Dark Piper by Andre Norton

By Andre Norton

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I suspected from the first. ” Again he nodded. And the arm I held about Dagny tightened until she stirred and gave a soft cry, which was part moan. If Lugard had had warning of attack, then he had deliberately brought us here because — He might have been reading my thoughts. “Because this is the safest place on Beltane—or in Beltane—here and now. I told you we opened passages for shelters here before the war. I’ve been reopening those. If I had had more time, if those poor benighted fools of the Committee had only believed me—we could all have been unharmed.

Perhaps we could cut blankets into strips to serve. The climb up the ledges pulling the frame with me was a struggle that left me panting and ready to take a long rest when I at last reached the top. Only there was no time for that now At last I dragged it behind me, changing hands time and time again as my fingers cramped about the end rod. It scraped and banged along the rock, making enough din to give one an aching head. I had to stop again and again to flex my fingers free of cramp lest I lose the use of my hands.

At his order the two younger boys began to pull lengths from beneath their tunics. What they had when they spread it on the floor was no conventional rope that could be trimmed or broken, but strands of tungfors—the same alloy that was used to coat rocket tubes. These had been fashioned as chains, and there were hooks of the same durable metal at either end “Found ’em in the supplies we had to dump,” Thad reported. ” I could not have done better had I been able to pick and choose from a variety of equipment, and I said so as we laid them straight.

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