Crowbone (The Oathsworn Series, Book 5) by Low Robert

Crowbone (The Oathsworn Series, Book 5) by Low Robert

Author:Low, Robert [Low, Robert]
Language: eng
Format: azw3
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Published: 2012-09-12T16:00:00+00:00


NINE

Mainistir Buite (Monasterboice), Ireland, not long after …

CROWBONE’S CREW

SHE walked beside Thorgunna in to where Crowbone stood – still a little pale, she thought, with a lurch. She was wearing a dress for the first time in months and the catch of it round her knees felt strange.

‘You kept the secret cleverly,’ Crowbone said, his face stiff. He had had some time of lying about recovering to recall all the clues he had missed about her, from her unnerving softness to the way she had avoided taking off her wet clothes on the night of the storm.

The strangeness of her was like something seen through rippled water – the face was familiar, like a round owl, the dark hair was down to her ears and raggedly cut, the eyes big and soft. Yet now it all belonged to a girl and not the youth he had thought and the dress she wore, even if it was made for Thorgunna and too large, only accentuated the curves everyone had failed to notice.

‘I wore a few tunics,’ she answered in a small voice, hearing the flat, bitter tone of his own. It would be the shared man-moments, she thought, when he told of how many women he had taken. ‘To hide the shape of me.’

Small wonder, Crowbone thought, looking her over. How in the name of Odin’s hairy arse had she hid those breasts from all of them? Those hips? She saw him stare and grinned, the old grin when she was one of the crew and not a woman.

‘You see what you want to see,’ she declared. ‘I had to hold in my business until landfall a lot of the time. Once or twice I could not and did it in my breeks, but folk just thought me smelly. Like all boys.’

She saw her error in the grim reef of his face and the smile wavered like a faint flame in a wind, then was lost entire.

‘Aye, you hid it well,’ Crowbone said, remembering all the little moments, feeling his face flame at some of them. It explained how he had felt, at least – which was a relief; those moments when his groin had tightened had been for a girl after all. Still, he did not understand how his body had known even if his mind had not and it was more than a little disturbing.

‘Did Grima know?’ he asked, sitting down. ‘Bergliot – is that the name now?’

She saw the strain in him then and made a move; the odd-coloured eyes stopped her like two fists in the chest and she stepped back a little way.

‘Stick to Berto,’ she said, a little more harshly than she had intended. ‘It is easier.’

‘Hardly,’ he answered wearily. ‘Those days are gone.’

‘Do not judge too harshly,’ Thorgunna said softly and he looked at her, sitting quietly with her hands folded in her lap and then shook his head.

‘I have problems enough with the men who follow me,’ he said. ‘They think my luck is flowing from me – they may be right.



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