The Glass of Dyskornis

The Glass of Dyskornis by Randall Garrett Read Free Book Online

Book: The Glass of Dyskornis by Randall Garrett Read Free Book Online
Authors: Randall Garrett
accept her invitation. Or if I had been entirely Gandalaran, a new boyfriend, I’d have had no compunction about being in a place she had once shared with Markasset.
    But I was an alien personality, in a body which she had known intimately. I fought for a grasp of the ethics of the situation, even while my body and my emotions were responding to Illia’s willingness.
    I hesitated so long that she became embarrassed. “I thought … Don’t I … I mean, don’t you want to …”
I said quickly. “Oh, yes, I want to.”
    She came to me then, and put her arms around me. I could feel her fingers pressing into my back. The sight of her face, looking up at me with serious eyes, was too appealing to resist. I kissed her, tantalizing my tongue on the rounded tips of her large canine teeth. All thought was swept away in a surge of affection and gratitude, and arousal more intense than I had experienced in a long time.
    She broke away from the embrace with a soft sound of contentment, and we walked to the grassy area Markasset remembered. The distant thunder of the Skarkel Falls settled over us as we lay down together.
    When I kissed her goodbye at the back door of her house, she whispered: “I won’t decide about—anything. Not until you come back, Rikardon.”
    Suddenly I was swept up in an “echo” from Ricardo’s life. I saw Julie, young and loving, saying:
“VU wait for you, Rick. No matter how long the war lasts, I’ll wait for you.”
    Julie hadn’t been able to wait, and had paid a high price in guilt.
    “Don’t make me any promises, Illia,” I whispered to the Gandalaran woman in my arms. “Do what seems best for you.”
    She kissed me again, briefly, then pushed herself away from me. “You’re a very gentle man, Rikardon. I do care for you. Keep safe.”
    She went into the house, and I walked home under the colorful dawn sky. The first rays of sunlight, diffused by the cloud layer, marched by overhead in a parade of changing, blending color, deep red to pale yellow and all shades between.
    I stepped quietly into Thanasset’s house through the front door. I turned left to climb the stairs, but a sound from the sitting room made me look that way. Through the door opposite the stairs, I could see Thanasset. He was standing by one of the tall and narrow wood-latticed windows that lined the outside wall of the room. He had one foot propped on the low stone ledge that ran along under the windows.
    There was something about the way he held himself, with his arms propped on his raised knee and his shoulders hunched up, that made me cross the midhall and pause at the sitting room door.
    “Father?” I said. He turned away from the windows, surprise and relief plain on his face. “Are you well?”
    “Come in and sit with me for a moment, Rikardon,” he said, coming away from the window. “I need to talk with you before you leave.”
    “Then Milda told you about Worfit?” I asked as I sat in one of the wood-and-fabric armchairs scattered around the center of the room.
    Thanasset looked thin and strained. The small scar beside his left eye seemed whiter, and there were lines of tension around his mouth.
    “She told me what happened, yes,” he said. “And she told me what you told her. I want to ask you, bluntly, if you told her the truth.” He was leaning forward in his chair, intent upon my answer.
    “Yes, it was the truth,” I said, surprised by the question. “Worfit—”
    He waved his hand impatiently, as though Worfit, who had threatened my life and damaged his home, were of no importance.
    “Your reasons for going to Thagorn,” he said. “To rest and take some time to think. Are these your only reasons?”
    “But why Thagorn? Why not Omergol, or all the way to Chizan?”
    I was thoroughly confused, and beginning to feel a little impatient, myself.
    “Father, I don’t have any idea what you’re getting at. Why don’t you ask for the information you really

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