Книга Tehanu The Last Book of Earthsea. Содержание - Finding Words
No answer but a kind of internal shuddering.
“A man,” Tenar said quietly, “a man in a leather cap.”
Therru nodded once.
“We saw him on the road, coming here.”
“The four men-the ones I was angry at, do you remember? He was one of them.”
But she recalled how Therru had held her head down, hiding the burned side, not looking up, as she had always done among strangers.
“Do you know him, Therru?”
“From-from when you lived in the camp by the river?”
Tenar’s arms tightened around her.
“He came here?” she said, and all the fear she had felt turned as she spoke into anger, a rage that burned in her the length of her body like a rod of fire. She gave a kind of laugh- ”Hah!”-and remembered in that moment Kalessin, how Kalessin had laughed.
But it was not so simple for a human and a woman. The fire must be contained, And the child must be comforted.
“Did he see you?”
Presently Tenar said, stroking Therru’s hair, “He will never touch you, Therru. Understand me and believe me: he will never touch you again. He’ll never see you again unless I’m with you, and then he must deal with me. Do you understand, my dear, my precious, my beautiful? You need not fear him. You must not fear him. He wants you to fear him. He feeds on your fear. We will starve him, Therru. We’ll starve him till he eats himself. Till he chokes gnawing on the bones of his own hands. . . . Ah, ah, ah, don’t listen to me now, I’m only angry, only angry. . . . Am I red? Am I red like a Gontishwoman, now? Like a dragon, am I red?” She tried to joke; and Therru, lifting her head, looked up into her face from her own crumpled, tremulous, fire-eaten face and said, “Yes. You are a red dragon.”
The idea of the man’s coming to the house, being in the house, coming around to look at his handiwork, maybe thinking of improving on it, that idea whenever it recurred to Tenar came less as a thought than as a queasy fit, a need to vomit, But the nausea burned itself out against the anger.
They got up and washed, and Tenar decided that what she felt most of all just now was hunger. “I am hollow,” she said to Therru, and set them out a substantial meal of bread and cheese, cold beans in oil and herbs, a sliced onion, and dry sausage. Therru ate a good deal, and Tenar ate a great deal.
As they cleared up, she said, “For the present, Therru, I won’t leave you at all, and you won’t leave me. Right? And we should both go now to Aunty Moss’s house. She was making a spell to find you, and she needn’t bother to go on with it, but she might not know that.”
Therm stopped moving. She glanced once at the open doorway, and shrank away from it.
“We need to bring in the laundry, too. On our way back. And when we’re back, I’ll show you the cloth I got today. For a dress. For a new dress, for you. A red dress.”
The child stood, drawing in to herself.
“If we hide, Therru, we feed him. We will eat. And we will starve him. Come with me.
The difficulty, the barrier of that doorway to the outside was tremendous to Therru. She shrank from it, she hid her face, she trembled, stumbled, it was cruel to force her to cross it, cruel to drive her out of hiding, but Tenar was without pity. “Come!” she said, and the child came.
They walked hand~in~hand acrosS the fields to Moss’s house. Once or twice Therru managed to look up.
Moss was not surprised to see them, but she had a queer, wary look about her. She told Therru to run inside her house to see the ringneck hen’s new chicks and choose which two might be hers; and Therru disappeared at once into that refuge.
“She was in the house all along,” Tenar said. “Hiding.” “Well she might,” said Moss.
“Why?” Tenar asked harshly. She was not in the hid~
ing vein. “
“There’s-there’s beings about, the witch said, not por~ tentously but uneasily.
“There’s scoundrels about!” said Tenar, and Moss looked at her and drew back a little.
“Eh, now, she said. “Eh, dearie. You have a fire around you, a shining of fire all about your head. I cast the spell to find the child, but it didn’t go right. It went its own way somehow, and I don’t know yet if it’s ended. I’m bewildered. I saw great beings. I sought the little girl but I saw them, flying in the mountains, flying in the clouds, And now you have that about you, like your hair was afire. What’s amiss, what’s wrong?”
“A man in a leather cap,” Tenar said. “A youngish man. Well enough looking. The shoulder seam of his vest’s torn. Have you seen him round?”
Moss nodded. “They took him on for the haying at the mansion house.”
“I told you that she”-Tenar glanced at the house-”was with a woman and two men? He’s one of them.”
“You mean, one of them that-”
Moss stood like a wood carving of an old woman, rigid, a block. “I don’t know,” she said at last. “I thought I knew enough. But I don’t. What- What would- Would he come to-to see her?”
“If he’s the father, maybe he’s come to claim her.”
“She’s his property.”
Tenar spoke evenly. She looked up at the heights of Gont Mountain as she spoke.
“But I think it’s not the father. I think this is the other one. The one that came and told my friend in the village that the child had ‘hurt herself.’ “
Moss was still bewildered, still frightened by her own conjurations and visions, by Tenar’s fierceness, by the presence of abominable evil. She shook her head, desolate. “I don’t know,” she said. “I thought I knew enough. How could he come back?”
“To eat,” Tenar said. “To eat. I won’t be leaving her alone again. But tomorrow, Moss, I might ask you to keep her here an hour or so, early in the day. Would you do that, while I go up to the manor house?”
“Aye, dearie. Of course. I could put a hiding spell on her, if you like. But . . . But they’re up there, the great men from the King’s City.. . .
“Why, then, they can see how life is among the common folk,” said Tenar, and Moss drew back again as if from a rush of sparks blown her way from a fire in the wind.
They were making hay in the lord’s long meadow, strung out across the slope in the bright shadows of morning. Three of the mowers were women, and of the two men one was a boy, as Tenar could make out from some distance, and the other was stooped and grizzled. She came up along the mown rows and asked one of the women about the man with the leather cap.
“Him from down by Valmouth, ah,” said the mower. “Don’t know where he’s got to.” The others came along the row, glad of a break. None of them knew where the man from Middle Valley was or why he wasn’t mowing with them. “That kind don’t stay,” the grizzled man said. “Shiftless. You know him, miss’s?”
“Not by choice,” said Tenar. “He came lurking about my place-frightened the child. I don’t know what he’s called, even.
“Calls himself Handy,” the boy volunteered. The others looked at her or looked away and said nothing. They were beginning to piece out who she must be, the Kargish woman in the old mage’s house. They were tenants of the Lord of Re Albi, suspicious of the villagers, leery of anything to do with Ogion. They whetted their scythes, turned away, strung out again, fell to work. Tenar walked down from the hillside field, past a row of walnut trees, to the road.
On it a man stood waiting. Her heart leapt. She strode on to meet him.
It was Aspen, the wizard of the mansion house. He stood gracefully leaning on his tall pine staff in the shade of a roadside tree. As she came out onto the road he said, “Are you looking for work?”
“My lord needs field hands. This hot weather’s on the turn, the hay must be got in.”