By S. M. Stirling
Within the 10th yr of The swap, the survivors in western Oregon have realized how one can reside in an international with no know-how. yet a war of words among the forces of these who might rebuild the area peacefully and the dreaded Protector, who will use no matter what skill at his command to increase his energy, threatens to plunge the total quarter into open war.
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Someone who doesn't like the Bearkillers, or our kiltie friends eastward," he said, his face going serious. "They're no galahs, either. Going at it subtle, about how we're blocking trade, that sort of thing. " Peter Jones grunted. "I didn't know that," he said. "I'm not surprised, though. " "Nar," the Australian said. "I'd be gobsmacked if it were. " Signe nibbled at a cracker covered in blue-veined cheese, and sipped at a Rogue River zinfandel. "According to my sources—" My spies, Havel thought affectionately.
Mount Angel had a winery of note and fine maltsters, but Brannigan's brew was famous all over the Valley. Juniper Mackenzie had made a song about it years ago, and it was sung in taverns from Ashland to Boise. Hot food and dry beds were a great deal more attractive than damp sleeping bags and trail rations, as well. "Let's finish up here, then," Astrid said. The monk addressed the half-dozen other captives who waited on their knees. "Do any of you wish to confess your sins and save your miserable sin-stained souls from Hell?
Astrid swung sword and shield up. " she shouted. "Rally, Dunedain! No pursuit, it could be a trick. Miniel, get back up the tree and tell me what's happening! " Her head twisted back and forth, skimming, and she was suddenly conscious of the sweat running down her flanks. One of her own was down, a black- braided girl named Sadb, clutching at a crossbow bolt in her thigh and struggling not to scream; a boy knelt and vomited, a pressure-cut on his scalp showing where he'd been clouted with something hard; a few others had hurts that ranged from slight to one that would need a few stitches.