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Authors: Steven Brust

The Book of Athyra

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T
HE
C
YCLE

Phoenix sinks into decay

Haughty dragon yearns to slay.

Lyorn growls and lowers horn

Tiassa dreams and plots are born.

Hawk looks down from lofty flight

Dzur stalks and blends with night.

Issola strikes from courtly bow

Tsalmoth maintains though none knows how.

Vallista rends and then rebuilds

Jhereg feeds on others’ kills.

Quiet iorich won’t forget

Sly chreotha weaves his net.

Yendi coils and strikes, unseen

Orca circles, hard and lean.

Frightened teckla hides in grass

Jhegaala shifts as moments pass.

Athyra rules minds’ interplay

Phoenix rises from ashes gray.

The Adventures of Vlad Taltos

JHEREG

YENDI

TECKLA

TALTOS

PHOENIX

ATHYRA

ORCA

DRAGON

ISSOLA

DZUR

Anthologies

THE BOOK OF JHEREG

THE BOOK OF TALTOS

THE BOOK OF ATHYRA

T
HE
B
OOK OF
A
THYRA

Contains the complete text of
Athyra and Orca

Steven Brust

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

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Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

The Book of Athyra
copyright © 2003 by Steven Brust.

Athyra
copyright © 1993 by Steven Brust.

Orca
copyright © 1996 by Steven Brust.

Cover art by Ciruelo Cabral.

Cover design by Rita Frangie.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

ACE is an imprint of The Berkley Publishing Group.

ACE and the “A” design are trademarks belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

PRINTING HISTORY

Ace trade paperback edition / February 2003

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Brust, Steven, 1955–

   [Athyra]

   The book of Athyra / Steven Brust.

       p.   cm.

   “Contains the complete text of Athyra and Orca.”

   ISBN: 978-1-101-66574-9

   1. Taltos, Vlad (Fictitious character)—Fiction.  I. Brust, Steven, 1955– Orca.  II. Title.

   PS3552.R84 A94 2003

   813’.54—dc21

2002033263

Version_1

Table of Contents

The Cycle

Other Books by Steven Brust

Title Page

Copyright

Author’s Note

Pronunciation Guide

ATHYRA

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Prologue

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

Epilogue

ORCA

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Prologue

1

2

Interlude

3

4

5

6

Interlude

7

8

9

10

11

12

Interlude

13

14

15

16

Interlude

17

Epilogue

Author’s Note

One of the questions I’m most often asked is: “In what order would you recommend reading these books?” Unfortunately, I’m just exactly the wrong guy to ask. I made every effort to write them so they could be read in any order. I am aware that, in some measure at least, I have failed (I certainly wouldn’t recommend starting with
Teckla
, for example), but the fact that I was trying makes me incapable of giving an answer.

Many people whose opinion I respect believe publication order is best; this volume reflects that belief. For those who want to read the books in chronological order, it would go like this:
Taltos, Yendi, Dragon, Jhereg, Teckla, Phoenix, Athyra, Orca, Issola.

The choice, I daresay, is yours. In any case, I hope you enjoy them.

Steven Brust

Minneapolis

March 1999

P
RONUNCIATION
G
UIDE
Adrilankha
ah-dri-LAHN-kuh
Adron
Ā-drahn
Aliera
uh-LEER-uh
Athyra
uh-THĪ-ruh
Baritt
BĀR-it
Brust
brūst
Cawti
KAW-tee
Chreotha
kree-O-thuh
Dragaera
druh-GAR-uh
Drien
DREE-en
Dzur
tser
Iorich
ī-Ō-rich
Issola
î-SŌ-luh
Jhegaala
zhuh-GAH-luh
Jhereg
zhuh-REG
Kiera
KĪ-ruh
Kieron
KĪ-rahn
Kragar
KRAY-gahr
Leareth
LEER-eth
Loiosh
LOI-ōsh
Lyorn
LI-orn
Mario
MAH-ree-ō
Mellar
MEH-lar
Morrolan
muh-RŌL-uhn
Norathar
NŌ-ruh-thahr
Rocza
RAW-tsuh
Serioli
sar-ee-Ō-lee
Taltos
TAHL-tōsh
Teckla
TEH-kluh
Tiassa
tee-AH-suh
Tsalmoth
TSAHL-mōth
Verra
VEE-ruh
Valista
vuhl-ISS-tuh
Yendi
YEN-dee
Zerika
zuh-REE-kuh
A
THYRA

For Martin, and it’s about time

Ac
knowledgme
nts

A whole bunch of people read early stages of this book and helped repair it. They are:

Susan Allison

Emma Bull

Pamela Dean

Kara Dalkey

Fred Levy Haskell

Will Shetterly

Terri Windling

As always, I’d like to humbly thank Adrian Charles Morgan, without whose work I wouldn’t have a world that was nearly so much fun to write about.

Special thanks to Betsy Pucci and Sheri Portigal for supplying the facts on which I based certain portions of this book. If there are errors, blame me, not them, and, in any case, don’t try this stuff at home.

Prologue

W
OMAN, GIRL, MAN, AND
boy sat together, like good companions, around a fire in the woods.

“Now that you’re here,” said the man, “explanations can wait until we’ve eaten.”

“Very well,” said the woman. “That smells very tasty.”

“Thank you,” said the man.

The boy said nothing.

The girl sniffed in disdain; the others paid no attention.

“What is it?” said the woman. “I don’t recognize—”

“A bird. Should be done, soon.”

“He killed it,” said the girl, accusingly.

“Yes?” said the woman. “Shouldn’t he have?”

“Killing is all he knows how to do.”

The man didn’t answer; he just turned the bird on the spit.

The boy said nothing.

“Can’t you do something?” said the girl.

“You mean, teach him a skill?” said the woman. No one laughed.

“We were walking through the woods,” said the girl. “Not that
I
wanted to be here—”

“You didn’t?” said the woman, glancing sharply at the man. He ignored them. “He forced you to accompany him?” she said.

“Well, he didn’t
force
me to, but I had to.”

“Hmmm.”

“And all of a sudden, I became afraid, and—”

“Afraid of what?”

“Of—well—of that place. I wanted to go a different way. But he wouldn’t.”

The woman glanced at the roasting bird, and nodded, recognizing it. “That’s what they do,” she said. “That’s how they find prey, and how they frighten off predators. It’s some sort of psychic ability to—”

“I don’t care,” said the girl.

“Time to eat,” said the man.

“I started arguing with him, but he ignored me. He took out his knife and threw it into these bushes—”

“Yes,” said the man. “And here it is.”

“You could,” said the woman, looking at him suddenly, “have just walked around it. They won’t attack anything our size.”

“Eat now,” said the man. “We can resume the insults later.”

The boy said nothing.

The woman said, “If you like. But I’m curious—”

The man shrugged. “I dislike things that play games with my mind,” he said. “Besides, they’re good to eat.”

The boy, whose name was Savn, had remained silent the entire time.

But that was only to be expected, under the circumstances.

1

I will not marry a dung-foot peasant,

I will not marry a dung-foot peasant,

Life with him would not be pleasant.

Hi-dee hi-dee ho-la!

Step on out and do not tarry,

Step on back and do not tarry,

Tell me tell me who you’ll marry.

Hi-dee hi-dee ho-la!

S
AVN WAS THE FIRST
one to see him, and, come to that, the first to see the Harbingers, as well. The Harbingers behaved as Harbingers do: they went unrecognized until after the fact. When Savn saw them, his only remark was to his little sister, Polinice. He said, “Summer is almost over; the jhereg are already mating.”

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