Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Jordan, Robert, The gathering storm / Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.—1st ed. p. cm. to shear a sheep, even the best at bowls, and at darts. And hers is blue, like the sky, and ten times The Eye of Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited. The Katerina Trilogy, Vol. I: The Gathering Storm. Home · The Katerina Trilogy, Vol. I: The Gathering Storm Author: Robin Bridges. 3 downloads 59 Views.

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Winston Churchill's monumental The Second World War, is a six volume account of the struggle between the Allied Powers in Europe against Germany and the. PDF | President Musharrafs FATA war | ResearchGate, the professional network for scientists. View Essay - (12) The Gathering Storm - Robert from POLI at Louisiana State University. Praise for the THE WHEEL OF TIME The battle scenes.

Her cadaverous Reading her opponents next blow, Judging the irony of Yvraines body was bound up in a complex net Lelith spared a proprietary glance to undoing a pleasing end to the dance, of black silk, the icon of the long-dead the wider battle. In a flash, Yvraine Lelith vaulted away in search of fresh crone goddess Morai-Heg emblazoned on her forehead. With a jolt of shock and contempt, Yvraine realised she had seen that ceremonial garb before,.

A perfect holographic replica of the Crucibael shimmered in microcosm within the in the statue gardens of her native misty viewing hall of Vects floating fortress.

The tiny doppelganger duellists Biel-Tan. Her new challenger wore the were no larger than the overlords manicured fingers, yet the sensations of raiment of an ancient priestess from their agony and bliss were enhanced tenfold by spiral-etched soul relays that ringed before the Eldar empire had fallen.

In the midst of the spectacle was Vect himself, a giant amongst pitiful insects. Nearby hovered a creature from a madmans nightmare, the evil made The needles of the crone-priestess flesh known as Urien Rakarth. The two figures loomed over the arena as gods, the darted out, and for a few seconds, holograms locked in their blade-dance below empowering them with every lethal tribute.

Yvraine was forced onto the defensive. It was as if she were being assailed This is On any other night, Yvraine could A rain of diamonds shimmered in the mist in the viewing halls corners. They have outclassed the priestess without coalesced into a female Harlequin in a mirrored mask.

I spoke only the truth, said the breaking a sweat. But she was sorely newcomer. She must fall, the better to rise. The Spectres Echo would not lie. Dismay took hold within her as she felt her strength draining away, If it is Inriams Spectre you speak of, Veilwalker, said Vect, he died upon Coheria. And by doing so, joined not with Cegorach, but the Whispering God. One of the twin needles pierced Yvraine at the wrist, forcing her Ynnead is a myth, shrugged Vect.

Nothing more. Speak no more to me of your to drop her bladefan. She stepped delusions. What fool would plan to defeat their enemy by dying forever themselves? He twitched a finger.

The Gathering Storm: The Coming of the Civil War

In the distance, back. It was like striking marble. Nearby, one of the silent Incubi slid into the darkness. Her foes other razored needle whipped in, slicing through Yvraines Follow them both, murmured Vect.


Six shadows flowed like ink from his feet and slid other wrist entirely and sending her soundlessly after the Commorrites as they disappeared into the depths of the pyramid. In desperation, Yvraine lunged,. Howls of derision and delight mingled in the arena as Yvraine struggled in close, teeth still in her enemys flesh. She wrapped her arms around the swordswomans neck in a choke grip, and desperately struggled to suffocate her. Summoning the last of her strength, Yvraine squeezed.

Her legs were numb, her wrists masses of hot pain, but as ever, anger and fear gave her strength. The priestess shook and spasmed, but could not break free, her struggles ebbing as her breath abandoned her. Yvraine was on the cusp too; she saw spots of black dance across her eyes, which then grew to obscure her vision entirely. Locked in a mutual death grip, the two combatants shuddered, sighed, and passed the threshold of mortality.

Then, as bright as a captive sun, a tiny star burst upwards from the sands of the arena and consumed them both. Yvraines eyes flew open, milk-white and glowing. She screamed as she felt a new dimension of awareness blossom in her pain-addled mind, obliterating the petty concerns of her previous life. Something vast had risen from below after the crone warriors death, pressing into Yvraines soul with the force of a tidal wave.

It would not be denied. In her minds eye, Yvraine saw Ynnead. He was a shooting star from a crystal moon, then a shimmering constellation, a trillion points of light that glowed in the outline of a solemn face. The God of the Deads immense eyes fell upon her, and even though the slitted orbs were all but closed, the thin sliver of awareness that he Bow waves of mystical energy violence escalated. Some took shots focussed upon her was excruciating. Off-white, they beam and projectile was deflected utterly and forever as his own.

She pulse across the arenas western rose higher, aglow with an aura of This was a legend made real, the most quadrant and into the stands of the unearthly power.

Her wounds, alight remote of possibilities wrought in aghast spectators. Wherever they with white fire, healed over even starlight. The apparition was so bright touched Eldar flesh, the energies took her left hand, severed at the wrist, that it seared itself into Yvraines hold of the unfortunate individuals was restored, formed from blinding consciousness forever, making her and withered them away, turning the energy that coalesced into a stylised blind to anything other than his glory.

Then the godly star-mirage breathed The largest Tyranids, slowed but not Lelith Hesperax, leaping with mantis a single word a whisper, yet slain, stormed into the crowd in a swiftness to catch hold of a swerving deafening in its intensity. Trueborn Reaver jetbike, veered away high into marksmen opened fire with dark the night.

Her smile was the glint of Daughter. Not only had she effectively slain illusion of monochrome. Yvraine felt The bass note of its grav-engines hundreds of the Dark Citys finest, she a great gale of pent-up energy escape squirmed in the guts of all present had become possessed by an eldritch her, a palpable force that left her as it headed towards the heart of force, and judging by the shuddering feeling as clear-minded and eager as a the Corespur district.

The tyrant of sands beneath her feet, shaken the youth at a rite of passage. Commorragh had not ruled over his entire district to its foundations. No doubt they planned to dissect snatching up her huskblade from to linger. Instead, he sent his proxies her in agonizing, drawn-out detail. The to restore order. Sleek knife-craft sword, like Yvraine herself, had been peeled away from the titanic fuselage Yvraines Bloodbrides ran in transformed. The elegant blade of Vects pyramid, veering silently zigzagging, bounding packs towards resonated at her touch, and as she towards the arenas heart.

She Some sixth sense woke Yvraine from shardnets, razorflails and impalers. The ground Blood flew in graceful arcs as a best route out, and saw a scene from a quaked beneath her feet as she hurricane of blades erupted. For a disturbing dream. Though she did not while, neither side seemed to be able realise it, the metaphysical explosion to gain the upper hand. The sculpted, The corpses of several dozen Dark centred around her had a far graver dense metallofibres of the Incubis Eldar fanned out from her position, effect on the Dark City than merely armour protected them from the many of her Bloodbrides lying destroying part of the Crucibael.

Her slashing blades of all but the nimblest amongst scatterings of Incubi and surviving Bloodbrides ran to join her Hekatarii, and the Incubi landed few Trueborn that had fallen dead as the crackling white energies of blows in return, for the Bloodbrides without a single obvious wound. Yvraine felt her throat tighten at Nearby, armed warriors vaulted the sight, her eyes hurting with the over the arenas bladed walls.

They Then each shrines Klaivex leader intensity of the stark spectacle around were heading directly for the reborn triggered his bloodstone. Waves her. The fairings and balustrades of Succubus, guns and voices raised as of pain wracked the Bloodbrides, the arena were still embattled, knots they took their chance to pounce.

Yvraine Instinct took over. Quick as a snake, capitalise, their movements so smooth shouted a quick order to her surviving Yvraine leaned out of the path of it was obvious that they had practiced Bloodbrides and ran towards the a volley of poison-tipped needles this manoeuvre a thousand times.

A thinnest area of the crowd, huskblade and cartwheeled one-handed over a score of Bloodbrides died in just a few glowing in her left hand as she searing dark lance beam.

She vaulted seconds. With the Trueborn moving retrieved her bladefan with her right. Slashing, jumping, and darting left eating beetle-creatures into the and right, Yvraine and the two crowd; the immense creatures iron- Yvraine felt an intense pressure dozen Bloodbrides still by her side hard bulk provided a better defensive build up in her head, every fresh broke as fast as they could for the position than any of the arenas death intensifying the feeling.

The edge of the arena. A wall of Kabalites elegantly appointed balustrades. Eyes incredible sensations swelling in her barred her path, but as a great shout darting, she forced her thoughts into soul threatened to blind her, deafen of anger forced itself from her lips, focus, and braved a glance past the her, or stun her into a coma.

There many of them were ripped from their beast at her attackers. It was from their bodies, that she could not too much for their comrades. The It did not look good. Her assailants bear it. The ground itself swelled with morbid display had seemed too close were Kabalite Trueborn, by their power. Yvraine spat out six words that to the psychic arts, strictly forbidden insignia, and they had whole shrines had arrived unbidden to her lips.

Those klaive- of drawing the gaze of Slaanesh and wielding artisans of murder preferred The lights of the arena, almost hence dooming the entire city to a not to fight in the arena, seeing it painfully bright so the spectators catastrophic dysjunction.

The bright Few amongst them realised that dire weaknesses in the long term. Tonight, designs of the Wyches ritual outfits event was already unfolding, a full- they were evidently prepared to make were leached of all colour. Even the blown daemonic invasion erupting an exception.

Yvraine snarled as she from the skyboard and pointed her in, desperate to make a name for saw that six more Incubi were circling blade towards the newcomer as his himself by capturing or killing the around her, and that her Bloodbrides own fighters rallied to him.

He was focal point of the carnage. Stepping were similarly beset. The young close, blades raised in ritualistic battle sculptures and paintings of the warrior fell from his skyboard, which stances. They would attack as one, a Eldars long-lost past. More than that, came to a smooth halt as its rider fell pack of predators rather than a loose his guard stance was familiar. She had apart not into arid dust, as was usual gathering of competitors like the witnessed several of his looping blows for the huskblades touch, but in a Wych Cults.

Against such disciplined in the fight, the very same moves she cascade of tiny, glowing embers. This mysterious Somehow, Yvraine heard the howl seconds. Yvraine raised her aberrant swordsman was clearly not her enemy. Although it dwindled, the and curled a finger to beckon them to With their new allies close, Yvraine scream did not recede altogether.

The their deaths or perhaps to hers. Like a flowing river, the Thirsts as with all other Dark Eldar. They avoided the Yvraine felt empathy with that dying Horned helms bounced away as skirmishes between Tyranids and Dark soul. A heartbeat later, a new voice another was halved at the waist.

With Eldar and instead sought the streets of was in her head, mewling with fear. Yvraine headed sidelong and grabbed the Ghyrebats for Sec Maegra, for that district was Distracted as she was, only the sound hovering skyboard, legs swinging out a teeming sub-metropolis famous for of armoured footsteps on the sand wide to kick the fourth Incubus in the a dizzying variety of neer-do-wells saved Yvraine from a swift decapitation.

She sellswords of far lower repute than She leaned back, an Incubus klaive swung onto the delicate machine as Incubi. There, she would find many of whistling less than a fingers breadth if born to it; though she had never so her old allies, from corsair princes to from her nose as another of the much as touched a skyboard, she was disfigured Wyches and other outcasts.

With her own suddenly familiar with every nuance. Should she stay one step ahead of her blade, she turned the second klaive Triggering its splinter pod, she shot pursuers as the Dark City reeled from aside and upwards, ensuring it crashed down a fifth Incubus just as the sixth the nights events, she would in theory into the first hard enough to download her was cut in half from neck to groin be able to reach the docks and with some space.

She levelled a solid kick to by the crimson fighter. The last two luck, enlist the corsairs of her former the midriff of one of the assailants and shrine-warriors backed away and ran. T he newcomer saluted, offering his sword as a group of Yvraine frowned. You have copied my sword-form well, she said.

Incubi hurried to stand at his side. The mercenaries too made the sign of the proffered blade, their swords level Quite the contrary, girl, said the stranger. His tone had the crisp with the horned helms of their battle armour.

Yvraine felt memory well up within her. Only one soul alive dared address her in that manner. More sellswords, spat Yvraine. She shook her head dismissively, striding towards the grand arenas exit; if they were not here to kill You fight well, impostor, said Yvraine.

I may let you live. I will her, at least they would not slow her down.

The newcomer and take your blade as tribute, in memory of the true Exarch Laarian. She glanced at their leader irritably as a group of Reavers Although I have sought quite another since I strode Coherias Vects pets, the Flesh Wraiths, by their colours zoomed in close. Look to your own sword. It is Kha-vir, blessed by Ynnead. Just as I do not need the protection of a male, snarled Yvraine, leaning you are blessed in turn, True Child of the Aeldari. He hit the Gritting her teeth, Yvraine plunged the tip of her sword into a crystalline sands hard, limbs twisted at odd angles.

So it truly was the Whispering God who appeared to me. Who are you, Nearby, the crimson warrior lunged, lancing his blades tip into to have such knowledge?

Was it Lady Malys that sent you? The jetbike rider spiralled out of control before crashing into the arenas balustrade. The bladesman I am simply called the Visarch, for I cast aside my name long span on his heel, ducked, and thrust his greatsword upward ago, came the reply, but it would be very familiar to you.

Yvraine through another Reaver as he made a pass overhead. Far away, Khaines Gate collapsed, killing the half-real Khymerae and even a blood- a miscarried ritual conducted by caged psychic nulls that protected it spattered cavalcade of Daemonettes, Eldrad Ulthran on the crystal moon from Warp breach.

The gate glowed but eventually she reached the of Coheria had twisted Yvraines white hot, and then, with a cracking spinedock that held her allies ship. Thousands of The blade-wielding Visarch and his had died at the exact moment of the Daemons poured through, cackling mercenary escort had intervened a gods ascension.

This confluence of with cruel glee as they sank blades, dozen times on Yvraines behalf, and Empyrean energy and realspace flesh claws and fangs into any unfortunate each time their intervention had was so severe it led to a hyperspatial enough to cross their paths.

She had no time to share more dysjunction. Dozens of spires toppled Urgent spates of conflict flowed than a few words of thanks with the and districts turned in on themselves, into one another as Kabals, Wych warrior; for now, she was content that skyscraping statues and high towers Cults, and even the Covens of the they both fought on the same side.

Millions died, Haemonculi found themselves but there were worse fates in store for attacked by Daemons of every Though she did not fully comprehend those who still braved the streets.

Vect and his Kabal it, Yvraines fate was the fulcrum upon had already made haste for safe havens which the fate of trillions had turned. Beneath Commorragh there is a long prepared in the shadowy recesses She had been resurrected in a form sealed portal known as Khaines Gate. Commorragh was far stranger and more powerful than This has existed for time immemorial, truly vast; it would survive even this.

The Daughter of Shades Daemon hosts on the other side. Once they demigodhood hastened by a profound fiends have ever grown louder and had expended every resource in their bond forged with Ynnead upon the more insistent, so much so that Vect struggle against the Daemon invasion, threshold of death.

In the process, himself had recently ceded this once- Vect would return to the Dark City she had all but doomed the city of prized territory to his rivals. Commorragh to daemonic invasion. The choice pinpoint fire, they could not halt to command. Their ship did not was stark either try to escape and be the momentum of its massive capital escape the spined ports unchallenged, shot to pieces in the skies above, or ship.

The corsairs slammed the however. None escape the Supreme hand Yvraine over and risk a return to Lanathrialles prow bridge and all Overlord without paying a high cost. The rest of the spacecraft would not even come As the Lanathrialles sails caught the The corsairs sought another path. It close to fitting through, however, solar winds of Commorraghs stolen appeared by their progress they were sticking out like a greatsword shoved suns, a flotilla of Vects shard-craft heading for the arterial webway portal into a scabbard made for a dagger.

A peeled away from the Corespur yawning wide over Commorragh, dozen blinding explosions burst into dock-spars. They came alongside but that route was soon barred by dazzling profusion across the neck Yvraines ship as the corsair fleet Vects nimble interceptors.

Instead, as of the great flagship as it ground of those captains she had sought in they came close to one of the minor into the spined crescent of the Sec Maegra shimmered on the false portals through which only small webway gate. The metaphysical forces horizon.

They were tantalizingly close, frigates could pass, they steered at the unleashed by the collision were so but not close enough to intervene. Proud corsairs were burned alive or sent flailing from the torn sides of the flagship, tumbling into the eternal night of the Dark City to be blasted to atoms by the disintegrator fire of Vects hunters.

A moment later, the stricken corpse of the Lanathrialle was caught in the crossing beams of the Corespurs tractor pincers, slowly hauled from the burning webway gate to be cored, scoured of life as a lesson to those who would defy Vect. With the Supreme Overlords city shaking in the grip of a dysjunction, Vect wanted nothing more than to punish the perpetrator of the carnage. He watched from the observation galleries of his floating fortress, but swallowed down a scream of rage and frustration as the prow of the vast ship was drawn backward from the webway portal.

It was all but intact, except for a perfectly circular hole cut in the vizier deck of the ships elegantly tapering bridge. Vect did not need to wait for confirmation from his shadowy agents.

Yvraine and her vanguard were gone, already lost in the labyrinth dimensions tunnels as sure as the rest of the flagships crew would soon suffer an agonising death in Rakarths hellish dungeons. In the webway, translucent passageways stretched before Yvraine as she and her Bloodbrides darted from one vista of impossible architecture to another. The crimson stranger was close behind, his Incubi in tow. The sacrifice of the testing their blades as they looked corsair flagship had bought them a slyly at one another.

Without the few critical hours, but that lead would sustenance of suffering, the Dark be quickly eroded if their pursuers launched a mounted search party, or used esoteric means to cut them off. They had no option but to head deeper into the webway.

The ribbed tunnels of the labyrinth dimension seemed to draw the trespassers onward, lambent pulses of light gliding alongside them with a hypnotic motion. Yvraines vanguard, barely fifty strong, moved from wide arterial passageways to winding side passages and capillary tunnels that forced them to go in Eldar would slowly shrink into single file. The tunnels were dazzling themselves until they became Parched and confusing to behold; every ravening ghouls desperate to feast unnatural angle and rune-sealed door on negative emotion.

Even the most reminded the trespassers that they beautiful Wych would be reduced to did not belong there. All too often a torrid hag over the course of a few they felt eyes upon them, something empty nights. A voice in Yvraines staring intently at their intrusion, head laughed at their distress. It was but the source they never found. The that of a young male, quiet but cruel. Ghyrebat Hellion she had slain. If so, Donorian Fiends, emotion-eating she had kept the warriors essence Medusae, Khymerae predators and safe from the all-consuming desire nests of psychneuein infested those of Slaanesh.

If she could somehow forgotten reaches. It could tone mocking and unnatural, Yvraine allay the plight of the Dark Eldar and feared something even worse. Much of their endless soul-hunger, but also the webway had been shattered by the the predicament of the craftworlders, Fall, blasted apart by the devastating too should one individual be able energies that had consumed the to take the soul of another into empire of old.

Those broken spars themselves, he or she could act as a had been largely destroyed by living refuge from She Who Thirsts. Commorrite cauterisation raids or The Eldar would no longer need sealed off by the rune-portals of waystones, nor the limbo of the the craftworlders, for most led to infinity circuits.

The more she dwelt the hellish dimension of the Warp. Here was possibility; hope, around Commorragh were safe, but perhaps. She strode purposefully on, since the Fall, the galactic labyrinth possessed of such conviction that her had been a ruined mockery of its fractious vanguard kept their peace. Only the Laughing God Cegorach the only one of the Further into the misty reaches of the original Eldar pantheon to truly webway they went, the unsettling song survive the rise of Slaanesh knew haunting their steps.

As the time slid which parts were whole, and which led by, the cold and sterile tunnels gave to the domain of the Great Enemy. Twisting deltas of of She Who Thirsts waltzed and span A new Warp storm near passageways opened and narrowed as if at a grand ball, each holding Oberon has been codified once more, some opaque and humid, a deceased Kabalite in a lovers Cerberax appearing as others made of crystal so transparent embrace.

They were accompanied a three-headed hound devouring the sky. It has that a cosmos of swirling clouds and by a maddening flautists duet, the occluded a trio of star distant stars could be seen stretching interweaving melodies played on the systems since the Night into the void.

The truth of what lay thigh bones of Eldar from before the of a Thousand Rifts. The Holy Requisitioners out there, in the twilight between Fall. As they danced, the Daemonettes of Mars have brought reality and the Warp, was so mind- flayed the flesh from their victims to light the effects of boggling even an Eldar could not with their razored claws, each gesture the Ymga Monolith, for extending around that comprehend it.

In some places the a languid caress that left the corpses rune-carved monument is minds eye translated the scene into dripping with gore.

At the heart of a perfect sphere of order an analogue of the physical galaxy it all was an elegant dancer holding untouched by Cerberaxs progress across the writ in a dizzying profusion of colours the masks of tragedy and comedy on stars. The Tech-Priests and lights. In others, the skyscape a long haft the Masque of Slaanesh, last report describes was a collage of laughing faces, told of Yvraines flight by her besotted that ancient stone as all blending and flowing one into Sslyth agent, the veteran Sassarassen.

Its glow another to form a grotesque tableau has intensified so much that could forever scar the memory. Yvraines stomach churned, the it appears as a bright All the while that strange skirling panicked screaming of the Hellion green oblong in the skies of nearby Atilla. In the last month, the Outnumbered twice over, she was sky-borne pyramids of Yvraine had seen enough to know about to order the retreat when she the Sautekh dynasty have been sighted in the she was irrevocably lost.

With no saw a tall, stately Daemonette amongst thousands over Atillas real destination in mind, she had the throng dancing ever swifter.

Her skies, flying in perfect bent her will to avoiding that which spiralling pavane was somehow so formation to surround the Ymga Monolith like lay behind them, rather than that entrancing Yvraine could not look a cage.

According to which was ahead. Her Bloodbrides away. She felt an unsettling peace the auto-visions of the were now openly quarrelling amongst settle over her, a suffocating blanket Corinthe Mind-Scryers, a silent war fought themselves, their incendiary insults of apathy that made her eyelids between winged Daemons regarding each others intimate droop. Around her, Bloodbrides and Necron fighters practices giving way to spats of and Incubi were slumping, sitting rages in deep space posturing and the rattling of blades.

Furthermore, the visionaries insist Epherea Naptha launched a tirade of pulsing tunnel floor as they were that every Necron ship invective concerning Vyllia the Talons taken by the unnatural malaise of coming into direct ancestry; so imaginative and surreal slumber that washed over them like contact with the Obelisk is not destroyed, but were Vyllias counter-claims that even a wave.

Vyllia the Talon gave a small somehow duplicated. Yvraine found herself wide-eyed with cry of despair, as plaintive as that of This conflict has spilled amused surprise.

Still, they were a dying swan, before lying down in out into settled Imperial running out of time. With the Dark a heap. Soon they would all become space. Every world within Eldar desperate to feed, it would not corpse-puppets at a Daemonic revel. Suddenly, with jubilant cries, troupe between the Necrons of after troupe of Harlequin warrior- the Sautekh Dynasty and an enemy force described About them, the walls of the webway dancers vaulted down from the by the indigenous Astra glistened wetly, like the flayed flanks tunnels ceiling, tumbling from clouds Militarum as legions of some living thing.

They had come of glittering mist one after another of red-skinned xenos. I to a dead end. A portal lay at the in sprays of luminescent diamonds. She had hoped Tigurius.

If this is the smoking as if burned out no more that her vanguards presence would case, the inbound forces of Ultramarines and than a matter of minutes ago.

They will almost certainly enact a on edge. There was no other way been better timed. She raised her string of Exterminatus forward. She pushed through the huskblade by way of greeting, then events should they shimmering quicksilver of the gate, strode forward and took the head deem this swathe of space unrecoverable. The fiendish handmaidens her grotesque face.

She sprang at found their sadistic joy replaced unnatural speed towards the crimson by panic at the sight of Yvraines Incubi nearby, her fellow Daemons soul magic. The fugitives and their crooning and shrieking in her wake. Harlequin allies were now fighting The mercenary bladesmen, the every bit as fast as the lithe, whip- Bloodbrides, and even some of the thin Daemons if not faster.

Blood Harlequins were caught in the grip flew, throats were slashed, and slain of her deathly slumber-curse; even Daemons dissipated in clouds of the Visarch had succumbed, holding sickly pink mist. On the left flank, the his head as if in the grip of a raging Incubi were reaping bloody vengeance migraine. Yvraine was already fighting with their klaives; on the right, the hard against the hissing she-fiends.

With the Dark Eldar As the Masque of Slaanesh dashed counter-assault on one side and the over the slumped corpse of an Incubus Harlequins killing spree on the other, in the livery of the Kabal of the Black the Slaaneshi trap had been broken. Heart, she found her legs hooked out from under her by the fallen The Masque threw back her head and warriors klaive. The Incubus rose to gave a horrendous scream.

The sound his feet, laughing hollowly, his form was so loud it shattered a section of shimmering as if caught in a heat the webway wall behind her. A gale of mirage. He sloughed off the illusion psychic emanations roared into the altogether to leave a lithe, hooded tunnels, swirling into a tornado that Harlequin in his place.

A Solitaire, carried the Daemonettes and their walker of the Path of the Damned. The Masque of Slaanesh gave a cry The Eldar fought to keep their of disbelief and angst, spinning to footing, embedding their blades and slash a claw at the Solitaires midriff.

The Solitaire punching a monofilament wire into strode through the gale as if it were no the Masques neck before cartwheeling more than a summer breeze, fingers away, greatcoat billowing, to land in a outstretched to draw a complex rune sprinters crouch. A split second later, of warding over the breach. With a the Harlequin launched forward like sigh of relief, the troupes Shadowseer a living missile into the ranks of the turned the ebbing gale of energy into Daemonettes. The Solitaire shot from a harmless, sparkling mist.

The blur of Yvraine and her warriors regained his passage left explosions of purple their composure slowly, picking ichor with every new kill.

The entire altercation had taken no more Yvraine and her Bloodbrides, now free than a minute. They had lost several of the dancers spellbinding curse, of their number in the fighting, plunged into the ranks of the angered but without the intervention of Daemonettes with blades flashing. The the Harlequins, they would almost fiendish handmaidens leered at the certainly have died.

Yvraine scanned prospect of fresh meat, and charged to the thinning mist for movement, meet them. At first, the forces seemed intending to thank her enigmatic evenly matched; blood was drawn saviours.

Only one of them, the on both sides. Even Yvraine took a Solitaire, could she see. That lone shallow cut across the throat it stung warrior had sensed something potent like fury, but did not cut deep enough beyond measure in Yvraine. After a to do real harm. She spoke words of brief exchange with his fellows, he power, and thin tendrils of grey mist chose to remain as her guide. The seeped from the gladiatrixs wound. Their intended turn those paradise planets into Long years slid past.

The blood destination was deep in the realm an echo of the former empire were Yvraine shed as part of Biel-Tans Mankind called Ultima Segmentum, long ago consumed. Undeterred by famous Swordwind should have been for there lay a jewel in the shattered these naysayers, the Biel-Tani cling enough to sate even the most savage crown of the Eldars legacy.

They onto their convictions as a wounded spirit, but it was not enough. Restless, made for Biel-Tan, a world-ship that warrior holds tightly onto his sword. For a time, the Path of what others consider a lost cause.

Though few in Commorragh realised the Warlock gave her the esoteric it, Biel-Tan was the original home understanding she craved, honing her Craftworld Biel-Tan, whose name of the one they called Daughter psychic skills whilst still giving her a translates as the Rebirth of Ancient of Shades.

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Under the world-ships chance to fight in Biel-Tans armies. Days, is the most militant and proud glowing domes and elegant spires The witch path too she forsook, of all its kind. Violently xenophobic Yvraine was raised, nurtured, and becoming an outcast, then a famed and mistrustful of the lesser races, taught the ways of the craftworlds. Corsair admiral, and finally, after the vast world-ship protects its At first she walked the Path of the her hubris led to mutiny, an arena holdings with a vengeful fury.

Biel- Performer, her intricate acrobatics fighter in Commorragh. Yet Biel-Tan Tan casts itself as the guardian of thrilling high society as well as her has always had a place in her heart, the Maiden Worlds, those primeval fellow wanderers of the craftworlds and vice versa. With the Solitaire planets where the Eldar Exodites live abandoned zones. Her displays grew she had encountered in the webway in harmony with their environments faster and more violent as she became guiding her, the prodigal daughters and upon their death, join with the more headstrong.

When the Avatar homecoming was close at hand. World Spirit of the planet itself. The of Khaine was roused within the bellicose people of Biel-Tan believe craftworlds heart during the invasion Biel-Tans struggling ambition was the Exodite worlds will be the seeds of Gnosis Prime, she took the Path of well known.

I ldraesci Dreamspear performed an elaborate bow, his arms concern the God of the Dead, perchance? Lathriel believes so. The Autarch Meliniel replied with a stylised salute. Both gestures were remarkably tense for warriors of such Indirectly, they do. They concern all of the Aeldari, past, present grace. With the Autarch were Dire Avengers, their weapons held and future. But you, most of all, he said.

Your people, and you. Alongside Dreamspear, a dozen Harlequins stood in exaggerated postures of relaxation. And so your troupe, known defilers of the Dome of Crystal Seers, choose to breach a latter-portal rather than obeying the unwritten Unusual, to arrive unheralded in such a fashion, said Meliniel codes.

The Autarch shifted, his body language speaking volumes. Though it is perhaps the way of the Midnight Sorrow to embody the void-zephyr, taking or leaving as they please. We had little choice. Ichor still dries on our blades. Uncommon, for an armed escort to welcome ambassadors, said Dreamspear.

In these dark days, we all walk shadowed paths. So you risk doom to force our hand, said the Autarch. You endanger only yourselves. They cannot penetrate the wards. As you say, nodded the Autarch. Let us ensure they do not lead us astray. An act of provocation, such as Cegorachs theft of fair No, no, laughed the Harlequin hollowly, his mask becoming the Ishas jewels, could be considered an act of open contempt.

They seek not to attack Biel-Tan directly, but via a Provocation? Some say Cegorachs act was one of desperation, threshold world. From there, a new tapestry of fate will unfold.

And have your divinations told you which world the she- Of course. Though in times of war, lethal mistakes are made. Daemons intend to breach? Let us hope they do not lead to unnecessary tragedy in the final By way of answer, the Harlequin reached out and opened the act. Only a fool is deaf to the words of a prophet. The Autarch looked down at the rune held there for a long moment before gesturing to his Exarch. Gather These words you speak of, said the Autarch, turning to pinch the Swordwind.

Inform Lathriel. We strike at dawn. He turned the stem of a crystal rose and move it to catch the light, do they on his heel and left the audience chamber without a sound.

Her use of My Lord Inquisitor, deathly powers in the battle against Though the Masque of the Midnight the Daemonettes had confirmed an Sorrow had lately garnered a As you have no doubt already been informed, eventuality foreseen by the troupes reputation as self-centred thieves and the Damocles Gulf was patron, Eldrad Ulthran.

The crux bearers of ill tidings, the message they set aflame by esoteric point of causality had been exactly brought to Biel-Tan was of such dire weaponry after the reconquest of Agrellan, where the High Farseer had said it import it could not be ignored. The power from beyond the veil just craftworlds High Farseer, Lathriel, Adeptus Mechanicus, as foreseen. Her safe arrival to a even as the craftworlds aspect warrior the architects of this preventative measure, sympathetic audience was paramount.

Much like Eldrad, region of space entirely, she saw a fork in the destiny of her and concentrate their Months previous, secreted in vaults of people, one route leading to blazing efforts elsewhere.

The implications were storms that have blighted of the future that he himself had staggering. Perhaps the whispered the Imperium over the caused upon Coheria, he saw a new notion of Ynneads ascension could last few cycles.

These aetheric tempests have force rising, embodied in one called stave off the Eldars destruction for flickered into life the Daughter of Shades.

She alone a time, and maybe even calm the across a large region held the key to Ynneads ascension, Warp storms ravaging the galaxy. The of space, and several have taken the fires of and the cosmic upheaval Eldrad and newcomer the Harlequins spoke of the Damocles Gulf into Kysaduras had long predicted. It was likely confined to the gulf in his meditations, Eldrad deemed the agents of Slaanesh too were aware they actively emerge like that there was no haven more likely of the importance of the interloper, ambush predators from a lair to assail the to take this living phenomenon into this Daughter of Shades, and intended fleets of Mankind and their heartlands than Biel-Tan.

Even to seize her themselves. Tau alike. Though the then, Eldrad had seen the Reborn remote viewings of the Damoclesian Astropaths gladiatrix and the ruling castes of Until now, the runes of warding that indicate the size of the craftworld bound together on an protected the craftworld had made the phenomenon has altogether deeper and more spiritual the idea of a daemonic incursion the already begun to recede, level.

Another nexus point of destiny stuff of nightmares, not reality. With it remains extremely aggressive. Scoria Prime, approached, the skein of fate knotted Empyrean tempests raging across Duala, and Vonsha Smyde and tense around it. As he refined his the segmentum, however, there was a IX have all been subject divinations, Eldrad had seen the rune chance of a webway breach. Should a to daemonic invasion.

One shred of positivity to of the Night Maiden circled by the host of Warp-spawn set foot upon the result from this is the Fall from Grace, both in turn orbiting craftworld, the sheer magnitude of reported loss of a large- the heraldic rune of Biel-Tan itself. A full Daemon consumed by the gulf, if sat within the craftworlds rune had invasion could see the craftworld the information from our smouldered and turned black.

Such lying in ashes, never to recover. Recommend urgent was the price of progress. She had with Perdita, or even Quarantine Extremis, at signal across the vastness of the learned of a route of ingress to Biel- your discretion.

So it was the of the craftworld to the gates of the Masque of the Midnight Sorrow had maiden world Ursulia. Yet it was impassive. They had donned their war but verdant world, famous in Eldar theoretically possible that the route masks before leaving the craftworld, society for its majestic thornwoods could be re-opened by arcane force.

It had It was a possibility the Biel-Tani would inhumanly focussed killers. Only once been fashioned as a true paradise by do anything to avoid. To descend For the warriors of Biel-Tan, to make more, allowing themselves to grieve. Roiling Warp beautiful dilettante badly burned storms had lashed its surface in the by some horrific twist of fate. The last few months, appearing from craftworlders did not take the loss nowhere like a seismic eruption upon well.

Expressions had hardened to an unseen fault line.

Ursulias glorious stony scowls under the hoods of those Rain hammered down as the waterfalls had been turned to swathes Rangers searching the twisted forests Swordwinds transports shot through of crimson glass, and its rolling dales for Exodite survivors.

They had found the skies. The convoy of vehicles was reduced to skull-strewn wastelands. In the space of time it had all but invisible in their cloudstrike taken for Biel-Tans outriders to arrive formation; this was common practice Amongst the planets valleys was a at Ursulia, the planet had already amongst the Biel-Tani, for they believe moss-strewn henge known as the suffered beyond comprehension.

Obsidian Gate. This former webway Around the grav-tanks, a tempest was route was permanently closed Under detailed instructions from brewing, the disturbing keening of many thousands of years ago as Autarch Meliniel, the warriors of the the wind hinting at some unnatural a precautionary measure against Swordwind were en route to aerial energy beneath it.

The tang of ozone invasion, for it led straight to Biel- ambush points in their Falcon and hung heavy in the air, a sense of Tan. The decision to seal it had since Wave Serpent skimmers. Underneath doom gathering like the closeness been vindicated a dozen times over, their helms, the faces of the Aspect before a thunderstorm. Since the breaking of new Warp storms across the coreward sectors of Ultima Segmentum, it has been transmuted into a nightmarish vision.

Its forests have become wildernesses of sentient plant life dripping with mind- poison, jagged fungi that belch hallucinogenic gas, and mutant saurian beasts covered in eyes and mouths from snout to tail. Psychic storms still ravage the ruined Eldar settlements of the planet, bringing with them sudden squalls of ectoplasmic rain, winds that scream with banshee rage, and crackling empyric lightning.

These phenomena leave utter devastation in their wake from which there can be no recovery. They taint not only the planets landscape, but its spirit as well. Against the raw repertoire went far beyond the easier than ever especially for one power and sudden onset of a Chaos pleasures of the flesh. She knew well as adroit as the Masque. Still, there tempest, however, there was little how to exploit the compulsions of was no way she had the strength to they could do.

Warp Storm Balamet others, for she was obsession given break open the Runes of Warding had flared into baleful existence so form. The strongest souls were often that sealed the portal to Biel-Tan. What was intended as a overconfidence was the downfall enough to break the arcane defences mission of rescue had become one of champions and wise men alike.

Skarbrand the Exile, the most terrible of vengeance and of preventing the The Daemon lords of Khorne were Bloodthirster of them all.

Even then same fate befalling Biel-Tan, should prideful indeed.

It was that flaw that his power might not suffice. The Masque of Slaanesh was poised to achieve just that. Though it had cost her much to attain it, she had masterminded a full-scale daemonic invasion of Ursulia. Her intent was not to conquer the planet, but to use it as a staging post. Should she muster force enough to break through the Obsidian Gate, she would reach Biel-Tan before Yvraine, not only claiming a rich bounty of Eldar souls but also capturing or devouring the single greatest threat to Slaaneshs existence.

The Daemon herald had taken great pains to arrange the conquest to come, and ensure that it had a semblance of focus no mean feat, considering the rival forces involved.

The Masque had marshalled not only her own great promenade of excess a gathering of Daemonettes, Seekers, charioteers and half-mortal Hellflayers but also seduced a grand battalion of Khornate Daemons into fighting for the same cause. The rivalries between the Chaos Gods had raged across reality and the Warp for time immemorial.

Though the brothers in darkness were each locked in their Great Game, and though they sought the same destructive ends more often than not, they were such bitter rivals that they held an open contempt for each other.

This ire often boiled over into outright war. Slaanesh, the Master of Excess, was considered a self-indulgent, preening impostor by the Blood God Khorne. Conversely, Slaanesh saw the Blood God as an unimaginative boor with. The champions together, each determined combat.

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He was hurled across reality competition would be held upon the to outclass their gods rivals with as a result, broken in body and world of Ursulia whosoever claimed impressive acts of slaughter. All that was left of Skarbrand the most Eldar lives in the name of was rage, raw and all-consuming.

The Exodites defending their out, dancing her way through the The Daemon heralds words were world had used every weapon, trick Realm of Chaos to speak to him face expertly delivered. Her beguilements and trap at their disposal, unleashing to disfigured face. The Greater Daemon spat, knights charge into echelons of Slaughter and Carnage. However, snarled and roared with contempt, daemonic foot soldiers. Theirs was a the Daemonette swayed and dodged for the disciples of Khorne do not idly noble act of defiance, but ultimately from the Bloodthirsters blows with ignore a challenge to their strength.

The invading host such sublime passivity that Skarbrand With her greater plans set in motion, outnumbered them twice over, and stopped viewing her as a martial the Masque smiled from ear to ear, with the Masque and Skarbrand at opponent and instead saw her as waltzing away to amass her followers the fore, the Exodite defenders were more of an inconvenience, just as a even as the mighty Bloodthirster overwhelmed in a matter of days.

When he had all but When the Swordwind of Biel-Tan lost interest, the Masque told her foe Within a week of that incongruous arrived, the Exodites had been all but of her own exile, for she had been pact, the Daemon hosts of the Masque eradicated. Daemons already cavorted banished by her god just as Skarbrand and Skarbrand trod the peaty loam and guzzled hot blood amongst the had been banished by his.

This won of Ursulias twisted forests. Their twisted ruins, many counting the the raging Daemons ear, for a time. The Masque was still on the. W hunt, coordinating her plans with a hy did you not foresee this, sister? Her Seeker finger at the ghostly apparition in his Wave Serpent. Did the runes not parties had located the Obsidian Gate show it?

She They show a great many futures, replied the seer, Lathriel, over the psychic link. In our youth, it never carried quite so high a cost. A psychic event of galactic magnitude has taken place. It she needed to break through it. It bears down on us even now. The skein of fate is unravelling and reknitting so fast that has long been said by the gossips of none of us can predict it, not even the High Farseer of Ulthw.

Salvation from grace lent him strength. When perhaps, but it comes too late. Too late for the people of Ursulia, and too late for us. Biel-Tan may yet pay in blood too. On the far-gazing hologram at the front of give him might enough to break the passenger bay, Meliniel saw that the edges of the lake were tinged with red. Now, he through any barrier. The Autarchs tone was as clipped as an Exarchs battle stanzas.

I became a fan instantly and eagerly awaited The Great Hunt. Time passed, and I decided I wanted to become a fantasy author— influenced, in large part, by how much I loved The Wheel of Time. And yet, never did I think that I would one day get that phone call from Harriet.

It came to me as a complete surprise. I had not asked, applied, or dared wish for this opportunity—though when the request was made, my answer was immediate. I love this series as I have loved none other, and the characters feel like old, dear friends from my childhood. I cannot replace Robert Jordan. Nobody could write this book as well as he could have. That is a simple fact. Fortunately, he left many notes, outlines, completed scenes, and dictated explanations with his wife and assistants.

Before his passing, he asked Harriet to find someone to complete the series for his fans. He loved you all very much and spent the very last weeks of his life dictating events for the final volume.

It was to be called A Memory of Light. Eighteen months later, we are here. Jordan promised that the final book would be big. But the manuscript soon grew prohibitively huge; it would be three times the size of a regular Wheel of Time book, and the decision was made by Harriet and Tor to split A Memory of Light into thirds. There were several excellent breaking points that would give a full and complete story in each third.

Both are correct. As of this writing, I am halfway done with the second third. Jordan did write this ending himself before he passed away, and I have read it.

And it is fantastic. I have not tried to imitate Mr. My main goal was to stay true to the souls of the characters. Imagine this book as the product of a new director working on some of the scenes of a movie while retaining the same actors and script. But this is a big project, and it will take time to complete. I beg your patience as we spend these next few years perfecting this story. We hold in our hands the ending of the greatest fantasy epic of our time, and I intend to see it done right.

I intend to remain true to Mr. My artistic integrity, and love for the books, will not let me do anything less. In the end, I let the words herein stand as the best argument for what we are doing. This is not my book. Thank you for reading. Mists and clouds. Insects and corruption. Strange events and odd occurrences. The ordinary twisted and strange. The dead are beginning to walk, and some see them.

Others do not, but more and more, we all fear the night.

These have been our days. They rain upon us beneath a dead sky, crushing us with their fury, until as one we beg: He stared northward. At the black and silver clouds. They blanketed the entire horizon to the north, high in the sky. They were black and silver. Dark, rumbling thunderheads, as dark as a root cellar at midnight.

With striking silver light breaking between them, flashes of lightning that gave off no sound. The air was thick. Thick with the scents of dust and dirt. Of dried leaves and rain that refused to fall.

Spring had come. Not a sprout had dared poke through the earth. He rose slowly from his chair, wood creaking, chair rocking softly behind him, and walked up to the edge of the porch.

The Second World War, Volume 1: The Gathering Storm

He chewed on his pipe, though its fire had gone out. Those clouds transfixed him. They were so black. Like the smoke of a brushfire, only no brushfire smoke ever rose that high up in the air.

And what to make of silver clouds? Bulging between the black ones, like places where polished steel shone through metal crusted with soot. He rubbed his chin, glancing down at his yard. A small, whitewashed fence contained a patch of grass and shrubs. The shrubs were dead now, every one of them. And the grass. Not even any weeds sprouted. A clap of thunder shook him.

Pure, sharp, like an enormous crash of metal against metal. It rattled the windows of the house, shook the porch boards, seemed to vibrate his very bones. He jumped back. That strike had been close—perhaps on his property.

He itched to go inspect the damage. Lightning fire could destroy a man, burn him out of his land. Up here in the Borderlands, so many things were unintentional tinder—dry grass, dry shingles, dry seed.

But the clouds were still distant. The silver and black thunderheads rolled and boiled, feeding and consuming themselves. He closed his eyes, calming himself, taking a deep breath. Had he imagined the thunder? Was he going off the side, as Gaffin always joked? He opened his eyes.

And the clouds were right there, directly above his house. It was as if they had suddenly rolled forward, intending to strike while his gaze was averted. They dominated the sky now, sweeping distantly in either direction, massive and overwhelming. He could almost feel their weight pressing the air down around him.

He drew in a breath that was heavy with sudden humidity, and his brow prickled with sweat.Only one soul alive dared address her in that manner. Her displays grew she had encountered in the webway in harmony with their environments faster and more violent as she became guiding her, the prodigal daughters and upon their death, join with the more headstrong. Thick with the scents of dust and dirt. Alongside Dreamspear, a dozen Harlequins stood in exaggerated postures of relaxation.

And it is fantastic. Yvraine Instinct took over. W hunt, coordinating her plans with a hy did you not foresee this, sister? The raging not fall. Before his passing, he asked Harriet to find someone to complete the series for his fans.

Some took shots focussed upon her was excruciating.

KATHERINE from Richland
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