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.He now assured the visitors that the manor's sloping roof was of slate tiles.Most of the rest of the building was stone, and it would not be easy to burn.Gesner had now equipped himself with some serious-looking magician's paraphernalia, and announced that he intended to do what he could with fire-preventing spells.And if a fire was started by anyone outside the house, he'd attempt to make the flames snap back at and burn the fingers that had ignited them.Yambu approved this plan.Then she and Zoltan concentrated for the moment on organizing a more mundane line of defense, ordering servants to stand by in key locations with buckets of water.Awell-filled cistern on the roof offered some prospects of success.Bonar meanwhile had unlocked an armory on the lowest level of the house, next to the improvised mortuary, and was passing out weapons to his sisters and the remaining servants, or at least to those among the servants he could persuade to take them.Violet armed herself eagerly, and Rose with some reluctance followed suit.Entering the arsenal himself, Zoltan selected a bow and some arrows from the supply available.Thus equipped, he ran upstairs again and stationed himself in a high window that gave him a good view of the rear yard.The fools out there were getting a fire going in the rear of one of the outbuildings, and a moment later Zoltan shot a man who came running with a torch toward the manor itself.The fellow Page 54ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlscreamed so loudly when he was hit that Zoltan doubted he was mortally hurt.Another pair of mercenaries came to drag their wounded comrade away, and Zoltan let them do so unmolested, thinking they might be ready for a general retreat.The barn, or shed, or whatever it was, was burning merrily now.Fortunately it stood just outside the compound wall, and far enough from all other buildings that the spread of the fire did not seem to present an immediate danger.Meanwhile the fire was giving him plenty of light to aim by, which put the attackers at a definite disadvantage.But Kosazlin's shouts could be heard, rallying his men, and they were not yet ready file:///F|/rah/Fred%20Saberhagen/Saberhagen,%20.Lost%20Swords%204%20-%20Fars layer's%20Story.txt (50 of 111) [2/4/03 9:53:07 PM]file:///F|/rah/Fred%20Saberhagen/Saberhagen,%20Fred%20-%20Lost%20Swords%204%20-%20Farslayer's%20Story.txt for a general retreat.Taking shelter as best they could, they began to send a desultory drizzle of stones and arrows against the house.When this had been going on for some time, Bonar, in a fever of martial excitement, entered the room where Zoltan was, crouched beside him and looked out.This window afforded the best view of what was going on outside."What's burning? Oh, the old barn, that's nothing much.How many of them have we killed?""None, that I know of.I hit one but I doubt he's dead.Is the rest of the house still secure?""The ground floor is fine, I've just made the rounds down there."There was a sound in the hallway, just outside the bedroom, as of a servant running, calling.Then a brief scuffle.Bonar and Zoltan both leaped up, leveling their weapons at the doorway.The door pushed open.Zoltan found himself confronting a tall and powerful man who gripped a drawn Sword in his right hand.In the firelight that flared in through the open window Zoltan had no trouble recognizing his uncle, Prince Mark of Tasavalta.Chapter NINEZOLTAN'S hands sagged holding the half-drawn bow, and the ready arrow fell from his fingers to the floor.For a moment he could only stare at this apparition blankly, and for that moment he was sure that it must be some kind of deception, that he was facing some image of sorcery, an effect of the Sword of Stealth or some other magical disguise and the apparition, if such it was, was lowering the Sword in its right hand."No need to think you're seeing visions, nephew," said the tall man, having observed the two occupants of the room carefully for a moment He spoke in Prince Mark's familiar voice."I would have hailed you down on the hillside, but I couldn't get close, and I didn't want to yell your name at the top of my voice.You gave us the devil of a chase uphill from the river.After we followed you to this house, we decided we'd look in to make sure that you needed no help." NowMark sheathed his Sword."We?" Zoltan could only repeat the word numbly."Ben and I."Behind Mark, entering from the hallway, appeared another big man.This one was indeed monstrously massive, though somewhat shorter than the prince and a few years older.Ben of Purkinje's ugly face split in a reassuring smile at the sight of the bewildered Zoltan.And he, the prince's nephew, shaking his head in wonder and relief, at last remembered the chief of the Clan Malolo."Bonar, put down your sword.This man is my uncle Mark, the Prince ofTasavalta."While Bonar was managing some kind of greeting, the Lady Yambu put in her appearance, to greet both Mark and Ben with great surprise and equally great Page 55ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlrelief.A couple of the more trustworthy servants were posted as lookouts, while a conference of explanations was conducted.Almost the first question the two newcomers were required to answer was how they had gained entrance to the house.Mark explained, and apologized, for the secret violence of their entry.The Sword he carried at his belt was Stonecutter, and he and Ben had used it to carve their way in through the solid stone wall of the manor, a process Stonecutter's magic accomplished swiftly and almost silently [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]