He knew nothing about the local torture methods, and he wanted to keep it that way. "Proof is easy, Hertug of all the Perssonoj, because I know everything about everything. I can build machines that walk, that talk, that run, fly, swim, bark like a dog and roll on their backs." "You will build a caroj for me?" "It could be arranged, if you have the right kind of tools I could use.

"He is Hertug of the Perssonoj. I have fought for the Perssonoj and they knew me and I saw the Hertug himself and he believed me. The Perssonoj are very powerful in Appsala and have many powerful secrets, but not as powerful as the Trozelligoj who have the secret of the caroj and the jetilo. I knew I could ask any price of the Perssonoj if I brought them the secret of the caroj. And I will."

The room emptied and the handful of men who remained were all a little long in the tooth and each wore a brazen, sun-burst type decoration on his chest. They were undoubtedly adept in the secret electrical arts and they fingered their weapons and grumbled with unconcealed anger at Jason's forbidden knowledge. The Hertug signaled him to continue. "You used a sacred word. Who told it to you?

"We are your slaves, Hertug, we are your slaves," everyone in the room shouted in unison, waving their hands in the air at the same time. Jason missed the first chorus, but came in on the second. Only Mikah did not join in the chant-and-wave, speaking instead in a solitary voice after the pledge of allegiance was completed. "I am no man's slave."

The man on the throne, undoubtedly the Hertug Persson, sported a magnificent white beard and shoulder length hair, his nose was round and red, his eyes blue and watery. He nibbled at a krenoj impaled delicately on a two-tined iron fork. "Tell me," the Hertug shouted suddenly, "why you should not be killed at once?"

"It sounds like your gang has the monopoly on electricity, which is good to hear. If you have some heavy forging equipment...." "Stop!" the Hertug ordered. "Leave! Out everyone except the sciuloj. Not the new slave, he stays here," he shouted when the soldiers grabbed Jason.

They notched their arrows and waited with alert patience, staying well clear of the smoking ruins of the caroj, until Snarbi finally staggered up half supported by two other runners. "You now belong to ... the Hertug Persson ... and are his slaves.... What happened to the caroj?" He screamed this last when he spotted the smoking wreck and would have collapsed except for the sustaining arms.

"He is the one who built the devil-wagon and knows all of its secrets. Hertug Persson will torture him to build another." Jason wiped his fingers on the grass and reluctantly stood. "All right gentlemen, let's go. And on the way perhaps someone can tell me just who Hertug Persson is and what is going to happen next." "I'll tell you," Snarbi bragged as they started the march.

"Not around the Perssonoj," the Hertug said scornfully and thumped his chest. "We can talk across the width of the country and always know where our enemies are. We can send magic on wires to kill, or magic to make light in a glass ball or magic that will pluck the sword from an enemy's hand and drive terror into his heart."

His arm was growing tired by the time the old guard in the other room found something heavy enough to swing and broke the door down. Jason stopped tapping and turned to face the apoplectic Hertug, rubbing his tired wrist. "Your equipment works fine, though it could use a lot of improvements." "Kill him.... Kill!" the Hertug sputtered.