Aglirta is known as the Kingless Land. Once prosperous and peaceful, it has fallen into lawlessness, studded with feuding baronies engaged in a constant state of war . . . but the land is kingless no more.The legendary Sleeping King has been reawakened by the efforts of the valiant Band of Four:-Hawkril, a bold and brave warrior gifted with great strength and fortitude-Craer, the crafty and clever thief-Sarasper, the learned and wise healer-Lady Embra Silvertree, the mystical Lady of Jewels, a powerful sorceressWith the aid of the Dwaerindim Stones, the King's curse has been lifted . . . but it will take more than the Dwaerindim to restore him to the long vacant throne of the land. Ambitious and devious barons are ready to challenge him for the throne, while dark, inhuman forces wait for the chance to bring Aglirta under its evil shadow. The Band of Four must quest for a powerful secret that will restore the kingdom to its former glory. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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March 01, 2002
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Excerpt from The Vacant Throne by Ed Greenwood
No Shield Like Loyalty nbsp; nbsp; Birds whirred, called, and shed droppings copiously in the ruined, riven place that had until recently been a high-domed library (though it had been a very long time since its shelves had known books, and its aisles the tread of folk intending to read them). The deep wood had closed its green grip again around the ruins of abandoned Indraevyn almost uneasily, as if expecting more warriors and wizards to boil up out of the overgrown stones at any moment and split the soft forest sounds with the ringing of blade on blade and the ear-shattering cracks of striking battle spells. But days and nights had passed, and no more such combatants had come. The carrion-eaters had plucked and crawled and gnawed at the sprawled bodies of the fallen, cracking and scattering bones, and no new alarum arose. The creepers had advanced their patient tendrils, and things that squeaked and slithered had done so, and the Loaurimm had closed its hand over Indraevyn again. The forest had stood unbroken before men had come to Silverflow Vale to hew and burn and plough—and if the day came that all the men were gone, it would as slowly and surely reclaim the cleared banks of the Silverflow, and in the end swallow every last road and tower. Soon after bloody battle and the hewing and burning that had preceded it, laying bare so many walls and doors, Indraevyn looked more like a forest-cloaked rockpile than something men had built. The casual eye would have seen raw nature, not the failing hand of man. Except for six eerie shafts of glowing light that hung in a silent, vertical row in the heart of the riven library, a book floating immobile in each. Something moved among those pillars of glowing nothingness. It shuffled often into the nether reaches of the shafts, to stand looking up vainly for silent hours before lurching over cracked and scorched flagstones to the next shaft, and the next. It was something that might once have been a man, though it looked more like the mottled brown reassembled remnants of a bad and once-shattered sculpture of one, with spindly arms of differing lengths, lopsided shoulders, and a head that was too long, thin, and jagged. None of which kept it from lurching and shuffling its slow, eerie way around the ruins, returning always to the library, and those six silent shafts of light—just as it was shuffling into the northernmost column of glowing air now. To stand as always, head turned up to the books floating beyond reach, the books impervious to its small magics…just as they were “not there” to every rock and branch it had contrived to throw up, at—and through—them. Yet it had nowhere else to go, no other magic to sustain it but the endless glow at the heart of Indraevyn, and little magic at its command when it moved out of the library—so here it stood again, waiting with a patience that owed less to sanity than to burning hunger. The rags of robes not its own hung from its shoulders, as tattered as the flesh beneath. Withered flesh and sinew as brown and as dry as old fallen leaves clung to its shattered bones, though someone who’d known the wizard in life would have had to stare long and hard at the withered brown skeletal thing to recognize Phalagh of Ornentar—though he was closer to his old vigor now than when he’d died, torn to glistening gobbets pattering bloodily down into the pit that had held the Stone of Life for so long. Time enough to leave behind weird weavings that had reshaped a man with agonizing slowness, building bone and rotting flesh together in a rising heap that had one day stood, and lifted arms, and climbed. Up into the shattered hall above the pit where Phalagh had died the silent thing came, to endlessly, almost mindlessly, stumble around its gloomy rubble, exploring. Examining every crack and corne