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By Dave Duncan

Hunted now by means of the fearsome warlock wardens who rule the realm, Inos is confident that Rap is useless. yet Rap isn't, and the tide might be approximately to turn... She inspiration he was once lifeless. Queen Inos feels Rap's presence as though he has risen from the grave to be beside her, yet she understands all that's left of him is his voice, which echoed in her mind--well, so she thinks. Her accountability is to serve her humans, and Queen Inos does not recognize her galley slave, Rap, is alive and, together with his magic wand, attempting to carry happiness to his loved Queen. but if the evil Nordland raider, Kalkor, arrives in port, Rap's plans start to collapse.

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Ogi had scraped the griddle clean. He had no option but to hand Rap his platter and meet his eye. “Tell me the worst,” Rap said sourly. “I’ve lost my appetite already. “ Ogi sighed. “You want them off your back? Well, then, you’ve got to have a punch party with a full-blooded, Nordland-born jotunn. One of the good ones. ” “Oh, great! I used to think Gathmor was bad—” “I’m not finished. You’ve got to pick the quarrel, not him. Your fight, see? And you’ve got to make him mad. Really mad! We can’t settle for just a playful testing to see what’s in the uppity faun mongrel.

Kalkor said nothing, and did not move. Nor did anyone. The whole island might have been frozen, except for the two men wading out into the warm waters of the bay. Then they reached the ship, caught handholds, and simultaneously swung themselves up and over the side. Faintly over the water came the sound of two hard blows, and a grunt. Kalkor bowed ironically and turned. He and his two companions began to walk seaward. It had always been inevitable. Brual and Rathkrun leaped forward simultaneously, raising their weapons.

And so . . The temptation was irresistible. What did she have to lose? She drew a deep breath, ignoring the sudden thumping of her heart while cautiously glancing around to confirm that there was no one within earshot. In these trailing Zarkian costumes with their floppy hoods a woman never knew who might be creeping up on her, but the nearest tent on the right was already standing and obviously empty, its sides folded up to let the evening breeze sift through. The one on the left was being erected by a jabbering band of youngsters, the daughters of Sixth Lionslayer.

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