|Chapter 4: Siege|
"We are all maddened, Loerya. We must endure."
"How endure? Without hope--? High Lord, it were better if I had not borne children."
Gently, quietly, Mhoram answered a different question. "We cannot march out to fight this evil. If we leave these walls, we are ended. There is no other hold for us. We must endure."
In a voice suffused with weeping, Loerya said, "High Lord, summon the Unbeliever."
"Ah, sister Loerya--that I cannot do. You know I cannot. You know that I chose rightly when I released Thomas Covenant to the demands of his own world. Whatever other follies have twisted the true course of my life, that choice was not folly."
"Mhoram!" she beseeched thickly.
"No. Loerya, think what you ask. The Unbeliever desired to save a life in his world. But time moves in other ways there. Seven and forty years have passed since he came first to Revelstone, yet in that time he has not aged even three cycles of the moon. Perhaps only moments have gone by for him since his last summoning. If he were called again now, perhaps he would still be prevented from saving the young child who needs him."
At the mention of a child, sudden anger twisted Loerya's face. "Summon him!" she hissed. "What are his nameless children to me? By the Seven, Mhoram! Summon--!"
"No." Mhoram interrupted her, but his voice did not lose its gentleness. "I will not. He must have the freedom of his own fate--it is his right. We have no right to take it from him--no, even the Land's utterest need does not justify such an act. He holds the white gold. Let him come to the Land if he wills. I will not gainsay the one true bravery of my unwise life."