Sword of Destiny

Free Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

Book: Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski Read Free Book Online
Authors: Andrzej Sapkowski
Tags: Fiction, Fantasy
in danger. I conclude from what you say that you should rather have been praying for them to fall.’
    ‘Dammit,’ Geralt whispered to Dandelion. ‘Did he throw us that rope? Eyck? Not Dorregaray?’
    ‘No,’ the bard muttered. ‘Eyck it was, indeed.’
    Geralt shook his head in disbelief. Yennefer cursed under her breath and straightened up.
    ‘Sir Eyck,’ she said with a smile that anyone other than Geralt might have taken as pleasant and friendly. ‘Why was that? I’m blasphemous, but you save my life?’
    ‘You are a lady, Madam Yennefer,’ the knight bowed stiffly. ‘And your comely and honest face permits me to believe that you will one day renounce this accursed sorcery.’
    Boholt snorted.
    ‘I thank you, sir knight,’ Yennefer said dryly, ‘and the Witcher Geralt also thanks you. Thank him, Geralt.’
    ‘I’d rather drop dead,’ the Witcher sighed, disarmingly frank. ‘What exactly should I thank him for? I’m an odious aberration, and my uncomely face does not augur any hope for an improvement. Sir Eyck hauled me out of the chasm by accident, simply because I was tightly clutching the comely damsel. Had I been hanging there alone, Eyck would not have lifted a finger. I’m not mistaken, am I, sir knight?’
    ‘You are mistaken, Geralt, sir,’ the knight errant replied calmly. ‘I never refuse anybody in need of help. Even a witcher.’
    ‘Thank him, Geralt. And apologise,’ the sorceress said sharply, ‘otherwise you will be confirming that, at least with regard to you, Eyck was quite right. You are unable to coexist with people. Because you are different. Your participation in this expedition is a mistake. A nonsensical purpose brought you here. Thus it would be sensible to leave the party. I think you understand that now. And if not, it’s time you did.’
    ‘What purpose are you talking about, madam?’ Gyllenstiern cut in. The sorceress looked at him, but did not answer. Dandelion and Yarpen Zigrin smiled meaningfully at each other, but so that the sorceress would not notice.
    The Witcher looked into Yennefer’s eyes. They were cold.
    ‘I apologise and thank you, O knight of Denesle,’ he bowed. ‘I thank everybody here present. For the swift rescue offered at once. I heard, as I hung there, how you were all raring to help. I ask everybody here present for forgiveness. With the exception of the noble Yennefer, whom I thank, but ask for nothing. Farewell. The dregs leave the company of their own free will. Because these dregs have had enough of you. Goodbye, Dandelion.’
    ‘Hey, Geralt,’ Boholt called, ‘don’t pout like a maiden, don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. To hell with—’
    ‘Look out everyoooone!’
    Sheepbagger and several members of the Barefield constabulary, who had been sent ahead to reconnoitre, were running back from the narrow opening to the gorge.
    ‘What is it? Why’s he bellowing like that?’ Gar lifted his head up.
    ‘Good people… Your… Excellencies…’ the cobbler panted.
    ‘Get it out, man,’ Gyllenstiern said, hooking his thumbs into his golden belt.
    ‘A dragon! There’s a dragon there!’
    ‘Where?’
    ‘Beyond the gorge… On level ground… Sire, he…’
    ‘To horse!’ Gyllenstiern ordered.
    ‘Gar!’ Boholt yelled, ‘onto the wagon! Beanpole, get mounted and follow me!’
    ‘Look lively, lads!’ Yarpen Zigrin roared. ‘Look lively, by thunder!’
    ‘Hey, wait for me!’ Dandelion slung his lute over his shoulder. ‘Geralt! Take me with you!’
    ‘Jump on!’
    The gorge ended in a mound of light-coloured rocks, which gradually thinned out, creating an irregular ring. Beyond them the ground descended gently into a grassy, undulating mountain pasture, enclosed on all sides by limestone walls, gaping with thousands of openings. Three narrow canyons, the mouths of dried-up streams, opened out onto the pasture.
    Boholt, the first to gallop to the barrier of rocks, suddenly reined in his horse and stood up in his

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