Black Jade by David Zindell

By David Zindell

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Master Juwain's homely face screwed up in distress. ' 'So noble that you withhold this lore from men? ' Now Master Juwain's lips tightened with real pain. And he held up his worn book as he tried to explain to Maram: 'But all is recorded there! You must understand, however, that this rendering of the Saganom Elu is only for men. It is said that the Elijin have a truer telling of things, recorded on tablets of gold. And the Galadin as well have theirs, deeper and truer still, perhaps etched in diamond or read in starfire, for they are deathless and cannot be harmed, and so it must be with their writings.

He patted the neck of his brown stallion as he smiled sadly. ' Some hurt in his voice - seething and keen and covered with layers of scar - made me feel my way past my jealousy deeper into his being. And what I sensed pulsing inside him so fiercely was only love. Love for Atara, love for his family, for his horses or the beautiful land over which they rode, I could not tell. It didn't matter. For this bright flame filled my blood and broke me open, and I could never scorn him again. ' His eyes softened, and he looked at me strangely as he said, 'I have heard what the Red Dragon did to your land.

A few of them crowded ahead of him as a vanguard. I cut down the foremost with a slash through his neck. Blood sprayed my face, and I cried out in the agony of the man I had killed. I was only dimly aware of other combats raging aroud me as Kashak's warriors and the Manslayers ran down the slopes with flashing sabers to meet the advance of the Red Knights and the Zayak. Some part of me saw steel biting into flesh and bright red showers raining down upon the snowy white blossoms at our feet. I heard arrows whining out upon the ridge above us, and curses and screams, and I knew that Bajorak's men were fighting a fierce battle with the mounted Zayak.

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