Authors: Anne Bishop
ALSO BY ANNE BISHOP
THE BLACK JEWELS SERIES
Daughter of the Blood
Heir to the Shadows
Queen of the Darkness
The Invisible Ring
Dreams Made Flesh
The Shadow Queen
THE EPHEMERA SERIES
THE TIR ALAINN TRILOGY
The Pillars of the World
Shadows and Light
The House of Gaian
A ROC BOOK
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First published by Roc, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, March 2012
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Copyright © Anne Bishop, 2012
All rights reserved
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
Library of Congress Cataloging-In-Publication Data:
Bridge of dreams: an Ephemera novel/Ann Bishop.
Set in Bembo
Designed by Ginger Legato
Printed in the United States of America
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Lorna MacDonald Czarnota
Merri Lee Debany
Fellow travelers in the landscapes
My thanks to Blair Boone for continuing to be my first reader, to Debra Dixon for being second reader, to Doranna Durgin for maintaining the Web site, to Adrienne Roehrich for running the Facebook fan site, to Nadine Fallacaro for information about things medical, to Anne Sowards and Jennifer Jackson for all their help in bringing this story to life, to Pat Feidner just because, and to all the readers who make this journey with me. May your hearts travel lightly.
Long ago, in a time that has faded from memory, a mother’s tears forged the bridge that, ever after, connected the power of the living, ever-changing world to the human heart.
Is the sight that matters most the kind that is seen with the eyes or with the heart?
—SAYING IN VISION
elladonna stripped away our human masks, revealing the Dark Guides for what we are—the whispering voices that encourage hearts to turn away from the Light and feed the Dark currents of the world with selfishness and greed and, best of all, violence.
While I wore that mask, I walked among the people of Ephemera as a wizard, as one who was feared and revered because I was a Justice Maker for the most prominent citizens in my assigned landscapes—the kind of citizens who, with whispered persuasion, could do the most harm, snuff out the most Light in other hearts.
But Wizard City, the Dark Guides’ stronghold, is gone, taken out of the world and locked away with the landscapes that belong to the Eater of the World. Because the city is no longer within reach, the pureblood females we kept as breeders are also gone. Only a few of us were in other landscapes when Belladonna did that reshaping of the world. Only a few of us escaped that cage. So few of us, hiding now in the pieces of the world.
Of course, we still have some wizards—those descendants of Dark Guides who polluted the bloodlines by mating with humans. Despite that pollution, wizards have the powers that were the gifts from the Dark aspects of the world and, more important for my purpose now, they still look human.
When my true face was revealed, it was the wizards, eager to prove their loyalty to me, who found and booked passage on the various ships that eventually brought us to this city. It was the wizards who found us lodgings that allowed me to study the particular nature of this city and understand how to use it to our advantage.
I can create another stronghold here, another place like Wizard City. Quietly, carefully, I can take part of this city away from its present guardians and turn that piece into a dark landscape where we can rule again.
In the pieces of world we knew, Landscapers were Ephemera’s bedrock—the hearts through which the currents of Dark and Light flow, the sieves that keep Ephemera from manifesting the turmoil in all the other hearts. Here the Landscapers are called Shamans. They guard and guide all they can see with the complacency of those who believe they have no rivals.