Home HomeClay Griffith, Susan Griffith Imperium Wampirów 01 Imperium WampirówLachlan M D Synowie boga 01 Synowie boga (2)Władcy Ciemnoœci 01 Władcy Ciemnoœci Frank E. PerettiTom Clancy Net Force 01 Net ForceMarlowe Mia Dotyk złodziejki 01 Dotyk złodziejkiMarjorie.M.Liu. .Pocalunek.lowcy.01. .Pocalunek.lowcyPeretti Frank E. Władcy Ciemnoœci 01 Władcy CiemnoœciSchröder Patricia Morza szept 01 Morza szept(1)A.C.Crispin Trylogia Hana Solo III ÂŚWIT REBELIIOstrzegam czytelnika — Carter Dickson
 

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.It was information that was easy to discover.But he had been so afraid of being discovered that hehimself had discovered nothing.He cursed his own incompetence, his own inadequacies.He was a boy,indeed.And now he could only hope-hope that Sarkkhan would win and leave, or lose and leave.Hedid not know what he would do if the Master recognized the red.Suddenly he laughed out loud.How could Master Sarkkhan rec ognize the red? He had never seen it. Thou art mine, he whispered fiercely at the dragon. I took thee and I raised thee and I trained thee.He attacked the dragon s scales with the cloth as if they were an enemy to be rubbed out. And thy name is Jakkin s Red.The dragon was too busy munching on the wort to reply.Then the noises overhead changed.Jakkin could hear cheers and an occasional raucous call.He couldnot distinguish the words, but the intentions were clear.And above it all were the loud thumps andscreeches and roars of the dragons as they battled for supremacy in the pit.A pattern developed, and Jakkin, still cleaning his own dragon, heard it and made it a part of his ownrespiration.In the reactions of the crowd he could hear attack and counterattack, feint and thrust.Hecould translate the dragon screams into passes and charges, the thuds into wing-leaps and an occasionalhindfoot rise.But he was unprepared for the sudden stillness at the fight s end, and when it came, he heldhis breath.Then, floating into the silence, violating the peace, the mechanical voice called out:  Game to HeavyHeart.Sarkkhan s worm had won the first draw.Jakkin did not know whether that was good or bad.He bentdown over the red s claws and polished the lanceae of the right front foot with special care.He did noteven notice when Sarkkhan s winner flowed through the dragonlock and went back into its stall.chapter 36JAKKIN LOST COUNT after the sixth fight, but he could hear, overhead, the pit cleaners circlingnoisily, gobbling up old fewmets with their iron mouths.They spit out fresh sawdust and moved on.Itgenerally took several minutes between fights, and the mechanical clanking of the cleaners was matchedby the roars of the pit-wise dragons and the last-minute betting calls of their masters.Jakkin s fingers betrayed his nervousness.He simply could not keep them still.They picked off bits ofdust and flicked at specks on the dragon s already gleaming scales.They polished and smoothed andpolished again.For the moment the red dragon seemed impervious to first-fight jitters and arched up under Jakkin shands.The cleaners clanked out of the ring through the mecho holes and Jakkin looked up.He ran his fingersthrough his hair and tried to swallow; then he touched the dimple on his cheek.Finally his hand found thebond bag and kneaded it several times for luck. Soon now, he promised the dragon in a hoarse whisper, his hand still on the bag. Soon.We will showthem a first fight they will remember.The only sounds came from the dragon s jaws as it munched on the remaining stalks in its bin.The disembodied voice announced the next fight. Jakkin s Red, Mekkle s Bottle O Rum.Jakkin winced.He had overheard a little about Bottle O Rum that morning when he had gone out onceto find more wort leaves.(Bumwort stoked a dragon s internal fires and made its flame hotter in a fight.)The dragon masters and trainers did not chatter while they groomed their fighters, but the bettors did, andJakkin had chanced upon a knot of them by a stall.There were three in the fancy coveralls that the Austarian free men at the pits affected, and one offworlder, the first Jakkin had ever seen.He waswearing a sky blue suit covered with gold braid.Jakkin had known him for a rocket jockey at oncebecause of the planet name and number enblazoned on his pocket.The bettors had said, among other things, that Mekkle s Bottle O Rum was a light-colored orange malethat favored its left side and had won three of its seven fights-the last three.It would never be great, thewhispers had run, but it was good enough in the minor pits.Jakkin had stored that bit of informationaway in his head, along with a lot else.And now, Jakkin thought miserably, he could use what he knew.Bottle O Rum was a hard draw for anew dragon, and possibly disastrous for a would-be dragon master.If Mekkle could afford to run hisdragon for four losing fights, until it was pit-wise and old enough and strong enough to win, then he mustown a nursery.Jakkin, with a bag now almost empty of even its grave coin, had no such option.Jakkin knew his red would be good in time, even great, given the luck of the draw.It had all the things afighter was supposed to have: It listened well, it had heart, it did all that was asked of it. And more, hewhispered. And more.But the red was not a particularly large dragon and this was its first fight.Not only that, but it was unusedto the company of other dragons.It was starting to get really nervous, rolling its eyes, houghing at loudnoises.It had even begun to hackle when he had first brought it into the stall, though he had been able tocalm it quickly.It had never been in a ring, not even in a corral or training ring behind a barn.Whatchance would it have fighting a pit-wise three-time winner? The red had never been blooded or givenroar.He had been crazy to think they had a chance.Already, Jakkin supposed, the betting would be running way against the young red.He thought he couldhear the murmur of new bets following the announcement of the fight.The odds would be so awful, hemight never get a sponsor for a second match, even if the red showed well in the pit.First fights werefree, Akki had told him.But seconds cost gold.And if he had no sponsor and no gold, that would leaveonly the stews for the dragon-and a return to bond for himself.Jakkin stroked the bond bag once more, then buttoned his shirt over it to conceal it.He did not know yetwhat it felt like to be free.He had had a year of pretending in the oasis, a year of short nights and anoccasional Bond-Off away from bonders gossip and Likkam s hard hand.But he could still endureyears more as a bond boy if he had to.Balakk and Jo-Janekk had stood it well.And there would beother chances for him to steal an egg, other years.Or he could apprentice under Likkam as a trainer,swallowing his pride and bowing and smiling like Errikkin to buy favors from the old man.He could stand it-if he had to.But how could he give up the red to the stews? It was not any olddragon-an enraged stud like Brother or a young cull.It was his beauty, his red.They had already shareda year together, nights and a few precious days out in the sands.He knew its mind better than his own: adeep, glowing cavern of colors and sights and sounds.He remembered the first time he had really felt his way into it, not just been assaulted by the jets andpassionate lightnings it chose to send him.He had been lying on his side, slightly winded from running.The red lay down beside him, a smallmountain in the sand.Closing his eyes, Jakkin had tried to reach out for the red, and suddenly he felt itopen to him and it was as if he were walking down a glowing path into a cavern where colors drippedlike large hanging crystals from a roof of the deepest purple.Rainbow puddles were on the cavern floorand multicolored fish leapt up from the water, singing.There had been a resonant thrumming, a hummingthat filled the air and then filled him [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]