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The Red Wolf Conspiracy Part 56

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"He didn't stay long. You were out cold. He just wanted to look at you, he said."

"I heard him," Pazel whispered. "I heard him say my name! Where did he go? Why didn't he wait?" wait?"

"He can't come near Ormael. He's a smuggler, Pazel. An enemy of the crown."

"But it's been nine years!" cried Pazel. "Didn't he say anything? Didn't he ask anyone to do something, tell me something?"

"I told him to write you a letter," said Thasha, her eyes bright. "He just waved me away."



"Nine years," Pazel repeated in a hollow voice.

They stood still. He looked at her bandaged neck, felt the leathery scar on his palm. Then Thasha put a hand on the back of his neck and reached for his lips with her own. And suddenly the shell in his chest was blazing, searing him with Klyst's jealousy. He turned his head away and pushed past her, avoiding her wounded gaze, slopping water onto the floor.

Ramachni splashed vigorously in the basin. He scrubbed his tail between his paws, doused his head, squirmed with delight. Even Pazel and Thasha were laughing by the time he leaped out and shook himself. But the effort exhausted him. He raised a weary paw, and Thasha gathered him into her arms.

"Now," he said, "my time is truly truly spent. Be good to one another, be fearless. And look for me when a darkness comes beyond today's imagining. Very well, Hercol." spent. Be good to one another, be fearless. And look for me when a darkness comes beyond today's imagining. Very well, Hercol."

Everyone crowded into Thasha's sleeping cabin. As she rubbed the mage dry with her towel, Hercol performed the ritual that opened the mariner's clock. There was a sharp, cold puff of air, and the sound of wind in a high place.

Then Ramachni spoke his last spell: the holding charm that would allow him to open the clock from within, one day. When he was finished, his tongue flicked once over Thasha's palm. He crawled into the dark tunnel mouth, then turned to look at them.

"Don't go," said Neeps desperately. "We can't fight them alone!"

"That is true," said Ramachni. "You cannot. But when were you ever alone? My part has not been so very great, after all. You have been saving one another since this ship left Etherhorde. You, Neeps, saved Pazel from prison in Uturphe, by your gift of eight gold. Pazel saved Hercol from dying in the poorhouse. Hercol and his countrymen saved Thasha, and Thasha saved us all from the fleshancs. And those are just a few examples. We have been struggling together since this ship left Etherhorde. Always together, and always, so far, without defeat."

"Or victory," said Diadrelu. "The Nilstone remains in that creature's hand."

Ramachni crawled farther into the darkness. When he looked back again they could see only his eyes, shining in the lamplight.

"Victory is a shadow on the horizon, and whether island or illusion you can only learn by sailing. Defeat, however--those reefs you may be certain of. They are real, they surround you. I say this not to frighten but because I cannot lie. And yet there is reason to be hopeful--even to rejoice. You are a clan now, and as Dri can tell you, a clan is a powerful thing."

"But we're losing the head of our clan," said Pazel. "And you're not just anyone. You're special."

"Not special enough," said Ramachni. "None of us are, alone."

HERE ENDS The Red Wolf Conspiracy The Red Wolf Conspiracy, BOOK ONE OF THE CHATHRAND VOYAGES.

THE STORY IS CONTINUED IN.

The Rats and the Ruling Sea, COMING FROM DEL REY BOOKS IN 2010.

Appendix

THE CHATHRAND CHATHRAND.

The IMS Chathrand Chathrand has seven decks. From high to low, they are the topdeck (open to the sky), main deck, upper gun deck, lower gun deck, berth deck, orlop deck and mercy deck. Beneath the mercy deck is the hold. has seven decks. From high to low, they are the topdeck (open to the sky), main deck, upper gun deck, lower gun deck, berth deck, orlop deck and mercy deck. Beneath the mercy deck is the hold.

Highest of all are the forecastle (at the bow or front of the ship) and quarterdeck (at the stern or rear), both of which are reached by ladders from the topdeck. Captain Rose's cabin is beneath the quarterdeck. The Isiqs' stateroom is located two decks directly below, at the stern of the upper gun deck.

The masts of the Chathrand Chathrand, bow to stern, are the foremast, jiggermast, mainmast, mizzenmast and spankermast.

TIME IN ALIFROS.

The twelve months of the Western Solar Year are Halar, Fuinar, Sultandre (the spring months); Vaqrin, Ilqrin, Modoli (summer); Teala, Freala and Norn (autumn); and Umbrin, Ilbrin and Cadobrin (winter).

Each month has exactly thirty days. New Year's Day is the first day of spring (i Halar). Once every seventeen years, a four day Halar). Once every seventeen years, a four day Baalfurun Baalfurun ("Carnival of Madness") precedes the New Year. These four days are not part of any month. ("Carnival of Madness") precedes the New Year. These four days are not part of any month.

KEY DATES IN THE HISTORY OF NORTHWEST ALIFROS:.

--1231 Old Faith born when Masithe of Ullum builds the Black Casket.

--501 Shattering of the Black Casket.

--500-489 The Worldstorm rages throughout Alifros; most societies collapse; the Lost Age begins.

--220 Erithusme takes the Nilstone from the Ice Caves of Nohirin, becomes the greatest mage in Alifros.

--167 Lost Age ends with the defeat of Hurgasc the Torturer.

1 Rinfaith born when the Ninety Rules are collected in a single tome. Empire of Arqual proclaimed after Battle of Ipulia. Shards of the Black Casket recovered and placed in the Towers of the Kings; birth of the Mzithrin Pentarchy.

755 Magad I crowned Emperor of Arqual. Year of Regicides in Dremland, Westfirth, Opalt, etc. Magad I crowned Emperor of Arqual. Year of Regicides in Dremland, Westfirth, Opalt, etc.

839 The Thirteenth Edition of The Merchant's Polylex The Merchant's Polylex published in Etherhorde. published in Etherhorde.

860-867 First Sea War (Arqual vs. Mzithrin).

883-887 War of the Tsordon Mountains (Arqual vs. Mzithrin).

892-901 Second Sea War (Arqual vs. Mzithrin). Rise of the Shaggat Ness and the Heresy of Gurishal; civil war cripples the Mzithrin. The Shaggat, defeated, flees east. His ship the Lythra Lythra sunk by Arquali navy off the Haunted Coast, ending both wars. sunk by Arquali navy off the Haunted Coast, ending both wars.

898-899 Sugar War in the Nelu Rekere (Arqual vs. South Isles Alliance).

913 Magad V crowned Emperor of Arqual after strange death of Magad IV.

933 Assassination of Ulmurqat, one of the Five Mzithrin Kings, nearly triggers a fourth war between the empires.

936 "Rescue" (invasion) of Ormael. Pazel Pathkendle made a prisoner of Arqual.

941 Chathrand Chathrand launched from Etherhorde on 9th day of summer (9 Vaqrin). 7 Teala chosen as date for signing of the Treaty of Simja and the start of the Great Peace. launched from Etherhorde on 9th day of summer (9 Vaqrin). 7 Teala chosen as date for signing of the Treaty of Simja and the start of the Great Peace.

Acknowledgments.

John Jarrold and Simon Spanton, my agent and UK editor respectively, brought their great acumen and vision to this book from the start: thank you, gentlemen. My thanks as well to Gillian Redfearn, Susan Howe and the rest of the Gollancz team for their tireless help.

This American edition also benefits greatly from the keen editing of Kaitlin Heller and Betsy Mitchell at Del Rey; to both, my warmest thanks.

I thank my family, for love and support too immense to detail here; and particularly my mother, Jan A. Redick, for being the first, best reader of this novel. Stephen Klink, Tracy Winn, Tim Weed, Edmund Zavada, Jim Lowry, Hillary Nelson and Oliver Nelson also read early drafts, and shared insights for which I'm deeply grateful. Special thanks also to Katie Pugh, Veena Asher, Jim Shepard, Paul Park, Cindy Phoel, Amber Zavada, John Crowley, Karen Osborn, Corinne Demas, John Casey, Bruce Hemmer, Claire Kinney and Katheryn Sublette.

A full list of my benefactors, literary and personal, would rob this book of its svelte attractiveness. Many persons omitted here played indirect but essential roles in the birth of this novel. My debt to them is profound.

Above all, my partner Kiran Asher's love and creative brilliance kept this ship afloat. No one else could have: gracias, amor gracias, amor.

About the Author.

ROBERT V. S. REDICK's unpublished first novel, Conquistadors Conquistadors, was a finalist for the AWP/Thomas Dunne Novel Award, and his essay "Uncrossed River" won the New Millennium Writings Award for nonfiction. A former theater critic and international development researcher, he worked most recently for the antipoverty organization Oxfam. He lives in western Massachusetts.

The Red Wolf Conspiracy is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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