When Hali was a child, he’d held his father’s absences against him.  Now that he was Lord Warden, he understood.  When the God-Emperor called, his Lord Warden must answer or suffer the compulsion …


“Van, stay away from the water,” Cymara warned their four year-old son.

“Yes, Mama,” but Halivan stayed close to the Taris watching branches from last night’s storm float down river towards Belgrith Harbor.

“You worry too much,” Hali Halvyl said to his wife.  The two of them were lying on his cloak half a dozen paces from the water next to a basket filled with treats from the Keep’s kitchen.  He’d laid out his cloak with the yellow side down so they could lie on the soft fur lining.  In all the legions, there wasn’t another cloak like it.  No one else wore yellow.  No one else wore a cloak embroidered with a mailed fist holding a scepter tipped with the seven sided star of Sangrithar. In all the legions, no one stood above him.  He was Sangrithar’s Lord Warden, the legions’ leader, and answered only to the God-Emperor, his wife and his conscience.  “Halivan’s a Sangritharian born and bred.  The blood of Thar who was Umbar, Lord of Sea and Storm runs in his veins.  He’s got nothing to fear from the water – Solare burn me, he could swim almost before he could walk.”

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