At least, not in the same state—mental or physical, he was not sure—in which he had gone in. The doctor studied him, her expression as serene as a bronze Buddha, and just as unreadable. He decided to show a bit more spine than he had for the past few moments, and studied her as well. Neither of them broke the silence; only the usual street sounds filtered in through the glass of the window facing the street—footsteps, hoofbeats, voices, and the occasional cough and chatter of a motorcar. One day all our hansoms are going to be replaced by those wretched autos , Peter reflected, as a particularly noisy vehicle chugged by, drowning every other noise as it did.
God, how I hate those things! Eurasian, no doubt. The task was difficult enough for an English girl! Who had sponsored her and given her the necessary education? The London School of Medicine for Women? I would probably find her walking over the top of me to get it. Bookcases lined the wall behind her except for a space where a door broke the expanse, bookcases polished until they gleamed and filled with leather-bound volumes.
Her desk, spartan and plain, held only pen, pencil, paper in a neat stack, an inkpot, and a blotter. Nothing on the desk to help—no pictures, no trinkets. And nothing with writing on it. Ah, but what he sensed, now that he was within the enclosure of her protective magics, made him long for fifteen minutes left alone in this—or, indeed, any—room in the house. She was certainly old enough to have learned as much as he about the arcane; certainly powerful enough—but the magic she had invested in the walls was held together mostly by the main strength of that power.
This, he would bet his soul, was not a clumsy, inelegant, or inept woman.
But there was one little bit of nice work there—tangled in among the rest, like a shining silk thread running through a skein of ill-spun yarn, was a whisper of magery Peter would dearly love to learn to cast himself. Turn your eyes aside , it whispered to those beyond the walls who looked with the inward eye and not the outward. There is nothing here to interest you, there never was, and never will be. Seek elsewhere for your quarry; it is not here. Now she leaned back, a slight frown crossing her face. I would like to know why you appeared on my doorstep today.
I ran into one of my old lads looking better than he had in ten years, and the old boy told me about how you fixed him up. Worst you can do is tell me what every other sawbones has. She lost her frown, and her expression became one of skepticism rather than suspicion. He gave a short bark of a laugh. Just what happened to that knee to make it turn against you, and when? Maya used her note taking to conceal some observation of her possible patient of a very different sort—for there was something of Power about him, and that had surprised her so much that for a brief time she had been unable to do more than stare at him.
Another woman might have found him unremarkable in any way whatsoever. His dress was neat and clean, but no finer than that of any other man in her working-class neighborhood. Sailors always ended up with a commonality of features, given the beating their faces usually took from the elements, and Peter Scott was no different there.
His face could easily have been sculpted from ancient, withered leather, and though the chin was firm and the brow was high, his mouth set in lines that suggested more smiles than frowns, there was little in the ruin of it to show if he had been handsome in his youth, or otherwise. Only a pair of remarkable green eyes, an emerald color with a hint of blue, peering at her from among a nest of wrinkles caused by much squinting against the sun and storm, served as any sort of distinguishing feature.
His hair, some color between yellow and brown, had begun to sport a streak of gray here and there. Not a young man—but not an old one either. Here, in London!
Mercedes Lackey. The Serpents Shadow
She would have been less shocked, had she hailed a cab only to find a camel and not a horse between the shafts. What was he doing here?
If he was a mage, surely he could do as much for his own ailments as she! Is he looking—for me? That thought made her hand shake for a moment, so that she inadvertently blotted her notes. They were intact.
And although this man brought to mind the well-fed and sleepy-eyed panther— yes; panther, and not a tiger —she did not think she was in any danger. Not directly, at least, and not at this moment. For a moment, the briefest of moments, Maya saw the panther extend his claws and show a gleam of white teeth. Then the panther pulled in his talons, hid his fangs, and became the sleepy cat again.
Nevit Ergin Divan Kabir Rumi
She tapped the feathered end of her quill against her cheek as she considered him. Dared she take him as a patient? He had Power. She had not asked for a sign, but one arrived on its own two feet to give her the answer she needed. No part of the house was forbidden to Charan, although he seldom ventured anywhere but the conservatory, her bedroom and, occasionally, the kitchen. Yet, with no warning, no prompting, no hint whatsoever, the door—which must have been improperly closed, creaked slowly open.
And there, clinging to it with his tiny hands, his great, solemn eyes fixed on the stranger, was Charan himself. Would you care to come and make my acquaintance? Charan tilted his head to the side, then let go of the door and dropped to all fours, making his leisurely way to the stranger while Maya watched in mingled trepidation and astonishment. It looked as if Charan liked the newcomer—but Charan could be as duplicitous as any street brat, and was equally capable of pretending to like someone just so that he could get near enough to sink his fine set of fangs into the extended hand.
Peter Scott, if he knew enough to know what Charan was, surely knew that as well. Charan sat down, just within reach.
- Simple Pricing.
- Miss Sillithorpes Hobby (Jamie Jarvis Mysteries);
- Amy Tan (Blooms Modern Critical Views)!
- Carpentry and Joinery 3?
- Setting Up Representative Offices in China (China Briefing).
Would you care to join me? Now Scott straightened up, and at that signal, as if he had understood every word—which, all things considered, he might very well have—Charan leaped up onto the correct knee, and balanced himself there quite as if he belonged. Charan closed his eyes and leaned into the scratching fingers, his face relaxed into a mask of bliss.
I know that a lot of the sahibs thought they were filthy little nuisances, but—well, I like them. I like their cheek, and their cleverness. She had noted that the longer he spoke, the less he sounded like a working man, and the more like a man of some education. She let out her breath in a soft sigh. But it will take time and patience. Somehow, over the course of a mere two hours, he had become her friend.
He sensed both that she did not boast too many friends, and that it was not a gift she was inclined to extend too readily. He had in his pocket a packet of herbal powders, a small box of pills, and a prescription to be compounded at the apothecary at the end of the street. And he thought —although it was difficult to be certain—that during the course of the time when he had sat upon the examination table, pants leg rolled up absurdly to disclose a rather unattractive, hairy shank, when she had manipulated his knee, she had done something more to it than simply prodding and poking.
Earth Magic was healing magic, and even the untaught Earth Master could heal by sheer instinct. If she had sensed his power, she would not have been too eager to reveal her own…. But how, how, how had that come about? She had grown up in India, a land swarming with mages both real and charlatan. How had she missed finding a Master to take her as an Apprentice? Then, as he paused in front of the apothecary, he could have struck himself for his stupidity.
Of course no mage of India would take her as apprentice, or priestess, or anything else! Her mixed blood would have made her of no-caste; no less than the English, those of the high blood of India shunned the Eurasians. She was ranked with the street sweepers, the Untouchables; no Brahmin would ever teach her, no guru take her for his disciple, not even an old street babu accept her as his chela except on terms no woman of spirit or sense would agree to.