The Paths of the Dead

By Steven Brust

The long-awaited sequel to The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years After

Two hundred years after Adron’s catastrophe, within which Dragaera urban used to be unintentionally lowered to an ocean of chaos via an test in wizardry long gone flawed, the Empire isn’t what it was once. disadvantaged at a unmarried blow in their Emperor, of the Orb that's the concentration of the Empire’s strength, in their capital urban with its Impe-rial paperwork, and of an outstanding lots of their overdue fellow electorate, the surviving Dragaerans were limping via a protracted Interregnum, bereft even of the easy magic and sorcery they have been familiar with use in daily life.

Now the descendants and successors of the nice ad-venturers Khaavren, Pel, Aerich, and Tazendra are becoming up during this likely reduced global, con-vinced, like their elders, that the age of adventures is over and not anything attention-grabbing will ever ensue to them. they're, after all, unsuitable . . . .

For even disadvantaged of magic, Dragaerans struggle, plot, and conspire as they breathe, and so do their still-powerful gods. The enemies of the Empire prowl at its edges, in-scrutable doings are up at Dzur Mountain...and, unex-pectedly, a surviving Phoenix inheritor, younger Zerika, is discovered—setting off a sequence of swashbuckling occasions that might remake the realm but again.

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Lar bowed and handed them over. Piro this time studied them extra rigorously than he had before everything. "You have traveled extensively," he remarked after a few jiffy. "Well, that's real. " "What has taken you on those trips? " "Is Your Lordship conscious of the expression 'to stick with one's nose,' desiring to commute in response to temper, and to intuition, thither and yon, without plan, hoping to discover one's fortune? " "I have heard this, definite. And? " "My lord, i've got my abdominal. " "Ah. I comprehend. good, at any cost, you haven't any worry of go back and forth. " "None. you are expecting to be touring? " "I don't have any expectancies. however the incontrovertible fact that my father the count number needs for me to have a lackey may possibly point out anything of his plans for my destiny. Then, back, it can now not. I see you cooked for a band of mercenaries. " "Highwaymen may be a extra exact time period, my lord, or highway brokers as they're often referred to as. " "I see. good, then you definitely haven't any worry of a skirmish or . " "Oh, as to that, there were occasions whilst the very air was once thick with the sounds of conflict, and metal flashed, and our bodies fell, and blood flowed freely, and but I stayed at my put up cooking venison with wayberries as though it have been not anything in any respect; I guarantee Your Lordship that, in regards to my tasks, i'm totally with out worry. " "Well, that's good," stated Piro. "Then there's to be an day trip of a few variety, my lord? " Piro shrugged. "I haven't any such plans, yet, regardless of the Count's plans for me might be, i've got no purpose of staying the following for-ever. " "Ah! My lord is formidable? " "Nearly. " "So a lot the higher. " "Oh? " "A younger guy with no ambition is an previous guy ready to be. " "Ah. I understand you're a thinker. " "My lord? now not the least on the planet. " "You say you're not? " "My lord, i need to approximately insist on it. " "Very good, for those who could have it so. yet inform me, how did you come back to the road of labor you occupied—that is, cooking for a band of highwaymen? " "I will inform you, my lord, if you want it. " "Wish it? I approximately imagine i've got requested. " "This is the reply, then: In my early life, i used to be granted use of a small parcel of land from the property of Baron Halfwing, which property, my lord, was once positioned within the lowlands a few 80 leagues west of the town and alongside the coast. " "Well? " "That is, my lord, it used to be really alongside the coast, in order that i'll dip my toes within the ocean with out leaving the land I were allotted. " "Ah! certain, it truly is transparent to me now. With the autumn of the Empire…" "Exactly. It quickly got here to cross that I had no land, yet, really, a small parcel of ocean. And being therefore tied to no place—the Baron, you understand, having no inclination to insist that I stay within the water, nor being capable of insist on anything—I came across myself loose. i've got neither the endurance nor the inclination to fish, my lord, and so I took the chance to set out onto the line to make my fortune. " "Well, and feature you made your fortune? " "I have my existence, which, as Your Lordship may well agree, is a fortune to a guy akin to I. " "And have you ever kinfolk to aid, to boot?

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