Return again to the world of the Isles in Servant of the Dragon, a world with hundred of warring kingdoms without a single overlord for many centuries. Now the sources of magic are reaching a thousand-year peak, and the present generation of sorcerers is the most powerful in the millennium. Follow the small band of heroes and heroines as they journey across these landscapes, these seas, to find their loves, their destinies and --for one--a crown. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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August 01, 2000
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Excerpt from Servant of the Dragon by David Drake
Chapter One nbsp; nbsp; Prince Garric of Haft, Heir Presumptive of Valence III, King of the Isles—and already by any real measure the ruler of the kingdom—faced his Council of Advisors. Down the table from him were the chief nobles of the island of Ornifal, some of the most powerful men in all the Isles. They were waiting for him to make known his wishes as Lord Waldron, commander of the Royal Army, argued with Lord Attaper, commander of the Blood Eagles—the royal bodyguards. Garric’s wishes were to be back home in Barca’s Hamlet, the village on Haft where he’d been raised for all but the first days of his eighteen years. Life was a lot simpler then, although it had seemed complicated enough at the time. “You can’t go back, lad,” whispered the ghost in Garric’s mind: Carus, the last king of the united Isles, whom wizardly had drowned a thousand years before. “Even if duty didn’t keep you here in Valles, Barca’s Hamlet isn’t really your home anymore.” “May I remind both of you gentlemen that soldiers have to be paid!” said Lord Tadai, now Royal Treasurer in place of a well-moaning incompetent who’d held the position under Valence. Tadai wiped his round face with a hand-kerchief embroidered with the arms of his house, the bor-Tithains. Everyone was getting to his feet and shouting. Royhas bor-Bolliman, Garric’s chancellor and closest to being Garric’s friend of the men present, snarled, “And speaking of money, Tadai, the honor of the kingdom is being tarnished by your failure to pay—” “Gentlemen,” Garric said in a mild voice. He knew no one would listen to him, but his father and raised him to be polite. Liane bos-Benliman, a dark-haired girl of Garric’s age, sat beside Garric and a half-stop back, making it clear that she had no right to speak during the deliberations. In this room she was acting as Garric’s secretary. She met Garric’s eye and smiled, but there was concern in her expression. Liane was the only living person present who wanted the things Garric wanted and no more: peace and unity for the Kingdom of the Isles, which wizardry had shattered a thousand years before and which wizardry now threatened to crush to dust. In Garric’s eyes Liane was the loveliest woman in the Isles, and a more neutral judge might have concurred. “The money’s there, you just won’t release it as your duty demands!” Royhas cried, leaning over the table from his side. Tadai, leaning toward the chancellor with his face the color of his scarlet handkerchief, said, “If you’re so set on finding jobs for all your relatives, Royhas, then I suggest you find the money for them as well!” Garric’s index finger touched the conference table. It was of burl walnut, polished to a glassy sheen that brought out the richly complex pattern of the grain. In Barca’s Hamlet men shaped wood with an adze or a broadaxe. Garric had never seen a saw or a sawn plank until fate took him from him his home. A table like this was fit for the Queen of Heaven and Her consort, not mortals like Garric or-Reise. “And besidesthat—” Royhas said. Garric slammed his fist down. The table, large enough to seat twelve and heavy in proportion, jumped on the stone floor. No one spoke for a moment. Garric hadn’t eaten since…Well, he’d had an orange and a roll baked from wheat flour at down, with nothing since. Maybe that was why he felt queasy. “Gentlemen,” he said, “I’m going to adjourn this meeting because I’m obviou