He rolled down behind the rock and worked the bolt back and forth. It was hot, and the blood that had flowed freely over it from the scalp wound was drying and making the mechanism stiff. He spat on it carefully, and it loosened.
This time she asked where she could find a Scholar who knew about Dust. The answer she got was simple: it directed her to a certain room in the tall square building behind her. In fact, the answer was so straightforward, and came so abruptly, that Lyra was sure the alethiometer had more to say: she was beginning to sense now that it had moods, like a person, and to know when it wanted to tell her more.
There weren't many. As he'd thought, they were letters, written on airmail paper in black ink. These very marks were made by the hand of the man he wanted so much to find; he moved his fingers over and over them, and pressed them to his face, trying to get closer to the essence of his father. Then he started to read.
A light came on in the room. He heard Sir Charles speaking to the servant, dismissing him, coming into the study, closing the door.
"Moving to and fro, waving his hand about. Or as if he was fighting something invisibleâ€¦ I just saw him through an open door. Not clearly."
"Who are you?" Will said. "Are you men, orâ€”"
"And he laughed and gnawed the stinking old bone they'd brought to him, and the others all shrieked with glee."