It’s all very well to put the government in the hands of the perfect man, but what do you do when the perfect man gets a bellyache?
What was that?” Belgarath asked, coming back around the corner.”Brill,” Silk replied blandly, pulling his Murgo robe back on.”Again?” Belgarath demanded with exasperation. “What was he doing this time?””Trying to fly, last time I saw him.” Silk smirked.The old man looked puzzled.”He wasn’t doing it very well,” Silk added.Belgarath shrugged. “Maybe it’ll come to him in time.””He doesn’t really have all that much time.” Silk glanced out over the edge.”From far below – terribly far below – there came a faint, muffled crash; then, after several seconds, another. “Does bouncing count?” Silk asked.Belgarath made a wry face. “Not really.””Then I’d say he didn’t learn in time.” Silk said blithely.
Zakath stared at the floor. ‘I suddenly feel very helpless,’ he admitted, ‘and I don’t like the feeling. I’ve been rather effectively dethroned, you know. This morning I was the Emperor of the largest nation on earth; this afternoon, I’m going to be a vagabond.’You might find it refreshing,’ Silk told him lightly.Shut up, Kheldar,’ Zakath said almost absently. He looked back at Polgara. ‘You know something rather peculiar?’What’s that?’Even if I hadn’t given my word, I’d still have to go to Kell. It’s almost like a compulsion. I feel as if I’m being driven, and my driver is a blindfolded girl who’s hardly more than a child.’There are rewards,’ she told him.Such as what?’Who knows? Happiness, perhaps.’He laughed ironically. ‘Happiness has never been a driving ambition of mine, Lady Polgara, not for a long time now.’You may have to accept it anyway,’ She smiled. ‘We aren’t allowed to choose our rewards any more than we are our tasks. Those decisions are made for us.
Garion,’ she said very calmly, ‘the universe knew your name before that moon up there was spun out of the emptiness. Whole constellations have been waiting for you since the beginning of time.’I didn’t want them to, Aunt Pol.’There are those of us who aren’t given that option, Garion. There are things that gave to be done and certain people who have to do them. It’s as simple as that.’He smiled rather sadly at her flawless face and gently touched the snowy white lock at her brow. Then, for the last time in his life, he asked the question that had been on his lips since he was a tiny boy. ‘Why me, Aunt Pol? Why me?’Can you possibly think of anyone else you’d trust to deal with these matters, Garion?’He had not really been prepared for that question. It came at him in stark simplicity. Now at last he fully understood. ‘No,’ he sighed, ‘I suppose not. Somehow it seems a little unfair, though. I wasn’t even consulted.’Neither was I, Garion,’ she answered. ‘But we didn’t have to be consulted, did we? The knowledge of what we have to do is born into us.
We’re living in momentous times, Garion. The events of a thousand years and more have all focused on these very days. The world, I’m told, is like that. Centuries pass when nothing happens, and then in a few short years events of such tremendous importance take place that the world is never the same again.” I think that if I had my choice, I’d prefer one of those quiet centuries,” Garion said glumly. Oh, no,” Silk said, his lips drawing back in a ferretlike grin. “Now’s the time to be alive – to see it all happen, to be a part of it. That makes the blood race, and each breath is an adventure.