Download Terry Pratchett - Discworld 01 - The Colour of Magic PDF

TitleTerry Pratchett - Discworld 01 - The Colour of Magic
File Size535.1 KB
Total Pages159
Document Text Contents
Page 2

THE COLOUR OF MAGIC

Fire roared through the bifurcated city of
AnkhMorpork. Where it licked the Wizards' Quarter it
burned blue and green and was even laced with
strange sparks of the eighth colour, octarine; where
its outriders found their way into the vats and oil
stores all along Merchants Street it progressed in a
serieS of blazing fountainS and explosions; in the
Streets of the perfume blenders it burned with a
sweetness; where it touched bundles of rare and
dry herbs in the storerooms of the drugmasters it
made men go mad and talk to God.
By now' the whole of downtown Morpork was
alight, and the richer and worthier citizens of
Ankh on the far bank were bravely responding to
the situation by feverishly demolishing the bridges.
But already the ships in the Morpork docks - laden
with grain, cotton and timber, and coated with tar
- were blazing merrily and, their moorings burnt to
ashes, were breasting the river Ankh on the ebb
tide, igniting riverside palaces and bowers as they
drifted like drowning fireflies towards the sea. In
any case, sparks were riding the breeze and
touching down far across the river in hidden
gardens and remote rickyards. The smoke from the merry burning rose miles

high, in a wind-sculpted black column 'that could
be seen across the whole of the discworld.
It was certainly impressive from the cool, dark
hilltop a few leagues away, where two figures were
watching with considerable interest.
The taller of the pair was chewing on a chicken
leg and leaning on a sword that was only
Marginally shorter than the average man. If it wasn't for
the air of wary intelligence about him it might
have been supposed that he was a barbarian from
the hubland wastes.
His partner was much shorter and wrapped from
head to toe in a brown cloak. Later, when he has
occasion to move, it will be seen that he moves
lightly, cat-like.
The two had barely exchanged a word in the last
twenty minutes except for a short and inconclusive
argument as to whether a particularly powerful
explosion had been the oil bond store or the
workshop of Kerible the Enchanter. Money hinged
on the fact.
Now the big man finished gnawing at the bone
and tossed it into the grass, smiling ruefully.
"There go all those little alleyways,' he said. "I

liked them.'
"All the treasure houses,' said the small man. He

added thoughtfully, "Do gems burn, I wonder? 'Tis
said they're kin to coal.'
"All the gold, melting and running down the
gutters,' said the big one, ignoring him. "And all

Page 79

trees, alone. He didn't look back at the sudden
commotion behind him and, when a shadow
passed over him, merely gibbered weakly and tried
to burrow into the horse's mane.
Then, instead of the searing, piercing pain he
had expected, there was a series of stinging blows
as the terrified animal passed under the eaves of
the wood. The wizard tried to hang on but another
low branch, stouter than the others, knocked him
out of the saddle. The last thing he heard before
the flashing blue lights of unconsciousness closed
in was a high reptilian scream of frustration, and
the thrashing of talons in the treetops.

When he awoke a dragon was watching him; at
least, it was staring in his general direction.
Rincewind groaned and tried to dig his way into
the moss with his shoulderblades, then gasped as
the pain hit him.
Through the mists of agony and fear he looked
back at the dragon.
The creature was hanging from a branch of a
large dead oak tree, several hundred feet away. Its
bronze-gold wings were tightly wrapped around its
body but the long equine head turned this way and
that at the end of a remarkably prehensile neck. It
was scanning the forest.
It was also semi-tranSparent. Although the sun
glinted off its scales, Rincewind could clearly make out the outlines of the
branches behind it.
On one' of them a man was sitting, dwarfed by
the hanging reptile. He appeared to be naked
except for a pair of high boots, a tiny leather
holdall in the region of his groin, and a high-crested
helmet. He was swinging a short sword back and
forth idly, and stared out across the tree tops with
the air of one carrying out a tedious and
unglamorous aSSignment.
A beetle began to crawl laboriously up
Rincewind's leg.
The wizard wondered how much damage a
half solid dragon could do. Would it only half-kill him?
He decided not to stay and find out.
Moving on heels, fingertips and shoulder muscles,
Rincewind wriggled sideways until foliage masked
the oak and its occupants. Then he scrambled to
his feet and hared off between the trees.
He had no destination in mind, no provisions,
and no horse'. But while he still had legs he could
run. Ferns and brambles whipped at him, but he
didn't feel them at all.
When ,he had put about a mile between him and
the dragon he Stopped and collapsed against a
tree, which then spoke to him.
"PSst,' it said.
Dreading what he might see, Rincewind let his
gaze slide upwards. It tried to fasten on innocuous
bits of bark and leaf, but the scourge of curiosity
forced it to leave them behind. Finally it fixed on a
black sword thrust straight through the branch

Similer Documents