Cover image for A crown disowned
Title:
A crown disowned
Author:
Norton, Andre.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Tor, 2002.
Physical Description:
416 pages ; 22 cm.
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Language:
English
Subject Term:
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780312873387
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Book

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Summary

Summary

A Crown Disowned is the third volume of the cycle of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan that began with To the King a Daughter and was continued in Knight or Knave. The earth is shaking and splitting as the forces from the North draw nearer. The Ice Dragon Riders are speaking to the land, and more fire mountains awaken in the Bog. Rohan seeks to join forces with Tusser, leader of the Bog-folk, as Queen Ysa raises an army to clear the Bog. War draws closer until even the Queen cannot deny it any longer. Raids from the North increase and for the first time, the Riders of the Ice Dragons appear. It is time for the Queen to give up her game of pitting one faction against another. Four great armies assemble and they all march under the same banner. Though they do not--cannot--represent the Four Trees, this is nevertheless seen as a good omen. Many good men from all four armies fall in battle, yet the Great Foulness is still at large. Is the combined might of the four powers enough to free the land from evil?


Author Notes

Born Alice Mary Norton on February 17, 1912 in Cleveland, Ohio, she legally changed her name to Andre Alice Norton in 1934. She attended the Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve) for a year then took evening courses in journalism and writing that were offered by Cleveland College, the adult division of the same university. Norton was a librarian for the Cleveland Library System then a reader at Gnome Press. After that position, she became a full-time writer.

She is most noted for writing fantasy, in particular the Witch World series. Her first book The Prince of Commands was published in 1934. Other titles include Ralestone Luck, Magic in Ithkar, Voorloper, Uncharted Stars, The Gifts of Asti and All Cats are Gray. She also wrote under the pen names Andre Norton, Andrew North and Allen Weston

She was the first woman to receive the Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy and the Nebula Grand Master Award. She has also received a Phoenix Award for overall writing achievement, a Jules Verne Award, and a Science Fiction Book Club Book of the Year Award for her title The Elvenbane. In 1997 she was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. She died on March 17, 2005.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In A Crown Disowned: Volume Three of the Cycle of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan, the lively, well-paced conclusion to Andre Norton and Sasha Miller's fantasy trilogy (To the King a Daughter; Knight or Knave), Rohan must defeat the Ice Dragons and the armies of the North as well as defend his allies from the machinations of Dowager Queen Ysa. The unsurprising, inoffensive narrative contains enough swashbuckling, poisoning and intrigue to keep readers turning the pages. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

The Ice Dragon Riders sweep down from their northern home, bringing terror and destruction upon the lands to the south. Rohan of the Sea-Rovers seeks an alliance with the Bog-folk and attempts to convince the Dowager to abandon her petty politicking and join forces to fight the Ice Dragons and the Great Foulness they serve. Continuing the tale begun in To the King a Daughter and Knight or Knave, veteran authors Norton (the "Witch World" series; see also Elvenblood, reviewed above) and Miller (Ladylord) weave a tale of love and magic amid a time of war and turbulence. This classic fantasy belongs in most libraries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

One Rohan tightened his grip on the hilt of his sword, though he did not unsheathe the weapon. Much depended on this meeting between himself, as leader of the Sea-Rovers, and Tusser, leader of the Bog-people. Instead of returning to Rendelsham as Granddam Zazar had instructed him, or even to the Oakenkeep, he had gone south to New Vold, wanting the companionship of blood kindred. There he had learned that the Bog-people had resumed their raids on farms and small holdings. "Hunger drives them," Snolli said, "but that doesn't put bread on our table. These raids must cease." "I agree, but not for the reasons you think." "Then give me the benefit of your wisdom, young Rohan." Rohan did his best to ignore the heavy irony of his grandfather's tone. "We should make a treaty with, them," he said. "And I suppose that means we feed them as well," Snolli replied more than a little sourly. "Yes. It is certain," he told Snolli, "that we will need the help of the Bog-men when the Great Foulness from the North comes, and a little grain now and then is a small price to pay. Hard times are upon us all." Snolli shook his head. "I have almost come to believe that what we fled is no longer interested in us. If Kasai wasn't always stroking that drum of his--" The Spirit Drummer looked up from where he sat near the fireplace. "Be glad I do it, Chieftain," he said. "You'd have been in more than one pretty pickle before now, if it wasn't for me." "But what have your foretellings come to?" the aging leader of the Sea-Rovers demanded. "Nothing!" "Not yet," Kasai muttered, as if to himself. "Not yet. But soon, yes, very soon…" "Rubbish," Snolli declared stubbornly. "Nothing but rubbish." And so, despite his grandfather's dismissive words but with the warning of the Spirit Drummer still in his ears, Rohan had decided to seek out the Bog-men on his own and make alliance. Surely Snolli wouldn't do it of his own accord, Rohan thought, and much as he admired and respected Gaurin, leader of the Nordors, husband of his stepmother Ashen, he doubted that Gaurin would have thought of such a move, either. Bog-men were of no consequence to the Nordors, nor to the people of Rendel, whence the Nordors had come for refuge, as had the Sea-Rovers. Yet, Rohan knew in his heart that all those who were able would be needed when the fighting came. With that in mind, he had sought Granddam Zazar's help in setting up this meeting with Tusser. Though word had come that Tusser's father, Joal, had gone to the deep pools alive, Rohan knew that it was just a story told to frighten those who heard it Even Zazar had been taken in until she realized the ruse to give Tusser's claim to be headman legitimacy. Joal had not died; he had merely been hidden away until Tusser was accepted by all in his village. Rohan's grandfather Snolli lived also, though both men had long ago retired from such pleasant pastimes as making war on each other. Rohan hoped to make of that a common bond, through which he and Tusser might come to an agreement. Also, though this was something he was reluctant to admit even to himself, it was in the direction of the Bog that he had last heard tell of this sweetheart, Anamara, traveling. Still under the effects of a spell the wicked Sorceress had put on her in Rendelsham, she could well be excepted to return to the place where, convinced she was a bird in human form, she imagined she belonged. Or--he hardly dared hope--where she might think to find him again, as he had found her on the verge of perishing in the cold and dangerous Bog. At first, Zazar had been inclined to be cross with him for going against her instructions. But then, as Rohan explained how matters were with both the Bog-people and the sea-Rovers whose crops the Bog-men raided more and more of-ten, she relented. "I can't guarantee that Tusser will meet with you," the Wysen-wyf said "I can't guarantee, should he meet with you, that he'll go along with such a scheme. I can't even guarantee that you'll come out of a meeting with him with your skin in one piece." "Yet I'll risk it," Rohan had said. "And also, I will keep an eye out for that silly Lady Lack-wit of yours, in case she decided to come back here instead of staying where she was warm and safe." Rohan's ears had burned, but he made no retort. And so, now he waited in a place of Zazar's choosing, at a time Tusser selected, and the Wysen-wyf stood across the little clearing hard by what had once been a far outpost of Galinth, the ruined city, watching for Tusser's arrival. Behind her, inside a shelter hastily thrown together from stones and brush, a wisp of smoke arose in the cold, dank air. "I think he's coming," Zazar said. A boat emerged from a concealing fringe of vegetation that had scarcely a trace of leaf on it, for chill that continued to grip Rendel discouraged any plant growth. Nevertheless, the twigs formed such an effective barrier that Rohan had not seen the little Bog-craft until it was almost in plain view. True to his agreement, Tusser--if that were truly him-- was alone. Rohan had no doubt, however, that he was heavily armed with additional weapons stowed in the bottom of the boat, and that he had companions stationed within close hailing distance. He glanced across the clearing at Granddam Zazar She nodded and took a step forward. "Hail, Headman," she said, though there was scarcely a trace of deference in her manner. "I have prepared a talk-fire so that you and my grandson can confer properly. " She indicated the conical twig-walled hut prepared behind her, and ducked through the curtain covering the doorway ahead of the two men. Neither seemed willing to let the other precede him. Rohan held out both of his hands, showing Tusser that he held no weapon. When Tusser did the same, Rohan ducked through the opening. When both were inside and seated by the small fire, Zazar dropped the makeshift curtain over the door again and snugged it against a random wind with a few well-placed stones. "It's a poor meeting place at best, but the only one even partially accepted to both parties," she expalined. "Here. I have some broth to warm you." "Waste of time," Tusser said gruffly. Though comparatively young to be headman of a Bog-village, nonetheless he appeared to be capable as well as strong. He accepted a mug of the steaming broth with an air of indifference, but Rohan noted that he cradled it in his hands as if grateful for the warmth. "Thank you," Rohan said, accepting his own mug. He sipped appreciatively. "Let's hope we can find, if not a warm friendship, then at least a way to lessen animosity between us." "Too much silly talk," Tusser said with a scowl. "I have time only for good talk, not silly. Why you want meet with me? You just Outlander. Maybe I send to deep pools instead." Rohan set his mug aside and put his hand on the hilt of his sword again. "I'd dispute you over that ambition," he said mildly. Tusser continued to scowl at him. Then he looked away, indifferent again. "No matter," he said. "Maybe another time." In the shadows, Zazar made a muffled sound that Rohan recognized as a stifled laugh. She scooted forward until she had a place at the talk-fire as well. "It's plain to me that I'm going to have to serve as go-between here." She turned to Rohan. "Oh, I'm sure you have come here in a resonable manner, but despite the fact that I've explained the situation to this lout several times, he thinks he has to impress you and show you how strong he is before he's willing to make treaty." She turned her head and fixed Tusser with a gaze that Rohan was all too familiar with. He had been on the receiving end himself when he had been acting particularly thickheaded. For all of Tusser's many years on Rohan, the look seemed to be affecting him in very much the same way. "Very well, then, say it and have done. Get your stupid pride out of your system all at once, or you can believe that I'll kick out every last spark of the talk-fire and the Bog-people can starve or freeze or die when the invaders come. And you can be sure that your gabble of the deep pools won't mean a thing to them. Now. What's it to be?" Tusser shifted a little, trying to avoid Zazar's implacable stare. "I ready to treat. If terms good enough." Rohan spoke up. "There, are terrible times coming. Our land--" He spread his arms, indicating not only where they sat, but the entirely of the Bog and beyond it. "--all of our land, both yours and mine, is in danger. I have heard rumors, tales, of people from the north who long to take it from us. And so my message here is a simple one. We must make pact with each other and stop our warring, or these invaders will find us easy picking indeed. If, however, we stand together--" For the first time, Tusser appeared interested. "You think we like one village makes war on another?" "Something like that." "And then, when big birds come, or Outlanders come, even villages that not like each other all fight together?" Rohan took a deep breath of relief. "That's right. We must all fight together, when the--the other Outlanders come." "Tusser agree. But until then, we fight. Now I go." "No," Rohan said hastily. "We must stop our fighting--I thought I had made that clear." He turned imploringly to Zazar. "You did," she said, "and so did I. But trying to get something through Tusser's thick skull when he doesn't want to understand, is well nigh a hopeless chore." "Look," he said to Tusser. "What's to be gained if we continue to make war on each other and when the other Outlanders come upon us, we are so weak we can't fight them, even all together?" Tusser frowned again, trying to work out what Rohan had said. "Yes," he said at last, "but what we do between times?" "There is much the Sea-Rovers can learn from you, and much that we can teach in return," Rohan said. "Later we will go to the rest of Rendel. I'm sure that--" Whatever predication he had been on the point of making was lost as a small, furry creature nudged its way under the door curtain. With a high-pitched squeal, it made a straight line for Zazar. Tusser recoiled, reaching for his shell dagger, but Rohan grasped his wrist before he could draw it. "Weyse!" Zazar said, taking the little one on her lap. Weyse stood up, her clever little paws on Zazar's shoulders, and trilled and squeaked at her in what could only be interpreted as an urgent manner. Her fur-covered face held a definitely anxious expression; and her entire manner radiated fear. "This is a friend," Rohan explained to Tusser. "I know her well. What is Wesye saying, Granddam Zazar? It must be important, to bring her here." "Danger," Wysen-wyf said. "Much danger. Men from the Outside, and they are burning as they go. That's hard to believe." She held Weyse out a little distance from her, so she could look into her eyes. "Are you certain?" Again the little creature chittered and trilled in highly agitated manner. "Smoke," Tusser said, his already wide nostrils flaring as he sniffed the air. "Not from talk-fire, not from hearth." He leapt to his feet, drawing the dagger whose hilt he was still clutching. He appeared on the verge of attacking Rohan where he sat. "You! Betray Bog-people!" "Don't be a fool, Tusser," Zazar said getting to her feet in turn."Do you really think Rohan, an honorable knight of Rendel, is going to set fire to everything while he's apt to get caught in it himself?" "Granddam Zaz is right," Rohan said. He was last on his feet only because he paused to pick up Weyse and cradle her in the crook of his arm. "I know nothing of these men, except that whatever it is they think they are doing, setting fire to the Bog, they must be stopped!" "Well, now's your chance," Zazar said to the two. "If ever you had any plans or hopes of working together, you couldn't find a better place to start" "I'm for it," Rohan declared. He handed Wesye to her and loosened his sword in its scabbard. Then he turned to Tusser. "I'll face them alone if I have to, but it would go better with an ally." Tusser started at him for a long moment. Then he nodded. "We two not alone. I have men also." "I thought you had. Better call them" * * * With Tusser and a half dozen of his warriors close behind, Rohan approached the scene that Weyse had described to Granddam Zaz. He could immediately see that it was even worse than he had thought. They were on the outskirts of the ruined city of Galinth, a place, Rohan had visited before in the company of Zazar, Ashen, and Gaurin. Now four men clad in nondescript clothing seemed bent on burning what was left of it. No wonder Weyse, whose home this was, had come running to Zazar for aid. Tusser gave a hand signal, and his followers crouched down, eyeing the scene as warily as did he and Rohan. "Make fire on water," Tusser observed. "I hear about this once before" "When?" "When still just spear man for Joal. Father," he explained as Rohan looked at him quizzically. "They go after Outlander girl once of us, find more Outlanders. Take away. They burn water." Rohan thought a moment. "Ashen," he said. "Yes, Ashen." Then Tusser turned to stare at Rohan. "You Know Ashen?" "She married my father," Rohan said, wondering how to explain the tangled circumstances to somebody as untutored as the Bog-man. "She is my foster-mother." Tusser modded. Apparently the notion of fostering was not an unfamiliar one to the Bog-people. "She Outlander demon spawn, Joal say. She lives?" Rohan decided not to give any more details than necessary. "yes." "Not want kill Ashen. Once maybe, when she make me want woman. Forbidden. Not kill now, though. Maybe later. We attack now?" He indicated the four men out in the open. "I think this is just a small part of them. Look there" To the west, a plume of black, oily smoke was rising. Another began to boil upward just a little way east. The crackle of dry, cold trees and underbrush filled the air. Tusser made another signal and one of his warriors silently fell back and vanished the way they had come. Going for aid, Rohan thought. It seemed a good idea under the circumstances. The ones Rohan and Tusser were observing had finished opening bags and spreading what these bags contained over both land and water. One of the men held a container Rohan recognized as the kind used to carry live coals, and he was now trying to light a twig from it. "Better be ready to pole for our lives once I get it going," one of them said. "This stuff goes quicker than the old powder. Burns on land as well as water, too. Don't get any on you." A quick, disciplined rush, Rohan thought, and we'll have a good ground from which to fight the rest, when they come. Before the soldier could get his flame going, Tusser erupted from his place of concealment and, followed by his warriors, began a wild attack. His and his followers' war-cries filled the air. "No, wait--" But there was no turning black. Rohan jumped to his feet and leapt forward. The Outlanders' surprise was complete. They stopped dead in their tracks, staring at the ones who seemed to have dropped out of nowhere. With swift, brutal efficiency the Bog-warriors cut down the Outlanders. It was all over in an instant, and Rohan looked at Tusser with new respect. "You are a worthy fighter," he said. "It will be good to have you as my ally, when the real fighting comes." Tusser nodded his thanks, but didn't loosen his grip on his shell-tipped spear. "More Outlanders come, I think. This place cursed, but maybe good for fight. Can hide until more of my people get here." "Then let's get to a high ground, where we can see what is happening." The two men, with three of Tusser' warriors behind them, picked their way over the rubble. Behind them, Rohan heard splashing and chose not to look at how the Bog-men were disposing of the bodies of their enemies. He would remember the way to the chamber where he and Granddam Zazar had held their meeting and she had discovered the true identity of the one known variously as the Magician and the Sorceress, depending on which guise she had decided to assume, but was reluctant to take them there. Instead, he chose a spot where a portion of the city wall was still more or less intact. From that sheltered vantage point, they had a good view of the surrounding territory. They didn't have long to wait. Tusser pointed in the direction of the big plume of smoke rising in the west. "They come," he said. "I hope your fellows make it in time, or it will be an even shorter fight than the last one," Rohan observed. Tusser grinned. "They make it in time. I here both." By straining his ears, Rohan could just discern the quiet sounds of poles pushing the Bog boats in their direction. These were almost drowned out by the noise the Outlanders were making as they headed for the ruins. Also, the interlopers were talking, obviously not thinking there was anyone to here them. "What's got into Morrice and his men?" one of them was saying. "We should have been seeing their smoke a long time ago." "Maybe they found a Bog-woman to take their minds off their jobs," another voice said, laughing. "The Dowager won't be pleased to hear it," the first voice rejoined, and Rohan jumped a little despite himself. Was she the one behind this attempt to burn the Bog? He could scarcely believe that even Ysa could be so blind as to commit such a foolhardy act, and yet the men had used her title. What could be her reason? He didn't have time to ask more questions before the men were upon them. He took a tighter grip on his sword, the Rinbell weapon that was his father's legacy, and with Tusser, swarmed over the low wall, taking the battle to the enemy. In a moment the air was full of yells and the clash of weapon against weapon, punctuated with an occasional cry of pain. The man Rohan found himself facing had pulled a sack out of his belt, and had it open. "Throw the powder!" another man, obviously the leader, yelled above the din. Obediently, the solider flung the contents of the sack into the air, aiming it at Rohan. He leaped back, and most of it missed him. But some clung to his left sleeve. The smell was reminiscent of oil sometimes used in lamps when the candle supply grew low. He didn't have time to brush away the substance. He made short work of the man in front of him and them sought the one who had given the command. As he fought, he could see out of the corner of his eye that these new attackers had managed, by accident or by design, to set light to the powder, and the flames were beginning to leap skyward. Intent on his opponent, it wasn't until he had dispatched his enemy that he realized his peril. The powder, which clung to his mail, was ablaze. He managed to strip off the metal shirt only to find that the sleeve beneath it was also on fire. Hastily, he began to beat out the flames, trying to keep himself from panicking. The conflagration did not yield at once to his attempts to extinguish it. A Woman's scream. "Rohan!" Beyond all belief, Anamara was running toward him from the direction of the center of the city. She barreled straight into him, pushed him down and rolled him onto his side, smothering the flames. Despite her efforts, they blazed up anew and without hesitation she ripped off a piece of her skirt, wrapping it around his arm until the fire was well and truly extinguished. "Oh, Rohan! You're hurt!" she cried. "Not so bad," he managed to say. He looked up at her, fearful of what he would find, but her eyes were clear and her own. "Where have you been?" she said. "Where have I been? I remember only a little. There was an old woman--" "Later, my darling girl," Rohan said. "Later. Right now--" His arm was beginning to throb horribly. He was afraid to remove the covering and see the injury he had sustained. "The old woman--that is Granddam Zazar. Tusser--" "Tusser here." The warrior knelt beside Rohan. Dimly he was aware that the Bog-Warrior was tucking some items into the lupperskin shirt he wore. "You hurt." "Yes." Tusser started to shove Anamara aside roughly, and Rohan grasped his arm with his uninjured hand. "Please. This lady--she is my lady. You understand? Please. Get us--both of us--to Zazar. I beg you." Tusser frowned, starting first at Rohan and then at Anamara. Dirty and disheveled, her clothing in tatters, she looked anything but a suitable person for Rohan to claim as his own. She could have been mistaken for a wild creature of the Bog herself, had it not been for her skin, pale beneath the grime, and her light-colored hair. Rohan gritted his teeth, his world spinning around him. He wondered at the strength of the newly made alliance between him and the Bog-man leader, and whether it would stand this strain. "Zazar have much power," Tusser said finally. "I take. Let her deal with you and Outlander woman." "Thank you," Rohan said. Finally he was relieved enough to feel the pain of his burned arm, and he fainted dead away. When Rohan returned to his senses, he found himself in the familiar surroundings of Zazar's hut. He was surprised by how little his injury pained him. He smelled one of Zazar's concoctions and, examining his arm, he discovered that the pungent earthy odor was coming from under the clean cloth that wrapped it. His burned clothing had been removed and he wore a shirt of lupper skin, similar to the ones that the Bog-men wore. The lacings holding the left sleeve to the rest of the garment had been removed, to make tending to his arm easier. He did not see his armor or his sword, but knew that Zazar would have seen to it that they had been cleaned and laid aside for safekeeping. He didn't think he had stirred much, but Zazar noticed his waking anyway. "Oh, so you're back with us, are you?" she said. "It's a wonder you didn't get yourself burned to a crisp, and your precious Anamara with you." He noticed that she had not referred to Anamara as "Lady Lackwit" and reasoned that Zazar had noticed her return to reality as well. Therefore, it was not a dream engendered by his need to have it so. "Tusser and his fellows brought you in on a litter, with Anamara trailing behind," Zazar continued. "You must have impressed him quite a bit during the battle. They don't do that for their own, but make them walk if they're able." Zazar's words triggered a memory. "They're burning the Bog," Rohan said urgently. "Ysa's men--" "Don't worry. I'm taking care of things" Zazar indicated a pile of smoldering ashes on a flat stone. A tiny flame sprang up and she turned away from Rohan instantly. Crooning a song that had no real words, she made curious gestures over the bit of fire and then spat on it.At that moment, Rohan became aware that the sound of light rain on the roof intensified. The little flame died at once. "There," the Wysen-wyf said, satisfied. "That should be the last of it. We'd have had a warm time of it if they'd been able to complete their task. That powder was very hard to deal with. It wona;t come off, but burns itself out where it sticks." "I know. I had gotten some on my sleeve. I take it that our defense was successful." "Apparently, the Outlanders didn't expect any resistance. There are a few Bog-men in the deep pools, but more Outlanders. The rest ran away as fast as they could, with no stomach to carry on someone else's fight. Tusser is so proud of himself with what he's calling his trophies of war that he's called for a general talk-fire with the headmen of all the other villages. I think he fancies setting himself up as headmen over all of them and he gives you most of the credit. you stand in very high regard with him. Joal is in a black fit of rage, but he's toothless by now." Zazar's face split in an unexpected smile. "Really toothless. Not a fang left in his mouth. A headmen or one who once was a headmen gets first shares of the harvesting. His wives have to chop his food very, very fine or he would go as hungry as the rest of us." Rohan had to smile. "I said it was someone else's flight. You muttered the Dowager Ysa's name while I was working on you, and then when you awoke you said it again," Zazar continued. Her light tone vanished, and her expression grew serious. "Do you think she was responsible for this?" "I believe so. They wore no livery or uniforms, but I heard the men talking before the fighting began. Can I sit up now?" "You might as well. But don't try to stand, not yet. You'll be all right. It's deep blisters mainly, and those are the most painful. But you'll come out of it with only a few scars as souvenirs. The powder hadn't touched your skin, or you'd be dead by now. You were lucky." "My lady saved me. Where is she?" "Here," Anamara said. She entered his field of vision, balancing a bowl of noodles in broth and a chunk of bread on one of Zazar's platters. She, too, wore lupperskin garments-- tunic and breeches. "Here. You need something to eat after your ordeal." "Are you all right?" he said. "I am now" "But how?" He looked from Anamara to Zazar, who shrugged and began stirring the ashes to uncover any sign of a new flame. "You were--confused for so long." "I don't know how it happened. I think Madame Zazar worked over me, in a place where I had my own bed, and a warm little creature called Weyse stayed close by." "That was the Oakenkeep. I was there, too, at times." "Weyse was with me when I was hiding in the Bog. In fact, she found me and took me to a room--" "Yes, I know that place." "She fed me and showed me where fresh water came from a pipe. She gave me mats to sleep on, and to keep me warm. She saved my life." Rohan set his bowl aside. "She saved us all, for she was the one who altered us to the danger. Where is she? Did she escape from the fire?" "Of course she did," Zazar said, a little crossly. "She is no fool. Until you began to stir, she was curled up beside you." "I'm glad she's safe," Rohan said, relieved. He dipped the bread into the last of the broth, to soak up every drop. "Perhaps it was seeing you in danger that took the last of the veil from my sight," Anamara said. She was now sitting beside him, and as she spoke she clasped her hands and looked down at them with her old shy manner. Rohan's heart turned over. "I want to marry you," he blurted suddenly and felt himself go warm in a way that no flames could have done. "I mean--" "I know," she said. "Yes." "Y-yes?" "Of course she said 'yes,' you ninny," Granddam Zaz said, her voice sharp. "As soon as you're fir to travel, you'll go back to the Oakenkeep, tell Ashen and Gaurin what you've accomplished in the Bog, marry the girl, and then off you'll go to war, riding in a Sea-Rover ship. That is what I have seen, and I'am never wrong." "Oh, no, not to war," Anamara said. Her eyes began to fill with tears. "If Granddam Zaz is correct--and she always is,"he added quickly, to forestall Zazar's retort "we will have fighting, one way or another. The only question is, whether it is between the Dowager's men and the people of the Bog, or if she comes to her senses and we unite aganist the common foe from the north." "We will have to rely on Gaurin's good sense in that regard" Zazar said. Her tone had softened a little. "And,I must suppose, yours as well." "There has obviously been much happening at Rendelsham while I was at New Vold with Grandfather Snolli, or making alliance with Tusser, or searching for my lady." "Well, the world wagged on without your guidance,"Zazar said. But the corners of her mouth softened just a little, and Rohan knew she was not seriously annoyed with him. "I am of half a mind to go with you to the Oakenkeep. With Weyse. The Bog has become an inhospitable spot, with the Dowager being stupid enough to try to burn it down." "I know Ashen will be glad for your company," Rohan said. "She has always worried about you. But will the Bog itself be safe, with you gone?" I"ll set wards," Zazar said. "And, if what Tusser told me is true, the survivors of the battle will take a tale back to Ysa that will make her disinclined to repeat her folly. Also, I will ask Gaurin to post sentries at thr river." "Then we are safe," Rohan said. His eyelids drooped. He was growing very sleepy. "For the time being." Copyright © 2002 by Andre Norton, Ltd.,& Sasha Miller Excerpted from A Crown Disowned by Andre Alice Norton, Sasha Miller All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.