Authors: Jacqueline Carey
Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Epic
TOR BOOKS BY JACQUELINE CAREY
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this novel are either fictitious or are used fictitiously.
2005 by Jacqueline Carey
Map by Ellisa Mitchell
A Tor Book
Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
First Edition: August 2005
Printed in the United States of America
Arahila the Fair
Satoris the Sower
Meronin the Deep
Oronin the Glad Hunter
Tanaros Blacksword—General, one of the Three
Ushahin—Dreamspinner, one of the Three
Vorax—Glutton, one of the Three
Skragdal—Fjel squadron commander
Speros—Midlander, recent arrival
Meara—madling, attendant to Cerelinde
Malthus the Counselor—Haomane's emissary
Ingolin the Wise—Lord of the Rivenlost
Cerelinde—Lady of the Ellylon
Aracus Altorus—heir to Kingdom of the West
Blaise Caveros—Aracus' second-in-command, member of Malthus' Company
Fianna—the Archer of Arduan, member of Malthus' Company
Peldras—Ellyl, member of Malthus' Company
Lorenlasse of Valmaré—Leader of the Host of the Rivenlost
Dani—Yarru, the Bearer
Thulu—Yarru, Dani's uncle and guide
Lilias—Sorceress of the East
Calandor—dragon, one of the Eldest
Calanthrag—dragon, the Eldest
Grey Dam—ruler of the Were
Now conscience wakes despair
That slumber'd,—wakes the bitter memory
Of what he was, what is, and what must be
All things converge.
In the last Great Age of the Sundered World of Urulat, which was once called Uru-Alat after the World God that gave birth to it, they began to converge upon Darkhaven.
It began with a red star rising in the west: Dergail's Soumanië, a polished stone that had once been a chip of the Souma itself—that mighty gem that rested on the sundered isle of Torath, the Eye in the Brow of Uru-Alat, source of the Shapers' power.
Satoris the Shaper took it for a warning, a message from a sister who had loved him, once upon a time; Arahila the Fair, whose children were the race of Men. His enemies took it as a declaration of war.
Whatever the truth, war ensued.
Haomane, First-Born among Shapers, long ago uttered a Prophecy.
"When the unknown is made known, when the lost weapon is found, when the marrow-fire is quenched and Godslayer is freed, when a daughter of Elterrion weds a son of Altorus, when the Spear of Light is brought forth and the Helm of Shadows is broken, the Fjeltroll shall fall, the Were shall be defeated ere they rise, and the Sunderer shall be no more, the Souma shall be restored and the Sundered World made whole and Haomane's Children shall endure."
It began with the rising of Dergail's Soumanië. Cerelinde, the Lady of the Ellylon, a daughter of Elterrion's line, plighted her troth to Aracus Altorus. It was the first step toward fulfilling Haomane's Prophecy; Arahila's Children and Haomane's conjoined, their lines inextricably mingled. But in Lindanen Dale, their nuptials were disrupted.
It was a trap; a trap that went awry. It seemed at first that all the pieces fell into place. Driven by vengeance, the Grey Dam of the Were spent her life in an attack, and the half-breed Ushahin Dreamspinner unleashed madness and illusion, under its cover. Tanaros Blacksword abducted the Lady Cerelinde and took her to Darkhaven.
Haomane's Allies were misled. Pursuing a rumor of dragons, under the command of Aracus Altorus, they raised an army and launched an assault on Beshtanag and Lilias. Sorceress of the East. And there the trap went awry. The Ways were closed, and the Army of Darkhaven was turned back, their company's leadership scattered. In Beshtanag, Haomane's Allies took to the field.
There, they prevailed.
They were not supposed to do so.
They were coming; all of them.
They came on foot and on horseback and by sailing ship, for the Ways of the Marasoumië had been destroyed. Lord Satoris had done this in his wrath. The Dragon of Beshtanag was no more, slain by the Arrow of Fire; the lost weapon, found. Bereft of her Soumanië, the Sorceress of the East was nothing more than an ordinary woman; Lilias, mortal and powerless. The Were had struck a bitter bargain with Aracus Altorus, ceding to his terms; defeated ere they rose. Aracus was coming, his heart filled with righteous fury, knowing he had been duped.
Malthus the Wise Counselor, trapped in the Ways, had vanished beyond the sight of even Godslayer itself… but rumor whispered of a new figure. The Galäinridder, the Bright Rider, whose words bred fear in the hearts of Men, inspiring them to betray their ancient oaths to Lord Satoris.
But Haomane's Allies had not won yet.
On the westernmost verge of the Unknown Desert, Tanaros Blacksword, Commander General of the Army of Darkhaven, made camp alongside a creek. There he slaked the thirst of his long-parched flesh and made ready to rally his surviving troops and set his face toward home. Immortal though he was, he could have died in the desert, Thanks to a raven's gratitude, he lived.
When he dreamed, he dreamed of the Lady Cerelinde.
On the back of a blood-bay horse, Ushahin Dreamspinner rode the pathways between waking and dreaming, plunging into the Midlands and leaving a trail of nightmares in his wake. A wedge or ravens forged his path, and on either side, a riderless horse flanked him; one a spectral grey, the other as black as coal.
If he had dreamed, which he did not, he would dream of the counsel of dragons.
Vorax the Glutton, muttering over his stores, awaited them in Darkhaven.
The immortal Three were soon to be reunited.
Haomane's Prophecy was yet to be fulfilled.
In the mighty fortress of Darkhaven, where the Lady Cerelinde endured imprisonment and fought against a rising tide of doubt, the marrow-fire yet burned. Within it hung the dagger, Godslayer; ruby-red, a Shard of the Souma. Once, it had wounded Satoris; the wound that would not heal. Godslayer alone could end a Shaper's life; the life of Lord Satoris, the life of any of the Shapers. And while the marrow-fire burned, no mortal hand could touch it. None but a Shaper would dare.