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Tales of Alvin Maker - 06 - The Crystal City by Orson Scott Card

Tales of Alvin Maker - 06 - The Crystal City by Orson Scott Card

Author:Orson Scott Card
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Tags: Fantasy
ISBN: 9780812564624
Publisher: Macmillan
Published: 2004-09-30T18:14:04+00:00


Alvin Maker 6 - The Crystal City

10

Mizzippy

ALVIN FOUND IT hard to hear the greensong in this place. It wasn’t just the disharmony of field after field of cotton tended by slaves, which droned a bitter, complaining monotone under the songs of life. It was also his own fears and worries, distracting him so he couldn’t listen to the life around him as he needed to.

Leaving Arthur in charge of all the makery that this exodus required was dangerous, not because there was any ill will in the young man, but because there was simply so much he didn’t know. Not just about makery, either, but about life, about what the consequences of each action were likely to be. Not that Alvin was any expert himself-nor was Margaret, for even she saw many paths and wasn’t sure which ones led to good places in the end. But he knew more than Arthur Stuart did simply by virtue of having lived years longer, with a watchful eye.

Worse, the actual authority in the camp was held by La Tia, and-to a lesser extent-by Dead Mary and her mother. La Tia he had only met the day before the crossing of the lake. She was a woman who was used to being more powerful than anyone around her-how would she deal with Arthur Stuart when Alvin wasn’t there to look after him? If only Alvin could see into people’s hearts. La Tia was fearless, but that could mean either that she had no guile or that she had no conscience.

And Dead Mary. It was obvious she was enamored of Arthur Stuart-the way she watched him, enjoyed his company, laughed at his wit. Of course the boy would never see that, he wasn’t used to the company of women, and since Dead Mary wasn’t a flirt or a tart, the signs would be hard for him to recognize, being so inexperienced. But what if, in Alvin’s absence, she did something to make it obvious after all? What would Arthur Stuart do, unsupervised, in the company of a woman who might be a great deal more experienced than he was?

He also had misgivings about bringing along the slaves from the plantations where they stopped along the way. But as La Tia said, when he suggested they might not want to swell their numbers: “This a march of freedom, man! Who you gonna leave behind? These folk need less freedom? Why we the chosen ones? They as much Israelites as us!”

Israelites. Of course everybody was comparing this to the exodus from Egypt, complete with the drowning of some of “Pharaoh’s” army when the bridge collapsed. The fog was the pillar of smoke. And what did that make Alvin? Moses? Not likely. But that’s how a lot of the people felt.

But not all. There was a lot of anger in this group. A lot of people who had come to hate all authority, and not just that of the Spanish or the slaveowners. The anger in Old Bart,



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