By Caitlin Brennan

Tortured, Torn, but Tenacious . . . once more the Aurelian Empire is at risk, and once more Valeria needs to probability greater than her existence to put it aside. With threats from with no, together with sorcerous assaults opposed to the soon-to-be empress, and pressures from inside -- the necessity to proceed the dynasty and Kerrec, the daddy of Valeria's baby, the 1st option to accomplish that -- Valeria needs to conquer plots and perils as she struggles to discover a spot during this global she's helped to heal. yet her maximum foes haven't been vanquished. and so they will not be forgotten or overlooked. Nor will the stressed roil of magic inside Valeria herself. quickly the specter of Unmaking, a possibility to the entire empire, starts to come up in Valeria's soul once again. it truly is sophisticated, it truly is strong, and this time it could win out!

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Then each day thereafter she would dedicate herself in a different temple, until she came to the Temple of Sun and Moon and the crowning that made her surely and forever empress. As Briana's mind ran ahead from temple to temple, the tunnel turned a corner and opened into a cavern. The walls were dim and far away, and the air was full of the sigh of the sea. They emerged from the cave's mouth into pellucid light. The long summer twilight had begun. The sun rode low over the sea, and the waxing moon hovered almost at the zenith.

There was no division within them. Kerrec had not expected that. As always, the Mountain strengthened some powers and suppressed others. He had been growing unawares, becoming something quite other than he had been before. It was not a frightening prospect, though it fluttered his heart somewhat. There was a profound Tightness in it. As he rode out of the mountains, he basked in magic that was whole and more than whole. He would never take it for granted again. Nor would he forget that the higher his fortunes rose, the lower they could fall.

Nor would he forget that the higher his fortunes rose, the lower they could fall. Valeria could feel Kerrec watching her. She had not wanted to worry him unnecessarily, but he was too perceptive. He knew she was keeping something from him. He would not ask. When they lay together, he said nothing but a murmur of endearments. Time and again, she meant to say something, but she let each moment pass. She was a coward and she knew it, but she could not seem to help herself. The longer she waited, the harder it was to break the silence.

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