Authors: Patrick Rothfuss
THE KINGKILLER CHRONICLE DAY ONE
DAW BOOKS, INC.
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ELIZABETH R. WOLLHEIM
SHEILA E. GILBERT
Copyright Â© 2007 by Patrick Rothfuss
All rights reserved.
Jacket art by Donato.
DAW Books Collectors No. 1396.
DAW Books are distributed by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Maps by Nathan Taylor www.king-sheep.com
All characters and events in this book are fictitious.
All resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental.
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U.S. PAT. OFF. AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES
HECHO EN U.S.A.
To my mother, who taught me to love books and opened the door to Narnia, Pern, and Middle Earth.
And to my father, who taught me that if I was going to do something, I should take my time and do it right.
â¦all the readers of my early drafts. You are legion, too many to name, but not too many to love. I kept writing because of your encouragement. I kept improving because of your criticism. If not for you, I would not have wonâ¦
â¦the Writers of the Future contest. If not for their workshop, I would never have met my wonderful anthology-mates from volume 18 orâ¦
â¦Kevin J. Anderson. If not for his advice, I would never have ended up withâ¦
â¦Matt Bialer, the best of agents. If not for his guidance, I would never have sold the book toâ¦
â¦Betsy Wolheim, beloved editor and president of DAW. If not for her, you would not be holding this book. A similar book, perhaps, but this book would not exist.
And, lastly, to Mr. Bohage, my high school history teacher. In 1989 I told him I'd mention him in my first novel. I keep my promises.
T WAS NIGHT AGAIN. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.
The most obvious part was a hollow, echoing quiet, made by things that were lacking. If there had been a wind it would have sighed through the trees, set the inn's sign creaking on its hooks, and brushed the silence down the road like trailing autumn leaves. If there had been a crowd, even a handful of men inside the inn, they would have filled the silence with conversation and laughter, the clatter and clamor one expects from a drinking house during the dark hours of night. If there had been musicâ¦but no, of course there was no music. In fact there were none of these things, and so the silence remained.
Inside the Waystone a pair of men huddled at one corner of the bar. They drank with quiet determination, avoiding serious discussions of troubling news. In doing this they added a small, sullen silence to the larger, hollow one. It made an alloy of sorts, a counterpoint.
The third silence was not an easy thing to notice. If you listened for an hour, you might begin to feel it in the wooden floor underfoot and in the rough, splintering barrels behind the bar. It was in the weight of the black stone hearth that held the heat of a long dead fire. It was in the slow back and forth of a white linen cloth rubbing along the grain of the bar. And it was in the hands of the man who stood there, polishing a stretch of mahogany that already gleamed in the lamplight.
The man had true-red hair, red as flame. His eyes were dark and distant, and he moved with the subtle certainty that comes from knowing many things.
The Waystone was his, just as the third silence was his. This was appropriate, as it was the greatest silence of the three, wrapping the others inside itself. It was deep and wide as autumn's ending. It was heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die.