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Dancer's Lament
Dramatis Personae Prelude
Chapter 1 Chapter 2
Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10
Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14
Chapter 15 Chapter 16
Chapter 17 Chapter 18
Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22
Epilogue Pagination

Seti Plains[]

Dorin Rav[]

Dorin Rav is in a rocky cleft in the Seti Plains, lying in wait near a cave entrance recently opened by one of Burn's restless shudders. He found the cave while looking for somewhere to hide from a possible sighting of the man-eating beast, Ryllandaras, on the horizon. Now that he is here, he has decided he wants to be the first to claim the spoils inside. But an unknown person is already sneaking around the area. He is surprised that the person has eluded him so far, as Dorin Rav is a master of stealth. He recalls the disappointment of learning that all the Assassin's Guilds he previously found in Quon and Tali were just simple collections of thugs, their money now his.

After spending several hours of the night crouching silently, he hears sounds suggesting his quarry has somehow gotten ahead of him. He quickly makes his way down the gorge in the dark and into the cave. Passing down the exposed tunnel and through a rune covered stone door, he finds himself in an ice cold, tomb-like structure. A large and hairy figure sits in front of a central stone table upon which sits a nacht, appearing almost mummified. The two are examining large wooden tiles. When the large figure speaks, he points out that Dorin's quarry is just to the left of him. The man was behind him all along, concealing himself with magic.

The mage is a short and ugly Dal Honese boy of about Dorin Rav's own age. He is dressed in dark, dirty robes and carries a walking stick. The mage confidently heads forth to the table and converses with the large figure, which he identifies as a Jaghut. He correctly guesses that the Jaghut is (and for a long time has been) reading a particularly difficult casting of the Deck of Dragons. Dorin recalls receiving a Deck reading about his own future when he was younger. The woman had been so upset by what she saw that her screams woke all his neighbours. The Jaghut informs them that they may not leave the structure now that they know it exists, and catches Dorin's expression. He warns Dorin that he will not be able to force his way out, tapping the table, now revealed to be a sarcophagus, to reveal a complex pattern of swirling silver-filled inlays forming the shape of a man surrounded by wards and sigils.

The mage begins to explore the dimly lit structure, knocking items from shelves with his stick and annoying the Jaghut. Dorin heads back up the tunnel he descended from, but finds the gap between the door and the tunnel's walls now far too thin to climb through. He returns to the chamber and speaks briefly with the mage, who hands him a small wooden box he has discovered. After annoying the Jaghut with more questions about the cards, the mage pursues the nacht with his walking stick and a fight begins in the dark. Grumbling that the visitors had only been meant to be a welcome diversion and highly irritated at the continuous distractions, the Jaghut flings everyone to the walls with a burst of magical power.

Dorin hears a rattling death cough from the other side of the room where the mage had been, and the Jaghut goes to investigate. The Jaghut is amused and Dorin jealous when he finds no one. Dorin grabs the nacht, believing it to be a familiar of the Jaghut, and threatens to kill it if the Jaghut does not release him. The Jaghut is amused at the idea that Dorin thinks he can kill the nacht and happily declares that if he takes the nacht with him, he may leave.

The mage suddenly appears from the shadows next to Dorin and accepts, the nacht leaping from Dorin to the mage taking the wooden box from Dorin's belt. The Jaghut is surprised by the way the mage can move. It is something he has not seen for a very long time. The mage and Dorin depart through the cave with the nacht, the door now wide enough to pass through again. Once on the surface Dorin asks the mage his name. After hemming and hawing, the mage identifies himself with the obviously fake name, Wu. Before Dorin can bring up the subject of splitting the contents of the box, Wu says his farewells and fades away into thin air. Dorin tries to kill him as he disappears into the shadows with the box and nacht, but the knives do not connect. Enraged, Dorin heads off in pursuit towards Li Heng, the only place the mage can be going.

Gothos[]

The Jaghut seals the door behind them with a wave of his hands, resuming his study of the Deck. A voice from the darkness chides him for sending two more souls on his hopeless fool's errand, one that has led to the deaths of many others. The Jaghut retrieves the speaker, an Azathanai in the form of a Battered full helm, from the distant reaches of the chamber and speaks with it. It tells him that he gives up too easily and reveals the Jaghut to be Gothos. In response to Gothos' derision, it woefully says that the issue for the Azathanai is that giving up is something they themselves cannot do.

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