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Several years ago, I was getting drunk with four or five of the most powerful
sorcerers in the Empire—like you do—when Daymar told a story. We were in the
library of Castle Black, having just finished doing something dangerous and
preposterous, and our host, Morrolan, pulled out a case of a really good white wine
from Descin. Sethra Lavode, the Enchantress of Dzur Mountain, was there, as was
Morrolan’s cousin Aliera, and I think the Necromancer, and of course Daymar.

The more we talked, the more we drank; and the more we drank, the less I can
recall of what we said. But I remember that at some point in there they started telling
stories of the various rites of passage among the different Houses. You know, some
tests or things you go through before you’re considered fully part of the House, or
maybe an adult, or officially a bloodthirsty asshole, or whatever it is your House

All the Great Houses except the Teckla and the Jhereg have them, and they’re all
different. The Dragonlords—Morrolan and Aliera—told of having to make tough
command decisions during a combat exercise. Sethra recounted different tests among
the Dzur, the Tiassa, and the Iorich across much of history, which she could do,
having lived through all of history and a little more besides. I talked about a couple
of traditions among Eastern witches; including the one that had got me the jhereg that
was, at that moment, sitting on my shoulder telepathically making smart-ass remarks.

Daymar turned out to be a surprisingly entertaining storyteller for a guy who
never seemed sure where his imagination stopped and reality started. I don’t
remember a lot about what he said, but I remember enjoying it. And there is one
piece that must have stuck with me. I know this because years later I abruptly
remembered it, setting off, well, I guess everything that I’m about to tell you.

Here’s the bit of what he said that I suddenly remembered: “I had to hide from the
Orb while I did it.” I must have been pretty drunk not to react at the time, but—
jumping forward to now, to a time when I was on the run from the Jhereg and
concentrating all of my energy on living through each day—I woke up from a light
sleep and said aloud, “Verra’s tits and toenails!”

I sat there in a dank, windowless, cell-like room, with my back against the stone
wall, and let things play out in my head. Then I stood up and started pacing. There
wasn’t enough space in the room, so I went out and started pacing up and down the hall

Hawk is the latest in Steven Brust’s New York Times bestselling Vlad Taltos series.



  • Originally published:  2014
  • Author: STEVEN BRUST
  • Language: English
  • File Format:  ePUB, Mobi, PDF
  • File Size: 1.8 Mb

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