Sem Partoldi smiled knowingly up at me and cunningly, too, I perceived
and narrowed my eyes considering again what I could of her complex nature.
She rested her fat hands together on her great round belly and rested
her massive head comfortably as she greeted me. "You have returned, Friend
Ince. And betimes. What luck for all Eoeun."
"Mayhap for all save 1."
Sem Partoldi chuckled at the lusciousness of my humor.
"Betimes? For what?"
the race, of course. We want to enter the Ghordaq race. We were betting
as well as hoping that you would return in time. We want none but you
to ride our carc."
Partoldi's green eyes glittered. "Have you been away into densers and
bright swift lands so long you have forgotten what you discovered
"I don't know that you ever comment, in general. Don't we always play
a game, Sem? Aren't we always? Haven't we been?"
"Are we?" What coiled low, hard, insistent in my voice Sem Partoldi heard.
It made her pause however briefly and consider her approach. And my possible reactions as well I did not doubt since I possessed far more of agility and considerable strength and persistence. "Shall we go to the inn where I may buy you a welcoming meal and all can toast you and sing?"
"You never buy a meal at Bartholomea's and if we were to go there now we would leave it in ruins."
"We would?" The eyebrows were marks of pure innocence of my meaning. The eyes beneath them were ancient as the planet and as knowing.