The Warlock Rock
not?" Cordelia said, with sympathy. "Yet rejoice—thy pate's not broke, though 'twas a hard hoof that felled thee."
    Arachne rolled her head to peer at the great black horse, who was cropping grass for appearance's sake. "Whence came that beast?"
    "He was by us throughout. Thou wouldst have seen him an thou hadst paid heed," Geoffrey sneered. Arachne turned her head to glare at him.
    Behind her, Gregory said, "There is no sense of greater room within mine head, nor any sign that she doth hear our thoughts."
    Arachne's gaze darted up; she craned her neck, trying to see. "What creature is that, which doth speak of hearing thoughts?"
    " 'Tis but a small warlock," Cordelia soothed, "my brother."
    "Thy brother!" Arachne stared, horrified. "Then thou art…"
    "A witch." Cordelia nodded. "And thou, we find, art not. Whence, then, didst thou gain the dancing shoes?"
    "I have told thee—I found them by a music-rock." White showed all around Arachne's eyes, and Geoffrey nodded, satisfied. She is too much affrighted to speak falsely . She is terrified, Cordelia thought, rebuking; and aloud, "How didst thou learn their power?"
    "Why, I put them on, and began to dance."
    Cordelia glanced at Arachne's large feet. "How couldst thou pull on shoes so small?" Page 61
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    Arachne reddened, embarrassed, but Gregory said, "I doubt me not an they fit their size to the wearer." Arachne's eyes rolled up again in fear.
    Cordelia nodded. " 'Tis of a piece with their magic. Yet how didst thou take them off?"
    "Why, I tired, and fell," Arachne said, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.
    "She hath not the endurance of youth, I wot," Geoffrey said grimly. "And thou didst then think to use them to trap maidens?"
    "Well, young lasses, at least." The old woman frowned. "Such a one came by, donned the shoes, and capered right merrily. When she began to tire, I flung my net and caught her."
    "Wherefore? Didst thou know this cave-dwelling gentleman already?"
    "Aye, for I'd seen him about of nights, gaunt in the moonlight." Cordelia wondered what the woman had been doing out in the woods at night. Belike she did seek to learn magic, Magnus's thought answered her, and, failing, is the more in awe of we who have it .
    The more sin that we are so young, Gregory agreed.
    "And what had this proud gentleman done, to make thee think he would buy a girl?"
    "Why, for that I saw him stalk a lass who dallied in a clearing, to meet a lover. He fell upon her and carried her away to his cave—and thus I learned where he dwelled." Cordelia felt a chill envelop her back. What manner of man was this, who went out hunting maidens by night?
    ' Tis an evil one, certainly. Geoffrey's thoughts were grim. He will also be twisted and warped in his soul, I doubt not .
    We must rid the forest of him, Magnus agreed.
    "What did he to the lass?" Cordelia demanded.
    "Naught of great harm that I could see," Arachne answered, "for I went to look the next day, and saw her sitting by the cave-mouth; yet she was drawn and pale."
    "And did not seek to escape?" Magnus frowned.
    "Nay—so he could not greatly have hurt her, could he?"
    "Either that, or he hurt her vastly, yet in her soul, not her body," Magnus said gravely. "What, monster!
    Thou hast seen what he hath done, and yet thou didst sell a young lass to him?"
    "Aye." Arachne's jaw jutted out. "For I saw no great harm, seest thou, and he paid me in gold." Page 62
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    "And gold is worth the vitality of a lass?" Geoffrey spat. "Nay, then! Let us sell thee to the headsman, and take gold for thy pate!"
    Arachne's eyes widened in alarm.
    "She doth know she hath done wrongly," Gregory pointed out.
    "She doth that." Magnus frowned, bending over to glare down at the harridan. "Where lieth his cave, hag?"
    "Why, to the west and north, hard by the dark pool before the cliffs,"

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