The sorcerer Zinixo had declared himself the Almighty, and none could doubt that the end of the era was at hand. Not for a thousand years had the world known upheaval on such a scale.
Not since the War of the Five Warlocks had disaster and destruction wielded so free a hand across Pandemia. Goblin hordes rampaged in the heart of the Impire. Dragons took to wing, incinerating entire legions in the space of a heartbeat. The slave-sorcerers of the Covin practiced whatever barbarities Zinixo required – and the chorus swelled with each victory: "Almighty!"
Soon would come midsummer, and the Nordland Moot, and the smell of blood upon the air. Soon the mad dwarf-sorcerer would truly reign supreme. Stableboy, sorcerer, king, and now rebel: as leader of the insurgency, Rap of Krasnegar faced almost certain defeat. But with typical faun stubbornness, Rap continued his near-hopeless struggle.
Against all odds, he fought his way from land to land, searching out and recruiting those few magic-users the Covin had not yet perverted. He told them to await his call: Soon the time would come, and Rap would wield his force against Zinixo in one single, killing blow. It wasn't much of a plan. But there wasn't time for more than one last strike for freedom.
David John Duncan (1933-2018) was an award-winning Scottish Canadian fantasy and science fiction author.
Duncan was a prolific writer and penned over fifty books. His sixth book, West of January, won the 1990 Aurora award, an award he would win again in 2007 for Children of Chaos. He was a member of SF Canada and in 2015 he was inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.