All the Paths of Shadow
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The king’s orders were clear enough. “Move the tower’s shadow,” he bellowed. “I refuse to deliver my commencement speech from the dark.”
As the newly appointed mage to the Crown of Tirlin, Meralda Ovis has no choice but to undertake King Yvin’s ill-conceived task. Tirlin’s first female mage, and the youngest person to ever don the robes of office, Meralda is determined to prove once and for all that she deserves the title.
The Tower, though, holds ancient secrets all its own. Secrets that will soon spell destruction for all of Tirlin—unless Meralda can unravel a monstrous curse laid by a legendary villain seven centuries before she was born.
turning his attention back to the mirror, and its slow deliberate sweeps of the halls and corridors near the laboratory. “Are you sure this is necessary? It’s nearly midnight, mistress.” Meralda shook her head. “I know the time, Mug. What of it?” “The Tower. At midnight. Hello? Haunted tower, dead of night? You don’t see a potential for mischief anywhere in that description?” “I can assure you my volume is free of any phantasmal presences,” said Tower. Meralda thought she heard a hint of
the Long Dragon flag.” “Are you joking?” “I am not,” said Shingvere. “The Hang are coming, all the way from the other side of the world. Chaos and discord abound.” The fat wizard fumbled in his pockets and withdrew a sticky white stick of candy wrapped in a shiny red paper wrapper. “Penny-stick?” he said. “Penny-stick?” “Stop pestering her with those atrocious jaw-breakers,” said Thaumaturge Fromarch. “She’s here to learn history, not bad eating habits.” Meralda—then Apprentice Ovis,
here in Tirlin!” Mug lifted a corner of his bed sheet. “Do you even know what a gaunt is, lad?” he asked. “It’s somebody dead who died in a marsh, and comes back to get their vengeance,” said Tervis. “It’s just an old story from Phendeli. Isn’t that right, ma’am?” Meralda nodded, stuffed the rolled-up paper under her arm, and lifted Mug’s cage. “That’s right, Guardsman Tervis,” she said. “It’s just an old story. In any case, the nearest marsh is a good four hundred miles from here.” “Long
She’d been at home, soaking in a hot bath, her headache gone, but her mind awhirl from the events in the park and the daunting task that lay ahead. How will I find the Tears, she had wondered, as she sank into the hot bathtub. How will I? And then she’d remembered the park. Remembered the latch breaking and falling, recalled discovering the outlines of a spell that had been flying above Tirlin, unseen for perhaps a millennia. She had leaped from the tub so fast she’d sent water sloshing across
numbers,” said Donchen. “I’ll scribble them and their Kingdom counterparts down for you before I go. We measure feet in nearly the same way. I’ll leave figures for that too.” He picked up the bottle, and placed it carefully in Meralda’s hand. “This is a more, um, active magic,” he said. “I hope you don’t find a need for it. But, if you should find yourself facing hostile persons again, spray them with this. You’ll find they cannot hide from you afterward, no matter where they run, no matter