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His side of things.


"Show us what you know, Tam," Danica requested, "It's time for Zoraster to find out that his weapons have two edges, and they can cut him just as well as anyone else."


Devan Ardane paced the floor at the top of her tower in Egoria, irritated by word from the King that Freeland was gathering information, but unwilling to mobilize until a clear threat appeared.

She thought, The world is moving toward and explosion, and Leoric is worried about disturbing his neighbors! Freeland has been at peace too long. We're going to end up standing alone against the first assault, whatever it is, and wherever it comes from.

Tossing her flaming red tresses, she looked out the window of her tower over the city. In the marshalling yard, raw recruits trained. Farther out, she saw a column marching out of the city toward the border. In the rooms at the base of her tower, wizards trained in preparation to provide magical backup for the warriors. Saggitariad marshaled his knights, and Mindblind his sellswords. Vladamir was converting new warrior-clerics to the service of Heraklan at a furious pace. Redbear's nomadic people grudgingly prepared for war once more. Geflon's Dwarven brethren forged weapons and armor day and night, preparing to defend their newly regained ancestral delving.

War was coming; the stink of it hovered in the very air. It might be years before the forces building now were unleashed, but the war would come. At least we'll be ready, or as ready as we can be, Devan mused.

Walking away from the window, smoothing out her dark purple robes, Devan decided she needed a distraction. There was little more she could do at this point, and worrying over it was accomplishing nothing. Her lips twitched into a smile as she thought about one of the young apprentices who had started this morning. He was handsome, with a ready grin and a booming laugh. I wonder what he's got hiding under his robes, she thought, licking her lips.

Devan froze in mid-step, feeling a touch against her mind. She started to bark out the command words that would activate the many defenses of her tower, but they fell from her lips when a voice sounded in her mind. Devan, don't talk, just think, I'll hear you.

Devan complied, angrily thinking back, Danica, you've got a lot of explaining to do little miss! Where have you been and...

Please just shut up for a minute, Devan. This isn't as easy as it might seem, and I don't know how long I can keep it up.

Bemused, and more than a little pleased by the strong tone of her sister's mental voice, Devan thought back, Okay, Danica, I'm listening.

I've been a prisoner all these years. It's my own fault, and I'm going to do something about it. You have to promise me that you'll get Dad and Daniel somewhere safe. They need to be protected from powerful magic.

Who is holding you? Where are you? I'll...

My head is really starting to hurt, promise me Devan!

Once again stunned by Danica standing up to her so firmly - Devan replied, I'll take them to Darkni's island. They'll be as safe there as anywhere in the world.

Devan could feel a wave of relief through the mental connection with her sister's next thought. Thank you. I don't think I can keep this up much longer. Watch my shop; I may need your help if we survive this. If I don't see you again, I love you, Devan.

Danica, let me come help you, whatever it is you're facing. You're scaring me.

I'm scared too, Devan, but Celes and I have to face this alone. Beware of prostitutes, be ready for demons, and prepare for war.

Devan started to reply to her sister, but felt the mental connection vanish. Letting out a growling scream, she stomped her foot hard, and then started to curse. After a few minutes of venting, she spoke the words of a spell and vanished from her tower, to keep her promise, and see if Darkni could locate Danica.


"I still don't see why you didn't tell her everything," Celes said when she saw Danica's

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