By Marion Zimmer Bradley

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What makes you think we’re not afraid? I don’t know about Geremy, but I was afraid enough to wet my breeches like a babe, and no doubt I’ll be so again, Only I haven’t time to talk about it when it’s happening, and no wish to do so when it isn’t. Don’t worry, foster brother. ” Bard half sat up in the darkness and stared at him. He said, “Is that flea still biting you? Beltran, my friend, your father knows you have all you need already. You are his son and his legitimate heir, you ride at his side, you are already acknowledged just one breath away from the throne.

He sniffed the bitter-acrid smell, nodding grimly. Yes, it was clingfire, the vicious stuff which, once set alight, went on burning whatever it touched, burning through clothing and flesh and bone… It did not occur normally in nature; it was made by sorcery. He and his men were fortunate that, in the snow, probably the Dry-towners had felt that it would not ignite. Or perhaps they had not been told what they guarded; sometimes arrows tipped with clingfire were used to strike horses out from under men in the field, a cruel and unsoldierly trick, for the horses, maddened by the burning, went wild and ran amok, doing more damage than the fires.

He saw one of his men slip from his saddle, go down into the torrent Another horse stumbled, and Bard reached over and grabbed the rein, trying to hold his own horse with one hand. “Hold them! In the name of all the gods, hold them! ” he shouted. ” The surprise was the worst; his horse was used to mountain streams and fords. Warned in advance, he could perhaps have held her against this. Gripping with his knees, urging her carefully against the water that now raced up to her neck, he managed to get her back to dry land, stood grabbing the bridles of the others as they came up.

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