By Ian Cameron Esslemont
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Extra resources for Stonewielder (Book 3 of the Malazan Empire)
He glanced from one strained face to another. ’ ‘Then—’ began one of the youths. ’ Jhenhelf barked. ‘Arel, Will, Otten – keep watch. ’ Grateful for the support of his old friend, Temal eased himself to the ground. He thrust his sandalled feet out to the fire and tried to ignore the agonizing sting of salt licking his many cuts and gashes. He felt the heat work upon him and hunched forward, hand across his lap at the grip of his sheathed sword, and through slit eyes he watched the mist climb from his drying leathers.
An answering grunt was all the marshal would allow – an informality none other would dare before the Lord Protector. ‘If they worked a fraction as hard as they complained we’d have every job done by now. You should hear them, Hiam. How they give enough in the winter without having to provide work gangs in the summer. Yet not one man of them has ever stood the wall. We rely more on foreign levies now than on true Korelri. It’s a damned disgrace is what it is. It wouldn’t surprise me …’ His voice trailed away, then he gave a harsh laugh.
His domain is the downtrodden and dispossessed. The poor and the sick. To him social standing, riches and prestige are meaningless empty veils. His first message is that we are all weak. We all are flawed. We all are mortal. ’ ‘Accept? ’ ‘Our failings. ’ The priest held out his hands open and empty. ’ ‘Each god? All? ’ ‘Yes. ’ Many of the gang flinched then, wincing, and they moved off as they sensed a more profound and disquieting sacrilege flowing beneath the usual irreverence of foreigners. ’ a girl asked.