A Record of the Delfinian War

Book Sixteen: The End of a Legend

Ru finally travels through the dimensional gate, ecstatic to be in the same world as Lee. The Rah Clan sealed his magic so that he wouldn't cause trouble before meeting up with his partner, the one person who can keep him under control. He can still use divination, which points him toward Coral Castle. Unfortunately, in his glee at getting to see Lee again, he blithely attempts to walk straight through the front gate.

He is arrested as an intruder. After he fights off the other prisoners--and even several guards--who try to rape him, he is thrown in the North Tower. The guards recognize that he has the same kind of sword as the queen, so they don't want to be too rough with him, but they also suspect him of using black arts to seduce people. (He protests that if he was doing it on purpose, he wouldn't bother fighting people off.)

Leaving Lee to help out the siege in Tanga, Woll returns to Coral. As soon as he hears about the unusual prisoner, he realizes who the stranger must be and orders him released. Ru is shocked to learn that the human-hating boy he knew is now female and married to Delfinia's king. He is further surprised to meet Even and recognize the traces of Lee using magic to heal him. Seeing the kind of friends Lee has made, he is extremely grateful that his partner was lucky enough to join up with Woll.

In Tanga, Letitia sets a trap for the queen. He arranges to slip Astin and half the Tiredon Knights a sleeping drug. Using them--particularly Carrigan Darcini--as hostages, he gets Lee to surrender herself to the Tanga forces. They keep Carrigan and nine other young knights captive so she won't try to escape. The Tanga representative, who is really a Farott assassin working with Letty, promises to set the boys free if Lee will drink a sleeping potion. Once she agrees, they keep her asleep by constantly burning a powerful drug in her bedroom. They let the knights go, but then take them prisoner again soon afterward.

Shera had been sent to spy on the situation in Tanga's capital. On the way, he is ambushed by Vantser. The dark assassin is tormented by not being able to break free of his conditioning, to change in any way. He demands to know if Shera can change. Shera knows he can't match Vantser's skill in a fair confrontation, so he rigs a trap. He cuts off his distinctive silver hair and hangs it where it will stir in a breeze, then hides and waits. He strikes the moment Vantser is distracted by the hair.

Vantser is relieved to have it all over. Like Latina, he wanted to die, yet he couldn't kill himself. He needed to be defeated in combat with a talented opponent. Shera buries him with the shorn hair and trades swords with him. The boy is furious at the clan that essentially made Vantser die. He takes it upon himself to have revenge against Earl Farott.

He runs to Skenia and challenges the earl. The earl tries everything he can think of to get Shera to back down--bribery, playing on Shera's training to obey authority, even admitting that he's Shera's biological father. Vantser's sword gives Shera the courage to resist his instincts and fight. Earl Farott is better, but Shera calls on Lee's strength and manages to survive long enough to strike at the earl in one brief moment of weakness. The clan elders arrive and explain that, by winning the duel, Shera is now Earl Farott. They will obey any order. Knowing the cycle of mindless obedience and death must end, Shera orders the termination of the entire clan.

Moira appears and tells the grieving Shera that the ghosts had been waiting for him, a "moon" with the ability to do what he did, for a very long time. The ghosts inform Letitia of the earl's death just as he's about to kill Lee in her sleep. Letty worked for the earl directly, rather than being an average clan member, so he's the only one who doesn't suicide. Instead, he does everything he can to delay Tanga from causing any further harm to Lee until help can arrive. The Farott ghost of a young girl teases him that he's in love with her, but he denies it. He claims the girl is just being jealous.

Zoratus wants Woll to turn over the Tau Mountains in exchange for the queen, but he can't do that. Zoratus' son, Najeck, still has a grudge against Lee for humiliating him in battle. He declares that, since by Tanga law a man cannot marry his adopted daughter, Woll's marriage to Lee is invalid. He will take Lee as his own wife, claiming that the Goddess of Victory fell madly in love with him and has deserted Delfinia. The underlying message to Woll is that he must surrender the Tau Mountains if he doesn't want his wife to be raped.

Woll abdicates and gives his crown to his cousin. Thus, Lee is no longer the queen and has no value as a hostage. Baluro is free to lead the king's army in attacking Tanga without fear that the "queen"--Rosamond--will be in any danger. Meanwhile, Shera joins Woll and Ru as they ride off alone to rescue Lee. On the way, Ru reveals that he found out Paula is pregnant.