'Great Lady, my poor mother is tired. Her old bones ache. I beseech you. Let me
take up her burden. Enter into me as you did to her. Let me serve you as she has
She gazed into the pool as if searching for a sign. A long time passed. Then a
full moon rose. Its silvery rays struck the pool and a swirling vortex of white water
sped towards her.
'Holy Mother. I am honoured by your trust.'
She bared her breasts.
'I, Adrina of the House of Cronwyn, make this pledge: I dedicate my life to you and
I shall serve you well.'
Her dark eyes flashed.
'But I cannot serve you alone. I need a champion. Send me one, Great Lady.
Send me a man skilled in the arts of war.'
Her eyes glazed over.
'But do not send a dull man. Send a cunning man. A wild and fearless man who
will excite our deepest passions and put the plans of your scheming enemies to
19 June. Beside a muddy pond near Cheltenham, England, Realm beyond the
Tom laid out the coaxial cable, taking care to follow the contours of the land. He
was a big man by any standards and carried his weight well. A slimmer, older man
stood nearby. Every few moments he glanced anxiously towards the road.
'There are people up by the gate.'
'Relax, Colin.' Tom looked unperturbed. 'There are always people watching. It's
the price you pay for being on TV. Stop worrying. They don't know what we're
Colin fidgeted awkwardly.
'You know what I think about this whole operation. It's totally illegal. There are
strict protocols on experimentation with live animals. You should see the guidelines
that Brussels puts out.'
'Stop worrying.' Tom stood up. 'They're just a bunch of bureaucrats.'
He went to a van and returned with a wicker basket, which he set down on the
grass beside a computer. A cat peered out. The animal's head was shaven and
electrical wires protruded from a plate attached to its skull. He connected one end of
the cable to the cat and the other to the computer. Lights flashed and the animal
He turned to Colin.
'Our little friend seems to be enjoying it.'
'That's not the point. The law doesn't care what the cat thinks.'
Tom stroked the cat. 'If Galileo had worried about the law, he'd have been too
scared to observe the moons of Jupiter and we'd still thi nk the sun moved around the
'It's more complex than that,' Colin continued to fret. 'We could be accused of
black magic. Think what that would do to our reputations.'
'I wasn't accused of black magic when I used divining rods.'