Chapter 34 Hat

        "Taloss ... causes death, but she is not Death."
        "Yet my life was hers to give, my lord." Giqus was lying face- down in the marble hall, counting on having read the situation correctly, of having been right to return.
        "She ... is generous," his voice was almost wistful. "She will aid the Message again."
        "So she let me live that I might call her afresh?" Insurance!
        "You have submitted once ... to her power." He sniffed, rabbit- like. "It cannot be you ... a second time."
        But of course. "You told me that Justan would be allowed to invade, yet you had your armies stop him..."
        "Ah, Giqus, my wise ... counsel. You do not listen!" He giggled, paused, giggled again.
        "You will let him through, but not just yet? Erva Bridge was only a demonstration, to show him what you can - " Realisation. "No - not to show Justan!"
        "Taloss has ... assisted us. Now we shall repay ... her kindness."
        "You have allies! This was for their benefit! You must have made the plans months ago!"
        "Plans ... what use are plans?" His chiming laughter seemed to hang in the air, lingering, never quite dying away. "Gods make no ... plans. Gods exist. Gods change things."
        "But Messenger! How can I be effective as your adviser if you keep from me things of this magnitude?"
        "How ... indeed?"
        Nothing, then he heard footsteps, felt a grip on each arm, was lifted upright by two of the guards. He held his head bowed low, but not so far that he couldn't see the Messenger's spindly hands, watch for further signals.
        None came. The guards released him. He'd survived again.

Copyright © Richard A. Bartle (
21st January 1999: isif34.htm