The Sword of Bheleu [The Lords of Dus, vol. 3]
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by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Description: The sword that Garth had stolen from Dusarra marked him as the chosen of Bheleu, god of destruction, and gave him immense power. This power could only be used to destroy, and Garth wanted to build. He chose to refuse the god's gift. Bheleu did not intend to allow that.
eBook Publisher: Wildside Press, 1993 USA
eBookwise Release Date: October 2005
20 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [395 KB]
Reading time: 256-359 min.
Galt, the overman trader, shifted uncomfortably, sending a rivulet of cold rain down the back of his neck and under his mail; it soaked into his quilted gambeson and trickled slowly down his furry back, chilly and damp and thoroughly unpleasant. He suppressed a growl. The itching of the armor was quite bad enough without this added discomfort. He wondered how warriors could stand to wear the stuff day after day. Despite the padded undergarment, he was quite sure that he had acquired several scrapes and scratches from the metal links, and nothing he had tried had alleviated the itching. He suspected that he was allergic to the quilting.
Wearing the mail was bad enough; the added annoyance of drenching rain during his watch had him ready to give up the whole venture. And what was he, the co-commander, doing standing watch in the first place?
Packing up and going home would undoubtedly be the sensible thing to do, he told himself; Kyrith, however, didn't see it that way. She had insisted on this ridiculous siege, and that meant he was stuck here. The City Council would never forgive him if he left her here unsupervised, in sole command.
In truth, though, he knew he didn't provide much supervision; there was no doubt that, whatever their nominal status, Kyrith was in charge and he was not. She was all fire and drive and fury, despite her handicap, while he had been restrained and reasonable. It was no wonder at all that anyone fool enough to have volunteered for this all-volunteer force would prefer to follow an aggressive idiot, a warrior and the wife of a warrior prince, rather than a quiet, calm trader.
He blinked rainwater out of his great golden eyes and pulled his cloak more closely about him; with his free hand he removed his broad-brimmed hat, shook off what he could of the accumulated rain, then jammed it back on his head. He glanced behind him at the dark shapes of the camp tents, black humps against the gray-black sky. The rain had put out the last trace of the campfires, and the last lantern had been extinguished hours ago. The old Wasteland Road was invisible in the darkness and the northern hills too distant to see through the falling rain. A gust of wind swept water into his face, and he snorted, blowing the moisture out of his slit nostrils. Those ugly noses the humans had apparently had some use after all; they kept out the rain. There were plenty of advantages to being an overman, though, and on balance he felt his species came out ahead. The very word for his kind implied as much, of course. He looked about, peering through the rain and the darkness.
Immediately to his right waited the warbeast he had been assigned, its flank less than a yard away; its eyes were closed, either in sleep or to keep out the rain, he was unsure which. Its glossy black fur blended with the night sky and the darkened plain, so that it seemed almost a phantom, its edges indistinct, as if it were only a vague outline of an animal. Its triangular ears were laid back against its skull, smoothing its already sleek shape still further; its pantherlike tail lashed silently from side to side. Galt knew that most cats disliked water--very few overmen kept pets, but he had seen them aboard the trading vessels out of Lagur--and he wondered if the creature was as miserable as its feline forebears would have been if forced to stand in pouring rain for hours on end. He was not familiar with warbeasts, and could not tell from its face or its actions; to him it seemed as calm and impassive as ever, save for the motion of its tail.
To his left was empty plain; several yards away a dark shape rose up against the night sky where some human farmer had built his home. Somewhere beyond that, lost in the gloom, he knew there was another overman standing watch with a warbeast ready at his side.