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The Shield of Weeping Ghosts by Davis James P

The Shield of Weeping Ghosts by Davis James P

Author:Davis, James P. [Davis, James P.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780786948772
Published: 2008-05-06T00:00:00+00:00


chapter Fourteen

I374 DR, Year of Lightning Storms The Running Rocks

njoying the quiet and the smell of old books, Bastun stood alone in the center of his small room. Fresh snow melted on his boots and dripped from the hem of his robes. No one had seen him leave. No guards came to witness his return. Two days alone, beyond sight of his fellow wizards and the laws that bound him to remain hidden from the world. Free, more than he’d been in nearly two decades, and he had returned to the Running Rocks.

He was vremyonni, currently the youngest of the Old Ones, and no other place in Rashemen would have him. This was his place. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and lashed out. His knuckles met the stone wall. The familiar sting lanced through his wrist, and his fury subsided for a moment or two, blood welling into old cuts and scratches.

“Welcome back.”

Keffrass’s voice did not startle him. His master was as much a part of the Rocks as the whistling drafts in the upper caverns or the pages rustling in the library.

“Did you find what you were looking for?”

“No,” Bastun answered, then recalled the brief escape. A return to his village under cover of night and magic had shown

him more than he’d been willing to admit for many years— that he would have left anyway, in time. “And… yes.”

“A good answer,” Keffrass said and entered the room, sitting and lighting a candle with a wave of his hand. “There is wisdom in looking back at every regret, every misstep, and realizing the value of tragedy.”

“I do not think I am quite that wise just yet,” Bastun said and leaned against the wall.

“There is wisdom in that as well,” Keffrass replied, his ancient eyes sparkling, though his humor faded. “That mask… it does more than just cover your face.”

“Yes,” he said quietly, closing his eyes and feeling the second visage. “Though I fear it, what it may become, what it will allow me to do.”

They sat in silence, no longer master and student, but colleagues and friends in the same order. Bastun flexed bleeding knuckles beneath his sleeve, the fury he had cultivated within himself always a heartbeat away, a weapon as much a part of him as any spell. Keffrass’s teaching had forged that weapon, shaped it from raw emotion and skill, but Bastun had to live with it.

“You’re going back, aren’t you?” Bastun said, knowing the answer, but needing to hear it all the same. “To Shandaular, to the Word.”

“Perhaps, though only the othlor can say for sure.” Keffrass stared into the candle. “There is something out there for us all, waiting in the dark for us to discover—and fear.” He turned to Bastun, his eyes gleaming in the candlelight, full of meaning and wisdom. “We must face it alone, that abyss, in whatever form it takes—beast, guilt, magic… or the past.

“Deny it and it will devour you. Make you forever a part of it.” He stood and made his way to the door.



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