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.Granted it was comfortable, in the small dining chamber of the newest building within the castle walls, with fireplace and glazed windows.The same small company, too: Lady dy Hueltar, who was Ista's mother's aging relative and longtime companion; Ista; her principal lady attendants; solemn dy Ferrej.By tacit agreement, the old Provincara's chair still stood empty.Ista had not moved to claim the central seat, and perhaps in some misplaced notion of her grief, none had urged her to.Dy Ferrej arrived, escorting Ferda and Foix, both looking very courtly.And young.The courier girl entered in their wake and made polite bows.She had faced Royina Ista bravely enough alone, but the atmosphere of staid age here was enough to melt the sinews of strong soldiers.She took her seat stiffly and sat as if trying to make herself smaller, though she eyed the two brothers with interest.The aroma of horses was much fainter now, although Lady dy Hueltar wrinkled her nose.But one more place setting—not the old Provincara's—still stood empty across from Ista."Do we expect a guest?" Ista inquired of dy Ferrej.One of the elderly people's elderly friends, perhaps; Ista dared not hope for anything more exotic.Dy Ferrej cleared his throat and nodded at old Lady dy Hueltar.Her seamed face smiled."I asked the Temple of Valenda to send us a suitable divine to be your spiritual conductor upon your pilgrimage, Royina.If we are not to send to Cardegoss for a court-trained scholar, I thought we might request Learned Tovia, of the Mother's Order.She may be a lesser theologian, but she is a most excellent physician, and knows you of old.Such a relief to have someone familiar, should we be taken with any female complaints upon the road, or.or if your old troubles should flare up.And none could possibly be more proper to your sex and status."A relief to whom? Divine Tovia had been a bosom friend to the old Provincara and to Lady dy Hueltar; Ista could quite imagine the trio enjoying a gentle jaunt in the spring sunshine together.Five gods, had Lady dy Hueltar assumed she would be going along also? Ista suppressed an unworthy desire to scream, just like Liss in fear of being cocooned in her endless skeins of wool."I knew you would be pleased," Lady dy Hueltar murmured on."I thought you might wish to begin discussing your holy itinerary with her over dinner." She frowned."It's not like her to be late."Her frown vanished, as a servant entered and said, "The divine is here, my lady.""Oh, good.Show her in at once."The servant opened his mouth as if to speak, but then bowed and retreated.The door swung wide again.A puffing figure of totally unexpected familiarity entered, and stopped, stranded upon a wall of stares.It was the fat young divine of the Bastard that Ista had met upon the road those two weeks or so ago.His white robes were only somewhat cleaner now, being free of loose detritus, but mottled with permanent faint stains about the hem and front.His beginning smile grew uncertain."Good evening, gentle ladies and my lords.I was told to attend here upon a certain Lady dy Hueltar.Something about a divine being wanted for a pilgrimage.?"Lady dy Hueltar recovered her voice."I am she.But I had understood the temple was sending the Mother's physician, Divine Tovia.Who are you?"That had almost come out Who are you? Ista felt, but for Lady dy Hueltar's grip on good address."Oh." He bobbed a bow."Learned Chivar dy Cabon, at your service."He claimed a name of some rank, at least.He eyed Ista and Ser dy Ferrej; the recognition, Ista thought, ran two ways, as did the surprise."Where is Learned Tovia?" asked Lady dy Hueltar blankly."I believe she has ridden out upon a medical call of some special difficulty, at some distance from Valenda." His smile grew less certain still."Welcome.Learned dy Cabon," said Ista pointedly.Dy Ferrej woke to his duties."Indeed.I'm the castle warder, dy Ferrej; this is the Dowager Royina Ista."Dy Cabon's eyes narrowed, and he stared sharply at Ista."Are you, now." he breathed.Dy Ferrej, ignoring or not hearing this, introduced the dy Gura brothers and the other ladies in order of rank, and lastly, and a bit reluctantly, "Liss, a chancellery courier."Dy Cabon bowed to all with indiscriminate good cheer."This is all wrong—there must be some mistake, Learned dy Cabon," Lady dy Hueltar went on, with a beseeching sideways glance at Ista."It is the dowager royina herself who proposes to undertake a pilgrimage this season, in petition of the gods for a grandson.You are not—this is not—we do not know—is a divine of the Bastard's Order, and a man at that, quite the most appropriate, um, person, um." She trailed off in mute appeal for someone, anyone, to extract her from this quagmire.Somewhere inside, Ista was beginning to smile.She said smoothly, "Mistake or no, I feel certain that our dinner is ready to be served.Will you please grace our table this evening with your scholarship, Learned, and lead us in the meal's invocation to the gods?"He brightened vastly."I should be most honored, Royina."Smiling and blinking, he seated himself in the chair Ista indicated and looked hopeful as the servant passed among them with the basin of lavender-scented water for washing hands.He blessed the impending meal in unexceptionable terms and a good voice; whatever he was, he was no country rustic.He tucked into the courses presented with an enthusiasm that would have warmed the Provincara's cook's heart, could he have witnessed it, discouraged as he was by his long thrall to -elderly, indifferent appetites.Foix kept pace with him with no apparent effort."Are you of those Cabons related to the present Holy General dy Yarrin of the Daughter's Order?" Lady dy Hueltar inquired politely."I believe I am some sort of third or fourth cousin to him, lady," the divine replied after swallowing his bite."My father was Ser Odlin dy Cabon."Both dy Gura brothers stirred with interest."Oh," said Ista in surprise."I believe I met him, years ago, at court in Cardegoss." Our Fat Cabon, as he was jovially dubbed by the roya; but he'd died as bravely as any thinner gentleman of the roya's service at the disastrous battle of Dalus.She added after a moment, "You have the look of him."The divine ducked his head in apparent pleasure."I am not sorry for it [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]