Oct 062012

Lorn strode to Tool’s side. The T’lan Imass faced west, and a tension swirled about him that she could almost see.

“What is it?” she asked, her eyes on the white fountain of fire rising above the horizon. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”

“Nor I,” Tool replied. “It is within the barrier I have cast around us.”

“But that’s impossible,” the Adjunct snapped.

“Yes, impossible to last this long. Its source should have been consumed almost instantly. Yet…” The T’lan Imass fell silent.

There was no need for Tool to finish his sentence.  The pillar of fire still raged in the night sky as it had for the past hour. The stars swam in the inky darkness around it, magic swirling in a frenzy as if from a bottomless well. On the wind was a smell that left Lorn slightly nauseous. “Do you recognize the Warren, Tool?”

“Warrens, Adjunct. Tellann, Thyr, Denul, D’riss, Tennes, Thelomen Toblakai, Starvald Demelain…”

“Starvald Demelain, what in Hood’s Name is that?”


“I thought there were but three Elder Warrens, and that’s not one of them.”

“Three? No, there were many, Adjunct, all born of one. Starvald Demelain.”

Lorn wrapped her cloak tighter about herself, eyes on the column of fire. “Who could manage such a conjuring?”

“There was one…once. Of worshipers there are none left, so he is no more. I have no answer to your question, Adjunct.” The Imass staggered as the pillar bloomed outward, then winked out. A distant thundering rumble reached them.

“Gone,” Lorn whispered.

“Destroyed,” Tool said. The warrior cocked his head. “Strange, the source is indeed destroyed. But something has also been born. I sense it, a new presence.”

Lorn checked her sword. “What is it?” she demanded.

Tool shrugged. “New. It flees.”

Was this cause for worry? Lorn scowled and turned to the T’lan Imass, but he had already left her side, and was now striding back to their campfire. The Adjunct glanced once more at the western horizon. There was a cloud, blotting out the stars. It looked huge…

…She stepped close to the Imass. “Fire is life,” she whispered, the phrase seeming to rise from the depths of instinct.

Tool nodded. “Life is fire,” He said. “With such words was born the First Empire. The Empire of Imass, the Empire of Humanity.”

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Steven Erikson, Gardens of the Moon: Volume One of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, Copyright ©1999, Tom Doherty Associates, LLC

 Posted by at 3:17 pm