Ironhand's Daughter: A Novel of the Hawk Queen
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The armies of the Outlanders crushed the highlanders at the battle of Colden Moor–killing their finest warriors and breaking their freeborn spirit. The highlanders are now a conquered people, ruled by the brutal Baron Gottasson.
Prophecies speak of the coming of a new leader, a descendent of Ironhand, mightiest of the highland kings. A leader who will throw off the Outlander yoke. But only one highlander carries the blood of Ironhand: Sigarni, a wild and willful teenage girl who cares for nothing save her own concerns. Until a fateful encounter thrusts her onto a path of rebellion. Now, hunted by the baron’s soldiers and stalked by an evil sorcerer, Sigarni will be forced to fulfill her destiny . . . or perish.
“Swift and to the point,” observed Asmidir with an easy grin. “It all came down to politics. My family was accused of treason by the Kushir King. He was hunting us down at the time the Outlanders invaded. My sister and my wife were executed by him, my father blinded and thrown into a dungeon. We have a saying in Kushir—the enemy of my enemy must therefore be my friend. So I joined with the Outlanders.” “And now you regret it?” “Of course. There is no genuine satisfaction in revenge, Ballistar.
hate, which can move mountains. There are many more. But in astral form you are connected only tenuously to these emotions. It was rage and the need for revenge which saved your life, which drove you on to wear the Red. That rage is still there, Sigarni, a fire that needs no kindling, an eternal blaze that will light the road to greatness. But it rests in the flesh, awaiting your return.” “You were correct, old one. I do not understand all you say. How do I return to my flesh?” “Not yet. First
they can be clearly seen. Burn the buildings.” “Yes, sir. When you say no prisoners . . . you mean the men?” “Kill them all. I have chosen the men you will have with you. They are mercenaries, scum mostly. They’ll have no problem with the task. When they’re finished let them loot. They will also—most certainly—keep some of the younger women alive for a while. Let them have their enjoyment, it’s good for morale.” The Baron’s cold eyes fixed on Chard. “You have a problem with this?” Chard wished
Sigarni’s soul? And where is your familiar?” The wizard blanched. Slowly he drew a wickedly curved dagger. “There is still time,” he said. “She cannot stand against me.” “There is no time, Jakuta,” Ironhand told him. “I can see them now!” The wizard spun. Heavy footprints were thumping down in the snow. Scores of them . . . Dropping his knife, the wizard began to run. Sigarni saw him make fewer than twenty paces before his body was lifted into the air. His arms and legs were torn from him and
pity I have is for them. And there is nothing that I would not do to save them. Now, find me the woman!” Ballistar swung away from him and walked back across the ice. With care he climbed the slope before the cave, feeling his way forward. “For the sake of Heaven!” hissed Taliesen. “Why the delay? I am freezing to death out here!” Ballistar ignored him. Some way to the left he halted, his hands burrowing into the snow. “What now?” asked Taliesen, exasperated. There was a sharp hiss, then a