By Carol Berg
Everybody in Navronne looks after Valen. there's the fanatical Harrower priestess, Sila Diaglou, who desires to raze the dominion. The Bastard Prince Osriel, who steals lifeless men's eyes. And the Pureblood Registry, made up our minds to maintain each pureblood sorcerer in thrall. Even beings out of fable, the Danae guardians, whose dancing nurtures the earth and whose consciousness may possibly turn out the most expensive of all.
As Navronne sinks deeper into civil battle and threatening wintry weather, Valen reveals himself a bargaining chip in a dangerous standoff. Doomed to insanity by way of his dependancy to the doulon, and certain by way of oaths he refuses to desert, the younger sorcerer dangers physique and soul to rescue one baby, search justice for one other, and produce the sick land its righteous king. but not anyone is who they appear, and Valen's look for therapeutic grace leads him from Harrower dungeons to the very center of the area. within the twilight of a legend, he at final discovers the not easy fact of the arrival darkish age and the wonderful, poor expense of the land's redemption...and his own.
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His finger pointed to the dark pool. "These evils are the gifting of Eodward to those who sheltered him. Begone! " He strode toward the ice-clad wall, but before he reached it, he vanished in a ripple of air and light. Never had I stood in a place so unforgiving, so empty. Gram might have been frozen into the wall. I gave him a nudge, and we abandoned the grotto. Halfway down the dark passage, a spasm of coughing caused Gram to stumble and skid on the ice. I grabbed his arm and steadied him. "You should come back to the abbey with us, Gram.
For good or ill, lord, the witnesses to my birth are beyond your inquiries. Indeed, they are more a part of your own history than mine. " Though forced to parrot the facts and validation of my lineage since I could speak, I'd never considered them at all interesting. The prince settled back in his chair and did not move. Thinking, surely. Watching, too. The velvet hood might mask his own face, but I did not believe it obscured anything he wished to look on. Rather than squirm under his scrutiny, I stared back at him.
Red hair twined with yellow flowers curled over one shoulder. Patterns of blue light scribed his skin--a sapphire heron on his back, vines and flowers the color of mountain sky on his powerful limbs, a spray of reeds drawn in azure and lapis along one thigh and hip. The Dane lifted his head, and a single anguished cry tore through him--echoing from the ice-clad walls, resonating in my bones. And then, stretching his arms to the heavens, he rose on his bare toes and whipped one leg around so that he spun in place.