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.This was different, different from anything you’ve seen.Different from anything that has been seen on Patji.But what? What had changed.Sak had not settled down like the others.She stared northward, toward where Vathi had said the main camp of invaders was setting up.Dusk stood, then clambered down into the room below, Sak on his shoulder.“What are your people doing?”Vathi spun at his harsh tone.She had been looking out of the window, northward.“I don’t—”He took her by the front of her vest, pulling her toward him in a two-fisted grip, meeting her eyes from only a few inches away.“What are your people doing?”Her eyes widened, and he could feel her tremble in his grip, though she set her jaw and held his gaze.Scribes were not supposed to have grit like this.He had seen them scribbling away in their windowless rooms.Dusk tightened his grip on her vest, pulling the fabric so it dug into her skin, and found himself growling softly.“Release me,” she said, “and we will speak.”“Bah,” he said, letting go.She dropped a few inches, hitting the floor with a thump.He hadn’t realized he’d lifted her off the ground.She backed away, putting as much space between them as the room would allow.He stalked to the window, looking through the mesh screen at the night.His corpse dropped from the roof above, hitting the ground below.He jumped back, worried that it was happening again.It didn’t, not the same way as before.However, when he turned back into the room, his corpse lay in the corner, bloody lips parted, eyes staring sightlessly.The danger, whatever it was, had not passed.Vathi had sat down on the floor, holding her head, trembling.Had he frightened her that soundly? She did look tired, exhausted.She wrapped her arms around herself, and when she looked at him, there was a cast to her eyes that hadn’t been there before—as if she were regarding a wild animal let off its chain.That seemed fitting.“What do you know of the Ones Above?” she asked him.“They live in the stars,” Dusk said.“We at the company have been meeting with them.We don’t understand their ways.They look like us; at times they talk like us.But they have.rules, laws that they won’t explain.They refuse to sell us their marvels, but in like manner, they seem forbidden from taking things from us, even in trade.They promise it, someday when we are more advanced.It’s like they think we are children.”“Why should we care?” Dusk said.“If they leave us alone, we will be better for it.”“You haven’t seen the things they can do,” she said softly, getting a distant look in her eyes.“We have barely worked out how to create ships that can sail on their own, against the wind.But the Ones Above.they can sail the skies, sail the stars themselves.They know so much, and they won’t tell us any of it.”She shook her head, reaching into the pocket of her skirt.“They are after something, Dusk.What interest do we hold for them? From what I’ve heard them say, there are many other worlds like ours, with cultures that cannot sail the stars.We are not unique, yet the Ones Above come back here time and time again.They do want something.You can see it in their eyes.”“What is that?” Dusk asked, nodding to the thing she took from her pocket.It rested in her palm like the shell of a clam, but had a mirrorlike face on the top.“It is a machine,” she said.“Like a clock, only it never needs to be wound, and it.shows things.”“What things?”“Well, it translates languages.Ours into that of the Ones Above.It also.shows the locations of Aviar.”“What?”“It’s like a map,” she said.“It points the way to Aviar.”“That’s how you found my camp,” Dusk said, stepping toward her.“Yes.” She rubbed her thumb across the machine’s surface.“We aren’t supposed to have this.It was the possession of an emissary sent to work with us.He choked while eating a few months back.They can die, it appears, even of mundane causes.That.changed how I view them.“His kind have asked after his machines, and we will have to return them soon.But this one tells us what they are after: the Aviar.The Ones Above are always fascinated with them.I think they want to find a way to trade for the birds, a way their laws will allow.They hint that we might not be safe, that not everyone Above follows their laws.”“But why did the Aviar react like they did, just now?” Dusk said, turning back to the window.“Why did.” Why did I see what I saw? What I’m still seeing, to an extent? His corpse was there, wherever he looked.Slumped by a tree outside, in the corner of the room, hanging out of the trapdoor in the roof.Sloppy.He should have closed that.Sak had pulled into his hair like she did when a predator was near.“There.is a second machine,” Vathi said.“Where?” he demanded.“On our ship.”The direction the Aviar had looked.“The second machine is much larger,” Vathi said.“This one in my hand has limited range.The larger one can create an enormous map, one of an entire island, then write out a paper with a copy of that map.That map will include a dot marking every Aviar [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]