“I came back."
"Suppose you hadn't?"
"I came back! Why can't you understand, instead of thinking as though your brains are made of oak. Athol's son, with his hair and eyes and vision -"
"No!" Tristan said sharply. Eliard's fist, raised and knotted, halted in midair. Morgon dropped his face again against his knees. Eliard shut his eyes.
"Why do you think I'm so angry?" he whispered.
"Do you? Even - even after six months I still expect to hear her voice unexpectedly, or see him coming out of the barn, or in from the fields at dusk. And you? How will I know, now, that when you leave Hed, you'll come back? You could have died in that tower for the sake of a stupid crown and left us watching for the ghost of you, too. Swear you'll never do anything like that again."
Morgon raised his head, looked at Eliard. "How can I make one promise to you and another to myself? But I swear this: I will always come back."
"How can you -"
"I swear it.”
“Morgon of Hed met the High One's harpist one autumn day when the trade-ships docked at Tol for the season's exchange of goods. A small boy caught sight of the round-hulled ships with their billowing sails striped red and blue and green, picking their way among the tiny fishing boats in the distance, and ran up the coast from Tol to Akren, the house of Morgon, Prince of Hed. There he disrupted an argument, gave his message, and sat down at the long, nearly deserted tables to forage whatever was left of breakfast. The Prince of Hed, who was recovering slowly from the effects of loading two carts of beer for trading the evening before, ran a reddened eye over the tables and shouted for his sister.”
“She smiled. “I don’t know. I wonder sometimes, too. Then you touch my face with your scarred hand and read my mind. Your eyes know me. That’s why I keep following you all over the realm, barefoot or half-frozen, cursing the sun or the wind, or myself because I have no more sense than to love a man who does not even possess a bed I can crawl into at night. And sometimes I curse you because you have spoken my name in a way that no other man in the realm will speak it, and I will listen for that until I die. So,” she added, as he gazed down at her mutely, “how can I leave you?” He”
“It was no warning, no judgment, simply her name, and she could have wept at the recognition of it.”
“Morgon, I told you what I am; you could see what dark power I was waking in me—you knew its origins. You knew I am kin to those shape-changers who tried to kill you, you thought I was helping the man who had betrayed you—why in Hel’s name did you trust me?” His hands, circling the gold crown on the skull, closed on the worn metal with sudden strength. “I don’t know. Because I chose to. Then, and forever.”
“he felt the snow, downward groping of tree roots.”
“I made it when I was young, by my standards, after years of playing on various harps. I shaped its pieces out of Ymris oak beside night fires in far, lonely places where I heard no man’s voice but my own. I carved on each piece the shapes of leaves, flowers, birds I saw in my wanderings. In An, I searched three months for strings for it. I found them finally; sold my horse for them. They were strung to the broken harp of Ustin of Aum, who died of sorrow over the conquering of Aum. Its strings were tuned to his sorrow, and its wood was split like his heart. I strung my harp with them, matching note for note in the restringing. And then I returned them to my joy.” Morgon”
“Do you want a half-truth or truth?” “Truth.” “Then you will have to trust me.” His voice was suddenly softer than the fire sounds, melting into the silence within the stones. “Beyond logic, beyond reason, beyond hope. Trust me.” Morgon”
“When you open your mind and hands and heart to the knowing of a thing, there is no room in you for fear.”
“One person's crazy is another person's sane, I guess.”
“Rigour and ruthlessness do not preclude sympathy with another’s point of view.”
“The same sages also wrote that violence is the habit of the weak, the impotent and the fool.”
“Indolent and unworthy the beggar may be—but that is not your concern: It is better, said Joseph Smith, to feed ten impostors than to run the risk of turning away one honest petition.”
“Not that folks disliked me or that I ever went around being mean, but folks never did get close to me and it was most likely my fault. There was always something standoffish about me. I liked folks, but I liked the wild animals, the lonely trails, and the mountains better.”
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