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ment into Vietnam. Both Banger and airborne-qualified, he served as a patrol commander and a combat correspondent for Stars and Stripes. Later, he edited outlaw motorcycle magazines and wrote for everything from the underground press to Look magazine, Rolling Stone and prime-time television. He is now a full-time novelist. By Chris Bunch THE SEER KING THE DEMON KING THE WARRIOR KING THE EMPIRE STONE CHRIS BUNCH THE WARRIOR KING ORBIT An Orbit Book First published in Great Britain by Orbit 1999 This edition published by Orbit 2000 Copyright ? 1999 by Chris Bunch The Cheap ghd moral right of the author has been asserted. All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library pink ghd . ISBN 185723 9512 Typeset in Galliard by M Rules Printed and bound in Great Britain by Mackays of Chatham plc Orbit A Division of Little, Brown and Company (UK) Brettenham House Lancaster Place London WC2E7EN The clean parts are for Judine And the rest is for Terry ONE THE SUMMONS 1 The unexpected ships arrived an hour before dusk. We’d seen them sailing toward my island prison for some hours and wondered—no one was allowed to sail in these waters without government permission. There were three of them, one a large merchantman, the other Cheap ghd sale two fast pirate chasers, low sleek galleys. My warders scurried to their fighting stations. They were frightened the emperor, now revealed to be still alive, might be t Cheap ghd uk rying to rescue me, the last of his bloody-handed tribunes who used sword and fire to take and hold the throne of Numantia. But the emperor grew arrogant, thought himself greater than the death-goddess Saionji, and ghd hair dryer invaded the kingdom of Maisir to our south. ghd pure Our army was destroyed, Numantia invaded by the Maisirians, and I myself hurled Tenedos from h ghd limited edition is throne when he threatened to send a nightmare demon against first the invaders, then against his rebelling countrymen and our capital of Nicias. Tenedos, like I cheap ghd straighteners , had been sent into island exile. No doubt Bairan, King of the Maisirians, hoped we’d be quietly garroted or have a convenient fall from a battlement when matters had calmed. – Indeed, Tenedos ghd products had been reported dead, and I’d been waiting for my own assassin, not caring, for all the world was a bloody shatter to me. But then the world had spun about us all: Tenedos had faked his death, gotten to the mainland, and was now building his army, ready to take back his throne from Bairan’s puppets who ruled i ghd flat iron n Nidas. But as the ships approached the tiny port below my fortress prison, they made certain signals, and my jailers relaxed. The ships were from Nicias, sent by the Grand Council. I, on the other hand, felt a whisper of fear, in spite of my supposed readiness to return to the Wheel, to be judged by Saionji and sent forth to a lesser life as punishment for the thousands I’d led to their deaths as Erst Tribune Damastes à Cimabue, Baron Damastes of Ghazi. Not that I had escaped the gods’ raking in this life. My wife, now deceased—Marin, Countess Agramonte—had divorced me after our mutual love, Amiel Kalvedon, was murdered by the Tovieti cultists; and later, in Maisir, Alegria, my beautiful Dalriada, died in the long retreat from the Maisirian capital of Jarrah. I licked dry lips and then had the intelligence to laugh aloud—I’d spent all these times mewling for oblivion like a coward instead of a warrior, and now it portended, and I was terrified. I found resolve and determined to die well, die proudly. I returned to my spacious quarters, only a cell because of the barred windows overlooking the ghd mk4 sea and the double doors with a guarded anteroom between them, and con?side ghd hair straightener price red matters. I could either stand nobly and calmly at the moment of death as heroes were supposed to or else go down fighting. I remembered an execution in Maisir, when Captain Athelny Lasta, instead of dying quietly, killed the executioner and eight others before returning to the Wheel. I thought of him and of the various trinkets I’d pro?cured over the long times of imprisonment and laughed once more. For what purpose does a man build weapons if he’s seeking a nice, immediate death? I had a pilfered table knife I’d laboriously ground to an edge against the stones in my cell and a knob of iron such as I’d used to kill the Landgrave Malebranche, far away and long ago in Kallio. I also had that most important of all weapons—four gold coins and three silver ones I’d man?aged to acquire from making careful wagers with the guards, first with coppers, then escalating my bets. I put these items in various convenient places about my person, then waited. Two guards summoned me to th ghd pure e warden, Jelap. He was a decent sort, a bumbling old domina who’d spent fifty years under the colors. This was his last assignment before retirement. I often wondered what

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