Keys [Vows and Honor Series: Oathblood]
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by Mercedes Lackey
Description: Lady Myria was accused of the murder of her husband. She called for trial by combat and named no champion, trusting the gods to send a champion to fight and prove her innocence. The gods sent two: Tarma to fight for her, and Kethry to prove her innocence.
eBook Publisher: Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, 1988 Sword & Sorceress 5
eBookwise Release Date: November 2006
77 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [39 KB]
Reading time: 21-29 min.
"Your pardon, mage-lady, but you may not speak with the champion from this moment forward--any message you may have must pass through me--"
"Oh no, not yet, priest." Tarma urged Hellsbane forward and passed his outstretched hand. "I told you I know your laws--and the ban starts at sundown--Greeneyes, pay attention, I have to talk fast. You're going to have to figure out just who the real culprit is--the best I can possibly do is buy you time. This business is combat to the death for the champion--I can choose just to defeat my challengers, but they have to kill me. And the longer you take, the more likely that is."
"Tarma, you're better than anybody here!"
"But not better than any twenty--or thirty." Tarma smiled crookedly. "The rules of the game, she'enedra, are that I keep fighting until nobody is willing to challenge me. Sooner or later they'll wear me out and I'll go down."
"Shush, I knew what I was getting into. You're as good at your craft as I am at mine--I've just given you a bit of incentive. Take Warrl." The tall, lupine creature jumped to the ground from behind Tarma where he'd been clinging to the special pad with his retractile claws. "He might well be of some use. Do your best, veshta'cha; there're two lives depending on you--"
The priest interposed himself again. "Sunset, champion," he said firmly, putting his hand on her reins.
Tarma bowed her head, and allowed him to lead her and her horse away, Kethry staring dumbfounded after them.