Stephen R. Donaldson - The Killing Stroke by The Killing Stroke

Stephen R. Donaldson - The Killing Stroke by The Killing Stroke

Author:The Killing Stroke [Stroke, The Killing]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00

There was no answer. Instead a third tremor jolted us. It struck the cell harder than the first two combined, endured longer. I staggered, despite my training, and Isla fought for balance. Above us, timbers shrieked against each other. A disturbing unsteadiness afflicted the lamps.

Argoyne’s peril was more desperate than I had imagined. He had expended too much of his power testing us—and lost too much time.

When the convulsion eased, I saw that its force had stricken a crack up one wall from floor to ceiling beside the door.

The door—

Isla did not see it. The straining timbers consumed her attention. “Asper!” she shouted. “The keep is falling! We’ll be crushed!”

The door. At last. Argoyne’s magery had failed him. Or he no longer needed it. Or our imprisonment served no further purpose in his designs.

“I think not.” Between one heartbeat and the next, my dismay vanished. Some sleight of circumstance transferred it to her, and I was freed. “These quakes will cease as soon as Argoyne announces his champion.”

I had already turned my fang to the challenge of the door.

Now she noticed it. “Asper—” she gasped. “What’s happening? How did this—?”

“Compose yourself,” I snapped, “and let me work.” Her questions, and my own, would answer themselves soon enough.

I was nahia, a master of Circumvention. No mere door could hold me if I bent my will to escape. But could I bypass this obstacle quickly? That was another matter altogether. The more strictly the door had been secured, the more time and skill would be needed to open it.


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