The Dog and the Wolf

The Dog and the Wolf

by Poul Anderson, Karen Anderson

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Overview

The Dog and the Wolf by Poul Anderson, Karen Anderson

In the fourth and final book of the King of Ys series, Gratillonius and the Ysan survivors have one final chance to rebuild in the wake of inconceivable destruction

As legendary as King Arthur’s Court and as mystical as Atlantis, the fabled kingdom of Ys has finally fallen, the victim of invading hordes and vengeful gods. Destitute, the remaining Ysans put their faith in their longtime leader, Gratillonius, who protected the city-state of Ys for two decades before it succumbed to the malevolent forces surrounding it. Now more vulnerable than ever, Gratillonius and the Ysans set out to rebuild their beloved city, first with wood and then with stone, providing a fortress against the elements and the marauding King Niall maqq Echach, still on his years-long quest to see Ys turned to dust. While the Dark Ages begin to rise across Europe, the Ysans and their king grasp one last time for survival—lest their history be lost forever.
 
The Dog and the Wolf is the final book in Poul and Karen Anderson’s King of Ys series, which also includes Roma Mater, Gallicenae, and Dahut.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781497694361
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 12/30/2014
Series: King of Ys , #4
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 503
Sales rank: 456,060
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Poul Anderson (1926–2001) grew up bilingual in a Danish American family. After discovering science fiction fandom and earning a physics degree at the University of Minnesota, he found writing science fiction more satisfactory. Admired for his “hard” science fiction, mysteries, historical novels, and “fantasy with rivets,” he also excelled in humor. He was the guest of honor at the 1959 World Science Fiction Convention and at many similar events, including the 1998 Contact Japan 3 and the 1999 Strannik Conference in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Besides winning the Hugo and Nebula Awards, he has received the Gandalf, Seiun, and Strannik, or “Wanderer,” Awards. A founder of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, he became a Grand Master, and was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
 
In 1952 he met Karen Kruse; they married in Berkeley, California, where their daughter, Astrid, was born, and they later lived in Orinda, California. Astrid and her husband, science fiction author Greg Bear, now live with their family outside Seattle.
 
Karen Anderson (1932–2018) is both a science fiction fan and a founder of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. She graduated from high school in Maryland and worked as a military cartographer to pay for both her attendance at the 1952 World Science Fiction Convention and the academic year 1952–53, which she spent as a drama major. Correspondence with Poul Anderson convinced her that the life she wanted was in science fiction, not on the stage, and she and Anderson later married.
 
Karen Anderson’s solo work comprises verse and short fiction. She brought many skills to assist Poul Anderson in writing his novels: proofreading, research, languages, mapping, story planning, and collecting material for future works. Discussions led to early shared bylines; after visiting Hadrian’s Wall, Anderson put a year’s research and plotting—plus verses of her own—into his hands for The King of Ys.
Poul Anderson (1926–2001) grew up bilingual in a Danish American family. After discovering science fiction fandom and earning a physics degree at the University of Minnesota, he found writing science fiction more satisfactory. Admired for his “hard” science fiction, mysteries, historical novels, and “fantasy with rivets,” he also excelled in humor. He was the guest of honor at the 1959 World Science Fiction Convention and at many similar events, including the 1998 Contact Japan 3 and the 1999 Strannik Conference in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Besides winning the Hugo and Nebula Awards, he has received the Gandalf, Seiun, and Strannik, or “Wanderer,” Awards. A founder of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, he became a Grand Master, and was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

In 1952 he met Karen Kruse; they married in Berkeley, California, where their daughter, Astrid, was born, and they later lived in Orinda, California. Astrid and her husband, science fiction author Greg Bear, now live with their family outside Seattle.

Karen Anderson (1932–2018) is both a science fiction fan and a founder of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. She graduated from high school in Maryland and worked as a military cartographer to pay for both her attendance at the 1952 World Science Fiction Convention and the academic year 1952–53, which she spent as a drama major. Correspondence with Poul Anderson convinced her that the life she wanted was in science fiction, not on the stage, and she and Anderson later married.
 
Karen Anderson’s solo work comprises verse and short fiction. She brought many skills to assist Poul Anderson in writing his novels: proofreading, research, languages, mapping, story planning, and collecting material for future works. Discussions led to early shared bylines; after visiting Hadrian’s Wall, Karen put a year’s research and plotting—plus verses of her own—into his hands for The King of Ys.

Read an Excerpt

The Dog and the Wolf

The King of Ys


By Poul Anderson, Karen Anderson

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 1988 Trigonier Trust
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-9436-1


CHAPTER 1

1


There was his hand, her father's strong hand, closing on the arm she raised toward him. The waters roared and rushed. Wind flung a haze of scud off their tops. Barely through salt blindness could she know it was he and sense the bulk of the horse he rode. Memory passed like a lightning flash: she had sworn she would never mount that horse again while her father lived. But he was hauling her up out of the sea that would have her.

There was then a shadow behind him in the murk and spume, a tall man who touched a staff to her father's head. His grip clamped the tighter, but he did not now draw her onward. Waves dashed her to and fro. Tide went in flows and bursts of force. The noise filled heaven and her skull.

It was as if she sensed the sudden anguish, like a current out of his body into hers. The fingers slackened. A surge tore her from them. She screamed. The flood flung a mouthful to choke her. She had a glimpse of him, saw him lean forth, reach after what he had lost. A torrent swept her away.

Terror vanished. Abruptly she was altogether calm and alert. No help remained but in herself. She must hoard her strength, breathe during those instants when the tumult cast her high and hold the breath while it dragged her back under, watch for something to cling to and try to reach it, slowly, carefully. Else she was going to drown.

The sea tumbled her about, an ice-cold ravisher. She whirled through depths that were yellow, green, gray, night-blue. Up in the spindrift she gasped its bitterness and glimpsed walls crumbling. The violence scraped her against them, over and over, but bore her off before she could seize fast. Waves thundered and burst. Wind shouted hollowly.

The snag of a tower passed by and was lost. She understood that the deluge had snatched her from high ground and undertow was bearing her to the deeps. Surf brawled white across the city rampart. Already it had battered stone from stone off the upper courses, made the work into reefs; and still it hammered them, and they slid asunder beneath those blows. Right and left the headlands loomed above the wreckage, darknesses in wildness. Beyond them ramped Ocean.

A shape heaved into view, timbers afloat, fragment of a ship. It lifted on crests, poised jagged against clouds and the first dim daylight, skidded down troughs, rose anew. The gap closed between it and her. She gauged how she must swim to meet it. For this chance she could spend what might was left her. With the skill of a seal, she struck out, joined herself to the waters, made them help her onward. Her fingertips touched the raft. A roller cloven by a rock sent it from her.

She was among the skerries. Fury swirled around them, fountained above them. Never could she reach one, unless as a broken corpse. Billows crashed over her head.

Dazed, the animal warmth sucked from her, she did not know the last of them for what it was. She was simply in the dark, the time went on and on, her lips parted and she breathed sea. The pain was far off and brief. She spun down endlessly through a whiteness that keened.

At the bottom of that throat was not nullity. She came forth into somewhere outside all bounds. Someone waited. Transfiguration began.


2

Fear knocked in the breast of Gratillonius as he approached the Nymphaeum.

Around him dwelt peace. The stream that fed the sacred canal descended in a music of little waterfalls. Morning sunlight rang off it. This early in the year, the surrounding forest stood mostly bare to the blue overhead. The willows had unsheathed their blades, a green pale and clear if set beside the intensity of the pasture-lands below, but oak and chestnut were still opening buds. Squirrels darted along boughs. Certain birds started to sing. A breeze drifted cool, full of damp odors.

What damage he saw was slight, broken branches, a tree half uprooted. The storm had wrought havoc in the valley; the hills sheltered their halidom.

Nothing whatsoever seemed to have touched the space into which he emerged Swans floated on the pond, peacocks walked the lawn. The image of Belisama Mother stood on its pile of boulders, beneath the huge old linden, above the flowing spring. Earth of flowerbeds, gravel of paths, hedgerows and bowers led his gaze as ever before, to the colonnaded white building. The glass in its windows flashed him a welcome.

You did not let hoofs mar those grounds. A trail went around their edge to join one behind the Nymphaeum, which led on into the woods and so to the guardhouse and its stable. For the moment, he simply dismounted and tethered Favonius. The stallion snorted and stood quiet, head low. Despite having rested overnight at the last house they reached yesterday, man and beast remained exhausted. Recovery from what had happened would be slow, and then—Gratillonius thought—only in the body, not the spirit. Meanwhile he must plow onward without pause, lest he fell apart.

Corentinus joined him. The craggy gray man had refused the loan of a mount for himself and strode behind, tireless as the tides. He leaned on his staff and looked. Finally he sighed into silence: "Everything that was beautiful about Ys is gathered here."

Gratillonius remembered too much else to agree, but he also recalled that his companion had never before beheld this place, in all the years of his ministry. It must have smitten him doubly with wonder after the horrors of the whelming. Usually Corentinus was plain-spoken, like the sailor he once had been. With faint surprise, Gratillonius realized that the other man had used Ysan.

He could not bring himself to reply, except for "Come" in Latin. Leading the way, his feet felt heavy. His head and eyelids were full of sand, his aches bone- deep. Doubtless that was a mercy. It kept the grief stunned.

But the fear was awake in him.

Female forms in blue and white appeared in the doorway and spread out onto the portico. Well might they stare. The men who neared them were unkempt, garments stained and wrinkled and in need of mending. Soon they were recognizable. Murmurs arose, and a single cry that sent doves aloft in alarm off the roof. The King, dressed like any gangrel. The Christian preacher!

They trudged up the stairs and jerked to a halt. Gratillonius stared beyond the minor priestess to the vestals whom she had in charge. His heart wavered at sight of his daughters.

Nemeta, child of Forsquilis; Julia, child of Lanarvilis. Them he had left to him Una, Semuramat, Estar—no, he would not mourn the ten who were lost, not yet, he dared not.

He found himself counting. The number of persons on station varied. It happened now to be seven, or eight if he added the priestess. Besides his own pair there were four maidens ripening toward the eighteenth birthdays that would free them from service. He knew them, though not closely. All were grandchildren of King Hoel. One stemmed through Morvanalis, by an older sister of that Sasai who later became Gratillonius's Queen Guilvilis. One descended from Fennalis's daughter Amair, one each from Lanarvillis's Miraine and Boia. (Well, Lanarvilis had been dutifully fruitful in three different reigns; she deserved that her blood should live on.) Then there was a little girl of nine, too young for initiation but spending a while here as custom was, that she might become familiar with the sanctuary and serene in it. With her Gratillonius was better acquainted, for she was often in the house of Queen Bodilis, whose oldest daughter Talavair had married Arban Cartagi; the third child of that couple was this Korai.

He hauled his mind back from the past and addressed the priestess in Ysan: "Greeting, my lady. Prepare yourself. I bear dreadful tidings."

It might have been astonishing how steadily she looked back. Most often the house mother at the Nymphaeum was elderly, seasoned in dealing with people. Runa was in her mid-twenties. However, she was the daughter of Vindilis by Hoel. You would expect forcefulness, and persuasiveness too when she cared to employ it. He had never known her well, either, and as the rift widened between him and her mother, they met less and less. He knew that after she completed her vestalhood without the Sign coming upon her she married Tronan Sironai. The union was without issue and evidently not happy. Though she did not terminate it, she re-entered the Temple of Belisama and occupied herself mainly with the activities of an underpriestess.

"We have wondered," she said low. "We have prayed. Clear it is that the Gods are angry." At you, said her gaze.

Riding here, he had thought and thought how to tell what he must. Everything that had occurred to him had dropped out of his mind. He could merely rasp forth: "I am sorry. Ys is gone. Somehow the sea gate opened during the storm. Ocean came in and destroyed the city. The Gallicenae have perished. Most of the people have. I do not know that your husband, or any near kin of any among you, is alive. We must look to our survival—"

What followed was never afterward clear in his memory. Runa yowled and sprang at him. His left cheek bore the marks of her nails for days. He fended her off before she got to his eyes. She cursed him and turned to her vestals. One had swooned, others wailed or wept; but Gratillonius's Nemeta stood apart as if carven in ivory, while Gratillonius's Julia tried to give comfort. Likewise did Corentinus, in his rough fashion. Runa slapped feces, grabbed shoulders and shook them, demanded self-control. Gratillonius decided it was best he seek the guardhouse and the Ysan marines barracked there.

That was bad enough, though they refrained from blaming him. Three among them reviled the Gods, until their officer ordered them to be quiet. He, a burly, blond young man named Amreth Taniti, accompanied Gratillonius back to the Nymphaeum.

In the end, as memory again began clearly recording, those two sat with Corentinus and Runa in the priestesss room of governance. It was a chamber light and airy, furnished with a table, a few chairs such as were—had been—common in Ys, and a shelf of books. Three walls bore sparse and delicate floral paintings. On the fourth the blossoms were in a grassy field where stood the Goddess in Her aspect of Maiden, a wreath on Her flowing locks, arms outspread, smile raised toward the sun that was Taranis's while at her back shone the sea that was Lir's. Beyond the windows, springtime went on about its business just as joyfully.

Runa stared long at Corentinus. Her knuckles whitened on the arms of her seat. At last she spat, "Why have you come?"

"Let me answer that," said Gratillonius. He had quelled weariness and despair for this while; he moved onward through what was necessary, step by step. So had he once led his men back from an ambush, through wilderness aswarm with hostiles, north of the Wall in Britannia. "I asked him to. We deal—I suppose we deal with Powers not human, as well as our mortal troubles and enemies. You know I am a Father in the cult of Mithras. Well, Corentinus is—a minister in the cult of Christ. Between us—"

"Do you include me?" she demanded rather than asked.

"Of course. Now hear me, Runa. We need these voices of different Gods so we can agree to set every God aside. Aye, later we can pray, sacrifice, quarrel, try coming to terms with the thing that's happened. But first we have the remnant of a folk to save."

Her glance raked him, the big frame, rugged features, grizzled auburn hair and beard. "Then you deny that your deeds caused the Gods to end the Pact," she said flatly.

He tautened. "I do. And be that as it may, 'tis not worth our fighting about. Not yet."

"That's true, my lady," Amreth said almost timidly. "Bethink you what danger we're in."

Corentinus raised a bony hand. "Hold, if you will." Somehow his mildness commanded them. "Best we understand each other from the outset. I shall say naught against your beliefs, my lady. However, grant me a single question." He paused. She nodded, stiff-necked. "Ever erenow, when a Queen died, a red crescent instantly appeared on the bosom of some vestal. This marked her out as the next Chosen to be one of the Gallicenae, bride of the King and high priestess of Belisama. True? Well, the Nine are gone in a single night. Here are the last of the dedicated maidens. Has the Sign come upon any of them?"

Runa sat straighter still. She passed tongue over lips. "Nay," she whispered.

The knowledge had already seeped into Gratillonius, damping the fear, but to become sure of it was like a sudden thaw.

"I utter no judgment concerning your Gods," Corentinus said quietly. "Yet plain is to see that we have come to the end of an Age, and everything is changed, and naught have we to cling to in this world unless it be our duty toward our fellow mortals."

Visibly under the close-cropped beard, a muscle twitched at the angle of Amreth's jaw. "Right that is, my lady," he said. "We marines will stand by you and the vestals to the death. But this place was under the ward of the Gods, and no raiders or bandits ever dared put us to the test. Now ... we number a bare dozen, my lady."

Runa sat back. She had gone expressionless. Gratillonius studied her. She was tall; beneath the blue gown, her figure was wiry but, in a subtle fashion, good. Her face was thin, aquiline, with a flawless ivory complexion. The brows arched above dark eyes. Beneath her wimple, he knew, was straight hair, lustrous black, which could fall past the shoulders. Her voice was rather high but he had heard her sing pleasingly.

She turned and locked stares with him. "What do you propose?" she asked.

Halfway through, he noticed that he had fallen into Latin. She followed him without difficulty. Amreth sat resigned.

"Ys is lost. Nothing left but a bay between the headlands, empty except for ruins." He forebore to speak of the dead who littered the beach and gulls ashriek in clouds around them. "Many people died who'd taken shelter there out of the hinterland. Very few escaped. Corentinus and I led them up the valley and billeted them in houses along the way. Those who don't succumb in the next several days ought to be safe for a while.

"Just a while, though. The granaries went with Ys. It's early spring. There's nothing to eat but flocks and seed corn, nothing to trade for food out of Osismia." He could certainly not make anyone go back and pick through the ghastliness in search of treasure. "Soon all will be starving. And the barbarians will hear of this, Saxons, Scoti, every kind of pirate. Ys was the keystone of defense for western Armorica. The Romans will have more than they can handle, keeping their own cities, without worrying about us. Most of their officials never liked us anyway. If we remain where we are, we're done. "We have to get out, establish ourselves elsewhere. Corentinus and I are going on to search for a place. I am a tribune of Rome, and he's a minister of Christ, known to Bishop Martinus in Turonum, and—But meanwhile somebody has to give the people leadership, those we brought from the city and those who held on in the countryside. Somebody has to bind them together, calm and hearten them, ready them for the move. A couple of landholder Suffetes are already at it, but they need every help they can get. Will you give it, my lady?"

The woman sat withdrawn for space before she said, "Aye," in Ysan. "Between us, I think, Amreth and I may suffice. But first we must talk, the four of us. Grant me this day. Surely you can stay that long." The hand trembled which she passed across her eyes. "You have so much to tell."

—Nonetheless, throughout words and plain meals and tearful interruptions from outside, she held herself steel-hard. As the hours wore on, the scheme took shape, and hers were two of the hands that formed it.

—At eventide, the vestal Julia led her father and Corentinus to adjacent guestrooms, mumbled goodnight, and left them. They stood mute in the gloom of the corridor. Each had been given a candle in a holder. The flames made hunchbacked shadows dance around them. Chill crept inward.

"Well," said Gratillonius at last, careful to keep it soft and in Latin, "we had to work for it, but we seem to have gained a strong ally."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Dog and the Wolf by Poul Anderson, Karen Anderson. Copyright © 1988 Trigonier Trust. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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