The Ravens of Falkenau: and Other Stories
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The world is a numinous place for those who have eyes to see it. Welcome to the Numinous World, where gods and angels intervene in the lives of mortals, and a band of eternal companions unite and reunite over the centuries, life after life. Theirs are eternal oaths, to the powers they serve and to one another. Through wars and dark ages, from the ancient Nile valley to the dawn of the twentieth century, they must be true to themselves and to those they serve -- no matter what the danger. Seventeen enchanting short stories bring to life this rich tapestry, weaving in and out of history, dark and bright alike. ----- Jo Graham's Numinous World books, Black Ships, Hand of Isis, and Stealing Fire, have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Locus Award and the Compton Crook Award, as well as Amazon Editors' Top Ten List in Fantasy for 2008. Look for her fourth Numinous World book, Fortune's Wheel, in summer 2012. "For fans of Jo Graham's Numinous World this book is a must!" —Melissa Scott
came down in earnest. The mountain roads were clogged with snow. It took three days for a dispatch rider to reach Plzen, a distance that was only a day in good weather. February opened, candles for the Churching of the Virgin glimmering on the snow, a hard freeze on top of snow knee deep. The roads closed entirely. For all practical purposes we were alone. Falkenau might have been the only settlement of humans in a world of ice. The river was frozen. Snow rested on the ice like a great
comfort here." Her eyes were grave. "Does he really mean to do it then?" "What better time?" I asked lightly, but I also wondered. Could it be done? I knew what Ptolemy contemplated was no mere ceremony. I, of all people, knew that. Demetria said nothing. She got to her feet and leaned up to kiss my cheek. "Good luck then," she said. "I'll see you in the parade. Well, I probably won't see you, because I can't actually lift my head wearing the city, but you'll see me!" "I'll see you,"
"Still, you have my gracious thanks," I said. She took a step away from me, one hand reaching down to caress a broken bit of worn marble. "This was once a shrine on the Great North Road. Kings worshipped here, and lords out of Spain and Africa, men who brought their horses and their vines, their loves and their dreams." She looked back at me. "And their nightmares too. But they are gone, and I am here." She glanced up at the trees that arched above, and the sadness in her voice made me ache. "I
instructed. A week later I wrote back by the light of one of the last tallow candles in the valley, alone at night in my tent, listening to the moans of my wounded. "The walls of Falkenau are twenty-five feet thick. The defenders are well-armed, and do not hesitate to make use of archaic weaponry like the crossbow if they think it is to their advantage. Today three of my men were seriously injured by a fall of boiling oil. The townspeople and farmers are against us, and I do not dare send a
rubble. High above, on the castle walls where the freshening wind blew hair and cloaks back like pennants, half the still-living garrison waited. The guardsman looked uncertainly from McDonald in his splendid plumed hat to me on my white Andalusian. "I am in charge here," I said, the wind carrying my words away. "Captain Von Marianburg. You may address yourself to me." He looked up at me warily while I held Xavier in sharp check. "I've come to ask your terms for surrender." Beside me McDonald