Fortress of Dragons (Fortress Series #4)

Fortress of Dragons (Fortress Series #4)

by C. J. Cherryh

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061020445
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/06/2001
Series: C. J. Cherryh's Fortress Series , #4
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 576
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.15(d)

About the Author

C. J. Cherryh—three-time winner of the coveted Hugo Award—is one of today's best-selling and most critically acclaimed writers of science fiction and fantasy. The author of more than fifty novels, she makes her home in Spokane, Washington.

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Chapter One

A slow procession passed by night, little disturbing the sleep of Henas'amef. Tristen on bay Petelly, two ladies on horses the lords of Ivanor had lent them, with Captain Uwen Lewen's-son and Tristen's bodyguard attending, all climbed the hill in a lazy fall of fat lumps of snow.

That families were asleep and shutters were drawn and latched up and down the streets lent welcome anonymity to their passage ... for by day the sight of the duke of Amefel riding in company with the red-haired former duchess and her sister would have alarmed the town.

As it was, their small party reached the Zeide's West Gate and dismounted with little fuss. The stableboys turned out dutifully, bleary-eyed with sleep-until they discovered their lord had brought two visitors they never wished to see again. Then young eyes grew wide, and the boys moved fearfully and quickly about their business.

The gate-guards, who had come inward bearing torches to light the stable yard, also recognized the visitors by that light and seemed utterly confounded to know who the women were. So with the west stairs guards, who came down in their turn and stopped in their tracks.

"Here's your own lord!" Uwen Lewen's-son said to the gawkers. "An' he's gi'en refuge to these ladies, on account of some damn godless bandits has burned down the nunnery at Anwyfar. They walked here in the storm, half-dead and near frozen, which ain't their choice, nor His Grace's. Don't gawp, there, man! Help their ladyships inside! An' you, Edas! Run up to master Tassand an' tell him come down an' get 'is orders! Haste about it!"

Tristen himself was only too glad to have turned overPetelly'sreins to a stableboy. Now he climbed the west stairs, taking charge of his guests.

One could-almost-admire her ... but one could never, never yield to her.

"We'll find a place suitable," Tristen said curtly. "Rooms better than the guardhouse, at least." He knew the outrage he provoked by adding that last remark, but it made his point. And turning to Lusin, his chief bodyguard: "Tell Cook to come." Cook, like many of the servants, had served the Aswydd lords before he had taken the dukedom, which was to say only last year; but now he relied on her and trusted Cook as the only woman of his close acquaintance. More, Cook had children, several of them, and might understand Lady Tarien's condition better than a man would.

Regarding that condition, however, Cook's was not thevice he needed now. Master Emuin was awake, and knew, and hadknown about the ladies even before they reached the town gates.

-What shall I do? he asked Emuin now within the gray space wizards used. The Aswydd women might hear him, this Close, but in this moment he did not care. Where do you say should I put them?

-I'm sure I don't know, Emuin said, and as the gray place opened wide, they stood, in their wizardous aspect, in a place of cloud and wind, equally wary of the Aswydds-who were there, unabashedly eavesdropping on them. This is inconvenient.

They had feared the stars, had gotten through the perilous time of change with no worse calamity than the arrival of Owl, who was somewhere about, and they had hoped that Owl was the end of the last troubled epoch and the beginning of a more auspicious age.

But, perhaps on the same night, counting the time it took to travel so far-for so it turned out-Orien and Tarien had left their exile and set out to reach Henas'amef and their former home.

-With child, no less, Emuln said, and turned a fierce and forbidding question toward Tarien Aswydd.-Whose, woman?

It was harshly, even brutally demanded, so uncharacteristically forceful that Tristen flinched. In the same instant Orien flung an arm about her sister, who shied from answering and winked out of the gray space like a candle in the wind.

Orien's was a swift, defiant retreat.

Emuin's abrupt question rid them, if only momentarily, of the Aswydds' wizardous eavesdropping, and for Tristen's part, he was no little chagrined that he had never asked so important a question in all the long walk back with the women. In his own defense, his attention in those hours had all been to the simple struggle with the snow, and with Orien's challenge to him . . . and then with the dismay his allied lords, down in the camps about the town wall, had felt very keenly, simply to see Orien back in Amefel. That Tarien was with child had seemed to him one of those things women could arrange, and one of those states women at times maintained-consequently had he, a wizard's Shaping, born of fire on a hearth, asked himself that one simple, essential question before bringing the women here?

Fortress of Dragons. Copyright © by C. J. Cherryh. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Fortress of Dragons (Fortress Series #4) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Exciting? No, Cherryh doesn't do exciting. But it's some solid writing and completely believable. Not a fast read, but a good one.
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It had too many words to tell the story.
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