of the Last God
(Book IV of the Oerth Cycle)
(C) 2001 BY
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"They have not returned," Smith said, his voice showing nervousness.
Kahgah simply nodded, his golden eyes on the cave entrance.
Jendara sat quietly, waiting, watching Kahgah. He was immensely powerful - yet, surprisingly tender. She wanted so much to be able to talk to him... But she could not.
Smith looked to Kahgah, but saw him in a different light. He could not tell if Kahgah waited because Lord Xaa had told him to do so, or if Kahgah waited because he feared what might lie outside, in the strange, eerily-silent forest. Smith suspected it was, perhaps, a little of both. "It has been an hour since we heard his roar, Lord Kahgah. Shouldn't we-"
"No, we should not," Kahgah growled. "Lord Xaa told me to remain here, and guard you two while he and Lady Merle scouted. It is apparent they have fought something. If they won, they will return. If not..." Kahgah shook his head. "We remain here. We will wait, and see."
"But... But he could need us! His roar might have been a call for help!"
Kahgah snorted. "Bah. It was not. It was a roar of challenge. Though you speak our language well, you are not a mus, or you would have been able to tell instantly. Lord Xaa is a warrior - perhaps the best. If he chose to enter battle rather than to come and collect me to assist him, he had good reason."
Smith looked down at the rifle in his paws. A product of his son's paws, it was enormous - far too large for him to really use. Lord Xaa had given it to him to hold while he went out with Lady Merle to scout about. Yet, the rifle was loaded and ready, and Smith knew that he could, at least, fire it from the hip. "I'm going out to find them," Smith announced, and started towards the cave entrance.
A firm paw clapped onto Smith's shoulder. "You are going nowhere, Smith!" Kahgah growled.
"No. Your lord ordered you to stay here. So here you will stay - or is it the normal custom of a Little One to disobey their lord whenever they please?" Kahgah growled challengingly.
Smith held Kahgah's gaze unflinchingly. "No, it is not," he replied. Kahgah let Smith go, and Smith nodded firmly. "Alright. I will stay here - for now. But if they do not show up again by morning, I am going out after them."
Smith may have only been a Little One, but Kahgah could see Xaa was right - he had the heart of a warrior, and was the dream of Dash'du'Ragh, come true. Kahgah nodded, then clapped the little mouse on the shoulder. "And I shall go with you," he rumbled, then smiled.
Smith gazed at the ebon-furred
mus-warrior for a moment, then smiled back.
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