, Curto had a premonition."I don't know what," he confided toLarson, his drawl apparent even at a mumble."Something ain't right."Nothing felt right to Larson, not the suffocating sauna of brush, not his own quiet lack of response, noteven the reality of his presence inVietnam.The scene was a blur not wholly attributable to the crushingdarkness of the jungle or the fuzz of rising heat.Pressed by a feeling of alienation and fear he dared notexpress, he shifted a half step closer to Curto.Suddenly, a burst of gunfire from the trees ripped open one of the point men from neck to belly [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]