The Pattern Scars
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hands of a man. Its teeth were set with gems. It snarled and reached for you, and you turned to it—you knew it, but this did not matter, for it fastened its jaws around your thigh while it held you still with its hands.” I had never heard her describe a vision so starkly. Chenn did not seem as alarmed as I felt. She nodded once, as if she understood what Yigranzi had told her, and said, “And what of the other, lesser pictures?” “Unclear,” Yigranzi replied. “The twisting lines, all of them the
walkway and the mud beneath it; a short, twisted tree with two branches and twelve dark green leaves (I counted them); and beneath the tree a low, flat stone. “Sit,” Yigranzi said, and I did. The stone was cool. When I laid my hands on its sides I found that they were worn-away smooth; the paths of many other fingers, gripping or stroking in anticipation. Yigranzi knelt by the tree. Only now did I see the hole in its trunk. Its edges and top were rounded, the wood there lighter than the rest of
castle again: a mirror castle and a real one, or maybe neither? Men were approaching from both. Guards—four of them, led by the bearded one I had hit. As he drew closer I saw that his left eye was swollen shut. I spun and spun and there was no path away from them. Even if there had been I would have been too dizzy to follow it. “Nola,” the bearded one said softly as the others fell in behind him. He closed his big hands around my upper arms so tightly that I cried out. His mouth was nearly
could show you, in that narrow bed of yours.” “So why don’t you?” I said, too quickly to stop myself. “Why haven’t you, when you claim to have wanted me for so long? Or do you only want young girls? Though,” I finished in a sickening rush, “that would not explain Selera.” His chair creaked as he leaned back. I stared out the window, seeing nothing. “Really remarkable things,” he said at last, slowly, “take time.” “Ah”—looking back at him—“so you may yet honour me with your attentions. How
“But she too is of your blood—royal blood—surely she is revered as the rest of you are?” “She shows me little honour.” “But the people—” “They love her. It is difficult for me to do the same.” “I will ask the others here to leave us now, moabu. You and I must talk alone.” Teldaru was holding my shoulders—the bare skin beneath my sleeping shift. “It is as I have seen. This is the Pattern that will shape my triumph. Our triumph.” He smiled and dug his fingers in. “And it has been so simple!