“If Father’s dead, you must stay with Hilsa or me until the thaw. . . . You’re woodcutter now. You promised Father.”
“ . . . for all your smartness you’re still but a simple mountain boy and ignorant of the great wide world out there. Gom: promise me you’ll stay here and lead a sensible life and be a credit to yourself and me, then I’ll rest happy.”
Fool! Mandrik cried . . . This is what she would have you learn: bury a thing of great price and you deserve to lose it! Out there in the wide world, gold buys not cabbages, but kings!
“When Father’s gone, Clack’ll need another wood cutter–and that’s you, just as when Maister Craw’s gone, I’m to be greengrocer in his place. It’s our duty, you see.”
“Well, look who’s here!” Gaffer Gudgeon said, as Gom followed Stig into the inn parlor. “If it isn’t the wizard himself and in person!” Around him, his cronies laughed.
Far from being hailed as a hero as his father fondly thought, he had an uncomfortable feeling that some angry and disillusioned people might just be waiting to run him out of town after all!
Skeller, his clothes still wet, was standing over him now, his eyes dark sockets in the wavering firelight. “Too bad your plan didn’t work, little man,” he said, and raised the knife to strike.
There came a loud rumble, then a cry, a full, long, roaring cry, that thinned away, down, and down, . . . and down. Then there was silence. “Father?” Gom whispered. There was no sound.
Gom’s panic increased. His father had fallen down the crevasse. How far? “Father! Father!” His voice echoed off the tunnel walls.
He thought of Stig up above in the warm sunlight. How grieved his father would be, when Gom didn’t come home. Oh, Father. His hand closed about the rune.
“Tell me—how much more of this lovely gold is back through there?” Skeller put the edge of the blade to Gom’s throat. “Speak the truth,” he added, “or it will go the worse for you.”
Wings fluttered suddenly overhead . . . The mockingbird was back. “You’ve a tall, tall, tall, tall shadow,” it called. “A tall, tall . . . tall . . . ” It flew off again.
“Son: quick and clever is your mind, and marvelous strange. But too quick, and too clever it is at times, and lacking in proper thought for others.”
Far Away. It did sound exciting. But scary. A body could get lost Far Away, Gom was sure, for hadn’t he seen that bodies going far away grew smaller and smaller until they disappeared?
Chapter intro by Caidren Adrianne . . . Gom turned his attention to the old men sitting . . . on the alehouse bench. All they did was perch out there, day after day in the sun, gossiping. What a life, he told himself. What a dull, dull life, living in a place where there were no surprises, where nothing ever happened.
“Aha! I don’t make the same mistake twice! . . . One two three, Fiddle-dee-dee; Bust your knee But you won’t catch me!” “But I will!” came a soft voice behind him, and before Gom could say bread-and-cheese, he was seized from behind and hoisted into the air.
“ . . . I’m sure that any common brown sparrow would envy a finch. . . . And why couldn’t (she) fly away?” “Because . . . (she) was in a cage. . . . But nobody wants the plain old brown sparrow. Which leaves her free to fly wherever she wants.”
“Drat the boy, I said, not meaning it, mind. That nose of his will get him into a right pickle some day.”
Chapter introduction by Michael Brevalan. Horvin let out a howl of rage. . . . “Dwarf dwarf evil dwarf!” he yelled. “It’s all because of you that our mother left us!”
At this, as though he had understood, the new baby chuckled loudly. “Gom,” he gurgled, and landed a tiny bony fist right in his father’s eye. “Gom, Gom, Gom.”