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* * *

For Rita & Avi Schour

And Linda & Jonathan Beaty

And - As Always - Kathryn

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One moment in annihilation’s waste,

One moment, of the well of life to taste -

The stars are setting and the caravan

Starts for the dawn of nothing - oh, make haste!

(The Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam (Edward Fitzgerald Translation)

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Part One

Wizard In Exile

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Chapter One

To Dream Of Wolves

Up, up in the mountains.

Up where Winter reigns eternal and her warriors bully earth and sky.

Then higher still. Climb to the reaches where even eagles are wary. Where the winds cut sharp, paring old snowfields of their surface to get at the black rock below. Where moody skies brood over a stark domain.

Yes, up. Up to the seven mountain peaks that make the Bride and Six Maids. And higher… still higher… to the highest point of all - the Bride’s snowy crown where the High Caravans climb to meet clear horizons.

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