Fortress of Dragons

Lire ebook Fortress of Dragons
Auteur: C. J. Cherryh

    There is magic .
    There is wizardry .
    There is sorcery .
    They are not now, nor were then, the same .
    Nine hundred years in the past, in a tower, in a place called Galasien, a prince named Hasufin Heltain had an inordinate fear of death. That fear led him from honest study of wizardry to the darker practice of sorcery .
    His teacher in the craft, Mauryl Gestaurien, seeing his student about to outstrip his knowledge in a forbidden direction, brought allies from the fabled northland, allies whose magic was not taught, but innate. These were the five Sihhë-lords .
    In the storm of conflict that followed, not only Hasufin perished, but also ancient Galasien and all its works. Of all that city, only the tower in which Mauryl stood survived .
    Ynefel, for so later generations named the tower, became a haunted place, isolated within Marna Wood, its walls holding intact the horrified faces of lost Galasien’s people. The old tower was Mauryl’s point of power, and so he remained bound to it through passing centuries, al though he sometimes intervened outside the tower in the struggles that followed in the lands the Galasieni had ruled .
    The Sihhë took on themselves the task of ruling the southern lands…not the Galasieni, who had become bound to Ynefel, but other newcomers…notably the race of Men, who also had crept down from the north. The Sihhë swept across the land, subduing and building, conquering and changing all that the Galasieni had made, creating new authorities and powers to reward their subordinates and dealing harshly with their enemies .
    The five true Sihhë lived long, after the nature of their kind, and they left a thin presence of halfling descendants among Men before their passing. The kingdom of Men rapidly spread and populated the lands nearest Ynefel, with that halfling dynasty ruling from the Sihhë hall at unwalled Althalen .
    Unchallenged lord of Ynefel’s haunted tower, Mauryl continued in a life by now drawn thin and long, whether by wizardry or by nature: he had now outlasted even the long-lived Sihhë, and watched changes and ominous shifts of power as the blood and the innate Sihhë magic alike ran thinner and thinner in the line of halfling High Kings .
    For, of all the old powers, Shadows lingered, and haunted certain places in the land. One of these was Hasufin Heltain .
    One day, in the Sihhë capital, within the tributary kingdom of Amefel, and in the rule of the halfling Elfwyn Sihhë, a queen gave birth to a stillborn babe. The queen was inconsolable—but the babe miraculously drew breath and lived, warmed to life, as she thought, by Sihhë magic and a mother’s love .
    To the queen the child was a wonderful gift. But that second life was not the first life, and it was not the mother’s innate Sihhë magic, but a Shadow’s darkest sorcery that had brought

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