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Forbidden Magic: The Godwars Book 1 Miękka oprawa – 1 maja 1992

4,8 z 5 gwiazdek Liczba ocen: 8

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Opis produktu

O autorze

Angus Wells was born in a small village in Kent, England. He worked as a publicist and as a science fiction and fantasy editor before becoming a full-time author. His works include The Books of the Kingdoms (Wrath of Ashar, The Usurper, The Way Beneath), The Godwars (Forbidden Magic, Dark Magic, Wild Magic), the standalone novel Lords of the Sky, and the two-book Exiles Saga: Exile’s Children and Exile’s Challenge. Angus Wells died in 2006.

Fragment książki opublikowany za zgodą wydawcy. Wszelkie prawa zastrzeżone.

BYLATH DEN KARYNTH, Domm of Secca, Lord of the Eastern Reaches and Chosen of Dera, stared moodily from the embrasure, his expression saturnine, as if the breeze that skirled about the palace walls enhanced his naturally dour temperament. Fingers calloused by a sword’s hilt tugged at his leonine beard, the yellow streaked with grey now, like his hair, and fell in a fist to the stone of the sill. Below him, on the sanded practice ground, his sons worked under the vigilant eye of Secca’s weaponsmaster, Torvah Banul, the younger the object of the Domm’s dissatisfaction. He grunted, nodding, as Tobias parried a cut of Torvah’s, riposting to land his blunted blade neatly against the older man’s ribs, eliciting a smile of approval from his father: Tobias was cut from the same cloth; the den Karynth blood ran true in his veins.
Of Calandryll, the Domm was less sure. It seemed too often the boy was of stranger stock—though Bylath had no doubt he sprang from the same seed—as though he were a throwback or a changeling, for all he bore the characteristic yellow hair of the den Karynth line, his body beneath the heavy padding of the protective gambeson muscular and tall like his father and brother. It was in his attitude rather than in any physical differences; it was obvious as Torvah turned toward him, gesturing with his sword. Where Tobias sprang eagerly to battle, evincing a ready joy in such manly arts, Calandryll was lackadaisical, negligent; Bylath sighed as the word effete entered his thoughts. He was skilled enough with the blade, but he showed no enjoyment of its use, no will to win. He answered Torvah’s probing attack with a halfhearted parry that left his flank open to a thrust, avoiding that only by dint of agile footwork, then awaiting Torvah, rather than taking the fight to the weaponsmaster. It seemed the aggression that was so much a part of Bylath’s nature had entered Tobias alone, leaving none to spare for Calandryll. Bylath’s hands clenched in angry fists as he watched. If Calandryll only showed the application he devoted to books on the practice ground; if he only spent the time he gave to useless scholarship learning the arts of governance, there might be hope for him. But he showed no interest in the duties of his bloodline: had he not informed Bylath only yesterday that his dearest wish was to be left alone with his books? That he preferred the palace archives to the practice sand? The Domm ground his beard between his teeth, a decision forming. Such bookish ways were suitable to philosophers or pedagogues, not to one of High Blood.
He turned from the window, drawing his robe tighter about him as he stalked the balcony, Torvah’s admonitory shout ringing like confirmation in his ears.
“Dera’s love, Calandryll! You hold a blade, not a book!”
He strode to where the balcony descended in a winding stairway to the lower levels of the palace, his expression sending servants scurrying from his path, straightening the rigid backs of the guardsmen stationed along the corridors, and came to a door of black wood, inscribed with arcane symbols of scarlet and green. Thrusting it open he paused, eyes narrowing in the dim light cast by nine smoking torches set in sconces of black metal about the walls of the windowless chamber, their effluvium pinching his nostrils, the flickering shadows they cast seeming to hide things Setter unseen. At the center of the room a man looked up from behind a dusty table on which rested several skulls, the mummified remains of a blind cat, and a jar containing the tiny corpse of a stillborn child. He was small and bald, his eyes birdlike above a wart-infested nose, blinking nervously as he rose to greet the Domm.
“Lord Bylath? You seek an augury?”
Bylath grunted an affirmative, wondering if the paraphernalia displayed was necessary, or merely artifice.
The man came from behind the table, scuttling to close the door, his black robe flapping, prompting Bylath to think of spiders, or carrion birds. For all that he was Domm of Secca, and consequently ruler of the most powerful city in all eastern Lysse, he felt uncomfortable in the presence of the necromancer.
“I have made a decision regarding my sons, Gomus,” he declared. “I would have it confirmed.”
Gomus nodded, dragging a stool from the darkness; sweeping a sleeve across its surface. Bylath glanced at the proffered seat with a look of distaste and settled himself. Gomus moved to the far side of the table and studied the Domm across the piled skulls.
“And it is?” he asked, his voice papery as his yellowed skin, as though neither had seen day’s light in too long a time.
“Tobias must inherit,” Bylath said. “That’s obvious. I would make Calandryll a priest.”
“A priest?” Gomus murmured. “He will not welcome such office. The priests of Dera have no time for books.”
“What he wants has nothing to do with this,” snapped the Domm. “Did he show more aptitude for the blade I’d send him to Forshold; but he’s no soldier.”
“No,” agreed the necromancer diplomatically.
“And there’s no room in the palace for a scholar-prince,” Bylath continued, seeming unaware of the brief interruption, “his presence would threaten Tobias—there are families enough would see the den Karynth brought down. I’d not give them a puppet to use against my announced heir.”
“Surely Calandryll would never lend himself to such treachery,” Gomus murmured. “He’s bookish, yes; but never a traitor.”
The Domm made an angry gesture, the movement causing something skulking in the shadows to hiss. “Not willingly,” he agreed, “but his head’s so firmly in the clouds he’d likely find himself used unwittingly.”
“I think you underestimate him,” Gomus ventured.
Bylath snorted; the necromancer smiled deprecatorily.
“And for all he’s a milksop, I’d not see him slain,” the Domm went on. “There’s little love lost between him and his brother, and should Tobias consider him a threat he’d not hesitate to use the Chaipaku.”
“No,” Gomus murmured, nodding vigorously.
“As a priest he’d be no threat,” Bylath said. “As a priest he must renounce all worldy ties.”
“Including his books,” Gomus said; then frowned. “What of marriage, Lord Bylath? Does he not entertain hopes in that direction?”
“He makes cow’s eyes at Nadama den Ecvin. But that’s no more than puppy love, and I’ve other plans for that maiden—Tobias favors her and she returns his affection. I’d see them wed and bind the den Ecvins to the den Karynth.”
“A wise move,” Gomus complimented. Bylath grunted, fleshy lips twisting in a sour smile.
“Wise moves secure bloodlines, sage. With the den Ecvins joined by marriage, Tobias will stand inviolate.”
“And you would have me cast an augury on this?” Gomus asked.
“I’d know where the spirits stand,” Bylath nodded.
“Your wish,” Gomus simpered, “is my command.”
“Yes,” said Bylath, wiping at eyes rendered tearful by the pungent smoke.
He watched as the necromancer busied himself with the tools of his occult trade, rising to bring a stubby candle of nigrescent wax from a shelf, a phial of dull green jade from a locked trunk, a stick of scarlet chalk from a drawer. He cleared a space on the cluttered table and selected a bleached skull, surrounding it with a chalk circle, inscribing symbols in a minute hand around the circumference, another, thicker, circle to contain them. Unstoppering the phial, he took a pinch of yellow powder that he sprinkled between the fleshless jaws, into the sockets of the eyes. He set the candle atop the cranium and lit a taper from a torch, using it to light the candle.
Pale greenish light flickered and Gomus passed his hands through the flame, murmuring softly. The candle began to melt, glistening ebony wax dripping over the bone. As it touched the eye sockets and the jaw, they glowed a dull red, as though fire burned within the empty cranium.
“The Lord Bylath, Domm of Secca, asks for guidance,” the necromancer intoned. “Do you who are dead hear him?”
“I hear him.”
The answer was the beat of sullen waves on a forsaken shore; a cold wind rustling the leafless branches of a withered tree. Bylath shivered; suddenly cold.
“Ask,” Gomus advised.
Bylath cleared his throat: familiarity with the forms of necromancy did nothing to render the asking easy.
“I would see my elder son, Tobias den Karynth, secure,” he said hoarsely. “I would marry him to Nadama den Ecvin.”
“He shall wed Nadama den Ecvin; he shall be Domm of Secca after you.”
The voice was everywhere and nowhere. Bylath heard it in the pulsing of his blood and the pounding of his heart, rather than through his ears. It seemed to reverberate in the tissue of his flesh; he shuddered.
“And I would make my younger son, Calandryll, a priest,” he said.
“Calandryll shall serve Dera.”
The timber of the voice shifted: Bylath wondered if he heard dry laughter.
“He will offer no threat to Tobias?”
“Tobias shall inherit what you leave,” came the whispery answer. “Calandryll shall not contest him.”
Bylath realized that, despite the chill he felt, he sweated. “My thanks,” he said.
“I was summoned—I had no choice but to answer. I have no choice save truth—I tell you what you want to hear.”
The stub of candle liquefied, black wax coating the skull. The wick flickered and went out; the red light behind the eye sockets died; the voice trailed into silence. Bylath shook himself.
“That last,” he murmured. “What did that mean?”
The necromancer shrugged.
“The dead are enigmatic.”
“But it was the truth?”
Gomus nodded.
“As you heard—the dead have no choice save truth.”
“Then I am confirmed.” Bylath rose; anxious to be gone now. “Tobias shall inherit and Calandryll shall be a priest. My thanks, Gomus.”
“I exist only to serve,” murmured the necromancer, smiling obsequiously as Bylath hurried from his red-lit chamber.

Szczegóły produktu

  • Wydawca ‏ : ‎ Bantam (1 maja 1992)
  • Język ‏ : ‎ Angielski
  • Miękka oprawa ‏ : ‎ 480 str.
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0553762753
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0553762754
  • Wymiary ‏ : ‎ 13.97 x 2.54 x 21.59 cm
  • Recenzje klientów:
    4,8 z 5 gwiazdek Liczba ocen: 8

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