Shadows Linger: A Novel of the Black Company (Chronicles of The Black Company)

Lire ebook Shadows Linger: A Novel of the Black Company (Chronicles of The Black Company)
Auteur: Glen Cook

Shadows Linger: A Novel of the Black Company (Chronicles of The Black Company)
Chapter Two: TALLY ROADSIDE
    The children’s heads popped from the weeds like groundhog heads. They watched the approaching soldiers. The boy whispered, “Must be a thousand of them.” The column stretched back and back. The dust it raised drifted up the face of a far hill. The creak and jangle of harness grew ever louder.
    The day was hot. The children were sweating. Their thoughts lingered on a nearby brook and a dip in a pool they had found there. But they had been set to watch the road. Rumor said the Lady meant to break the renascent Rebel movement in Tally province.
    And here her soldiers came. Closer now. Grim, hard-looking men. Veterans. Easily old enough to have helped create the disaster which had befallen the Rebel six years ago, claiming, among a quarter million men, their father.
    “It’s them!” the boy gasped. Fear and awe filled his voice. Grudging admiration edged it. “That’s the Black Company.”
    The girl was no student of the enemy. “How do you know?”
    The boy indicated a bear of a man on a big roan. He had silvery hair. His bearing said he was accustomed to command. “That’s the one they call the Captain. The little black one beside him would be the wizard called One-Eye. See his hat? That’s how you tell. The ones behind them must be Elmo and the Lieutenant.”
    “Are any of the Taken with them?” The girl rose higher, for a better look. “Where are the other famous ones?” She was the younger. The boy, at ten, already considered himself a soldier of the White Rose.
    He yanked his sister down. “Stupid! Want them to see you?”
    “So what if they do?”
    The boy sneered. She had believed their uncle Neat when he had said that the enemy would not harm children. The boy hated his uncle. The man had no guts.
    Nobody pledged to the White Rose had any guts. They just played at fighting the Lady. The most daring thing they did was ambush the occasional courier. At least the enemy had courage.
    They had seen what they had been sent to see. He touched the girl’s wrist. “Let’s go.” They scurried through the weeds, toward the wooded creek bank.
    A shadow lay upon their path. They looked up and went pale. Three horsemen stared down at them. The boy gaped. Nobody could have slipped up unheard. “Goblin!”
    The small, frog-faced man in the middle grinned. “At your service, laddy-boy.”
    The boy was terrified, but his mind remained functional. He shouted, “Run!” If one of them could escape.…
    Goblin made a circular gesture. Pale pink fire tangled his fingers. He made a throwing motion. The boy fell, fighting invisible bonds like a fly caught in a spider’s web. His sister whimpered a dozen feet away.
    “Pick them up,” Goblin told his companions. “They should tell an interesting tale.”

Chapter Three: JUNIPER: THE IRON LILY
    The Lily stands on Floral Lane in the heart of the Buskin, Juniper’s worst slum, where the taste of death floats on every tongue and men value life less than they do

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