"You must decide
"What does Bloodlord Stralg hope to gain by slaying so many people? Does he not fear the wrath of the Bright Ones?"
A translation, then the Vigaelian sneered and replied at length.
Fiorella said, "Stralg says the only god he fears is Weru and warfare is His worship. We Florengians are timid and neglect the Terrible One, so we must be taught... to fear Weru until we wet our legs at the mere mention of His name. You and your wife may return to the city. He will keep your children as hostages for your continued obedience."
Papa flushed scarlet. "No! This is my eldest son, lord Dantio. He is eleven years old. I brought the others only to show that they are too young."
"He says all of them."
"Benard is eight and Orlando only , in the holy names! The Lawgiver wrote that only males over the age of ten may be taken as hostages."
Stralg turned and waved a signal. Men started walking out of the woods behind him. They were unarmed, yet that was how they had slaughtered every man sent against them at Two Fords.
"The bloodlord says that he gives the laws here."
Orlando squirmed free of Dantio's grasp and made a break for freedom. Stralg held out his hands. Orlando went to him, trotting on stubby legs. The Werist lifted the toddler high overhead.
"The bloodlord asks if you want to see the inside of your son's head, lord." Fiorella's voice turned shrill. "He means what he says! He will kill the child."
"My sons, then!" Papa shouted. "Let him take the boys, but my daughter is a babe at suck. Holy Demern has written—"
The big man roared, not even waiting to have Papa's words translated.
"The bloodlord says he will take the cow, too, so the calf can feed. He says you must give them all up or watch them all die, and then he will put out your eyes."
Papa fell on his knees. "I beg him to show mercy to a mother and her babe! Does holy law mean nothing to him? Has he no pity?"
"He says no, he has no pity. He has never had pity. You must decide."
Set on a distant planet, far in the future, tells the story of a world in which time moves very slowly. Because it takes a lifetime for each region of the planet to experience dawn, midday and dusk, the planet’s population does not remember the catastrophes that occur as the sun moves across the sky-entire civilizations have been scorched into oblivion. The only people who remember the dangers of the past are the planet’s “angels”—a people who have tried to preserve past technologies to save the planet. This action-filled story of a very strange planet showcases Duncan’s remarkable ability to create unique worlds.
Originally from Scotland, Dave Duncan has lived all his adult life in Western Canada, having enjoyed a long career as a petroleum geologist before taking up writing. Since discovering that imaginary worlds are more satisfying than the real one, he has published more than thirty novels, mostly in the fantasy genre, but also young adult, science fiction, and historical. He has at times been Sarah B. Franklin (but only for literary purposes) and Ken Hood (which is short for “D’ye Ken Whodunit?”).
Throughout human history wildcatters, the first great explorers and prospectors to lay claim to newly discovered lands, have marched to the beat of a different drummer — motivated by a deep yearning to be the first to walk on uncharted land and benefit from treasures yet to be discovered.
In the future, wildcatters in space will travel to exoplanets, located in The Big Nothing, to search for new chemicals which, when transformed into pharmaceuticals, might bring untold wealth and fame to the individuals and corporations that stake their claim for exclusive exploitation rights.
Such is the quest of the crew of the independent starship Golden Hind, whose mission is to travel a year and a half to “Cacafuego”, beat the larger corporations to the exoplanets’ resources, and strike it rich for themselves.
But will a yellow warning flag, already planted above the planet, stop them? Or will the Golden Hind’s prospector foray to the planet’s surface, possibly never to return alive?
Sald Harl would like nothing more than to soar on the wings of his noble eagle, but his youthful rides in the sky are cut short by an appointment to guard the prince. Sald watches his dreams of flight fade with his name and independence as he takes over his bodyguard duties. During a perilous journey to the edges of the kingdom a dark secret comes to life. Now the great Prince Shadow is accused of treason, and Sald must orchestrate a desperate plan of escape or he will lose the one thing he has been ordered to defend. His only option of freedom is a dangerous flight that no one has ever survived. Once again Sald hopes to feel the freedom of soaring though the air unshackled from servitude.