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Coral. And I thought the blood in which I was lying was Coral's blood. But it was my own.
And then I saw what they had done to me, and I started to howl, howl like a beaten dog, like a
battered child Leave me alone! Don't worry, I'm not going to cry. I'm not a little girl from a
tiny tower in Maribor any more. Damn it, I'm Triss Merigold, the Fourteenth One Killed at
Sodden. There are fourteen graves at the foot of the obelisk on the Hill, but only thirteen
bodies. You're amazed such a mistake could have been made? Most of the corpses were in
hard-to-recognise pieces - no one identified them. The living were hard to account for, too. Of
those who had known me well, Yennefer was the only one to survive, and Yennefer was
blind. Others knew me fleetingly and always recognised me by my beautiful hair. And I,
damn it, didn't have it any more!'
Geralt held her closer. She no longer tried to push him away.
'They used the highest magics on us,' she continued in a muted voice, 'spells, elixirs, amulets
and artefacts. Nothing was left wanting for the wounded heroes of the Hill. We were cured,
patched up, our former appearances returned to us, our hair and sight restored. You can hardly
see the marks. But I will never wear a plunging neckline again, Geralt. Never.'
The witchers said nothing. Neither did Ciri, who had slipped into the hall without a sound and
stopped at the threshold, hunching her shoulders and folding her arms.
'So,' the magician said after a while, 'don't talk to me about motivation. Before we stood on
that Hill the Chapter simply told us: "That is what you have to do." Whose war was it? What
were we defending there? The land? The borders? The people and their cottages? The
interests of kings? The wizards' influence and income? Order against Chaos? I don't know!
But we defended it because that's what had to be done. And if the need arises, I'll stand on the
Hill again. Because if I don't, it will make the sacrifices made the first time futile and
unnecessary.'
'I'll stand beside you!' shouted Ciri shrilly. 'Just wait and see, I'll stand with you! Those
Nilfgaardians are going to pay for my grandmother, pay for everything ... I haven't forgotten!'
'Be quiet,' growled Lambert. 'Don't butt into grown-ups' conversations '
'Oh sure!' The girl stamped her foot and in her eyes a green fire kindled. 'Why do you think
I'm learning to fight with a sword? I want to kill him, that black knight from Cintra with
wings on his helmet, for what he did to me, for making me afraid! And I'm going to kill him!
That's why I'm learning it!'
'And therefore you'll stop learning,' said Geralt in a voice colder than the walls of Kaer
Morhen. 'Until you understand what a sword is, and what purpose it serves in a witcher's
hand, you will not pick one up. You are not learning in order to kill and be killed. You are not
learning to kill out of fear and hatred, but in order to save lives. Your own and those of
others.'
The girl bit her lip, shaking from agitation and anger.
'Understood?'
Ciri raised her head abruptly. 'No.'
'Then you'll never understand. Get out.'
'Geralt, I '
'Get out.'
Ciri spun on her heel and stood still for a moment, undecided, as if waiting - waiting for
something that could not happen. Then
she ran swiftly up the stairs. They heard the door slam.
'Too severe, Wolf,' said Vesemir. 'Much too severe. And you shouldn't have done it in Triss's
presence. The emotional ties '
'Don't talk to me about emotions. I've had enough of all this talk about emotions!'
'And why is that?' The magician smiled derisively and coldly. 'Why, Geralt? Ciri is normal.
She has normal feelings, she accepts emotions naturally, takes them for what they really are.
You, obviously, don't understand and are therefore surprised by them. It surprises and irritates
you. The fact that someone can experience normal love, normal hatred, normal fear, pain and
regret, normal joy and normal sadness. That it is coolness, distance and indifference which are
considered abnormal. Oh yes, Geralt, it annoys you, it annoys you so much that you are
starting to think about Kaer Morhen's vaults, about the Laboratorium, the dusty demijohns full
of mutagenic poisons '
'Triss!' called Vesemir, gazing at Geralt's face, suddenly grown pale. But the enchantress
refused to be interrupted and spoke faster and faster, louder and louder.
'Who do you want to deceive, Geralt? Me? Her? Or maybe yourself? Maybe you don't want to
admit the truth, a truth everyone knows except you? Maybe you don't want to accept the fact
that human emotions and feelings weren't killed in you by the elixirs and Grasses! You killed
them! You killed them yourself! But don't you dare kill them in the child!'
'Silence!' he shouted, leaping from the chair. 'Silence, Merigold!'
He turned away and lowered his arms defencelessly. 'Sorry,' he said quietly. 'Forgive me,
Triss.' He made for the stairs quickly, but the enchantress was up in a flash and threw herself
at him, embracing him. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]