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Authors: Robert Asprin

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Blood ties-- Thieves World 09

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Blood ties-- Thieves World 09
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Series:
Thieves' World-9 [1]
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Tags:
Science fiction; American, Fiction - Science Fiction, Fantastic fiction, General, Science Fiction, Science Fiction - General, Fiction
Thieves World Book #09

Blood Ties

Edited by Robert Lynn Asprin

CONTENTS

Dramatis Personae

Lynn Abbey

Introduction

Robert Lynn Asprin

Lady of Fire

Diana L. Paxson

Sanctuary Is for Lovers

Janet & Chris Morris

Lovers Who Slay Together

Robin Wayne Bailey

In the Still of the Night

C.J. Cherryh

No Glad in Gladiator

Robert Lynn Asprin

The Tie That Binds

Diane Duane

Sanctuary Nocturne

Lynn Abbey

Spellmaster

Andrew Offutt and Jodie Offutt

Afterword

C.J. Cherryh

Dramatis Personae

The Townspeople

AHDIOVIZUN; AHDIOMER viz; AHDIO, Proprietor of Sty's Place, a legendary dive within the Maze.

LALO THE LIMNER, Street artist gifted with magic he does not fully understand. GILLA, His indomitable wife.

ALFI, Their youngest son.

LATILLA, Their daughter.

OANNER, Their middle son, slain during the False Plague riots of the previous winter.

VANDA, Their daughter, employed as maid-servant to the Beysib at the palace. WEDEMIR, Their son and eldest child.

DUBRO, Bazaar blacksmith and husband to Illyra.

ILLYRA, Half-blood S'danzo seeress with True Sight. Hounded by PFLS in the False Plague.

ARTON, Their son, marked by the gods and magic as part of an emerging divinity known as the Stormchildren. Sent to the Bandaran Isles for his safety and education.

ULLIS, Their daughter, slain in the False Plague riots.

HAKIEM, Storyteller and confidant extraordinaire.

JUBAL, Prematurely aged former gladiator. Once he openly ran Sanctuary's most visible criminal organization, the Hawkmasks. Now he works behind the scenes. SALIMAN, His aide and only friend.

MAMA BECHO, Owner of a particularly disreputable tavern in Downwind. MASHA ZIL-INEEL, Midwife whose involvement with the destruction of the Purple Mage enabled her to move from the Maze to respectability uptown. MORIA, One-time Hawkmask and servant to Ischade. She was physically transformed into a Rankan noblewoman by Haught.

MYRTIS, Madam of the Aphrodesia House.

SHAFRALAIN, Sanctuary nobleman who can trace his lineage and his money back to the days of llsig's glory.

ESARIA, His daughter.

EXPIMILIA, His wife.

CUSHARLAIN, His cousin. A customs inspector and investigator. SNAPPER JO, A fiend who survived the destruction of magic in Sanctuary. STILCHO, Once one of Ischade's resurrected minions, he was "cured" of death when magic was purged from Sanctuary.

ZIP, Bitter young terrorist. Leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Sanctuary (PFLS).

The Magicians

HAUGHT, One-time apprentice of Ischade who betrayed her and is now trapped in a warded house with Roxane.

ISCHADE, Necromancer and thief. Her curse is passed to her lovers who die from it.

ROXANE; DEATH'S QUEEN, Nisibisi witch. Nearly destroyed when Stormbringer purged magic from Sanctuary, she is trapped inside a warded house and a dead man's body.

Others

THERON, New military Emperor. An usurper placed on the throne with the aid ofTempus and his allies. He has commanded that Sanctuary's walls must be rebuilt by the next New Year Festival.

The Rankans living in Sanctuary

CHENAYA; DAUGHTER OF THE SUN, Daughter of LOW an Vigeles, a beautiful and powerful young woman who is fated never to lose a fight. DAYRNE, Her companion and trainer.

LEYN, OUUEN, DISMAS AND GESTUS, Her friends and fellow gladiators. GYSKOURAS, One of the Stormchildren, currently in the Bandar an Isles for education.

PRINCE KADAKITHIS, Charismatic but somewhat naive half-brother of the recently assassinated Emperor, Abakithis.

DAPHNE, His estranged wife, living with Chenaya's gladiators at Land's End. KAMA; JES, Tempus' daughter. 3rd Commando assassin. Sometime lover of both Zip and Molin Torchholder.

LOWAN VIGELES, Half-brother of Molin Torchholder, father of Chenaya, a wealthy aristocrat self-exiled to Sanctuary. Owner of the Land's End Estate. MOLIN TORCHHOLDER; TORCH, Archpriest and architect of Vashanka; Guardian of the Stormchildren.

ROSANDA, His estranged wife, living at Land's End.

RANKAN 3RD COMMANDO, Mercenary company founded by Tempus Thales and noted for its brutal efficiency.

SYNC, Commander of the 3rd.

RASHAN; THE EYE OF THE SAVANKALA, Priest and Judge of Sanvankala. Highest ranking Rankan in Sanctuary prior to the arrival of the Prince, now allied with Chenaya's disaffected Rankans at Land's End.

STEPSONS; SACRED BANDERS, Members of a mercenary unit founded by Abarsis who willed their allegiance to Tempus Thales after his own death. CRITIAS; CRIT, Leftside leader paired with Straton. Second in command after Tempus. RANDAL; WITCHY-EARS, The only mage ever trusted by Tempus or admitted into the Sacred Band.

STRATON; STRAT; ACE, Rightside partner of Critias. Injured by the PFLS at the start of the False Plague riots.

TASFALEN LANCOTHIS, Jaded nobleman, slain by Ischade's curse, then resurrected by Haught. His body has become Roxane's prison.

TEMPOS THALES; THE RIDDLER, Nearly immortal mercenary, a partner of Vashanka before that god's demise; commander of the Stepsons; cursed with a fatal inability to give or receive love.

WALEGRIN, Rankan army officer assigned to the Sanctuary garrison where his father had been slain by the S'danzo many years before.

The Gods

DYAREELA, A goddess whose worship in Sanctuary predates the Ilsigi presence and which has been outlawed many times since then.

HARRAN, Physician and priest to Siveni Gray-Eyes, now part of her four-fold divinity.

MRIGA, Mindless and crippled woman elevated to four-fold divinity with Siveni Gray-Eyes.

SABELLIA, Mother goddess for the Rankan Empire.

SAVANKALA, Father god for the Rankan Empire.

SIVENI GRAY-EYES, Ilsigi goddess of wisdom, medicine and defense, now transformed into a four-fold diety.

SHIPRI, Mother goddess of the old Ilsigi kingdom.

STORMBRINGER, Primal stormgodlwargod. The pattern for all other such gods, he is not, himself, the object of organized worship.

JIHAN, Froth Daughter. His parthenogenic offspring, betrothed to the Stepson's mage, Randal.

The Beysib

SHUPANSEA; SHU-SEA, Head of the Beysib exiles in Sanctuary; mortal avatar of the Beysib mother goddess.

INTRODUCTION

Robert Lynn Asprin

For the first time in over a decade, Hakiem found himself seriously considering leaving his adopted home of Sanctuary.

Leaning out a window on one of the upper levels of the palace, he surveyed the town below as he thought-yet even this depressed him. He had always enjoyed walking the streets, first as a storyteller and later as advisor to the Beysib Empress. The town had always had a rough vibrancy, like the rich organic smell of a swamp, and he drank it in along with the rumors to assure himself of the city's survival. Now, however, he found that he rarely ventured down to the streets to savor it.

Not that he was afraid for his safety, mind you. Whether it was due to his long standing membership in the community, his well known neutrality and harmlessness, deference to his position as the Beysa's advisor, or a combination of all of these factors, his passage through town was never challenged. Rather, he often hid within the palace shadows and corridors to spare himself the heartache of witnessing what was happening to his beloved Sanctuary. The spirit of the town he knew had been born of parents named Poverty and Desperation. While he had cursed the crime and filth along with the rest of the citizens, there had also been a secret pride in the inherent toughness of Sanctuary's inhabitants. Like the scrappy optimism of a bright-eyed gutter predator, there had been a certainty that the town would survive regardless of whatever hardships fate or the Rankan Empire could throw at it. Small moments of tenderness or self-sacrificing heroics shone all the brighter here, as uncon testable evidence of the strength of the human spirit.

Then two changes occurred almost simultaneously: the Beysib arrived and Ranke's Stormgod had either died or retreated into oblivion.

As Sanctuary's fortunes literally rose through the influx of Beysib wealth, the Empire's prestige and power had begun to wane-and the very nature of the city altered. Instead of small, vicious fights for survival, the town sank into selfish power squabbles which were proving more deadly and disruptive than anything the citizens had known before. Instead of desperation and poverty, the stench of greed hung over the town and Hakiem found it stifling. Perhaps he should leave... soon, before the current disorder wiped out what few pleasant memories remained. If the new path of the town was fixed, he had no idea to ...

"You are very quiet. Wise One, for someone who earns his living with his nimble tongue."

Jolted from his reverie, Hakiem turned to find Shupansea, living avatar of Mother Bey and hereditary, if exiled, ruler of the Beysib Empire, regarding him with the delighted smile of a child who has caught his teacher in a spelling error.

"Your pardon, 0 Beysa. I did not hear you approach."

"There are no others about, Hakiem. Formalities between us are necessary only before unfriendly eyes. Besides, I doubt you would have heard an entire army approaching. Where is the habitual wariness you've tried so hard to instill in me?"

"I... I was thinking."

The smile disappeared from the Beysa's face to be replaced with an expression of concern as she laid a soft hand on her advisor's arm. "I know. You seem unhappy of late. Wise One. I've missed the talks we used to have. In fact, I've set aside time today specifically to seek you out and learn your mind. You've helped me so often in the past that gold alone cannot repay it. Tell me, what troubles you? Is there anything I can do to ease your concerns?" Despite his depression, Hakiem was touched by the sincere concern of this young woman who had been raised to rule an empire and found herself in Sanctuary instead. While a part of him instinctively wanted to hide his feelings, he felt compelled to respond honestly.

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