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Книга Tehanu The Last Book of Earthsea. Содержание - The Dolphin

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Tenar seized Therru’s arm and half dragged, half swung her round. “Come!” she said, and strode straight on past the man. Once she had put him behind her she walked faster, going downhill towards the flare and dark of the sunset water and the docks and quais at the foot of the steep street. Therru ran with her, gasping as she had gasped after she was burned.

Tall masts rocked against the red and yellow sky. The ship, sails furled, lay against the stone pier, beyond an oared galley.

Tenar looked back. The man was following them, close behind. He was not hurrying.

She ran out onto the pier, but after a way Therru stumbled and could not go on, unable to get her breath. Tenar picked her up, and the child held to her, hiding her face in Tenar’s shoulder. But Tenar could scarcely move, thus laden. Her legs shook under her. She took a step, and another, and another. She came to the little wooden bridge they had laid from the pier to the ship’s deck. She laid her hand on its rail.

A sailor on deck, a bald, wiry fellow, looked her over. “What’s wrong, miss’s?” he said.

“Is-Is the ship from Havnor?”

“From the King’s City, sure.

“Let me aboard!”

“Well, I can’t do that,” the man said, grinning, but his eyes shifted; he was looking at the man who had come to stand beside Tenar.

“You don’t have to run away,” Handy said to her. “I don’t mean you any harm. I don’t want to hurt you. You don’t understand. I was the one got help for her, wasn’t I? I was really sorry, what happened. I want to help you with her.” He put out his hand as if drawn irresistibly to touch Therru. Tenar could not move. She had promised Therru that he would never touch her again. She saw the hand touch the child’s bare, flinching arm.

“What do you want with her?” said another voice. Another sailor had taken the place of the bald one: a young man. Tenar thought he was her son.

Handy was quick to speak. “She’s got-she took my kid. My niece. It’s mine. She witched it, she run off with it, see- She could not speak at all. The words were gone from her again, taken from her. The young sailor was not her son. His face was thin and stern, with clear eyes. Looking at him, she found the words: “Let me come aboard. Please!”

The young man held out his hand. She took it, and he brought her across the gangway onto the deck of the ship.

“Wait there,” he said to Handy, and to her, “Come with me.”

But her legs would not hold her up. She sank down in a heap on the deck of the ship from Havnor, dropping the heavy sack but clinging to the child. “Don’t let him take her, oh, don’t let them have her, not again, not again, not again!”

The Dolphin

She would not let go the child, she would not give the child to them. They were all men aboard the ship. Only after a long time did she begin to be able to take into her mind what they said, what had been done, what was happening. When she understood who the young man was, the one she had thought was her son, it seemed as if she had understood it all along, only she had not been able to think it. She had not been able to think anything.

He had come back onto the ship from the docks and now stood talking to a grey-haired man, the ship’s master by the look of him, near the gangplank. He glanced over at Tenar, whom they had let stay crouching with Therru in a corner of the deck between the railing and a great windlass. The long day’s weariness had won out over Therru’s fear; she was fast asleep, close against Tenar, with her little pack for a pillow and her cloak for a blanket.

Tenar got up slowly, and the young man came to her at once. She straightened her skirts and tried to smooth her hair back. “I am Tenar of Atuan,” she said. He stood still. She said, “I think you are the king.”

He was very young, younger than her son, Spark. He could hardly be twenty yet. But there was a look to him that was not young at all, something in his eyes that made her think: He has been through the fire.

“My name is Lebannen of Enlad, my lady,” he said, and he was about to bow or even kneel to her. She caught his hands so that they stood there face to face. “Not to me, she said, “nor I to you!”

He laughed in surprise, and held her hands while he stared at her frankly. “How did you know I sought you? Were you coming to me, when that man-?”

“No, no. I was running away-from him-from-from ruffians- I was trying to go home, that’s all.”

“To Atuan?”

“Oh, no! To my farm. In Middle Valley. On Gont, here.” She laughed too, a laugh with tears in it. The tears could be wept now, and would be wept. She let go the king’s hands so that she could wipe her eyes.

“Where is it, Middle Valley?” he asked. “South and east, around the headlands there. Valmouth is the port.

“We’ll take you there,” he said, with delight in being able to offer it, to do it.

She smiled and wiped her eyes, nodding acceptance. “A glass of wine. Some food, some rest,” he said, “and a bed for your child.” The ship’s master, listening discreetly, gave orders. The bald sailor she remembered from what seemed a long time ago came forward. He was going to pick up Therru. Tenar stood between him and the child. She could not let him touch her. “I’ll carry her,” she said, her voice strained high.

“There’s the stairs there, miss’s. I’ll do it,” said the sailor, and she knew he was kind, but she could not let him touch Therru.

“Let me,” the young man, the king, said, and with a glance at her for permission, he knelt, gathered up the sleeping child, and carried her to the hatchway and care-fully down the ladder-stairs. Tenar followed.

He laid her on a bunk in a tiny cabin, awkwardly, tenderly. He tucked the cloak around her. Tenar let him do so.

In a larger cabin that ran across the stern of the ship, with a long window looking out over the twilit bay, he asked her to sit at the oaken table. He took a tray from the sailor boy that brought it, poured out red wine in goblets of heavy glass, offered her fruit and cakes.

She tasted the wine.

“It’s very good, but not the Dragon Year,” she said.

He looked at her in unguarded surprise, like any boy.

“From Enlad, not the Andrades,” he said meekly.

“It’s very fine,” she assured him, drinking again. She took a cake. It was shortbread, very rich, not sweet. The green and amber grapes were sweet and tart. The vivid tastes of the food and wine were like the ropes that moored the ship, they moored her to the world, to her mind again.

“I was very frightened,” she said by way of apology. “I think I’ll be myself again soon. Yesterday-no, today, this morning-there was a-a spell-” It was almost impossible to say the word, she stammered at it: “A c-curse-laid on me. It took my speech, and my wits, I think. And we ran from that, but we ran right to the man, the man who-” She looked up despairingly at the young man listening to her. His grave eyes let her say what must be said. “He was one of the people who crippled the child. He and her parents. They raped her and beat her and burned her; these things happen, my lord. These things happen to children. And he keeps following her, to get at her. And-”

She stopped herself, and drank wine, making herself taste its flavor.

“And so from him I ran to you. To the haven.” She looked about at the low, carved beams of the cabin, the polished table, the silver tray, the thin, quiet face of the young man. His hair was dark and soft, his skin a clear bronze-red; he was dressed well and plainly, with no chain or ring or outward mark of authority. But he looked the way a king should look, she thought.

“I’m sorry I let the man go,” he said. “But he can be found again. Who was it laid the spell on you?”

“A wizard.” She would not say the name. She did not want to think about all that. She wanted them all behind her. No retribution, no pursuit. Leave them to their hatreds, put them behind her, forget.

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