The rousing conclusion to the epic of animal magic and human ambition begun in Through Wolf's Eyes--starring a brilliant young heroine struggling to prevail over both. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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August 05, 2003
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Excerpt from The Dragon of Despair by Jane Lindskold
BURNING A TRAIL THROUGH THE SKY, the comet was brighter than any single star, almost brighter than the moon. Certainly, it appeared more purposeful.
There was no doubt about the purposefulness of the young woman who sat watching the comet from atop one of the smooth stone outcroppings that erupted here and there through the forest floor like whales frozen in the act of breaching. Her arms were wrapped around her bent knees so that she made a single form, almost like a rock herself, but unlike the rocks her gaze was fixed on the light in the sky.
To Firekeeper, who knew the stars through all their shifting annual panorama as a city-born woman would know the streets around her own house, the comet was a source of unending fascination and not a little uneasiness. She didn't like either feeling one bit.
Night after night, she found herself drawn to some dark, quiet place where she could watch the comet, as if by watching it she could keep the heavens from doing something else unpredictable. Although the spring nights were yet chilly and damp here in the Norwood Grant at the northwestern edge of the Kingdom of Hawk Haven, Firekeeper didn't find them uncomfortable. She'd lived unprotected through much harsher weather.
Blind Seer, her closest friend, often sat with Firekeeper on these vigils, though the wolf didn't really understand the woman's fascination.
"A light in the sky," Blind Seer grumbled on this night as on so many others. "That's all it is. Come and run with me. We could terrify the deer."
Firekeeper uncoiled herself sufficiently to swat the wolf lightly across the bridge of his long nose.
"Let them raise their fawns in peace," she said, "so there will be food for the year to come. Surely you haven't fallen so low that you must hunt sucklings and their mothers."
"I was more thinking of the young bucks, spring mad in the pride of their new antlers. They need humbling."
Her eyes never leaving the fat white comet with its glowing tail, Firekeeper answered, "And you a Royal Wolf, greatest of the great, are setting yourself the task of improving Cousin-kind? Our parents would be ashamed."
Their argument was interrupted by the sound of feet steadily advancing along the forest trail. Neither wolf nor woman moved, for the tread was as familiar to them as the tall red-haired youth who appeared around a bend in the trail a moment later.
"I thought I'd find you out here," Derian Carter said, greeting them with a casual wave of the hand that was not occupied balancing a tin-screened candle lantern. "Watching the comet again? I promise you, it won't go anywhere."