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face in the fur.  Gray One, she whispered,  do you know? The wolves
across the river who do they run with? Why do they grieve?
Hishn s yellow eyes were puzzled. She nudged Dion until the wolfwalker
sat back, frustrated. After three years, Dion should know better. The Gray
Ones could make no sense of human views. If a wolfwalker was a raider,
the wolves would not know it. They would see only that, like Dion, the
runner was a member of the pack.
Hishn nudged her thigh again, trying to understand Dion s need. Their song
is dull, she sent. They do not wish me to sing with them.
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 But why? There were few wolves running the hunt on the raiders side of
the Phye, but then again, it only took one to find a human s heavy trail.
Dion stretched her senses into Hishn, reaching with all her concentration to
the three beasts who howled on the canyon s other side. Dark gray and dull,
their song was faint, even through Hishn. Dion touched it, wove her voice
into the threads
 and was cut off as if she were not even a wolfwalker herself. Even her
ears were rejected from the howls as the gray tendrils tightened into a
distant wall of fog. Dion sat back slowly, stunned. Rejected. Hishn was not
welcome in their pack, and Dion was closed out completely? Never since
she bonded with Hishn had she been denied the song of the wolves. A core
of anger sparked deep in her gut. No wolf in its right mind would
deliberately cut a wolfwalker from the packsong.
No wolf in its right mind& A slow shiver crawled down Dion s spine.
What if the wolves ran, not by choice, but by coercion? What if the raiders
had somehow forced the Gray Ones to do their bidding? She got to her feet
slowly and stared back over the canyon. Hells, but it made no sense. The
Gray Ones code was strict. There were cases of wolfwalkers who had
turned, and then been abandoned by their wolves. What would force a wolf
to run with a raider?
 In eight hundred years, she muttered,  what has changed? Eight
centuries ago, when the ancients first landed on this world, bondings
between them and the wolves had been common. But the disease in the
Gray Ones genes the disease planted by the birdmen had been passed
from generation to generation until now the wolves were few, and the
humans they bonded with even fewer. In all those centuries, though,
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whether the wolves were many or few, they had never broken their trust
with their humans. Never had they hunted men; never had they attacked
except in defense of their wolfwalkers. So, Dion asked herself again, what
had changed? Or, she thought suddenly, to ask it differently, what would
make Hishn herself hunt refugees for a raider?
She regarded the gray creature with a frown. Hishn blinked at her, and the
wolfwalker stiffened.
There could be only one reason Hishn would run with a raider: Dion.
Her lips thinned into a grim line. If she were captive if she were in pain
Hishn would do whatever Dion asked. And if Dion asked her to hunt down
humans, to betray that ancient trust between the wolves and humans, would
Hishn do it to keep her wolfwalker alive?
I run with you, Wolfwalker, Hishn growled. I hunt as you wish it.
 Hishn, Dion said urgently.  The wolves over there  She pointed with
her chin.  Do they run because their wolfwalkers are hurt?
The pack runs where it must.
 Is their hunt unhappy? she persisted.
Hishn hesitated. The hunt is as it is.
 Do they is the pain in their song& normal?
The wolf looked at her in puzzlement. The song is as it is.
Dion bit her lip. Hishn did not understand her questions, and the wolfwalker
could not read the packsong.  But then, she muttered,  what difference
does reading the packsong make? Whether the wolves had bonded with
raiders or were hunting by coercion, either way, Aranur would have to
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know. And if the wolves were being betrayed, Ramaj Ariye could not stand
silent. The trust of the Gray Ones was something that humans, too, must
honor.
Hishn yelped softly, and Dion realized that her fists were clenched in the
gray pelt. She released the wolf, scratching the thick fur gently to ease her
unconscious tugging. The wolves on the other side of the canyon moved
away, their voices growing dim, while the song of the pack on this side
grew stronger. They were closer now; their lupine feet padded against the
earth in her mental ears, their voices like a gray din behind Hishn s sharp
images. As Dion glanced at the broken ridge that rose above the river, two
of the nine moons hung beside one of the rocky spires, waiting, it seemed,
for her to follow them. Even the moons, she thought wryly, called her to run
with the wolves. She made the sign of the moonsblessing. The refugees, she
thought, shaking out her cloak and welcoming the chill blast that curled
inside her jerkin and cooled her trail sweat, would need it.
Gray Hishn s voice touched her mind, troubled, and Dion looked down.
Hishn s image of the other wolves was too close, too real, even though their
song rejected her comfort. Wolfwalker, the Gray One snarled, unable to
express the pain she sensed.
Dion gripped the gray fur. The voice in her mind was more real to her than
the feel of the coarse hair against her fingers.
The gray bond thickened and became taut.  Gray One, she whispered,
 you honor me.
Hishn whined, and Dion shook the fur from her hands.  Come, she said
resolutely.  If the crossing is close enough to being done, I could climb into
Bilocctar today.
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The wolf growled. The land across the river is a worlags den. You will no
longer go there.
Dion glanced at her.  But if I see the Gray Ones who run the hunt in
Bilocctar, I could speak to them. I could ask them about their packsong
find out why they reject us.
Hishn balked. No. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]