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. Mountains, Wren said, sighing.She was remembering what climbing about inmountains was like.Then, remembering those riders, she pulled her knapsack up andtransferred her pepper packet to one of her apron pockets. We d do best to move on quickly, friends, Connor suggested. Certainly. Tyron agreed, frowning at the mountaintops.Wren looked over at Connor, whose face was unwontedly serious as he scannedthe gully beside them and a copse of dark firs ahead.Wren looked around as well,listening to the wind soughing in high boughs.She heard the scolding of someunseen birds; a closer one screeched suddenly, and Connor s head jerked around.As he scrutinized the rocky slope to their side, Wren did also.It was easy to imagineunseen things creeping up on them, and she shivered.Tyron looked at Connor worriedly. What is it? Hear something? No, that s just it, Connor replied after a short pause, just as the three horsesreached a narrow point in the trail. I wondered what would make those riders runlike that in this country, and then I realized we heard them pass on much quicker thanwe heard them coming  Hie! A sharp voice grated nastily, and four men jumped out in front of them.Chapter Eleven ^ A rough gloved hand snatched at Wren s bridle, jerking the horse s head down.Thehorse lurched sideways.She jumped free of the saddle and landed rolling.Behind her she heard the sounds of desperate scuffling, and once the clang ofmetal.Connor s sword! But next came the sound of metal ringing on stone. Get the girl, a voice shouted.Steely fingers grabbed her arms and yanked her toher feet. So Connor was right.They saw our tracks and came back.Remember that, avoice insisted inside her head.She blinked hard, trying to banish the dizziness thathad come with the fall from the horse.Get up, the voice went on.Think.Think.What would Eren Beyond-Stars do?The hands on her arms forced her around.She saw one ruffian holding theirhorses reins.Another man sat on Connor s back as he bound some kind of thongaround Connor s wrists.A third held Tyron against the ground as he kicked fiercely,trying to squirm free.The man holding him down snuffled evilly, obviouslyentertained by Tyron s futile struggles.At a barked word from the one holding thehorses, though, he raised a big hand and smacked Tyron hard.Tyron lay still,blinking up and gasping.The one with the horses put a hand on his sword hilt.He was tall and had an uglygrin on his bearded face. Here, he said in Sirad, pronouncing the words in a wayWren had not heard before. Let s not bother with the bravos.The lass will tell uswhat we want to know.Connor stiffened suddenly, then made a tremendous effort to throw off hiscaptor.The heavy man on his back clouted him hard across the back of his head. Lie still, he snarled.Gesturing toward Wren with his black glove, the leader said,  Now talk to usnice, little pippin, and you might be soon on your way.But if you don t talk, theywill. He laughed harshly, joined by the others. I can think of a few things to get them talkin , said a gloating voice behindWren. You might not like  em, though. Once again, the others in the group seemedto find this hugely witty.Wren s shoulders were starting to feel numb.Act! said the voice in her mind.Shesaid, her voice sounding high and shaky,  Please let me go.My head hurts.I fell offmy horse.The leader looked at her scornfully and said with exaggerated politeness:  Butyou recall your name, Young Mistress? Yes, I m Eren of Grove Farm, she started.Then her mind went blank.Abruptly the leader gestured, and the man behind her let go.He smiled nastily ashe stepped over to stand beside the leader.Both boys were lying still.All four of themen were looking at her now, enjoying her fear; three of them stood close to oneanother, the one on Connor to her left.Meanwhile, her tongue sat in her mouth like a dried-out potato and would notmove.All right.So my tongue refuses to produce any stories.Let s see if my handscan help out.She knuckled her eyes and stumbled sideways, a step closer to thethree men [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]