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.”Telnan was frowning at me.“Are you talking to the, uh, to the jhereg?”“Yes,” I told him.“Oh.”He had no more to say about it, but I enjoyed giving him something to think about.When we were just finishing up the peasant’s platter, I got two things: The first was a basket of what in my family we called “langosh,” which is an Eastern garlic bread.The second was another visitor.I really liked the bread; I’ll get to the visitor in a moment.As I reached for a garlic clove, a little tingle went up my left arm—the lingering effects of a recent injury, even more recently healed by an expert.That was fine; five hours earlier I hadn’t been able to use the arm at all; I’ll take a little tingle.Telnan and I didn’t talk for a bit.I was concentrating on the process of rubbing garlic on bread when Loiosh tightened his talons on my right shoulder, followed almost immediately by Rocza tightening her claws on my left.I looked up, which gesture alerted Telnan, who turned his head and half turned his body, while reaching for his sword.An elderly, plainly dressed Dragaeran was walking up to the table, with no hint of effort at concealment or speed.If he had hostile intentions toward me, he wasn’t very good; I had time to drop the bread, wipe my fin-gers, and take a dagger from my boot.I kept the dagger under the table.Telnan must have reached a similar conclusion because he didn’t draw.I studied the fellow as he approached.He was a bit small for a Dragaeran, and, though I’m not all that good at their ages, I’d have put him at over twenty-five hundred years.I couldn’t identify a House either from his cloth-ing, or from his features.He showed none of the signs of being a Jhereg—by which I mean that I got no sense that he knew how to handle himself, or was looking around for danger, or that, well, he was anything except an elderly merchant.Naturally, I assumed he was there to kill me.It took him something like six seconds to get to my table, which gave me time to remember Lady Teldra, so I pushed myself just a bit back from the table, re-sheathed the dagger in my boot, brought my hand back up, and let my right forefinger rest against the hilt of Lady Teldra on my left hip.Lady Teldra is—but we’ll go into that later.For now, let me say that, as before, touching her hilt gave me a comforting sense of her presence.The thought came to me that if this individual was going to disrupt my meal, I would be more than a little annoyed.Vili frowned and started to approach but I waved him off—I’d hate myself forever if Vili got himself shined trying to valiantly defend my right to a quiet dinner.It’s funny how time seems to stretch out when you think you’re about to have to defend your life.As he came closer, I was able to make a few more snap observations about him—he had a pleasant, slightly round, almost peasant-like face in spite of the noble’s point, with bright, friendly eyes and thin eyebrows.His hands were the only thing that struck me as dangerous, though I can’t say exactly why I thought so; they were just hands: neatly trimmed nails, fingers about average, though perhaps a bit stubby.I stood; Telnan did as well.If it was rude, I didn’t especially care.The visitor didn’t keep me in suspense.In a pleasant baritone, he said, “My name is Mario Greymist.May I join you, Lord Taltos?”When I could talk again, I said, “So, correct me if I’m wrong: You’re not a myth, then?”“Not entirely, at any rate.May I join you?”Telnan hadn’t appeared to recognize the name.“By all means, if my friend doesn’t mind.His name is Telnan, by the way.” I trust my voice was even, and I sounded sufficiently calm.“Hi,” said Telnan, smiling.Mario Greymist inclined his head and smiled back.I addressed my familiar: “Loiosh, you’re about to draw blood.”“Sorry, Boss.”He relaxed his grip on my shoulder.Vili shuffled a chair over from another table, placing it to my left and Telnan’s right.If Mario Greymist decided to join us for dinner, the table would be crowded.The three of us sat down [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]