The night angel trilogy, p.155
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       The Night Angel Trilogy, p.155

           Brent Weeks

  As their kisses became more heated, those thoughts—and all thoughts—dimmed into the background and disappeared altogether beneath the scents of lavender and faint sweat and her breath, and the feel of her weight on his lap and her hands on his body and her skin beneath his lips and—finally!—his hands won through all the layers of skirts and he felt slim, stockinged calves and his fingers traced that silk up to silkier skin. Jeni moved her hips against him.

  Logan jumped to his feet and set Jenine on hers. Eyes wide, he cleared his throat, “The royal apartments can’t be far,” he said. “If you can wait five minutes—”

  Jenine grabbed him. They didn’t wait.

  When Kylar opened his eyes, he was lying in a soft bed. High overhead, the ceiling was covered with an elaborate mosaic of a warrior hanging onto a Titan’s neck, a huge black sword drawn back in his hand for a killing blow. It was Kylar, but the mosaic was centuries old. Kylar turned.

  At first, he didn’t recognize Vi. For the first time he’d ever seen, she wore her luxurious, wavy red hair unbound. A single streak of it was stark white. She was seated beside his bed, holding his hand, her green eyes closed in sleep. There were red tulips on the bedside table.


  Elene’s funeral was simple and small, despite being held in the Hall of Winds. The high king and queen joined Vi and Kylar and Durzo and Sister Ariel. Dorian sat cross-legged on the ground near the back, oblivious. Thankfully, he was silent. Feir stood near him, mostly watching Dorian to make sure he didn’t do anything offensive. Amazingly, Elene’s old patr from Cenaria had accompanied Logan’s army to help with the wounded, and he preached with a simple eloquence that bespoke his long friendship with her. The walls and dome of the Hall of Winds showed the beautiful spring day outside, ripe and bright with promise.

  Vi caught herself glancing at Kylar again and again. After being bonded to him, it was strange to have to read his emotions from his face. He wept freely, and there was something clean and healing in those tears. The patr finished the final prayer, and one by one, they made their way to the open coffin.

  Kylar and Vi went last. Elene was absolutely stunning. Sister Ariel and Vi had made her gown. It was white silk, like the one she’d died in, but in line with Elene’s modesty and taste. Her face was radiant. Unscarred, it was the face God had intended for Elene, but without her gentleness to animate it, it looked too austere. Here was the face of a queen, but Elene’s beauty had always been warm and comforting, never intimidating. As Vi tried to sketch in the details that this husk couldn’t capture, the vastness of the loss overwhelmed her. She had to brace herself against the coffin.

  Finally, Vi drew a little weave Sister Ariel had taught her around the splay of red tulips Elene held against her chest. It would preserve the flowers for all time. Then Vi touched her friend’s cold cheek and kissed her forehead. As she touched Elene’s body while still holding her Talent, Vi was struck by something.

  Elene wasn’t pregnant. Vi straightened, her tears forgotten. Had Elene simply been mistaken? Elene had never been pregnant before, so she wouldn’t know exactly how it felt. Vi joined the departing line of mourners. Her eyes fell on the High Queen, pregnant with twins, and then on Dorian, sitting by the door. The mad mage grinned at her, and that grin reminded Vi that Dorian the Mad had held both of the world’s most powerful magical artifacts at the same time. Dorian had been responsible for guiding the magic that had wiped out all the krul and restored this entire city. Dorian had been magically linked to all of them. Dorian had been the most Talented Healer in living memory.

  Vi’s mouth dropped open. Then the insanity of voicing her wild suspicions made it snap shut. What was she going to do? Challenge a madman, tell a king his wife was carrying two different men’s sons, and throw an insane hope at Kylar as if it would make up for Elene’s death?

  No, she would say nothing, not until she knew, maybe not for a long time. But if Elene and Kylar’s child somehow lived, Vi swore—swore!—that no one would hurt him.

  As the ceremony ended, Vi looked surreptitiously at Kylar. He stood tall. Even as tears coursed down his face, he seemed unburdened, more at ease, more confident, more… himself, than Vi had ever seen. She came and stood beside him as the mourners walked into the glorious spring sunshine to look out over their clean white city. Ten thousand red tulips were a reminder of the blood that had purchased it. Kylar took Vi’s hand and squeezed.


  Characters of the Night Angel Cycle, Listed

  To the King’s maladroit monkey of minstrelsy Javar Nussio,

  From D. Laerin Votagsmere the Gold, Chief Scholar , D.Kn., J.Sc.


  The following is a reference for you as you read the king the tale. Please note that the average tenure for a court bard here is somewhat less than the time it takes to read the entire cycle aloud. Do your successors a favor and please use the pronunciations herein, lest you infuriate the king. If you do so, your inevitable upcoming retirement will be abruptly terminated by something less pleasant than employment. Having noted your butchery of terms with clear phonetic notation, I exchanged the lexically correct pronunciation aids and instead used small words and capitalization to make pronunciations obvious—even to you. And for the green god’s sake, stop rolling your R’s when you read Ceuran names.

  After your last disastrous gaffe where you read aloud the entry which was supposed to be a prompt for your memory alone, thereby revealing the true nature of the black ka’kari to the king long before book six, I have edited this entire folio. Now you will find the character list safe to read to the king at any point in the story, giving only what is known about that character at the time they are introduced. This means, of course, that some definitions are unforgivably bland: “Gwinvere Kirena, a courtesan” doesn’t do the inimitable woman justice and doesn’t begin to match the beauty of my previous entry, but your idiocy nearly lost me my job. Because certain entries are impossible without risk of you getting eggshells in the cake again, they have been omitted: “Wanhope”, etcetera.

  Enjoy the king’s favor while it lasts. Just yesterday I heard him asking Lady Versetti if you don’t sometimes throttle the high notes a bit. (She answered in the affirmative.)

  Fret on that, you melodious macaque,

  Laerin Votagsmere the Gold,

  Chief Scholar, D.Kn., J.Sc.

  AALYEP, GOODMAN: An herbalist whose shop is frequented by rich merchants and controlled by the Sa’kagé.

  ABINAZAE, KING: Ruler of Cenaria 400 years prior to this tale; built the castle when Cenaria was a major power.

  ACAELUS THORNE OF TRAYETHELL, PRINCE (uh KAY luss): A friend and warrior of Emperor Jorsin, he had no subtlety, hated lies, politics, and magic.

  AENU HEIGHTS LANTANOS (EYE new): Lantano Garuwashi’s family. Despite later attempts to claim lineage from Cortano Ryu Masato, the connection is either tenuous or specious.

  AEMIL PICCUN, MASTER: Tailor to the Sa’kagé.

  AEVAN, LORD: Noble whom Kylar helps by giving him an herbal remedy while working for Aunt Mea.

  ALEXAN THE BLESSED: A prince who set out to war as a teenager after his father was assassinated. His early victories were likely due to the brilliance of his close advisors and some sheer incredible luck. His recklessness, genius, and charisma combined to make him nearly invincible. He later came to believe that he was a god, purged his advisors who’d served him so loyally, and was killed by a child while drunk. A rumor that the child was in fact a Feyuri spy (due to their slight stature) led the massacres of Feyuri communities throughout much of Alexan’s crumbling empire. An alternate explanation for Alexan’s demise offered in this text is believed inaccurate as is the provenance of another, fouler translation of ‘the Blessed,’ though some early manuscripts have that as well.

  AGON’S DOGS: A small army of Sa’kagé trained by Lord Brant Agon.

  AGRIGOLAY: The region surrounding White Cliff Castle; usually the Emperor’s personal lands, the red hills of Agrigol
ay are home to Midcyru’s finest vineyards.

  ANDERS GURKA: A wetboy of Cenaria. No other records exist.

  ANTONINUS WERVEL: One of the 6 Sa’seuran magi; Modaini. One of the most powerful magi of his era.

  ARCHMAGI OF GANDU: Wielders of some of the most destructive magic in history; it was said that these men and women left much of Gandu uninhabitable for five hundred years. The Wastelands were only beginning to grow crops again at the time of the narrative. No evidence now exists whether this was true.

  ARIEL WYANT SA’FASTAE: Tamriel’s elder half-sister; looks like peasant but far more Talented than Tamriel. Ariel Wyant was one of the great minds of her generation, but horribly impatient with nonsense—this barred her from advance in the Chantry for much of her life.

  ARISTARCHOS (ban Ebron, shalakroi of Benyurien in the Silk province of Ladesh): a handsome Ladeshian bard, a member of the Society of the Second Dawn. Not believed to be the same Aristarchos ban Ebron who seized the pirate hideout town of Edross.

  ASHAIAH VUL: A tiny Lodricari man who was Garoth Ursuul’s Raptus Morgi, Keeper of the Dead.

  AUNT MEA: A midwife and healer, widowed, based in Caernarvon, a relation of Elene Cromwyll’s. Mother of Braen Smith.

  AZOTH/AZO (AY zoth/AY zo): A street orphan, colloquially a ‘guild rat,’ member of the Black Dragon street guild. The name was, at the time, an archaism for quicksilver. Given that most slaveborn picked names for themselves, or had names picked for them, either this name was picked because someone merely liked the sound of it, or it is a later invention grafted onto the tale. The great minstrel Paelos Groff wasn’t above changing names to hit a rhyme.

  BA’ELZEBAEN (BAY ELL zah BANE): Mythical. The Lord of Serpents, an Arcanghul.

  BAMRAN GAMBLE, SERGEANT: A skilled archer with an Alitaeran longbow, a sergeant in the Cenarian army who kills a deserter to prevent his other soldiers from deserting a battle.

  BARUSH SNIGGLE (BAR oosh SNIG ul): A Shinga of Caernarvon.

  BERNERD (BURN-erd): Guard of the Nine in Cenaria. This tale has the only mentions of him in history.

  BIM/WEESE/POD: Littles in the Black Dragon street guild of Cenaria.

  BLUE: A member of the Black Dragon street guild, long after Azoth had left.

  BOURARY, MASTER: Ring maker in Caernarvon.

  BRAEN SMITH: Aunt Mea’s hulking 20-yr-old son, a smith.

  BRANT AGON, GENERAL: An experienced Cenarian general, who finds much of his power stripped from him by a jealous and fearful king.

  BRAN/TALLAN: Gyre guards.

  BORSINI, VÜRDMEISTER: A Vürdmeister of the 11th Shu’ra.

  BURL LAGHAR, CAPTAIN: A Khalidoran captain, later emasculated and killed by Kaldrosa Wynn during the Nocta Hemata.

  CAEDAN: One of the Six Sa’seuran magi. A twin of Jaedan, a Seer.

  CAPRICIA: The proprietor of a shop that sells compulsion wedding rings.

  CHELLENE LO-GYRE (SHA leen low GHIRE): One of the victims of Godking Ursuul; frozen magically by Trudana Jadwin as a statue.

  CORBIN FISHILL: One of the Sa’kagé Nine, the BRAAVOK, master of the younglings, lisps. Killed by Durzo.

  CRESUS TOFUSIN, EMPEROR: The ancient founder of the Tofusin Clan, also the name and title of the father of Solonariwan and Sijuron Tofusin.

  DABIN VOSHA: One of the Nine, the man in charge of the Sa’kagé’s smuggling, also known as the SAHRASLISS.

  DAG TARKUS: Someone who kicked Piggy in the stomach for stealing and the next day he died; Blue references him.


  DAUNE WARIYAMO: The Queen mother to Empress Kaede Wariyamo.

  DAVI: One of Rat’s co-assailants on Jarl.

  DAYDRA: A courtesan who looks like Elene Cromwyll.

  DEHVI/DEHVIRAHAMAN KO BRUHMAEZIWAKAZARI: An Ymmuri stalker, a magically Talented hunter. A legend in Ymmur. Also known as The Ghost of the Steppes.

  DICOLA RAIIS, EMPEROR (dee COAL ah RAY ees): Alitaeran Emperor, possible instigator of the Alitaeran Accords, who feared the Chantry had established a breeding program to make archmages. Insane, but also, apparently correct on this point.


  DORG GAMET: King Gunder’s stable master, from the isle of Planga.


  RIMBOLD DRAKE, COUNT: Regnus’s solicitor and Durzo’s associate; as the Trematir, Sa’kagé Master of Coin (one of the Nine), reintroduced slavery and the Death Games but eventually swore off and retired.

  ULANA DRAKE, COUNT: Count Drake’s wife. A kind woman and no fool.

  SERAH DRAKE: The wild eldest daughter of Rimbold and Ulana Drake, longtime special friend of Logan Gyre, but not considered marriage material as her position is so far below his.

  MAGS DRAKE: Count Drake’s middle daughter.

  ILENA DRAKE: Count Drake’s youngest daughter.

  DRISSA NILE, SISTER: A maja at a tournament, works as healer in Cenaria.

  DUNNEL: A Gyre servant, murdered on the night Cenaria was invaded by Khalidor.

  DURZO BLINT: [Note to bard: The first time His Majesty listens to this tale, please use the following definition ONLY: “A legendary wetboy of Cenaria, a master of poisons and numerous weapons with a compulsive personality. Famous for his refusal to take apprentices, despite the Sa’kagé’s repeated attempts to convince him otherwise.”

  [On subsequent readings, or if the king demands you open the oven before the cake has had time to rise, you can add the following at your discretion.] Durzo Blint was—unless, like those ninnyhammers the Miluvians you believe he still lives!—an incarnation/identity (? highly contested) of the man first (? minorly contested) known as Prince Acaelus Thorne, born 17-20 years before 1 Anno Jorsini. Virtually no serious scholar disputes that Prince Acaelus Thorne did exist. Whether the following personae belonged to Acaelus as well is hotly contested, with Lucanus et al. accepting the first five, but only Rebus Nimble and Mir Graggor of the last six. The supposed annals of the Society of the Second Dawn accept all of the below, except Ferric Fireheart and Zak Eurthkin (spelled Earth Kin in their records, a later mistranslation?). Note that the “X!” is a click. Apparently, there were numerous kinds of these, some of which non-native speakers can’t differentiate between. Do your best. On to the list, with all known details about each:

  (missing page here)

  DYNOS ROTANS, UNDERLORD (DIE nos ROW tanes): Brother to Overlord Julus Rotans.

  ERIS BUEL: A woman who left the Chantry abruptly some years ago and married an Alitaeran nobleman. Leader of the married Sisters, who were (offensively) nicknamed the Chattel.

  EZRA (the Mad/the Mage/the Archmage/the Maker): Friend and mage of Jorsin Alkestes, a sa’sogol—a Lord of Magic. One of the most skilled mages ever born. An orphan discovered and befriended by Jorsin (Ginvurin’s assertion that Jorsin adopted Ezra has little support), Ezra served him loyally for his entire life. Ezra is either the creator or discoverer of Iures, Curoch, the ka’kari, the Shield of Eraclos, the Horn of Cataclym, the Warhammers of Oren Razin, the poisoner’s the Water Weaver’s Distaff, the rings of ruin, and over one hundred unbreakable, never-dulling swords said to be practice pieces for the later Great Swords. It should be noted that though he was the principle architect of these pieces, no few of them were made during the Siege of Trayethell, and other archmagi are known to have lent their advice, magic, materials, and skills, notably Oren Razin, Kren, and Jorsin Alkestes himself.

  FERL KHALIUS: A highlander who appropriates something marvelously important after it’s lost on a bridge.

  FEY FOLK: Mythical race said to be possessed of unearthly beauty, large eyes, great intelligence, skin in earthen and metallic tones, and an affinity for magic. The Stones of Keeping are said to be their work, as was the Black Forest, before it was burned in your grandfather’s time.

  FEYURI: A minority group mostly in Khalidor, though some communities survived in rural areas of Ossein and Alitaera. Frequently bearers of pointed ears and odd skin tones. Alleged to be descended from Fey
folk, despised for that and their pacifism.

  FEIR COUSAT: Associate of Solon and Dorian at the great pyramid of Sho’cendi; born a peasant; looked fat and unwieldy, but was a Blademaster of the Second Echelon; also a Vy’sana (a brown mage or Maker).

  FERGUND SA’FASTI: King Aleine Gunder’s court mage, weak Talent.

  GARAZUL, HIGH LORD: Kylar pretends he is the steward for this noble.

  GARE CROMWYLL: Adoptive father of Elene Cromwyll.

  GHORRAN: Khalidoran who guards Elene during her captivity.

  GORKHY: Khalidoran guard of the Hole.

  GRAAVAR HIGHLANDERS: Ursuul’s shock troops, tall, barrel-chested, blue-eyed savages who wore their black hair short and their mustaches long.

  GRAKAAT KRUHN: A Khalidoran highlander chieftain.



  GORDIN GRAESIN, DUKE: 7th in line to the throne.

  LUC GRAESIN: Lord General for, and younger brother of, Terah Graesin.

  NATASSA GRAESIN: Younger sister of Terah Graesin.

  TERAH GRAESIN: Daughter of Gordin Graesin, eighth in line for the throne, younger half-sister of Catrinna Gyre.

  GRAEBLAN, UNDERLORD: A Lae’knaught commander whose lancers once fought General Brant Agon.

  GRASQ TWINS: Led 6 battles against each other; statue in the Gyre hall; the subject of two story cycles.

  GULON TAKEDA: One of Solon’s opponents.


  ALEINE GUNDER IX, KING: A king of Cenaria, successor to King Davin Gunder.

  DAVIN GUNDER, KING: Father of Aleine Gunder IX.

  PRINCE ALEINE GUNDER: Eldest son of King Aleine Gunder IX and Queen Nalia Gunder.

  NALIA GUNDER, QUEEN (NÉE WESSEROS): Aleine Gunder’s wife, formerly betrothed to Regnus Gyre.

  JENINE GUNDER: Oldest daughter of King Aleine Gunder and Nalia Gunder.

  ALAYNA GUNDER: Younger sister to Jenine Gunder.

  ELISE GUNDER: Younger sister to Jenine Gunder.

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