I thought now another one yawned before me. "Put up your weapons, for I am Homanan-bom and wish only to go to war. The clothes and mail had been burned and melted off. One would have to look hard to see it; expecting it, it was not so hard for me to discover. And put madness in its place. Don't think I'll pick up 3-8 quite yet. And then he slipped away before she could protest, sliding out of our hands like oil. One hand fastened on my right arm and tried to pull it free, but I thrust my elbow against his throat. "I have told no one but you and Torrin of my plan." I read this series when I was in high school and tried to re read it now. "You have heard of the magic we of Lodhi hold. Cheysuli swords are rare." But his brown eyes glittered with something less than respect when he made his bow of homage. "I cannot say." With a tail slashing behind me, I ran. not for a bu'sala to do. track of the white wolf. He knelt a moment longer, supplicant to a king instead of a god, and then he rose. I was insignificant. I was off my horse at once, thrusting my sword blade down into the snow. "We won, my lord, re^. He also told me something else." They slashed by the enemy and slapped wings against staring eyes, until the Solindish soldiers cried out in fear and pain. May there be Cheysuli peace upon you—" THE SONG OF HOMANA 247 "I spit on your peace!" "Ordinarily." My teeth hurt, but only because I clenched them so hard. "This soon?" I do not recall how I got from Finn's tent to my own, nor do I recall Lachlan at my side holding his gleaming harp. "But you would do it again, II would you not?" I stirred, knocking snow off my boots by banging heels against the tree stump. He himself still knelt on the floor, and as the stone caught fire from the river of ensorcelled flame so did he. She was hemmed in on both sides, closely kept. Shapechanger's Song (Chronicles of the Cheysuli, Bk. He had always spoken with the accent of Homana, lacking the Old Tongue entirely—and now I knew he had more claim to it than most. THE SONG OF HOMANA 157 "Rujfw," Duncan said, "there is something you must do." "Mujara is there. and we died." "Children come in their own time. . Even Lachlan knelt, so close to Duncan, with his Lady gleaming on the table. I saw no good in gaming with her, denying my loss to gain a satisfaction that would not last. £-He will send his men against me until there is no one ^fcft-' ^; "And the Solindish aid he wanted?" I set one hand to the back of his head as he tucked it under my chin. Donal wiped his mouth and went on. More than trained; I believe it with all my heart, that a man may know and serve his deity." Tourmaline smiled and I saw her as Finn must see her: not a princess, not a gamepiece, not even Carillon's sister. "Would it not grieve you to know you * have lost your Mujhar the very day you have brought him 1 to the throne?" "Unsheathe your claws! I looked upon my sword and methodically rubbed the ash and charring from its hilt. And yet I thought it had been a ifcpaw. They gripped one another as if they could not bear to be apart. Tynstar, called the Ihlini, because he ruled (if that is the proper word) the race of Solindish sorcerers. I took a step forward, angry enough to strike him as he % knelt, but Lachlan's hand was on my arm. "My father said you had ever been Atvia's enemy, and must be gainsaid." Lachlan retrieved the skin at last, drank, then passed it on to me. "I wear your bride-gift." I felt bruised from the knowledge of what I faced. A saga is built out of fact, not fancy. The dialogue is slightly less stilted, probably because the two main characters are both men, so there’s no one to talk down to. "How many?" 1 shut my eyes. There was no room for Finn in this. They shared their wine and then watched us, and within moments Torrin and my jehana were senseless. I kissed her as a drowning man clings to wood. I do." There was still a thing to be said. Contents (view Concise Listing) ^ The grimace came swiftly, bared teeth and the sugges- ^tion of a deep growl in a human throat. Rowan started. t But—they would not have me. "By the gods, you fool—" And she struck Duncan hard across the face with the flat of her hand. I shrugged. I still held my sword in my right hand. "It is no difierent from any other time I used it." The man went down at once. I laughed. "What is it you say to my brother?" I recoiled, flattening against the tower, and dragged Alix with me. "Electra will not be pleased to hear what I have said." It was the gods who decreed only two of those children would live to adulthood, but I am quite certain they have learned, •both of them, what it is to be part of the House of Homana." He looked up at me at last. As we drew nearer, using the shapechanged stones to hide us, the ground warmed beneath our feet. I need men, and Torry needs a husband. Finn looked again at Lachlan, and then he looked at me. his character development is a bit shallow, for all that he's the narrator. "My lord?" "I know. Beside him ran the wolf. All around us the world was a great, dark, slick wound, bleeding slowly in the sunlight. It was the beating of my own heart I heard; the noise of silence inside my head. "You have not reproved me. A child of the gods." But I knew her. Homanan, not Ellasian. My body protested against the dampness of the chamber. But then that was another thing the prophecy claimed: one day a man of all blood would unite, in peace, four warring realms and two magic races. Had you none in Homana-Mujhar?" It is the nature of the beast." His body was sunken within his clothing, as if the arrow had somehow loosed more than life, but a force as well; released, its shell had shrunk. "When I am done with this exchange, I will find the army." Duncan smiled. And stopped. There were some good twists and turns in the story, and the author chose not to describe some key events, but just to focus on the lead-up to them and the consequences, which was an interesting choice. He gestured the hawk to his arm. I saw the snarling wolfs-head hilt with its eyes of uncut emerald. I shook my head. He pushed them through his hair, stripping it from his eyes, and the scar stood out like a brand against cheek and jaw. "A man lives, a man dies. 1 frowned and sipped at the liquor. . Keep, of sorts. The magnificence was gone. Into blackness; into a ^ perfect emptiness. Electra shouted again, this time in >lindish, and I heard the rage in her voice. "Gods," I muttered, staring at the heavy wooden door Uttudded with iron nails. 1Z8 Jennifer Robarson "Leave Rowan be," I said at last. Whe. Finn heard it at once, or else he heard someTHE SONG OF HOMANA 149 thing more within the link. I mused"What could drive a man into an Ellasian snowstorm, unless there be good reason?" And I fell. I asked. No. But my Rather forbade me to fight, and it seemed the best thing to -f do. Or any other warrior. I had known it had grown out o£ the Caledonese bone hilt—how else would it have appeared?—but somehow I had ignored the implications of it. But also off something else: tears. My hands slid up slowly to cup her skull with its weight of shining hair. Callused flesh. "I prayed all these years that the gods would let you live, even as Bellam sought you, yet when you come I give you thoughtless welcome. "You cannot be Cheysuli. His soft-booted feet hissed against the floor as he slid and slid again, ducking the blows I lowered. I spread them now against the snow; after we ate we could thrust the hot stones beneath them to offer a little heat. Of us all, I was the only Homanan. "I have thought of you for years," I said. Finn moved to the nearest wall and sat against it, resting his forearms on his drawn-up knees. In this, for this moment, we are." Win your throne and your sister's freedom. The blade came at me again, thrusting for my belly. And pa-thump, pa-thump, pa-thump. "Go where? They had just heard their leader admit I was their lord. Something—apart. Aye. It was why Thome had found his aid so thin. He hawked and turned his head to spit onto the earthen floor. Duncan, seated near me, shed his cloak and rose. "Slay the pretender-prince." I went down, down into the oubliette, with no one there to catch me. sister telling the youngest child what to boy had grown up at last. "It is rare a liege man will leave his lord for so long unless it has something to do with his clan- and kin-ties. And I doubt notTynstar, when he gave you permanent youth, left your childbearing years intact." head. Her smile was brilliant to see, and the tears ran down her face. The gelding stumbled, recovered, then went down to his knees. "Thome is slain. Rocks were split \ open in perfect halves and quarters; some were no more than powder where once a boulder had stood. In the candlelighted pavilion, the lines and rune-signs seemed to glow. His face was grimly set, and yet I saw the accustomed serenity in his eyes. . Wide, beautiful things, embossed with runes and wolf-shape. You should know me better now." I merely waited for further explanation. "Ja'hai,"he said. I thought, suddenly, of Aislinn, wondering what she would think of him when she was old enough to know. He stood inside the vault, torch raised, looking at the lir with an expression of wonder in his face. He pulled something from his belt and held it out. "Do you wonder what has become of Tourmaline?" But it must be done. The stone was cold against my spine. It gathered itself and leaped directly at the horse, and took him down with the swipe of one huge 98 Jennifer Rob«rson paw. The sun glittered off their trappings; off their ringmail; off their intention. Finn turned his back. But others likely sought a release from what they had known, wanting merely a different life. "Meredyth. "Nor have I, my lord Mujhar." But babies are born, and women go on Baring them. He said it abruptly, as if the admission endangered the hope, and then he rode away from me as if he had shared too much. I had heard it in his tone. "Not far from here. y The white faces were a blur, but I heard the frightened Invoices. This was not a true Keep at all, not as I had known it, but a wide scattering of tents throughout the forest. Or merely his own, too cunning to work for another? But I have put my faith in you." 'There is no guarantee." Color flared in her face again. The blow, had it landed cleanly, would have broken my neck at once. I grinned at the boy. "You know the three gifts of the Cheysuli," he said quietly. It glinted off the ringmail hauberk and tarnished sword hilt. Finn ducked a low branch, caught it and held it back as I rode by. "Carillon! Lachlan shook his head. I heard the shouts of fighting behind him. I had taken the woman; I would keep her. Duncan did not attempt to dissemble or pretend to misunderstand. came the voice. He rested his chin in his hands. Rowan shook his head. Not even to Duncan's memory. Start by marking “The Song Of Homana (Chronicles of the Cheysuli #2)” as Want to Read: Error rating book. "No," I said. Finn was not in his chambers. I brushed the damp hair from her brow, looked again on the, sleeping baby, then went from Ae room to give out the news. I heard fighting behind me but hardly noticed; before me lay my tahlvwrra. Duncan swung around and faced me. I quoted the words: "Tahlmorra lujhala mei wiccan, cheysu. Did I take her out of Joyenne, Bellam would know instantly I had come back, and where. How you wooed and lost a maiden; how the brother was the victor." Nothing lived here now. Rowan lifted a hand and I saw it. My knees hurt all the time, as if some demon chewed upon them from the inside moving toward the outside, but when I was moving I forgot them. I have a theory (ok my wife has a theory) that the biggest problem in movies is that white people don’t talk to each other. He made the spread-fingered, palm-up gesture. THE SONG OF HOMANA 93 "Nor ever was." Post a Review . Finn will make the baby come." The wolf stretched and yawned and put a paw on Donal's thigh as Donal reached to drag him into his lap. Yet another blade was at my throat; a third pressed against the leather and furs shielding my belly. "This is an army encampment, rude -.. and rough. "Your son will be Prince of Homana. The walls seemed to swallow the light, so that my sword blade turned black to 334 Jennifer Roberson match the ruby, and I felt my eyes strain to see where I was going. He grimaced then, and instantly hissed as the expression pulled the stitches against his swollen flesh. Finn turned. Na, not happy, never happy . I think it will not harm her." Your place is there now, with me." The torch hissed and sputtered, putting shadows on her face. Color had left his face. THE SONG OF HOMANA 315 He shut his eyes a moment, blocking out the tears, and tried to speak apain. It conjured up a vision before my eyes: a young woman, lithe and lovely, with tawny-dark hair and bright blue eyes. Stale and musty, but air. "The gods will see to that." I glanced back at my soldiers. I should have listened to someone." My tongue was heavy in my mouth. Action-oriented but still fly. I frowned as she nodded again. He was ever a step before me. Too far for me to discern his features, save I knew he watched and waited. I could tell it was but rarely used, but I marked it nonetheless. I carried only the knife, and that was sheathed beneath my tunic against my ribs. There was air, as he had promised. 216 Jcnnffar Roberson "You have learned enough of the Old Tongue from Finn to know it is not directly translatable. Rowan's voice was low i. I struggled to keep my senses. You are born." Did he want you with him, he would have asked it." I wanted to put out my hands and touch her, to tell her I did not care, but she knew me better than that. It’s better than the first book, but that’s not exactly a high bar to set. At my behest." I suppressed my twitch of surprise. He smiled. I could see him in the plate. He glanced at me across the top of his son's dark head. And then I recalled how I had lost control of my body in the oubliette, and the heat rushed up to swallow my flesh. 1 swore suddenly as the anger boiled over. Half-brother They shared only a mother, and yet looking at them I saw the father in them both, though he had sired only one I said nothing for a long moment. how they bind a Cheysuli soul." He sat between two wolves; one a ruddy young male, the other older, wiser, amber-eyed Storr. I shut my eyes a moment, trying to get my senses sorted. Then, in a rush of breath and words, "But you might have stolen this sword!" I heard the familiar sounds: the keening of the blade as it slashed through the air, the laboring of his ' mount, the hissing of breath between his teeth as he grunted with the effort. But Carillon brought the Cheysuli into Homana-Mujhar before, and nearly defeated the Ihlini. And my quiver, freshly filled. When I came to know my tahlmorra." You were flogged because you spilled wine on Keough himself, even though I asked them to spare you. As for Duncan and Finn, I knew well enough what they thought. I glanced down at the firecaim. "It was a summer night, like this one, but lacking the wind, and warmer. A fleet bound for Hondarth—down here." She moved into the light. The hood was draped across her shoulders, freeing her hair, and 1 saw the twin braids bound with silver. I caught her hand within the pattern of the dance Her fingers were cool, as ever, I recalled them from before. The great red stallion had gotten a matching son on my father's best mare, and that son was mine at last. Do you say Tynstar has influence here?" At that, the flesh twinged. He had the attentiveness of a man in his gaze, and yet more, for he was a Ur and a lir is better than a man, or so the Cheysuli claim. Carefully he set his Lady in the center of the table and took his hands away. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. There were no walls, only dwellings, and the .people passing by. Incongruous, in him. His broadsword was lifted high to come down into my left shoulder. My gods? "Where is this Atvian infant?" His smile came, quick and warm. ^ If I could not see my wife, I could at least see my ^ daughter. A thin veil of dust hung in the air to layer the men who caused it. "It is not easy to forget a thing you have been taught to believe," I went on. You held Alix's heart, unknowing, while she longed for a single word from your mouth. Some had even been sent to Mujhara to leam what they could firsthand, and to expand on the insight Lachlan had given us as to Bellam's mind. "You are Homanan?" I rose and turned toward the shout. I saw how she stitched at the fabric. "Here?" Alix tried again to free herself from my hand but I held her tightly "Duncan—what are you saying? "Bellam took it from Shame," she said calmly. The harpsong played on, dying away, and at last there was silence again. The gods have tied me to you. I live with it each day, shapechanger! Her fingers seemed . 'i "My thanks, my lord." And there, my liege ^man, is the order." Not here, so deep among ^~ the trees. I did not care to see the startled, angry expression on his face, but I had no choice. That certainty of his fate. "It does not sound like a prayer." Duncan afraid? He pressed one of the stones and then leaned against the wall. I reached down a gloved hand, caught his bare one and pulled him to his feet. And then I smiled. I stared blankly at all the walls until he came back again. The animal screamed and bolted sideways in a twisting lunge. "A petition—or prayer—such as the one Finn made— and now / make—requires a specific response. I listened. What else am I to do? I caught a handful of hair so she could not turn away. There is little choice, my lord." "The Mujhar," I agreed calmly. My back was tense as wefl, but there was no help for that. All his thoughts were in his eyes: he thought I would die and the rebellion come to an end. And now the Homanans know it." I caught their wrists and jerked, trying to wrench their hands apart. And Rowan, though he was less Cheysuli in his habits than Homanan, reflected much of that traditional pride without even knowing it. The defile beckoned us on. I crossed the cobbled bailey slowly, almost hesitantly, as if I feared to be sent away again. 1' "There is a visitor." I demanded. I lifted the torque from the casket as well, a slender silver torque set with a single sapphire with a pearl on THE SONG OF HOMANA 231 either side. I nodded. Much / do not know, having given up my soul." NINE Donal's young face was pinched and pale. The smooth, pale brow cried out for a circlet of beaten gold, or—perhaps better—silver, to highlight the long-lidded, magnificent eyes. "Tynstar altered the body, not the mind," Duncan said. Perhaps 1 made a sound. Man, not beast! "And I do not doubt Electra will also refuse to wed with me, as Undir refused to wed with Ellic, but she will have no choice when the throne is mine." His tone was perfectly flat. A very good series which I am re-reading after about 20 years. He was a shadow-wraith before me, hunched against the ground. "All of Carillon's will and strength was sucked out through the sword, then fed back with redoubled effect. Color receded from his face. Carillon, and all shadings in between- That is a facet ofAsar-Suti. When I have slain Bellam and won back the Lion, there will still be Solinde. I raised the sword so he could see the glowing ruby. A Cheysuli wolf." But mostly I saw the girl who had become a woman, and I hated the time I had lost. I built my caim, fired the kindling we carried in our saddlepacks and made certain the flames would hold. Lachlan asked. Duncan waited, saying nothing, and I saw the compassion in his eyes. His eyes hooded a little, but he smiled, as if the memory amused him. "Have you learned nothing? The voice shook a little. It hissed between his Uteeth. "You sent him to the Keep to recover from his wounds. Her voice was cool as ever, with its soft, Solindish cadence. He went hoodless as I did, and the early dawn light set his earring to glinting with a soft golden glow. "I am no midwife, but I think it likely she is afraid. And what a weapon he gave me, did I find the need to use it. "If he is neither Bellam nor Tynstar's man, whose man is he? And you. All rights reserved. But there is no sense in holding onto the hope ^that it might have been." Do not think you are unscathed." I dared not ask what she saw; I had not the courage. Finn shut his mouth and I saw the lowering of his brows. My graying hair thorough cleaning, and yet I saw the the SONG of f... Cornered by ' Rowan bowed and his subject, might remain a beast on you, an.... Alliance for the star magic. between two men. the ftr-bond1 had thought to warn she... Stillblue eyes was one of the staircase was quite certain she was hesitant, following,... I shouted against it, resting on one knee, ignoring the floor and silent!, slowly, staring into the room came the whisper m accented Homanan. maiden how! Magic on likely wed your sister, '' I said curtly other secrets Duncan knew such... 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