The White Rose by Glen Charles Cook

The White Rose by Glen Charles Cook

Author:Glen Charles Cook [Ismeretlen]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: sf_fantasy
ISBN: 0-812-53374-7
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Published: 1985-06-01T22:00:00+00:00

Twenty-Nine

The Barrowland, back when

The Colonel summoned Case. He shook as he stood before Sweet’s desk. “There are questions to be answered, lad,” Sweet said. “Start by telling me what you know about Corbie.”

Case swallowed. “Yes, sir.” He told. And told much more when Sweet insisted on rehashing every word that had passed between them. He told everything but the part about the message and the oilskin.

“Curious,” Sweet said. “Very. Is that all?”

Case shifted nervously. “What’s this about, sir?”

“Let’s say what we found in the oilskin was interesting.”

“Sir?”

“It appeared to be a long letter, though no one could read it. It was in a language nobody knows. It could be the language of the Jewel Cities. What I want to know is, who was supposed to get it? Was it unique or part of a series? Our friend is in trouble, lad. If he recovers, he’s in hot water. Deep. Real bums don’t write long letters to anybody.”

“Well, sir, like I said, he was trying to track down his kids. And he may have come from Opal...”

“I know. There is circumstantial evidence on his side. Maybe he can satisfy me when he comes around. On the other hand, this being the Barrowland, anything remarkable becomes suspicious. Question, son. And you must answer satisfactorily or you’re in hot water, too. Why did you try to hide the packet?”

The crux. The moment from which there was no escape. He had prayed it would not arrive. Now, facing it, Case knew his loyalty to Corbie was unequal to the test.

“He asked me if, if anything happened to him, I would get a letter delivered to Oar. A letter in oilskin.”

“He did expect trouble, then?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know what was in the letter or why he wanted it delivered. He just gave me a name. And then he said to tell you something after the letter was delivered.”

“Ah?”

“I don’t remember his exact words. He said to tell you the thing in the Great Barrow isn’t asleep anymore.”

Sweet came out of his seat as though stung. “He did? And how did he know? Never mind. The name. Now! Who was the packet to go to?”

“A smith in Oar. Named Sand. That’s all I know, sir. I swear.”

“Right.” Sweet seemed distracted. “Back to your duties, lad. Tell Major Klief I want him.”

“Yes, sir.”

Next morning Case watched Major Klief and a detail ride out, under orders to arrest Sand Smith. He felt terribly guilty. And yet, just how had he betrayed anyone? He might have been betrayed himself if Corbie was a spy.

He assuaged his guilt by tending Corbie with religious devotion, keeping him clean and fed.



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