Table of Contents
The pain of the lash. . . .
Lan had stopped thinking some time ago; now all he was doing was
. It was pure fear, and barely contained rage that consumed him, the ice of panic, the heat of anger, contending for his mind. There wasn't much room left over for thought.
He struggled to hold in the rage; somehow he felt dimly that if he couldn't keep control over it, something terrible and irrevocable would happen. But the part of him that tried to hang onto a little rational thought was also the part that
. The blinding pain of the worst headache he had ever felt without passing out entirely was slowly eroding his ability to hang onto his anger.
The pain of the lash was worse than anything Lan had ever felt. It cut right through the headache, broke his paralyzing fear, and left him with only instinct.
to get away!
He had to get away, and now!
The fear joined the anger, and together they destroyed the last of his rapidly eroding control over that overpowering rageâand the terrible thing that his rage had summoned. . . .
available from DAW Books:
THE HERALDS OF VALDEMAR
ARROWS OF THE QUEEN
THE LAST HERALD-MAGE
THE MAGE WINDS
WINDS OF FATE
WINDS OF CHANGE
WINDS OF FURY
THE MAGE STORMS
BY THE SWORD
VOWS AND HONOR
with Marion Zimmer Bradley
THE BLACK SWAN
TAKE A THIEF1
THE SERPENT'S SHADOW
PHOENIX AND ASHES1
THE GATES OF SLEEP1
THE MAGE WARS
THE BLACK GRYPHON
THE WHITE GRYPHON
THE SILVER GRYPHON
Copyright Â© 2000 by Mercedes R. Lackey.
eISBN : 978-1-101-11907-5
All Rights Reserved.
For color prints of Jody Lee's paintings, please contact:
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Interior art by Larry Dixon
DAW Book Collectors No. 1150.
DAW Books are distributed by Penguin Putnam Inc.
All characters and events in this book are fictitious.
All resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental.
First Printing, June 2001
DAW TRADEMARK REGISTERED U.S. PAT. OFF. AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES âMARCA REGISTRADA HECHO EN U.S.A.
To all the unsung heroes
who stood by
on the evening of December 31, 1999
to ensure that we crossed into the year 2000
with our safety, security, and peace intact.
OFFICIAL TIMELINE FOR THE by Mercedes Lackey
HERALDS OF VALDEMAR SERIES
Sequence of events by
AVAN Chitward hated his mother's parties at the best of times, and this one was no exception. When the Guildmaster of the Cloth Merchants' Guild beckoned to him, he unconsciously hunched his shoulders, assuming he was about to receive yet another homily on hard work, his third for this particular party.
“Here you go, lad,” the Guildmaster said, shoving a parcel at him.
Lan gaped at the squarish package in the Guildmaster's hands as the babble of partygoers rattled on around him. Words stuck in Lavan's throat, uncomfortable and sharp-edged.
Oh, gods. Now what am I supposed to say?
He was already nervous enough before this guest of his parents singled him out; this only made him more self-conscious. Lavan flushed, forehead sweating, and could only stare at the so-called “present” that middle-aged, red-faced Guildmaster Howell was holding out to him, and tried to think of a response. Any response. Well, maybe not
response; if he said what he really thought, his father would skin him.
“Uhâthis isâyou really shouldn't have gone to so much trouble, Guildmaster,” he managed, his stomach churning, as the older man thrust the package at him with hands from which traces of dye would never disappear as long as he lived. The skin was faintly blue, but the nail bed was indigo, giving Lan the unsettling impression he was taking a package from a corpse. The Guildmaster shoved the packet into Lavan's reluctant fingers and let it go, forcing Lan to take it or let it fall. And much as he would have liked to let it fall, he knew that he would never hear the end of it if he did. He fumbled for it and tried not to show how little he wanted it.
His hands closed around it convulsively, and the cloth package fell open, revealing a set of cloth-merchant's tools. There was a lens for examining fabric closely, a rule to determine thread count, a small pair of scissors, other thingsâexactly what he'd dreaded seeing.