Email this sample to a friend

They found the first piece of the crystal in the underground kingdom of Punjar, where they made the acquaintance of Leila, involuntary wife to the king of that unhappy land. Leila, a stately blonde whose Norge mother had been a witch and gave her daughter the ability to distinguish truth from illusion, helped them escape the maze of Punjar’s tunnels in return for being allowed to accompany the travelers on their quest. Leila was instantly attracted to Jafar, whom she knew not to be a wizard, and became his lover—much to the unspoken annoyance of Cari the Jann.

They acquired the second piece of the crystal from the King of the Winds and traveled toward the sunken city of Atluri where the third piece was hidden. Along the way they encountered Verethran, a small brown monkey who was, in reality, a prince under an enchantment, and El-Hadar, a sea captain whose ship, Hauvarta’s Shield, took them westward to the spot where Atluri sank beneath the waves many centuries ago.

En route to Atluri, they stopped at the Isle of Illusions, where Jafar needed to retrieve a vital implement to allow him to live underwater in the sunken city. To save her master from the trap of a demonic predator, Cari had to impersonate his late wife, leading to an intimate episode that later embarrassed both of them. Jafar ordered her back to her home so he need not be confronted by his guilt at using a female slave so shamelessly.

After retrieving the third piece of the crystal, Hauvarta’s Shield sailed eastward again, but encountered a ferocious storm which blew them into unknown parts with little fresh water left. Their best hope for continuing their journey was to find a source of more water—and to help them, Jafar needed to call once more on the services of Cari, slave to the ring he wore on his left hand.

***

Jafar’s right hand crept over his left, caressing rather than rubbing the ring as he spoke the invocation he’d uttered so many times in the past: “By the ring that bears thy name, O Cari, I command thee to appear before me.”

Previous Page Next Page Page 2 of 45