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483 pages, Paperback
First published October 28, 2006
I had all the time in the world; the life of a tree is long. I learned the arts of irrigation and aeration, of the tripartite field and the leaving of the fallow, fertilization and pruning, and the science of grafting. And all the while the pumpkin tree grew, and gave fruit, and wherever I mashed the pulp into the roots of the new trees, they would bear their own fruit all the year. The acres of mud became a forest, an orchard, the loveliest of any that ever grew, and at the center my tree that is me and me that is the tree, and we all grew together, and were happy.
The sun took my flesh away in its arms, and the moon whitened my bones to dust. I fell away from myself, into some deep well of dreaming - I remember nothing from the last gasp until I awoke, washed in gray light. The necromancer Marsili had bound me bodiless in some strange glass vial, and I watched him as the years flew by like blackbirds - sometimes he was a woman, sometimes a man, sometimes a child as he had been when he first came to me. But I learned to recognize him in each body, the upturn of the eye, the cruel crooked mouth, the gestures of his hands. I learned, and more than that. The necromancer performed many horrible things in his workshop, and I learned from him all the magic he learned from his bodies. After all, he was the only thing I saw for all those years. I had nothing to do but become a student of his every sigh and gesture.