Chapter Seventeen

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Sherath halted Moondust about quarter of a mile east of the village.

"I'm going to see if I can get Piet to Hear me," he said to Tarke. "There's just a chance that I might be able to. He Heard me before."

"You were a lot closer to him," said Tarke.

"True. But as he's Heard me once, he's more likely to again."

Sherath extended his Awareness down towards the village, feeling for the presence of Piet ... who was in the workshop, bringing cherry-red iron from the small beechwood-fired forge, making a fresh link for a broken chain ... Sherath watched, almost through Piet's eyes, admiring the skilled economy of technique which Piet used as he coaxed the bar into shape. The man was a good ironworker. And he was alone.

Piet, he called softly. Piet hesitated, looking around. Sherath smiled. It's okay, Piet. Don't panic – it's me, Sherath. You are Hearing me in your mind; you won't be able to see me. Don't speak aloud; answer me in your mind. As if you were talking to me, but silently.

– Sherath? Piet's answer was hesitant; puzzled; but willing to co-operate.

Well done. Good man. Voice and Hearing are easy once you get used to the idea. They are common to all Seekers – but can't be used unless there is someone to use them with.

– Am I a Seeker, then?

– Without a doubt. As was your grandsire, and your sire. And as Jaimeh is.

– Where are you?

– Quite close. Don't stop working; you can use Voice at the same time as you work – and your people will notice nothing amiss.

– I've all but finished with this, Sherath.

– Okay, so stay inside and spend some time tidying up just in case anyone looks in on you.

– Yes, all right. Piet finished fitting the new link into the chain, and quenched it in a wooden pail of cold water.

I'm only a few hundred yards from the village. I've brought someone with me – a friend. You haven't met her. We've brought the two unicorns. We need to talk, Piet. About Jaimeh, and Marte – and possibly others as well. Nothing to worry about – just things that you, and they, need to know. May we come down to you?

– Yes, of course. I'll talk to Annse – she'll trust me even if she doesn't understand. I'll meet you where you are. Wait for me.

– Shall do, Piet. Thank you for trusting me.

– I find it impossible not to trust you, Sherath. Sherath could feel Piet's mental grin.

– Another of the advantages of using Voice and Hearing. It's impossible to deceive someone or be deceived. Open up your Awareness.

– What the blazes is that?

– Listen. Feel. Sherath eased Awareness into the link, letting Piet feel his way through the link, seeing much of what made Piet what he was, and knowing that Piet was fascinated by what he himself saw.

I didn't know, Piet said wonderingly. I didn't know what you are. But I feel as though I know who you are. I know you.

– Yes. As for what we are, that's one of the things that needs to be talked about. Break off now; go and talk to Annse. We'll see you soon.

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