By C. J. Cherryh
First Daw Printing of paperback variation of Cuckoo's Egg through Hugo Award successful writer C. J. Cherryh
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Extra resources for Cuckoo's Egg (Alliance-Union Universe)
Thorn's stone rattled away down among brush and rock. Duun had evaded it with a fluid shift of his hip, and stood untouched. "Too late," Duun said. "You're dead. " Thorn's shoulders slumped. He bent his head in shame. Whirled and sped another rock underhand. Duun evaded that one too without more than shifting stance. Thorn did not look surprised, only exhausted. Beaten at last. Duun grinned. "Better. " The grin faded. "But your choosing this track up didn't. That was your first mistake. How did I know?
Thorn grabbed his ears, and Duun sat back, escaping the infant grip, disheveled. He had let his crest grow; it sheeted raggedly down his back and strayed now in front of his ears. He went for the throat again on hands and knees and Thorn squealed and kicked. Clawed with small fat hands, with nails which were all the defense he had. Duun laughed aloud, well-pleased. Thorn ran, ran, ran on tottering legs, out of doors, on the dusty earth where outbuildings had been; naked in the warmth of spring.
Thorn got to his feet, wobbled, and came on desperately. "I lied," said Duun. "But so did you. You could get up. " Sobs and snuffles. Wails of rage. Thorn kept walking. Duun walked with shorter strides, as if the way had gotten steeper for him as well. " Duun gave Thorn another small stone. Thorn threw. It hit a rock not so high up the cliffs as before. "Not so good. " Duun threw. It sailed up and up and struck near the top of the sheer face. The child's mouth stayed open in dismay. "That is what I can do," Duun said.