Legacies

Legacies by L. E. Modesitt Jr. Read Free Book Online

Book: Legacies by L. E. Modesitt Jr. Read Free Book Online
Authors: L. E. Modesitt Jr.
bend metal. It grows like the quarasote, slowly. It underlies everything, and is everywhere, but few indeed can even sense it. Even when they do, fewer still can use it. Yet people would believe you could, and failing to do what people wish makes them angry.”
    â€œI understand,” Alucius said slowly. “Even…even if herders kept it to themselves, someone would always want me to heal a lamb or someone in their family. And if I didn’t…they might tell, or be angry, because they’d know?”
    â€œThat’s one reason why herders never tell those outside their families about Talent and herding—even other herders,” his grandfather said. “It will be hard enough, Alucius, even keeping it to yourself. If you can indeed heal others, you will always have to measure, to choose who you can heal, and how much. And never tell anyone. It must always seem like the person just got better. And that, too, will be difficult, because we all want others to know our value.”
    His mother’s eyes were bright, and Alucius looked from one to the other.
    Finally, he said, “We can tell Grandma’am, can’t we?”
    â€œShe already knows,” Royalt said gently.
    â€œI have you three I can talk to.”
    â€œFor now, Alucius, and for years to come,” Lucenda promised.
    But Alucius could sense the sadness that went with her joy and pride.

11
Hieron, Madrien
    The Matrial sat on the south side of the circular ebony conference table, with the wide glass windows behind her. The deep violet of her tunic almost seemed to match her eyes, and the green emerald choker around her neck shimmered against her flawless alabaster skin as she listened to the officer who sat on the far side of the table.
    â€œIn the past year, we have only found two more with enough Talent to be trained,” reported the gray-haired overcaptain. “We are stretched thin in maintaining the discipline for the torques.”
    â€œDo we need more public demonstrations?”
    â€œNot yet, honored Matrial, but we may need them in the future.”
    â€œWhat about lamaials?”
    â€œAgain, we have found no male children with Talent in the last year. That may be because their fathers have hidden them or spirited them away, but outside of the herders of the Iron Valleys, Talent is usually far rarer in males. And, as you know, Talent in males does not mean they will grow up to be lamaials. There have been no reports of one in nearly twenty years.”
    â€œThat does not mean that there have not been such,” the Matrial pointed out. “That is their danger. They can appear to be men like other men.”
    â€œMatrial…even among the herders of the Iron Valleys, even among those with the black-gray hair, Talent is rare indeed. We have tested many as captive troopers over the years, and watched them for years, and…”
    â€œYou are doubtless correct, Overcaptain Haeragn, but we must be most careful, because, as the ancient lines declare,
    Then too, the lamaial will rise, but once,
    Where none yet will suspect, nor think to dare,
    and his hidden strokes may kill aborning,
    Duality of promise bright and fair…”
    â€œWe have been most careful,” replied the overcaptain, her voice even but firm, “as you have instructed, but the herder captives also make the best squad leaders, and the ones most effective against the Lord-Protector’s Southern Guard.”
    For a moment, the even smile vanished from the face of the Matrial. “It is sad to think that the traits we must control within Madrien are those which are also the most effective at retaining our prosperity and freedom, but ever has it been so.” The smile returned, not quite hiding the darkness behind the violet eyes. “What about the women and girls who have fled from Southgate after the recent floggings? Are there more of them with Talent?”
    â€œWe have never seen any from

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