Shadow pressed herself flat against the
slate roof, watching through a chink in the gutter as the bloodcat
sightless eyes indifferent to the rain-clouded midday darkness, the
wine-colored beast scoured the alley, from time to time lifting its
wedge-shaped head to sniff the air. This was a larger one than most, its
shoulders perhaps as high as her hips. Its raspy breathing echoed from
the stones, the reverberations probing each rough crevice and contour.
this, she reflected bitterly, and the Radiants had spotted her before
she could steal the keys to the prison that held Nle. In trying to
rescue her friend, she had revealed her existence, when after all these
years the Radiant leader, Haldn, must have thought her dead.
Haldn surely wanted her dead. This ancient land could not belong to them
both. While Shadow lived, however degraded and hunted, she would never
forget that she sprang from the old race of her mother and, on her
father's side, from the Radiants who had overpowered and banished them.
But her thoughts now must be of
finding refuge, the only one possible at this moment—the Den of Ashi.
Packed with the dregs of Ad-Omaq, it was dangerous, especially for one
who had no friends. And she'd had none since the capture of Dorf and Nle.
But there she might at least have a chance of survival.
Shadow, the three hooded Radiants clustered to one side, murmuring the
chant of light-giving to clear the clouded eyes of the bloodcat. Shadow
had never seen this done before, yet she knew from the cat's sudden
rigidity the exact moment when the vision came, and followed from its
movements how its sight flickered and beat against the darkness.
Worshipers of the light, masters of its many forms, the Radiants
couldn't see its power to confuse. There was a saying in the streets
of Ad-Omaq: When the bloodcat sees, it is most
blind. Apparently the Radiants had never heard
that bit of underworld wisdom.
adage proved true. Distracted by its newfound vision, the bloodcat
failed to note the whisper of cloth-bound feet as Shadow slunk across
edge of rain knifed through her thin ankle-tied robe as she skimmed down
a drainpipe. The storm was a bit of good fortune. Even a ring-babble
knew bloodcats couldn't sense in a downpour. It bought time for her to
seek the Den.
it might also drive the Radiants to use the full-light, splashing
illumination over the filthy sneakways of Ad-Omaq like white paint on a
grave. She must find a hiding place before then.
skittered across a rubbish-strewn square, one like a thousand others in
this maze of a city. In the rain, the dirt was already churning to mud
and writhing with lyworms in search of rotting carrion. Filth splattered
against her coarse garments.
the tattered scarf tighter over the small horns that marked her as an
outlaw of the old race, she merged into a corner and sent her mind
flicking over the backways of the city. She'd spent the past dozen years
dodging and thieving in this dark walled tangle, and knew it well. But
sometimes stones shifted in the murk, and cracks opened and closed in
the gutters, not always by chance.
way to the Den of Ashi was forever shifting, and it would take all
Shadow's city-sense to find it now. And all her courage.
was not a place she would willingly go to under normal circumstances.
The Den was home to the fugitives of the city, the robber-murderers,
those whoremasters stupid enough to have enslaved Highborn women, and
horned people of the old race, condemned because the Radiants feared
they might have inherited unpredictable powers. The putrid charm of the
place lay in its secrecy, sprawling tuberlike deep beneath the Citadel
itself. They joked in that asylum that it was the only place in the city
from which one must travel upward to reach the Radiants' dungeons.
in the most rotten stench-hole in the city, Shadow might find a perverse
kind of safety. It was too dangerous to leave the city; and she must
reach Nle before he could be handed over to the grayvers as tribute.
settled her pack against her shoulders, which were accustomed to the
weight of always carrying her few possessions with her. At least the
rain was slacking. Shadow scanned the streetstones for some
newly devised crack that might open into the abandoned sewers, which
led to the Den of Ashi.
absorbed was she in her seeking, Shadow almost walked directly into an
squat, heavy-jowled guard and the small, sharp-featured girl gaped at
each other for a moment. Shadow choked back her panic. He might not
recognize her as a fugitive; in the dark, she looked much like any
other girl. She nodded indifferently, as though she had nothing to fear,
and started past.
eyed her pack. "Got your house with you, eh?"
homeless were subject to enslavement, so Shadow shook her head.
"Odds and ends for juggling." She touched the knife hidden
within her robe. She would not spill blood without good reason, but she
would waste no pity on an Enforcer, either. Not when she'd seen the
pleasure they took in tormenting the peasants who crowded into the
city, desperate to escape the ghouls.
was peering too closely at her eyes. She executed a ragged cartwheel
sideways, wishing she'd spent more time practicing the tricks Nle had
acrobat? That doesn't prove anything." He confronted her again, his
grin oily with appetite. "A street-sleeper, I'll bet. Make you a
deal, girl. Give me my pleasure, and I might let you go afterward."
reached for her and Shadow jerked away angrily. At that moment the
full-light came, the brilliant glare slashing through the streets of
Ad-Omaq, opening up the city as a man might turn out his pockets.
Revealing the glint of yellow in her eyes that should belong only to a
The Enforcer grabbed for her, careless,
fooled by her size and youth. "Something strange about you."
quick, practiced thrust and his words ended in a death gurgle. Shadow
jerked out the thin blade and replaced it in her belt. At another time,
she would have searched the man for his Radiant-made light-weapons, but
not with the city shining like midsummer.
voices rasped overhead. Heavy cloths lifted from window openings. Rarely
now did the ordinary people venture out except from necessity, but this
phenomenon drew them past their caution. As the Radiants had planned,
the city was full of eyes and ears.
her breath coming hard, Shadow tried one street, then another; she knew
each intimately, but there was no predicting where a gap might open in
the pavement. A woman leaned out overhead, loudly demanding to know what
Shadow was doing, the shrill voice echoing until there was no telling
who might notice.
had to find the way, and quickly. Shadow closed her eyes against the
light, summoning. This was her small trick, one even the Radiants didn't
know, but one she used sparingly, for it drained her strength.
an effort, she found a vision of the route. Opening her eyes and
battling shakiness, Shadow dragged herself down the street and around a
corner. The alley broke off as she'd foreseen and at the end, by the
crumbling foundation of an old wall, she spied a gap barely wide enough
for her slender body. Those who lived their lives in the Den of Ashi did
not make it easy for visitors to find them.
dimness of the ancient sewers seemed soothingly cool to Shadow's eyes
after the full-light. She
stumbled, panting, and nearly lost her balance. It was always wearying
to use her special talent. There hadn't been much need for the clarity
until now, except sometimes to spy weapons on one who claimed to be a
mother, Mera, had said the clarity might develop as Shadow grew, might
strengthen with use into something deep and many-faceted. She had said
more, much of which Shadow scarcely remembered; that gifts grew best
nearest their source, and that the old race had sprung from the
mountains where Shadow was born. But here in the city, skill with a
knife meant more than all the old talents combined.
took a deep breath. She must not linger near the surface, where the cat
might smell her blood. Folding her scarf away, she slogged forward
through the foul air. Although the sewers were no longer used since
neglect had allowed the grates to clog, they trickled with runoff from
the rain, and here and there a munt or a ring-babble had crawled inside
and died. As her eyes adjusted to the faint glow seeping in, Shadow saw
one furred munt-shape stir as if alive, but from the odd, rough
movements she knew it was only a pack of lyworms, fighting over their
picked her way carefully. The downward angle, the wetness and the lack
of handholds made the going slippery, and the scant illumination faded
to almost nothing. Yet she dared not weaken herself further by using the
clarity again. Shadow checked the hilt of her knife, assuring herself
that it was still in place. It would be little use, though, against anyone
less bungling than that Enforcer.
the Radiants guess she had entered the sewers? Nle had taught her that
they and their Enforcers ignored the ancient slopways.
But this time could be different. She was not an ordinary fugitive.
into Shadow's memory was the bitter triumph in Hakin's eyes at the
execution of the horned woman Mera, nearly twelve years before. The
victim had stood proudly erect, refusing to weep as the Radiants
scorched her with their light. But Shadow had wept, a child alone,
longing for the wise edge of Mera's voice and the healing touch of her
work-roughened hands. Even now, the remembered pain clouded her eyes.
her shoulders against the weight of the pack, she brushed one hand
against the top of her head in an instinctive gesture for good luck. Her
horns were small ones, easily hidden beneath the scarf.
of the old race were feared and hated for their unpredictable powers and
their refusal to concede the Radiants' supremacy. Her mother's blood
in her alone would have made her despised, even had she not inherited
the yellow eyes of her lather, Taav.
had been the leader of the Radiants, the highest of the adepts. How
furious Hakin must have been to learn that her husband had betrayed her
with a horned woman and fathered a bastard, a half-sister and potential
rival to her daughter Briala. Nor would Hakin have forgiven him for the
risk of mingling his gifts with Mera's to produce a child of unknown
powers. Well, Shadow supposed the range of her clarity was still
unknown. And she had also inherited a bond to this land of her
ancestors, and a hatred for those who misused it. Instinctively, she
blamed the Radiants for the growing power of the grayvers. Surely a true
leader would have found a way to fight the wraiths from the mountains
and not been so quick to accommodate their inhuman appetites.
she crept on through the sewers, Shadow's city-sense said she was
passing under the doors of the Citadel. That sanctum of the Radiants
rose pearl-white atop the dingy hillside labyrinth of Ad-Omaq,
cliff-edged above the Omaq River.
of the wretches who battled their lives away in the killing streets knew
that the city of Ad-Omaq had begun as a beacon of light, built five
centuries before at the command of the Council which then ruled from the
Western capital of Ad-Son, across the ocean. Shadow had learned from her
father how, under Council orders, the city with the Citadel at its peak
sprang up in the days when Omaq was a land of farms and villages ruled
by the Magedom of Kir. The purpose was to entice Radiants from their
scattered homes to work together, to refine their gift of narrowing
light, to discover new ways of healing and of creating wonders. But they
had been corrupted instead, turning to domination, hedonism and war,
and in the course of time they'd reduced most of Ad-Omaq to a rotting
heap of living rubbish.
reflections sheered off as she caught a whiff of body odor bespeaking
the nearness of the Den of Ashi.
paused to consider her course. Her nickname derived from her skill at
passing about the city unnoticed, and even here she had entered a time
or two without attracting the attention of the watchers at the door. Or
she might go boldly in, swaggering a little, catching the gleam of
firelight on yellow eyes. Her strangeness, coupled with a reputation for
having light fingers and a ready knife, had earned her a grudging
measure of respect in these parts.
suited her best. Slyness was enough for a brief visit; to last here, she
must be bold. That way, her chances of surviving might reach
fifty-fifty, on a good day.
shook out the long black hair to reveal her horns and strode to the
guard. Before he could speak, she whipped out her knife.
the gloom a second man coalesced, toothless and cold-eyed; then a third,
half his face eaten away by acid. Watching the knife, willing her to
attack. Wanting an excuse to kill her.
elevated the knife, the point against one forefinger, turning it so that
all might see the dark stain on the blade. "Enforcer's blood,"
the toothless man uttered a laugh, stinking with foul breath, and
stepped aside to let her pass.
made her way through a drift of onlookers to one of the battered tables.
She looked up to order a drink and found Ashi already at hand, the short
one-eyed innkeeper holding out a glass of translucent orange-tinted
haven't asked for anything."
You are my guest."
her, conversations dimmed. A head turned, then another.
must know she came as a fugitive, not a visitor; he had his own secret
passageways into the storehouses of the Citadel, it was rumored, and his
own spies. Here in his hideout he ruled with absolute power. The weak
might be slain at the entrance, but the cunning and the strong who
passed within still faced this final death-test at the hands of Ashi.
Shadow knew he had already passed judgment; the answer was in the drink.
took the glass. It might hold pure finot, which lifted the spirits
without dulling the senses, or it might be laced with aka, the venom of
the aka-serpent. In either case, she must not show fear, must not refuse
to drink. She had seen a man torn apart by his own companions for such
the glass in salute, she brought it to her lips and swallowed its
contents in one long gulp. All eyes were fixed on her, waiting. Beyond
Ashi, the fire leaped in its pit, casting blood-red brilliance over the
sense of well-being pervaded Shadow. To feel so in this place could only
mean the drink had been finot. She returned the glass to Ashi.
"Another." He brought it, and she paid with an old coin minted
relaxed slightly, enjoying the heat of the fire. It was amusing to think
that, high above, the smoke vented itself through a crevice in the baths
and was claimed by the Radiants to derive from magical origins.
hadn't been here for months. The place was larger than she remembered,
the roof double a man's height, extending far and tapering at the edges
into rootlike channels where the denizens slept, and whored, and
murdered each other.
coins were well distributed about her clothing, so a sneak thief would
find only a small part of them in any one place. But they would not last
long; Ashi charged well for his services. And one dared not sleep
without companions to stand guard. Shadow must make a new life here if
she were to survive, yet her thoughts were still of Nle and of the need
to rescue him.
then, as always, to watch the ways of the Radiants. To seek a chink in
their power, however long it might take her.
repose, Shadow's mind replayed the events of the past few weeks, since
her friends had been captured.
she had done several times before to spy on the Radiants, she had crept
into the Citadel through the vents, an entrance she had discovered years
ago by using the clarity. She had located Dorf and Nle in their cells
deep underground, but had found no way to release them.
weeks ago, while she watched in frustration and rage, Dorf had been
taken as tribute to the grayvers. Seeing that she must risk discovery by
Hakin if she were to save Nle, Shadow had climbed upward, watching the
levels where Radiants lived and worked, hoping for a chance to steal a
key that might free her friend. Finally, today, she had thought she
might have that chance.
had been spying at the top of the Citadel, where the Radiant adepts
ruled from high above Ad-Omaq. Through a grate she had peered into
Hakin's room, watching the Radiant leader converse with her daughter
Briala. Keys dangled from Hakin's pocket, and Shadow's hand tightened
about her hook as she waited, hoping to snare them while the woman's
attention was absorbed elsewhere.
pair were arguing. Unable to make her move until Briala left, Shadow
listened to her half-sister quarrel with Taav's widow.
you mad?" the girl was saying. The fury in her face made her look
older than Shadow, although they
were almost the same age. "An alliance with Kir? That means
must be rid of the grayvers." Hakin ran nervous fingers through
her hair. "It's not worth it."
alliance with Kir? Shadow knew Omaq had quarreled with the neighboring
country of Kir long ago. Then, a half-dozen years back, the Mage of Kir
had gone further, shutting the forest paths to the caravans that once
passed from the port of Ad-Kir to the city of Ad-Omaq. But despite the
Mage's legendary powers, which he might use to subjugate Omaq if given
the opportunity, surely an alliance with him was preferable to the
depredations of the grayvers.
the other dwellers in Ad-Omaq, Shadow knew little about these invaders
from the mountains. Creatures of myth, almost forgotten after more
than a millennium, they had suddenly returned in recent years. Creatures
of fog and darkness, they sucked the soul from a man and left him an
empty, blood-craving ghoul.
effects of the grayvers' resurgence, and of the ghouls they had created,
were unmistakable: the desolation of the land, the deaths of hundreds
of peasants and the routing of the others. Instead of fighting, the
Radiants maintained an uneasy truce by yielding up prisoners each month
as tribute. As they had done with Dorf. And would do with Nle, if Shadow
did not free him.
must have more blast-powder to fight the grayvers at their source."
Hakin glared at her daughter. "We can only get it with Kir's
cooperation. And we will get it. We must get it." She was muttering
half to herself. "I must be rid of the Gray Ones."
yellow eyes glimmered beneath her dark hair.
"You think of no one but yourself. Not of me; no, never of me.
the girl could react, Hakin's hand slapped across her cheek hard enough
to bring tears. It was at that moment that Hakin caught the gleam of yellow
pupils through the grating. At first, she might have thought herself
spied upon by another Radiant; but as Shadow scrambled downward and
escaped from the vents she was seen, and her strong resemblance to
Briala left no doubt that she was the long-vanished daughter of Taav and
biding her time in the Den of Ashi, Shadow turned the conversation over
in her mind. Blast-powder. Taav had mentioned it once, when Shadow was a
child, and then had fallen silent. So blast-powder was a tool of the
Mage of Kir.
should Briala prefer the grayvers to him? The Mage—for Taav had met
him once and described him—was only a man, although a man possessed of
great powers and cunning. Stories were told of him in the streets of Ad-Omaq,
of how he created beasts from air and summoned armies with the wave of
an arm; but this was surely fable, or he would have conquered Omaq long
for the grayvers, had they anything to do with the fact that, for the
past ten years, Hakin alone of all her caste had not aged? Or that
suddenly, in middle age, her handsome looks had metamorphosed into
fascinating beauty? Or that she had succeeded to her late husband's post
as leader with no apparent opposition? Perhaps in exchange for
tribute, the grayvers had yielded something more than a promise not to
attack the city.
drew her thoughts back to the present as a thin man, his face welted
with scars, took a seat and ordered more finot for them both. From
various parts of the crowd, men were drifting her way. Seeking
alliances, perhaps. Or planning to pass themselves off as friends,
then rape and kill as she slept. She must find allies, must trade as
little as possible for their protection. "Waiting for
friends?" the thin man asked.
third chair scraped forward at the table. This man she knew slightly:
Argen, leader of his own gang. He was a hard outlaw, but she had never
seen him commit an act of wanton cruelty. Argen tilted back in the
wooden chair, regarding her inscrutably. Large-barreled, broad-boned, he
gave the impression of lazy indifference, but Shadow knew how quick
and deadly he could be.
wondered how long before you joined us, Yellow-eyes." He took the
thin man's finot for his own. The man glared and departed. Others who
had edged toward them stopped, and waited. "I heard Dorf went in
the last tribute. And Nle lies in the dungeon, until his turn."
if I. . ." She stopped herself, and quoted the saying,
"Friends who are gone are friends no more."
cripple and a half-wit. How were they caught?"
luck." Despite his shattered leg, Nle was a master at surviving in
the city. And Dorf might lack brains, but he was strong enough to defend
himself. "Four Enforcers caught them with their pockets full of
gems from a Highborn house."
the grayvers gain two more ghouls, and Ad-Omaq loses two more thieves.
But they didn't catch you. You're a clever one, Yellow-eyes."
sipped at the brew and kept silent.
can't stay here alone," said Argen. "I
have need of new friends." It was a concession to admit even that
much, but Shadow had quickly weighed Argen against the other men
lingering nearby, and she knew he was the least treacherous.
must have something to trade." Argen regarded her, not with the
greedy expression of the Enforcer, yet it was the same look. He reached
one hand across the table, to her cheek. She allowed the touch.
haven't been taken yet, have you?" he said.
breath quickened. "We need a woman." "I will not serve a
was caught. The air lay heavy with his lust. Now he would agree to
anything; later might come disavowal. Later was later. "Mine alone,
nodded and rose, following him. She had seen the couplings in the Street
of Lost Women, and felt disgust. But she knew her choices. It might even
be possible, later, to persuade Argen to help her free her friend. Nle
knew every quirk of the city, and would be useful to him.
at the edge of the crowd, Argen seized her, his hands probing, his scent
thick and musky. Shadow willed herself to yield, softening her muscles,
choking back the instinct to protect herself with a knife-thrust.
then—light! Flashing through the den, glaring away the darkness in a
great rush. Argen spun around to face the room, leaving Shadow free-
invaded the bowels of the earth, revealing Ashi's hole in all its
degradation, the pockmarked faces, disease-bulged eyes. Some of the occupants
cried out against brilliance such as they had not seen for years, hands
attempting to hide their damning horns—-one man had dozens,
covering his entire head. Most drew weapons: daggers, axes, maces,
handbows, cudgels and slings.
did not need the clarity to interpret what had happened. The Radiants
had found the Den of Ashi, and they were looking for her.
the uproar, she slipped unnoticed farther to the back of the chamber,
where caverns tunneled into the ancient sewers. Then the eerie,
reverberating wail of the bloodcat doused the room with silence, a
treacherous hush that waited to betray any movement.
long known such a slime-hole as this existed, but we never troubled to
find it before." It was a woman who spoke, vibrant and strong, and
although her face was hidden behind the massed bodies, her voice
marked her unmistakably. So Hakin herself had come, meaning at last to
destroy her husband's bastard.
man spoke; it was the Radiant beside Hakin. "Put away your weapons.
It would be a small matter for us to obliterate the lot of you."
knew this was true, but the words were ill chosen. Several in the crowd
snarled defiance at this attempt to shame them. Covered by the noise,
Shadow took a few steps backward. The bloodcat keened again. It couldn't
find her scent amid all this fetor, but it knew her sound. She halted.
resumed her speech. "We've chosen to tolerate this vile place
until now, because you prey upon each other. But now you welcome our
enemy, a girl of perverted birth who has dared to spy upon the Radiants.
She is named Mera-ti, child of Mera. Yield her to us, and this time we
leave you unmolested."
could be no mistaking who was meant, not after Shadow's brazen entrance.
Heads turned, fingers pointed, harsh voices lifted. Not Argen's; in
one sharp moment, she saw him staring with hands clenched, and knew he
would have helped her, if he could.
ran. The scream of the bloodcat licked after her, hoarse with
frustration as it struggled to penetrate the crowded den. Her only
advantage was her head start, and that dwindled rapidly as she lurched
along the sewers, once falling so that her hands pressed into the
viscous ooze. It was a strain to see in the grotesque light that crooked
through the sewers sent by the Radiants behind her. She couldn't go on
running blindly. She must make a plan. Must go—where? There was only
one possibility, not of escape but of defiance. The sewers emptied
into the Omaq River. It was a death plunge from the walls, but at least
it was a clean one.
she ran, stumbled, slogged forward, Shadow heard the beast gaining. The
Radiants likely trailed some distance behind, for their fight flickered
only feebly here. At any moment she might feel the thing's searing
breath upon her neck, and the jagged teeth rending down her back as she
had seen one attack a boy who stole a chalice from the Citadel.
finot helped clear her panic and she drew on the clarity. Ashi had a
nasty secret that Nle had shown her once; there, it was down that
corridor and a twist to the right.
dash brought her to the junction of two passages marked by a pile of
bones and rotten cloth jutting from the muck. It was no accident so many
had died here; but their misfortune might prove to be her luck.
sharp jog to the left and she made a desperate lunge upward. In the
semi-darkness, Shadow's mud-stiffened hands clamped desperately on the
rods Ashi had mounted overhead, the shock of the leap jarring through
her shoulders and nearly knocking her loose.
every dram of strength in her muscles, Shadow furled her body and kicked
at a second rod. Somehow she managed to catch the bar with one foot
and anchor her legs over it. Panting, she hung against the roof,
listening to the deadly murmur in the mud below.
bloodcat shrieked with joy as it splayed around the corner and leaped at
its prey. The razor claws tore across the side of Shadow's shoulder with
a searing wrench. She shuddered and tightened her grip on the rod.
dimness in the sewers cleared a little—sign of the Radiants'
nearing—and she watched the beast land, its haunches tensing for the
death leap. In the slime, something coiled.
bloodcat's howl of anguish rocked the caverns and nearly tore Shadow
from her perch. The aka-serpent killed with its tongue, stabbing into
the furred belly of the creature, sending its fiery poison to the heart.
was the trap Ashi had laid for the unwary, not out of malice but because
the only way to obtain the poison was from the bodies of victims. To
what curious ends would he put poison extracted from a bloodcat?
It was the echo of a Radiant's call, distant but clearly heading this
way. Soon the light would seek Shadow out, and against their fire she
had no weapon.
dropped her feet and dangled by her hands, clenching her teeth against
the pain in her shoulder.
swung, building up speed, and then loosed the rods, flinging herself
forward and narrowly clearing the pit. Before an Enforcer crippled him,
Nle had been a street acrobat, and he had taught Shadow what he could.
fork in the junction, she knew, led back to the city; she took the
other. It sloped down, a good sign, and the air stirred, a shade less
her, the Radiants had discovered the pit and the bloodcat, their
illumination no doubt warning them in time to avoid the writhing
serpents. A guttural curse echoed down the tunnel. It was a pleasure,
even if a slight one, to distress Hakin, who hand-raised the beasts
breath came shallow and last as she ran. She skidded several times, and
her stiffening shoulder pained her. The Radiants made raster progress,
for they had their light as guide.
angle of descent steepened, and Shadow slid down the final passageway,
catching herself at the raw-edged opening by bracing against the sides.
In blew the sweet dark wind, cold and rain-laced but fresh with the
scent of the living world. Far below, Shadow heard the roiling rush of
the Omaq River. Then a wash of light framed her against the night, hair
falling loose to reveal the nubs on either side of her head.
turned, and found herself briefly blinded. No daughter of Mera and Taav
would leap to her death this way, bewildered and fearful as a beast.
Fiercely, Shadow drew upon the clarity, and through it saw the three
Radiants who faced her. Two were men. The third was Hakin.
had never before looked at her father's widow with the clarity, and
doing so shocked her, for she saw not the surface loveliness but the
reality. A ghastly being, filled with some unnatural essence, the skin
cadaverous beneath its youthful illusion. What
bargain has Hakin made with the grayvers?
The Radiant leader raised her hands, to work a cage of burning light. Perhaps with more time, more knowledge, Shadow might have stood against her, but not now. Forcing a last smile, to show that she chose her fate freely, she leaped from the opening into the deadly river below.
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