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by Jeff Stanley
Category: Science Fiction
Description: Living in a world of deadly wonders and beautiful terrors, the Bhajong and the Gagash are mortal enemies willing to acknowledge no common ground but hatred. The Bhajong live within ools, gargantuan flying creatures with whom they have entered into a parasitic symbiosis that ensures survival at an unspeakable cost. The Gagash dwell deep below the landskin, where they conduct desperate experiments upon their grotesquely misshapen bodies, seeking a way to reverse the mutations that are slowly killing them. For ages, the Gagash and Bhajong have fought each other to the death at every turn, their animosity unquestioned, unreasoning, unblemished by mercy or curiosity. But that is about to change. From a dying ool, two strange new forms are birthed into the world: the fruit of a mad god's twisted dream. The first of these creatures, a male, is found by Rian, a hardened Gagash warrior, who brings the stranger back to his home. There, the vengeful interest of a second god, as old and mad as the first, is awakened. Meanwhile, the Lady Dersi, a young Bhajong scheduled to enter symbiosis with her ool, panics and runs, sparking a rebellion that will uncover an ancient secret with the power to challenge even the plans of gods. Now, as the seeds of an undying enmity reach their final flowering, Rian and Dersi will find themselves pushed into a climactic confrontation with a long-forgotten past--a past whose shocking truths are about to explode into an unimaginable future....
eBook Publisher: Random House, Inc.,
eBookwise Release Date: December 2003
35 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [468 KB]
Reading time: 292-409 min.
repeat itself. It
Dream fragments of soothing, warm liquid currents shattered
and fell away from her mind like broken chitin.
She leaned toward the mound alongside her bed, hand
outstretched to caress the light-tumor there.
"Don't," came a voice, low and whispery.
Her hand froze, and she jerked her head toward the voice.
In the darkness she could see nothing. She swallowed,
pulling her legs up toward her chest. Her hands clenched in
the spongy surface of the bed. Cilia squirmed away from the
"Who are you?" she demanded.
"A friend," came the response from the darkness.
Dersi focused on the sound of the voice. It seemed familiar,
but she could not identify the speaker. Her vision sharpened,
drinking in the ambient, residual light in the room. A dull
hump of deeper darkness stood near her, at the end of her
bed. A man-shaped outline.
"If you would have me for one," came the gruff response.
"A friend wouldn't crouch in the darkness of my bedchamber.
A friend wouldn't interrupt my sleep, uninvited." She
edged closer to the mound at the side of her bed. She slid her
hand across the bed toward the light-tumor. A hidden recess
in the mound held an acidbulb. If she could reach it . . .
"Don't. Don't call the light." She heard shifting movement,
uncertain steps in the darkness.
"Why? If you're a friend, you've no need to hide in the
"Yes, I know. But it remains unclear if you'll have me for
your friend, Lady Dersi."
"What are you talking about?" she asked.
"I know you're to receive Meloni's seed tomorrow at council,"
the masculine voice said. He was older, with the rough
edge of cells on the verge of atrophy. "I know you're to be
veiled soon after."
"Yes," she said, hesitant. Erekel? Yes. She was certain of it.
"What of it?"
"We don't think you want that," he said.
"We?" She slid her hand toward the concealed drawer.
"You said, "we." "
"Yes, I did," came the reply. "Please don't, Lady Dersi. I'm
sure you have a weapon of some sort near you. Don't force
me to do something I'd rather not do."
She jerked her hand away. "What do you mean?"
The shadowy head shook. "I don't have much time, Dersi.
They'll know you've awakened soon, and send someone to investigate."
"The Veil Lords. I can't say more than that now. It's too
dangerous to me, to us." He paused, and she sensed he
wanted to say more. She kept silent, and he continued. "You
haven't answered me. Do you want to be veiled?"
"Of course. It's my duty, my responsibility. My honor."
"I think you lie. There...