Excerpt from Chapter 12, “The Moor”
Bilgash began to unfold his plan to Vyrlin, but before he could finish Glypiptiol had joined them.
“Ye hae fallen tae a guidly hap yet again, me lad!” he said to Bilgash. “It hae ta’en me nigh to a fort-nicht, syne I hae been dubbed Geckelmancer, tae insense ‘em. But at lang laist Melgindert and the ithers hae come ‘round tae air seein’, after that I hae tauld them what ye hae lat wit t’ me that nicht in me hut anent the harm that mocht come at the hand o’ them thievin’ Northers, and how ye be needin’ the words of air Pillar t’ holpen ye.”
“Then they will leave off guarding the Pillar, at least for tonight?” asked Bilgash.
“Aye, they will this nicht, as ye hae axed it of me. Them as be up for sentry’ll be stablin’ their geckelmander insteid. Ye be free t’ gain the Pillar an’ air beasts’ll nae trouble ye. But I canna say what the wild ‘uns in the braes mocht doon, lat them get wind o’ ye!”
“But, my lord—”
Glypiptiol winced as Bilgash spoke to him, for the new leader of the Thworb was not used to being hailed with such honor, and it was seemingly not at all to his liking.
Bilgash began again. “Good sir, that is why I have asked you to come with me to the moor before the Horn. If the wild geckelmander should rush in from the hills, you can stop them with a word—”
“‘Tis nae licht thing, a pod o’ geckelmander goon berserk tae halten! The wild ‘uns be them as hae ne’er been broke tae the voice o’ any fowk. And ‘mang them be suckle as hae been broke aforetime, but them that was haundlin’ them hae gang awa, or they be deid, and the beasts hae turned into the wild. I canna be sartin t’ hauld ‘em off ye.”
“We put our trust in the Geckelmancer of the Thworb,” said Lincśmon. “Surely if anyone can halt them it is you, good sir.”
Glypiptiol threw back his head and laughed. It was the first time Bilgash had seen Glypiptiol the Grave laugh so heartily.
“Ye hae made me oot some kynd o’ hero tae been! I be naught but a fermer what hae ta’en a mynd a field o’ stanes t’ plough, and betimes I hae ploughed me way tae Geckelmancer insteid! I will doon me best t’ holpen ye, Highriders, but I dinna ken hoo muckle holp I be . . . But we canna stand here flappin’ anent it the lang day! We maun betake airsels athwart the Vale ere the sun droop into the braes.”
With that, Glypiptiol turned to Vyrlin, who had already untethered her mulocks and was harnessing them to the plodcart. Bidding Lincśmon farewell with the Highrider salute, Bilgash joined the hardy peasant and his daughter on the broad seat. This trip into the Valley, like that of the day before as Namaarla’s guard, would not be like his first jaunt out hidden beneath Vyrlin’s load of hay. He was not a hunted trespasser in the Valley of the Thworb. He was the guest of the Geckelmancer himself.
©2006 Richard C. Leonard and Charity R. Silkebakken