The wandering fire - By Guy Gavriel Kay Page 0,1

have to find and I can’t control my dreaming. It’s in this world, that’s all I know, and I can’t go anywhere or do anything until I find it. Do you think I’m enjoying this any more than you three are?”

“Can’t you send us back?” Dave asked, unwisely.

“I am not a goddamned subway system!” Kim snapped. “I got us out because the Baelrath was somehow unleashed. I can’t do it on command.”

“Which means we’re stuck here,” Kevin said.

“Unless Loren comes for us,” Dave amended.

Paul was shaking his head. “He won’t.”

“Why?” Dave asked.

“Loren’s playing hands-off, I think. He set things in motion, but he’s leaving it up to us, now, and some of the others.”

Kim was nodding. “He put a thread in the loom,” she murmured, “but he won’t weave this tapestry.” She and Paul exchanged a glance.

“But why?” Dave persisted. Kevin could hear the big man’s frustration. “He needs us—or at least Kim and Paul. Why won’t he come for us?”

“Because of Jennifer,” said Paul quietly. After a moment he went on. “He thinks we’ve suffered enough. He won’t impose any more.”

Kevin cleared his throat. “As I understand it, though, whatever happens in Fionavar is going to be reflected here and in the other worlds too, wherever they are. Isn’t that true?”

“It is,” said Kim calmly. “It is true. Not immediately, perhaps, but if Rakoth takes dominion in Fionavar he takes dominion everywhere. There is only one Tapestry.”

“Even so,” said Paul, “we have to do it on our own. Loren won’t demand it. If the four of us want to go back, we’ll have to find a way ourselves.”

“The four of us?” Kevin said. So much helplessness. He looked at Kim.

There were tears in her eyes. “I don’t know,” she whispered. “I just don’t know. She won’t see the three of you. She never goes out of the house. She talks to me about work and the weather, and the news, and she’s, she—”

“She’s going ahead with it,” Paul Schafer said.

Kimberly nodded.

Golden, she had been, Kevin remembered, from inside the sorrow.

“All right,” said Paul. “It’s my turn now.”

Arrow of the God.

She’d had a peephole placed in the door so she could see who was knocking. She was home most of the day, except for afternoon walks in the park nearby. There were often people at the door: deliveries, the gas man, registered mail. For a while at the beginning there had been, fatuously, flowers. She’d thought Kevin was smarter than that. She didn’t care whether or not that was a fair judgment. She’d had a fight with Kim about it, when her roommate had come home one evening to find roses in the garbage can.

“Don’t you have any idea how he’s feeling? Don’t you care?” Kimberly had shouted.

Answer: no, and no.

How could she come to such a human thing as caring, any more? Numberless, the unbridged chasms between where she now was, and the four of them, and everyone else. To everything there yet clung the odor of the swan. She saw the world through the filtered unlight of Starkadh. What voice, what eyes seen through that green distortion, could efface the power of Rakoth, who had shoveled through her mind and body as if she, who had once been loved and whole, were so much slag?

She knew she was sane, did not know why.

One thing only pulled her forward into some future tense. Not a good thing, nor could it have been, but it was real, and random, and hers. She would not be gainsaid.

And so, when Kim had first told the other three, and they had come in July to argue with her, she had stood up and left the room. Nor had she seen Kevin or Dave or Paul since that day.

She would bear this child, the child of Rakoth Maugrim. She intended to die giving birth.

She would not have let him in, except that she saw that he was alone, and this was sufficiently unexpected to cause her to open the door.

Paul Schafer said, “I have a story to tell. Will you listen?”

It was cold on the porch. After a moment she stepped aside and he entered. She closed the door and walked into the living room. He hung up his coat in the hall closet and followed her.

She had taken the rocking chair. He sat down on the couch and looked at her, tall and fair, still graceful though no longer slim, seven months heavy with the child. Her head was high, her wide-set green

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