The Last Tale of Yajikali

Interlude III

by Charles Matthias

Cover | Contents | Prologue | Book I | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | Interlude I
Book II | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | Interlude II
Book III | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | Interlude III
Book IV | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65
66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | Epilogue

Breath caught in their throats, they leaned forward, eager for the next words from Laurence’s tongue. But the elder storyteller slid his eyes from one side of the room to the other, and then let his arms lower slowly. “And with that, we shall end for the night.”

“Grandpa Charles is freed from stone, Agathe is killed, Jessica breaks free from the Imbervand, and now you decide to stop?” Lord Erick Matthias stared incredulously at his uncle. But the grey-snouted rat smiled that confidant and infuriating grin.

“I thought perhaps you would appreciate ending with good news for once.” Laurence glanced down at the many children who lay curled at his feet. In the last hour each of them had fallen asleep one by one. “You may not want to object too loudly.”

Lise attended to the children while the men congregated on one side of the hall. King Albert stretched, long ears turning from side to side. “Is it just my imagination, good jongleur, or do you draw each new section out longer than the last?”

Laurence bowed. “It is not entirely your imagination, your highness. As this tale progresses, there are more details that need to be illuminated. And there are more who need to hear it as well.” His snout turned down into a moue. “I hoped that some of the others would arrive today.”

“There is plenty of time left,” Erick replied. “Let’s retire to my study.”

Ambassador Kalder lifted one eyebrow. “You think we’ll learn anything more from your uncle than we did last night?”

“Probably not, but we can try.”

They laughed and stared at the storyteller. He turned his attention back on the children, his long tail flicking back and forth. Lise and the servants carefully cradled each child and guided them to their bedrooms. Laurence followed them, waving once to the men, “I’ll see you shortly.” An enigmatic smile flickered across his snout. “Keep an eye open.”

Erick’s cousin Timothy straightened his hat and asked, “What does that mean?” But Laurence had already left. “You know, Father always said Uncle Laurence was too flamboyant for his own good.”

Erick eyed his cousin and then shook his head. “Let’s go. Your majesty, I thought you might enjoy breaking into my store of Marilyth wine. It is... well aged.”

The horse lord nodded and gestured towards the side door that led to Erick’s study. “Lead the way, Lord Matthias.”

Again, the men all congregated in the study, each taking up much the same positions they had the night before. King Albert sat in the largest chair, with his Prime Minister Ryman Ertham at his side. The frog Questioner Father Rouse sat near one window, with Timothy close by. Ambassador Kalder reclined in one of the chairs at the far end of the room near the trophy wall, while Count Floran busied himself before Erick’s library. Erick turned to the wine cabinet and produced a heavy red bottle. “Ah, bottled in 967 CR. My Grandfather purchased this while on a trade mission.”

“Are you sure you want to use it for such a night as this?” Ryman asked, one paw rubbing through his frazzled tail fur.

“Oh, I have more. He nearly bought the vineyard’s the entire batch!” Erick drove the corkscrew into the neck, and then turned when the door opened. The donkey Robert stuck his head in, nostrils flaring. “What is it, Robert?”

Robert, his Steward, snorted in amusement. “There is a small crowd outside the city gates begging your admittance.”

“Oh?” Erick asked. He set the bottle aside. “Who?”

Father Rouse croaked and lifted one webbed hand. “I believe your Uncle mentioned that others would be coming.”

“Ah, yes!” Erick grinned and waved to the donkey. “Go, open the gate for them. Let us greet them from the parapet.”

“You’ll forgive me if I do not join you,” Father Rouse added. “I prefer to avoid that much night air.”

He was the only one. The rest followed Erick up the tower stairs to the broad landing at the front of the castle. Cool air greeted them, and above the stars shone brightly in the vault of the heavens. Behind them and to either side, the slopes of the Dragon mountains hulked silently like brooding old men. Before them lay the three tiers of the city aglow with streetlights.

Though only a few stories above the courtyard, the wide parapet towered over the Narrows where the land fell away from the mountains. From this vantage they could see any and all who came to pay the Matthias Keep a visit. Along the mountain slopes, watchmen could see even more, all the way to Metamor even. But that climb would prove too arduous after a day spent sitting.

“There,” Kalder pointed towards the road. Just before the Tree Gate sat a carriage, though they could only see its top. Further down the road a second carriage approached, flanked by a dozen horsemen of various shapes and sizes. Erick stared at the pinions, but without the aid of even a steady breeze, he couldn’t recognize the heraldry.

“Two more guests to endure Uncle’s torturous tale,” Timothy mused with a sardonic grin.

“But who did he invite?” Ryman asked. The red panda leaned out, paws pressing into the stone crenellations. “I see a messenger there.” And indeed, a figure ran to the gatehouse and disappeared inside. A moment later, they heard the groaning of iron as the portcullis lifted and the gate swung open. The carriage beyond passed through, and out one door they saw a head gazing around. The light of torches glinted off earrings and a necklace.

“That’s the heraldry of the Whalish proctor in Menth,” Albert announced when the carriage turned up the road to the Iron Gate. “But I don’t think that was the Whalish ambassador whose head we just saw.”

“It makes sense,” Erick mused. “Uncle did tell us of the attack on Whales. Perhaps he invited their ambassador.”

“But who is with him?” Ryman asked. “That head was more akin to ours than to the Whalish ambassador’s.” He gestured to Kalder and Count Floran, the latter of whom scowled into the darkness from some distance away. “Apart from your esteemed company.”

No response came. They stood and watched as the first carriage passed through the Iron Gate and made its way through the central core towards the Sun Gate. A few minutes later, the second carriage reached the city’s outskirts, though still they could not discern the heraldry. Erick blew out his breath and peered closer as a pair of figures passed through the Sun Gate. He Steward walked out to meet them.

“I think it time we returned to my study,” Erick said quietly. He turned to the stairs, and one by one the others did as well. The warmth inside soothed muscles weary from sitting all day, and brought a renewed focus to their thoughts. When they discovered Laurence discoursing with Father Rouse on the difference between historians and storytellers, they wasted no time in beginning their questions.

“An interesting topic,” Count Floran said. “And just how can you assure us that the characters in your tale truly spoke the words you ascribe to them?”

The elder rat rose at their entrance and smiled. “An astute question, your grace. Few of these participants possessed either a stenographer or an anamnesis. On that count, one can dispute the exactness of their dialogue. Let me cite one source, one that most here are aware of. The founder of our family line, Grandpa Charles, was himself a storyteller, and later in his life chronicled his adventures for the pleasure of his children. It is why we remain so fond of him, those of us who can claim him as an ancestor. If there are errors in dialogue, they are the fault of a declining memory. But this too we must apply judiciously, for the mind of a storyteller remembers both the ordering and the content of the spoken word better than most.”

Timothy shook his head and blinked, while Count Floran smiled contemptuously. Before either could offer an objection, Laurence added, “And what if not every detail of this tale transpired as I proclaim? What is more important, a literal transliteration, or one that intimately knows the individuals involved and reveals them for who they are? A man’s literal words often conceal that inner substance, a fact I expect most here to appreciate. If I or any other has concocted speeches for these historical men, then it has been done carefully, respectfully, and with a keen eye to draw out the true substance of time, place, and man. What good is history if it is open to any man’s interpretation? Instead, let the truth by known through the stories we tell of them.”

King Albert nodded his long head. “A fine answer, master jongleur.”

“Thank you, your majesty.”

The study doors swung open and Robert stepped inside. “Your majesty, lordships, I present Captain Demetrius of the Whalish Navy, and the mage Scyllia of Metamor.”

There was no mistaking the mage. Decked in four or five bracelets on each wrist, clutching a wooden staff clinking with bright charms of silver, gold, and colourful feathers, Scyllia lived up to the ferret reputation of prizing shiny things. Her garb was no less colourful, featuring a patchwork collection of hues layered one over another that somehow remained loose fitting. She beamed as she entered, eyes alight in eager anticipation for the next thing to catch their attention.

Compared to her, the Whalish sailor seemed invisible. Captain Demetrius had no distinguishing mark, wearing the standard blue uniform of the Whalish Navy, with only the epaulets to mark his rank. His square jaw had a tight reserve, and his eyes had the withdrawn darkness of a man who’d seen members of his crew die in battle. He bowed respectfully to King Albert, and then less so to Erick.

“Ambassador Helvidius sends his regrets that he could not attend, your majesty. A delicate matter required his attention, and so he sent me in his stead.”

Albert nodded, though his brow furrowed in concern. “Nothing serious I hope.”

“It should not be, but it is serious enough to warrant his undivided attention.” Demetrius straightened his uniform and grimaced. “I will report on all that I witness, in so far as the promised tale is concerned.”

“You are most welcome in my house,” Erick said, grinning wide. Demetrius stared for a moment at his incisors, and then smiled in gratitude. The Lord of the Narrows turned to the ferret mage and said, “And you are also welcome, Scyllia. We have not seen you here for a long time.”

“I’ve been researching some very interesting ruins in the southern mountains,” Scyllia replied, her voice quavering in delight. “Captain Demetrius was kind enough to let me ride with him when he passed me on the road. I hear the tale features one of my ancestors, so I just had to drop everything and come hear it!”

Timothy frowned. “Which one is your ancestor?” Unlike either the Matthias family or the Hassan line, Scyllia’s family did not stay true to species; neither of her parents had been ferrets, and she herself had been born human. At the age of fourteen the curses of Metamor had changed her the old fashioned way. Not even Erick knew which one of the intrepid Metamorians had been Scyllia’s ancestor!

“The skunk of course!” she replied with firm pride in her voice. Her snout lifted high, and she wrapped both paws around the top of her staff. The bracelets dangling on her wrists clinked as they struck. “Kayla is my great-great-great-a few more greats grandmother on my grandfather’s side. He used to tell me stories about her when I was little and just starting to learn about magic.”

“And now you will learn even more,” Laurence said with a delighted grin. “I fear you have missed some of her exploits, such as the night she finally communed with the blades Clymaethera and Trystathalis.” He turned his eyes upon the naval captain. “And you have missed the blackest of nights in Whalish Naval History.”

“Do not apologize to me, master Laurence,” Demetrius replied, biding him to silence with one hand. “I know well that tale, and will be just as glad not to hear it again.”

Laurence bowed his head. “Of course.”

“Who was it who followed you?” Ryman asked of the captain. “We could not see their heraldry.”

“They shall be here soon enough,” Laurence pointed out. “Have patience!”

“Have you invited everyone with an ancestor in this tale?” King Albert asked.

“No, there are far too many for that. And most would not be interested.” Laurence sighed and stretched. “But I did try to invite as many as I could. Only one was forced to decline, Wainred who descends from Jessica and Weyden. He could hardly leave his wife when their first egg was ready to hatch. I will relate to them what they’ve missed when the chick is well.”

Outside, they could hear the stomping of hooves and a boisterous voice shouting. Erick began to smile, even as Ryman Ertham wrapped his paws tighter around his tail. Count Floran made himself even more invisible in one corner, while the rest of the guests all turned towards the door. Robert opened them a moment later and a tempestuous ram dressed in chain mail and blue and yellow tabard stomped through.

“Your majesty, your grace, may I present Lord Arister Dupré of the Wall.” Robert eyed the ram with greying wool, who rested one hand on his heavy sword buckled at his side. But the ram’s foul temper evaporated immediately as he entered.

“Ah, Erick!” he roared, stomping over to the rat and wrapping him in a firm embrace. “Good to enjoy your hospitality again! Quite a collection of guests you have here this evening. And your majesty!” He bowed quickly. “Forgive me but I did not know you would be in attendance.”

Erick coughed and regained his breath. “It is good to see you as well, Arister. All is well at the Wall I trust?”

“As well as it can be. We had a small rockslide this morning, trapped a few of my workers.” He waved one hand and bleated. “Oh, they’re all well now. Nothing time and some magic won’t heal. But it did delay me coming.” He glanced around and his eyes settled upon the ferret mage. They widened in surprise and then he smiled almost fondly. “Ah, Scyllia. Your cousin, Andre, had to remain behind to finish the repairs. He and his wife will be flying in tomorrow morning.”

She brightened at that and her whole body shivered. “Oh wonderful! I’m so glad you invited them too!”

Laurence smiled and bowed his head. “You are most welcome. However, I find that after storytelling all day long, my throat becomes quite parched. It is unfortunate that our esteemed host has been so careless in his duties.”

Erick blinked, his muzzle opening and shutting before he realized just what he’d forgotten when they’d headed to the parapet. “Eli help me, I forgot the Marilyth wine!” He scampered back to his wine cabinet and continued to drive the screw into the cork. Behind him, Arister Dupré led the raucous laughter.

After an hour’s pleasant conversation in which the latest guests were informed in rapid succession by Timothy, Ryman, Erick, and Father Rouse of the events of Laurence’s story that they had missed, the elder storyteller stretched and made a show of yawning. “Well, friends, nephews, I fear it is growing late. There is much more yet to tell, and if we do not soon retire for the night, I will not be able to tell the last of my tale.”

“So you have but one more day of story?” King Albert asked softly.

Laurence eyed him suspiciously, and then smiled. “That much I will allow. Consider it a just reward for your patience.”

“A reward?” Timothy asked, incredulously. “I suppose not having to bruise my tail for another week is a reward.”

Arister smacked him in the back of the shoulder. “Nonsense! You castle rats need to get into the saddle and see the lands outside your walls. Come see The Wall, and I’ll show you what your tail is truly made of!”

“You overzealous!” Timothy snapped, grabbing his soft hat as it fell over his snout. He straightened it, and then laughed. “City rat I may be, but I’m no stranger to the saddle! Why I served in the King’s auxiliary only last year.”

Arister opened his muzzle to say something, then bleated in amusement. “Forgive me, boy. I am eager to hear this tale, for I have only heard what you have told me. To hear it from the master’s tongue is something else altogether.”

“Indeed it is,” King Albert said. He rose from his seat, and faintly stretched. “But Laurence Matthias is right, it is late and we will need our sleep. There is much of this tale still to be told.”

“Aye, much more to hear,” Count Floran said, the first words that had come from his lips since the newest guests had arrived. His words dripped with acid. “We hear of the betrayal of the Kelewair Duke on all sides, a betrayal that has left a ruin upon my land, and you invite the scion of the very man who brought this about!”

Laurence shook his head gravely at the human. Arister’s ears flicked to the side, and he turned, stomping his hooves on the rich carpet. “I’m sure the story is told differently at the Kelewair Court than it is at the Wall. For the betrayal was not from the house of Dupré!” The ram smiled and crossed his arms. “I do take solace that the blood of the ram still flows in the house of the wolf!”

“Your lordships,” Laurence chided, stepping between them and holding out his paws. “You both speak of things you do not know! I wanted you both here so you could hear the story as it truly is, not as you have heard it before.”

Count Floran scoffed. “It would be remarkable to hear something to change my mind. Even from as talented a storyteller as you.”

“Then you will be remarking for quite some time,” Laurence replied, eyes narrowed, almost angry. “And you, Lord Dupré, not one word from you. Both of you, by the time this story has ended, will have your eyes opened, if you will let them!”

Arister dug one hoof into the carpet. “Well, I am rather stubborn.”

Erick squeaked loudly enough to catch their attention. “Forgive my interrupting your unpleasant reunion, but it is late, and I fear we are all very tired. Perhaps we will all be in a better disposition in the morning.”

The Count nodded dismissively, and straightened his cuffs with a firm tug. “Forgive my outburst, Lord Matthias. As a guest, it is not my place to do such. I will retire for the night. Thank you for your hospitality.” With those curt words, Count Floran stalked from the study. The other guests let out their breaths slowly.

Even King Albert appeared disturbed by the exchange. He turned his long head towards the ram and narrowed his eyes darkly. “Lord Dupré, you should know better than to engage Floran in verbal fencing.”

“Aye,” Arister admitted. He took several deep breaths, eyes closed tightly. “Forgive my hearty outburst, your majesty, your grace. He... he spoke ill of my family name, and I will not stand for it.”

“You will learn why tomorrow,” Laurence promised him. “If you can keep your sword in its scabbard where it belongs.”

Arister bleated indignantly. “Of course I can keep my sword in its scabbard! What do you take me for?” This flash of anger disappeared almost as soon as it arrived. With military grace, Arister Dupré bowed to his host and to his liege, and nodded. “I will take my leave of you for the night.”

“Robert will show you where you can sleep. Your soldiers will be billeted with my own for your stay,” Erick waved the donkey forward. “Scyllia, Captain Demetrius, join him as well and he’ll find you a good room in which to sleep.”

Scyllia smiled broadly, thanked him, and followed the Steward. Captain Demetrius did likewise a moment later. One by one the others all retired, until only Erick and Laurence were left. The elder rat’s snout flashed between anger and resignation. Erick could not recall the last time he’d seen his uncle so upset.

“You should have known that Floran and Dupré would do this,” Erick said gently. “Floran nurses old grudges like fine wine, savouring every drop of bile as if it were the last. And Arister,” Erick dug his toe claws into the carpet as he thought on his old friend, “Arister is a good man, but easily riled. He has just as much pride in his family line as we do in ours, perhaps more so.”

“I know all of these things and more,” Laurence replied in a soft voice. “Nor am I surprised, not truly. It is my hope that they will see something in the tale tomorrow that will help them see past their grudges and family pride. Just as I hope that you and the others each learn something valuable in hearing what your ancestors have done.”

Erick shuffled his paws. “I know I’m glad I wasn’t gifted with the Sondeck, but I don’t think that’s the lesson you mean for me.”

A smile blossomed on Laurence’s snout. “No, not quite.” He patted his nephew on the shoulder and gestured to the door. “Come, let us get some sleep. It is late and I have much more to tell tomorrow. Besides, we’re both very tired.” Erick yawned in agreement.

Dawn came far too quickly. Lise granted him mercy in not making him imbibe a foul concoction as penance for last night’s wine. Instead, she woke him gently with a shove on his shoulder. “Has the sun risen already?” he groaned.

“It will soon.” She smiled, her whiskers twitching at the corners of her baize muzzle. “Come, your uncle is already awake and gathering the children.”

He sat up in bed, pinching his tail beneath him. “Already? How long have you been up, Lise?”

“Not half an hour, but long enough for me to know you cannot sleep anymore. Rise. I’ve arrayed your toilet for you.” She gestured to the table at the foot of their bed, and he saw his blue doublet and hose prepared. With another grunt he slipped from beneath the thick quilts and dressed himself.

“Have you heard about the excitement last night?” Erick asked as he straightened his open sleeves.

His wife nodded and ran a comb between his ears. “Arister is up already and instructing the children in the art of war.”

“That should keep them occupied,” Erick mused. “Scyllia’s cousin is flying in this morning. Has he arrived yet?”

“No, not yet.” She chuffed. “You have one bit of fur that will not stay down!”

He laughed, turned, and nuzzled his wife’s snout. “I’ll wear a hat then. We’d best go and be good hosts.” He selected a flop hat much like his cousin Timothy favoured, and then together they left the residence and crossed the grounds. On entering the Keep, they were met by Robert. The donkey bore a large grin and bowed.

“Good morning, milord Erick,” he said as he stood. Long ears lifted high and alert. “Laurence Matthias is growing impatient. He’s been up for an hour already.”

“Well, we should...” he blinked and lifted his eyes into the sky. What before he’d taken for birds now grew large. Two figures glided down out of the eastern sky, one of them a bright red in hue, the other a russet brown with banded wings. They continued to grow larger in the sky.

“Well, looks like Andre is here,” Erick mused. “You should tell Scyllia.”

“I think she already knows,” Lise replied, pointing at the ferret mage who ran out one of the other doors onto the courtyard. She waved her arms in the air and jumped up and down as her cousin, the red dragon, descended from the sky and settled with a heavy whump. The gryphon accompanying him managed a more graceful approach.

Scyllia wrapped her arms around the large dragon’s neck and hugged tight. Andre’s eyes went wide and he shifted back into a more human form, all the while with a ferret dangling off his neck. He hugged her in return when his forelegs shrunk to arms, and the two of them laughed in delight. After a moment, she let the dragon go, and hugged the gryphon woman, though with not quite so much enthusiasm.

“Let us welcome our latest guest,” Erick suggested, and the three of them joined the trio on the terrazzo. “Welcome to Matthias Keep!” Erick intoned broadly, smiling to both. “It has been many years since I last saw you, Andre. I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of meeting your wife.”

“Ah, milord Erick,” Andre said, his voice gruff and bearing a deep bass rumble. “I am honoured to introduce you to my wife, Tessa. Tessa, an old friend of the family, Lord Erick Matthias and his wife, Lady Lise.”

The gryphon extended a claw that could gouge out his eyes without effort, and clasped his paw gently. She knelt respectfully, and then stood up again. She did the same for Lise. “It is a pleasure and an honour to meet you both. The Narrows are very lovely.”

Erick grinned with pride. “Thank you. Your husband helped me a number of years ago to put in the dam. I know it was far more mundane than your preferred work, but we appreciated it nonetheless.”

Andre shrugged his wings. “It had its challenges, and you did allow me to indulge myself with ornamentation, so all is well.”

Scyllia grabbed him by one arm and almost squeaked. “You must tell me about your project for Lord Dupré, cousin! It has been so many years since I’ve been to the Wall. Is what they say true, and you are adding another story to it?”

“Aye, its true. You can see for miles from the top now. If he could, I suspect Lord Dupré would have me build the wall as tall as the mountains.” He turned back to Erick and nodded. “I apologize we couldn’t come last night, but there was a delicate matter at the quarry I had to oversee.”

“You haven’t missed anything more than Arister has missed,” Erick assured him. “Although if we do not hurry inside, my uncle may start without us!”

“Then let us hurry then!” Andre frowned when he stared at the keep. “Oh, I hate going through those doors. I wish I didn’t have wings in this form; it would make life so much easier!”

Tessa put a claw on his shoulder and smiled, long leonine tail swishing back and forth. “Wings make the man, my dear.”

“Aye, aye,” he replied, as if rehashing a very old argument that he lost every time. He pointed a claw up at the nearby mountain. “It looks like you’ve done some repairs on the watchtowers, milord.”

“Indeed,” Erick replied, and the two of them discussed the changes since Andre’s last visit. Scyllia hugged at his side and listened with rapt attention. Lise and Tessa quietly discussed matters about their needs while they stayed. Robert ran ahead and held the door for them.

Inside they found the rest of the guests assembled. Arister was showing the children his sword and mail, while Laurence paced back and forth behind him. King Albert sat in his usual seat, while Ryman Ertham stood at his side. Father Rouse talked animatedly with Captain Demetrius, while Ambassador Kalder vainly attempted to draw Count Floran into conversation. Scyllia yanked on Andre’s arm, “Come sit over here with me cousin!” Andre laughed and followed, Tessa shaking her head with an amused smirk cracking her beak.

Erick and Lise took their usual spots; when Arister noted them, he put his sword in its scabbard and smiled. “Ah, what a fine mischief of children you have in your family!” He looked down at the kids who clustered around his legs. “That will be all from me, children. Your Uncle Laurence will be telling more of his tale now.” Arister nodded to the rat and found a seat on the opposite side of the hall from Count Floran.

Laurence stretched his arms and stalked to the middle of the room. He took a deep breath and smiled. “It is so very good to see all of you here for one more day of story. But I warn you, this is the last day of my tale, for now we enter the last weeks of the journey to Marzac. We have passed through the outer darkness, and now we proceed into the true heart of evil.”

He lowered his eyes and clasped his paws before him. “We have witnessed the death of the second of Marquis du Tournemire’s servants, that of the Runecaster Agathe. Charles has been restored to flesh, and the evil power controlling the minds of Duke Schanalein and Bishop Hockmann has been broken. Where shall they go from there?

“And what of the other players in this tale? The Patriarch has been freed from the taint of Marzac, but the Questioners have revealed themselves and can no longer act in secret. And what of Vinsah, now Elvmere, who has sought to learn of ways foreign to him and to his faith? And still there are the Magyars trying to find each other again, each of them with pains and anguishes that they do not know how to heal. Prince Phil of Whales must gather his fleet and destroy the renegades, but will he have the stomach to slaughter his own men? And then we wonder what shall Duke Titian Verdane do, knowing that his first-born son is now a prisoner in Salinon!”

Laurence lifted his eyes and spread his arms wide. Whiskers twitched, and his tail flicked back in forth in his excitement. “Here now we come to the conclusion, the time when all will be brought together. The greatest of sacrifices await us, when each of our ancestors will be called to rise above their fears, and to show true virtue. They will face their greatest desires, and know them to be a poison that kills. And now that the danger is greater, the price will be much higher. For not all shall return from this venture. This, the final chapter of the Last Tale of Yajakali!”

Cover | Contents | Prologue | Book I | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | Interlude I
Book II | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | Interlude II
Book III | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | Interlude III
Book IV | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65
66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | Epilogue

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