Authors: John Gwynne
Time drifted, Corban slowly becoming aware that others were moving around him, helping to gather stones – first his friends, Dath, Coralen, Farrell, Brina, then others, Tukul and Meical
amongst them. Last of all Balur joined them. He pulled a boulder the size of a child from the stream bed, and they set it at the head of Gwenith’s cairn. When they were done, the host stood
about the grave, heads bowed. There was a flapping in Corban’s ear and Craf alighted on his shoulder, the crow’s claws pinching.
,’ the bird croaked.
‘Yes,’ Corban whispered. A tear rolled down his cheek, and he heard Cywen sniff beside him.
A silence fell, the sound of the stream and wind amongst the heather framing the moment.
A voice broke the silence – old and harsh against the quiet. Brina. Alone she sang the opening lines of the lament. Gar was the first to add his voice, others joining until the hills rang.
Even Balur and the giants sang.
They are not just singing for my mam; they all mourn those they have lost
Memories bubbled up inside Corban of his mam, a thousand tender moments, sealed with her dying words, blood spattering her lips.
, she had said. Grief welled sudden and
powerful, consuming him, blotting out everything but his mam’s face. He felt an impact on his knees, realized dimly that he’d fallen, hands about him steadying, comforting. He let out a
great sob, his body racked by it, tremors coursing through him, all the pain and torment that he had endured since the night of his da’s death surging up in one overwhelming moment.
He did not know how long he stayed there, kneeling in the dirt before his mam’s cairn. Eventually he looked up, swiping tears from his eyes. A few were still gathered about him –
Cywen and Gar, their eyes red and raw. His friends, Dath and Farrell, Coralen regarding him with a rare compassion. He rose slowly and looked back across the leagues they had ridden, saw the last
rays of the setting sun shining off the cliffs and towers of Murias, the image fracturing in his tear-filled eyes.
He thought of the cauldron, the black cloud rising from it, the tainted Jehar ripping men limb from limb, Nathair sitting on the dais steps, and finally the old man that he had fought, who had
killed his mam.
Calidus, Meical had called him
. One thought circled in his head like the black birds swirling about the mountain peaks.
They must be stopped
By John Gwynne
has been a great experience. As with
it has had quite a few helping hands along the way.
First of all a huge thank you to my wife, Caroline, and children, both for their support and for putting up with me whilst my head has been off in the Banished Lands.
Thanks must go to my agent, John Jarrold, for his belief and guidance. A consummate professional and also a top bloke who does a wonderful Michael Cain impersonation. Also my bloodthirsty editor
at Tor UK, Julie Crisp, for her astounding ability to whip my efforts into shape, as well as a strong dose of belief in
The Faithful and the Fallen
. And thanks to my copy-editor, Jessica
Cuthbert-Smith, a lady with an amazing eye for detail, as well as all the wonderful crew at Team Tor UK.
Thanks also to those who have taken the time to read
– not a small book – and thus sacrificing a considerable chunk of their precious time. Mark Roberson, Rhiannon
Ivens, Sadak Miah – you are now forgiven for not reading
for such a long time – and Edward and William Gwynne, whom I would like to thank for their extra dedication,
involving re-enacting most of the battle scenes from the book. Plasters were occasionally required.
First published 2014 by Tor
This electronic edition published 2014 by Tor
an imprint of Pan Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited
Pan Macmillan, 20 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RR
Basingstoke and Oxford
Associated companies throughout the world
Copyright © John Gwynne 2014
Map artwork © Fred van Deelen
The right of John Gwynne to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
You may not copy, store, distribute, transmit, reproduce or otherwise make available this publication (or any part of it) in any form, or by any means (electronic, digital,
optical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be
liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
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