Young Tal Hawkins was the only survivor of the massacre of his village -- rescued, recruited, and trained by the mysterious order of magicians and spies, the Conclave of Shadows. Already exceptionally skilled in swordsmanship, he has since developed into one of the secret society's most valuable agents, keeping ever alert for the opportunity to arise when he can avenge the craven slaughter of his family and friends.
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April 27, 2004
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Excerpt from King of Foxes by Raymond E. Feist
A bird soared over the city.
Its eyes sought out a figure in the throng on the docks, one man amidst the teeming surge of humanity occupying the harborside during the busiest part of the day. The Port of Roldem, harbor to the capital city of the island kingdom of the same name, was one of the most crowded in the Sea of Kingdoms. Trade goods and passengers from the Empire of Great Kesh, the Kingdom of the Isles, and half a dozen lesser nations nearby came and went daily.
The man under scrutiny wore the travel clothes of a noble, all sturdy weave and easily cleaned, with fastenings that allowed him to remain comfortable in all weathers. He sported a jacket designed to be worn off the left shoulder, leaving his sword arm unencumbered. Upon his head was a black beret adorned with a silver pin and a single grey feather, and upon his feet he wore sturdy boots. His luggage was being offloaded and would be conveyed to the address he had specified. He traveled without servant, which while unusual for a noble, was not unheard of -- for not all nobles were wealthy.
He paused for a brief second to drink in the sights. Around him people scurried: porters, sailors, stevedores, and teamsters. Wagons loaded so high their wheels appeared on the verge of buckling rolled slowly by him, cargo heading into the city or out to the ferry barges that would load them onto outbound ships. Roldem was a busy port by any standard; not only were goods delivered here, but also transshipped, for Roldem was the trading capital of the Sea of Kingdoms.