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    Age of Dragons

    Автор книги Antoinette Moses

    Время прослушивания 03:53, Дата публикации

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    It has been a long day and Timucin is very tired, but that is unimportant. He looks at the arrow he has just been given and tries to remember if he has ever seen anything as beautiful before. The arrow is far more decorated than all the others he has seen. And he has seen a lot of arrows. After all, his father is the khan - and not just any khan, but the most powerful and feared for many days' ride. His yurt is full of the most splendid bows and arrows hanging on the walls. Often, other tribes come to visit. These tribes have beautiful weaponry too. Not just spears, shields and glinting swords, but artfully carved bows and even more exquisite arrows. So far, he has never seen an arrow like this one. It is longer than his arm, not as long as the arrows the men use, but at least two hands longer than the ones he and the other boys use to practise - and the carvings are so detailed that he is almost afraid to touch it. The arrowhead is not made of iron, but of bronze. This makes it weak and practically useless against anything with even thick fur, let alone against hardened leather or plate armour. Then again, this kind of arrow is not intended to be used like that. The soft metal has been engraved with artful lines and symbols, and the edges have been so carefully polished and sharpened that it could probably split a hair in half. As he looks at it, Timucin is ashamed. "It is... it is beautiful," he says. "I've never seen anything so beautiful. You are a true artist." Chuzir pulls a face as if Timucin has just said something indecent or spoken badly of the gods. He too holds an arrow in his hand, the one that Timucin has given him in return for this stunning work. He is almost convincing as he pretends to admire it, even if there is very little to admire. It is a completely normal arrow, short and not even entirely straight. Timucin has polished the iron head as much as he can and added a few simple carvings with as much skill as his clumsy fingers allow. Chuzir is kind enough not to say anything about it. "I am no artist," answers Chuzir after a noticeable pause and in an almost offended tone of voice. "Soon, I shall be a warrior," he adds with a sideways glance in Timucin's direction, "although I shall never be a khan, of course." He says these last words reproachfully. "But this arrow..." says Timucin. "I did not make it," interrupts Chuzir. "It was old man Schezen who did the carving. In return, I helped him collect firewood and peat for three moons." He looks at Timucin. "Do you not like it?" "Of course," says Timucin quickly, "it's wonderful. But my own arrow is so..." He stops, embarrassed, but Chuzir just laughs and jabs him in the ribs so hard that Timucin will start crying if he does not stop himself with all the strength he has. "That's not the point," says Chuzir, laughing, "because you probably needed just as much time to carve it as I spent helping that rip-off merchant Schezen carry wood whilst he sat by the fire keeping himself warm."