Book 2 - Lord of the Silent Kingdom

Free Book 2 - Lord of the Silent Kingdom by Glen Cook

Book: Book 2 - Lord of the Silent Kingdom by Glen Cook Read Free Book Online
Authors: Glen Cook
Tags: Fiction, Historical, Fantasy
need to
come to a place called the House of the Ten Gallons in Karagos Middle
Street. You know where that is?"
    The boy lied easily and glibly. "Absolutely, Your Honors. My own mam
was born in Cuttlebone Close an' that's practically next door. Just
follow me, Your Honors."
    Ghort murmured, "As long as he's out front my butt hairs are safe."
    "I'd still keep an eye on our back trail. And not follow him into
any place that's narrow or dark."
    "You don't need to teach me how to dance. I told you, I used to be
this kid. Watch how he gets just far ahead enough so we can't hear him
ask people how to get to Karagos Middle Street."
    "And how they eyeball us before they decide to help him fleece us."
    "Yeah. You feel like there ain't much love for foreigners going on
here?"
    There was anger under Sonsa's thick despair. The waterfront was
moribund. Many of its warehouses appeared abandoned.
    Hecht shuddered suddenly.
    "What?"
    "I don't know. I got one of those feelings like you get when some
night creature is watching you."
    The truth, though, was that the boy had led him past a site where
two friends had been killed by sorcery during his previous visit.
    "Yeah? What did you think of the kid's name?"
    "Sounds a little classical."
    "A little, huh? He insulted us, you know."
    "How so?"
    "Basically, he told us we're too damned unlettered to recognize the
name of the poet who wrote
The Lay of Ihrian."
    "You know what? He's right. In my case."
    "You are ignorant and unlettered up there in the Grand Marshes,
aren't you?"
    "I never denied it. That's why I left."
'There's a damned lie if I ever heard one. Nobody runs away from home
on account of… Anyways, if I was honest, I'd admit that the only
reason I know is because life around Doneto's dump is so damned dull
there that there ain't nothing else to do but read. Because you got me
hooked on that shit when we was locked up in Plemenza."
    "You don't need to make excuses. Reading isn't a bad thing."
    "Now you sound like the Principatè. Hey! Kid! Pellapront. How's
Alma?"
    The boy froze in place, eyes big. He stared at Ghort, bewildered.
"Your Honor?"
    "Never mind. Go on. And stay on the paved streets. I don't care if
it is longer that way." To Hecht, he said,
"The Lay of Ihrian
is this long-ass comic poem about a guy who goes on a tour of the Holy
Lands. But only in his dreams. Guided by a ghost who lies about his
name all the time."
    "I can see where you'd be amused by that." Hecht eyed his
surroundings uneasily. This was a different Sonsa. Too many surly men
stood around doing nothing. Blaming their ill fortune on anybody but
themselves.
    "Ain't we all? Anyway, all the names the ghost gives are names of
gods that had something to do with the Wells of Ihrian. Very
blasphemous. Toward the end, this guy— whose name in the story is the
same as the name of the poet—he gets into a big romp with a whore who
turns out to be his sister, Alma. It's pretty funny. But
The Lay
of Ihrian
was banned by the Church. Though nobody probably pays
any attention except in Brothe. Principatè Doneto says there's probably
only four or five copies in the city but the story is famous up north.
Like around here, I guess."
    "I think we're close."
    "Keep an eye out. This could be the tricky part."
    Pella let them catch up. "That's Karagos Middle Street up ahead,
Your Honors. Cutting across. But I never heard of no House of the Ten
Gallons."
    Ask around," Hecht suggested.
    Yes, Your Honors. Right away. What did you mean about Alma, Your
Honor?" he asked Ghort.
    Nothing, really. There's a poem with a Pellapront Versulius in it.
He has a sister named Alma."
    The boy gulped some air.
    "Shit," Ghort said.
"You
got a sister named Alma?"
    Pella nodded. He was a gaunt little thing, small for his age. His
eyes seemed exaggeratedly large.
    "Find out about the house," Hecht urged.
    "That's spooky," Ghort said when the boy was out of earshot.
    "It is unusual," Hecht conceded. "But not a mystery we need to
solve."
    "No. Hey.

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