There was something momentary and odd on the steward’s face—as if several thoughts, unpleasant in their juxtaposition, had occurred to him all at once—and then they were gone again and the man was straight and obedient and subdued as a piece of sword-steel that one has been accustomed to using for a very long time.
Raymond regarded his whiskey and his options.
The pungent scent of fresh loaves threw him for a moment back into the narrow, cobble-stepped roadway of Tamberlane, yellow and dusky with its bricked walls and overshadowing elms. Was it his imagination, or did that long hallowed lane hold in memory the colouring of a rose, even as this little square of sidewalk did beneath the red-lined awning which was as old as his memory…?
...he glanced up to find [she] had come in her rummaging through the chests upon a hand-written notebook of Sebius’ Mathematics, and was casually fanning through the pages. It was a fat, torn, tattered thing, much referenced and subsequently much abused, but he noted that she treated the thing with surprising care within her long, fine hands, and the thrashing, reckless spirit with which she was accustomed to favouring most things seemed to have completely dropped away from her. She held the thing like a fledgling bird.
“Hmm!” she said, ruefully; her cheeks creased back in a deprecating smile. “Trigonométrie.”
His throat was ragged. His fingers flexed at the thought, but did not lift off the hardwoods. It was sore and ragged as if someone had been trying to crush his windpipe. Somehow he managed to crack his eyelids open: he saw the human figures of the dog and the cat and the badger grouped about him, but he did not connect with them. There was an upended chair near the badger, as if someone had kicked it over. There was a frayed coil of rope at the dog’s feet, with a loop and a knot in one end…
She was beautiful. He sat back and gazed down with gently hooded eyes: something bird-like fluttered warmly in his chest. It was pure and lovely and true, and he thought, I would lay my head at her feet.
—Then the ugly thing came darting back into his mind and the corners of his eyes and mouth hardened, his hand tightened on the pen.
"Like a hammer I will smash you, as God smashed the tribes of Israel with the hammer of the Assyrians. I will crush you and disperse you, and you will become a byword among men."
“Overlord!” he cried—and in that sudden silence his gasping voice rang out against the stones. “Overlord! Mercy! Sanctuary!”