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                                                                                  THE CRATER


Carter Anderson, Master of Evenmere, stalked alone through the twilight corridors of the High House, where the flickering of the gas-
lamps, green-flamed, sent the shadows twitching like seizured men, the hissing jets, their exhaled breath, the only sound amidst the maze
of gloaming stairs, drear avenues, cheerless cornices, glaring portraits, the staring statues in the brown-stone naves. In silence he went,
Lightning Sword swinging jagged from his hip, Tawny Mantle shrouding his form, its chameleon powers merging him with the brown
baseboards, the brown carpet, the brown buttercups on the tattered wallpaper of Innman Tor. In the gloom he could pass unseen inches
away.

Three months had elapsed since his victory over the Bobby and the anarchists. The rebuilding of the White Circle had occupied his
days, and even as he paced the passages, he chided himself, saying he had no time for this journey. Yet four nights before, at the
witching hour, he had sat upright in his comfortable bed within the Inner Chambers, awakened by a beckoning such as sometimes
summons the Master of Evenmere, whose life and heart is attuned to the creaks and swayings of that ancient house. He had slept no
more that night, but donning his travel garb and his soft leather boots, and taking up his mantle and his sword, had summoned his butler,
William Hope, and informed him of his plan to depart at once to Innman Tor. And though he could have mustered a thousand soldiers
as escort, it is the nature of the Master to travel alone.

He had avoided the Long Corridor, preferring more secluded reaches, and had passed through Naleewuath, and Keedin, and little
Nyaset, thus seeing few other men, save some merchants traveling to Kitinthim, a pair of philosophers from Moomuth Kethorvian, and
an ornithologist from High Gable, where the study of birds is considered the highest art. He had slept little and eaten only from the
meager supplies in his pack.

Three hours before, he had crossed the border from Wainscot--a perfect country, faceted as a jewel, its every window a rose-stained
glass--into the drab melancholy of Innman Tor. Combined with his own weariness, the tedium of halls made colorless by the anarchists'
rule left him dispirited. Save for Fiffing, which lingered still in insurrection, Innman Tor had been his enemies' strongest foothold in the
White Circle. There was much yet to be done.

Carter descended a spiral stair. Its hand-wrought bannister, carved as leafy tendrils to imitate the branchings of a maple tree, with fanned
leaves for the railing knobs, bespoke a time when the country had prospered. Still, with the expulsion of the anarchists, conditions were
improving. Settlefrost, the old administrator, had resigned in disgrace, and the people had elected Count Aegis, a man known to be
eccentric but forthright, as their First Factor.

Any other would have lost his way amidst the myriad twisting corridors, but it is not so with the Master. The maps of the High House
are within him, and Carter moved easily between the shadows, sensing the vast heap of wood and stone above him, the magnificent pile
of building. Each new vista brought an image to his mind, and he could have mentally followed a single path unerringly for hours;
indeed, he had done so many times the last few weeks, sitting in his study beside the Book of Forgotten Things, pursuing the winding of
the corridors as other men ponder a problem in chess.

He stepped through French doors and stood beneath a night sky, moonless, but heavy with stars. Orion climbed the eastern sky; red
Mars stared piteously down. As often occurred in the windowless halls, he had lost all perception of time, and to his surprise, his
pocket-watch marked the approach of midnight. He had wanted to arrive in daylight, but he dared not tarry, and paused only long
enough to light the lantern from his pack.

Across wide fields he spied the lamps of the village of Innman Tor. Despite the appearance of being outside the house, he knew he
stood in a vast courtyard, with Evenmere all around. As he trudged toward the squat houses, the circle of his lantern light revealed
young wheat standing defiant in scattered patches. The last time he had seen the fields, they had been brown with blight, and he gave a
grim smile.

He traversed the fields and doused his lantern as he crossed the railroad tracks where the train slumbered, pale-yellow as a cat's eye, its
locomotive scent pungent in the night air. A watch would be kept; he had no desire to explain himself and kept near the buildings,
trusting to his Tawny Mantle.

He crossed a barren course in the midst of the houses and came to the tattered edge of a crater in the very center of the town, a pit two
hundred yards across and a hundred feet deep, where the Tor had once stood. In the darkness he discerned the monstrous crescent of
the far side, the deep shadows of the descent. He stepped back warily, having forgotten its magnitude. Whether the anarchists had
removed it through sorcery, or by secret excavation, he did not know, but its demolition had been hidden by a false, skull-shaped Tor,
an illusion substantial to the touch. He had dispelled this apparition three months before by speaking one of the Words of Power, which
only the Master may wield.

As he bent down to relight his lantern, his glance fell upon a peculiar mound, which he gradually perceived as the prone figure of a man.
Silently, he drew his Lightning Sword, which emitted a soft, golden glow, and cautiously approached, sword-tip aimed at the inert form.
The man lay dead, his eyes flung wide, a dark blot staining the front of his shirt. A rifle lay by his side. Reluctantly, Carter touched the
corpse, to assure it was cold.

A light wind rose, startling him with the rustling of the tattered stalks of grain all around. He stepped back, sheathed his sword, lest its
rays reveal his position to any observers, and dropped to his knees to survey his surroundings. He saw nothing more in the uncertain
light until he crawled to the edge of the crater and looked down upon a shrouded, bobbing lantern. He heard the dull stroke of shovels
against earth.

He slid over the brink to the left, where the way was less steep. The bowl of the crater sloped gently down, and once he was no longer
framed at the rim, he rose on his haunches and descended over red sandstone serrated beneath his hands where water had run. There
had been hard rains during the rule of the anarchists, and the last reports had indicated a lake standing at the crater's core, though
apparently it had finally seeped away.

As he drew near, he saw seven men in the gray coats of the anarchists, laboring with shovels and wheel barrows while one with a rifle
kept watch. Their faces were pale and grim beneath the lantern light; they worked in silence. At first, Carter thought they were
excavating, but quickly perceived they were filling a hole at the crater's center instead.

He considered his circumstance: eight men, all surely armed. Had they taken something from the crater, perhaps the legendary treasure
of the Tor, or were they attempting to conceal a deed done long ago? As their work appeared far from concluded, he judged he had
time to rouse Innman Tor and return with a party to arrest them.

He turned to depart, and found a ninth anarchist nearly upon him; he caught the gleam of upraised steel, heard the man's grunt of exertion
as he strained to strike. Carter whipped his Lightning Sword from its scabbard and struck with an upward cut. The blade exploded in a
shower of sparks, cutting the man almost in two. Before the anarchist could even scream, Carter had already turned on his other foes.

He summoned a Word of Power as the sentry with the rifle took aim. Falan. Even for the Master the Words are not easily employed,
and invoked so quickly, The Word Which Manifests tore at his throat. The earth shook; a wave of force propelled outward from him, a
golden circle spreading like a ripple in a pond, its light blinding in the darkness. As the surge struck the sentry, the rifle flew from his
hands, and he fled, screaming in panic. The three anarchists standing nearest were knocked from their feet; the lantern fell with them; its
glass shattered; its light failed.

Before any could recover, Carter drew his revolver. Two of the four men still standing dove into the unfilled hole, the third reached for
his pistol, and the last stood frozen in fear. Carter fired twice at the man with the gun, who dropped it and fell backward, clutching his
shoulder. The frightened man fled in terror.

Even as the brilliance of the Word faded, and darkness closed, the two men in the hollow opened fire, their gun-barrels spitting flame.
Carter dove to earth, firing blindly, and was rewarded by a cry of pain.

Hidden by the night, he crawled to the left as bullets seared the earth where he had been. He quickly reached a point to the side of his
opponents. The gunfire ceased; he grew still to avoid revealing his position.

Another man would have fled against such odds, yet an intuition of evil had summoned him to Innman; if he departed, the anarchists
would slip away, leaving him to learn nothing. He could not retreat, and he was hardly helpless--in his excitement, having possessed his
Tawny Mantle but a short time, he had forgotten its power. Once wrapped securely around him, it would grant him the appearance of
his surroundings, a shadow among shades. The first anarchist had spied him because he had failed to keep it close.

"I have the lantern," someone said softly, not ten feet from him. He raised himself on his haunches, ready to spring.

He leapt to his feet at the striking of the match. Distracted by the light, veiled from seeing by the Mantle's power, the two anarchists in
the hollow did not sight Carter until he loomed above them, appearing as if from the ether, Tawny Mantle billowing, Lightning Sword in
one hand, pistol in the other. He fired point-blank at one and slashed the other across the neck. The first screamed, the other groaned,
and the light flickered out again.

Carter danced backward, as two more pistols thundered, shells whistling past him on both sides. He slid to the left, a specter, until
nearly behind his foes, where he crouched to consider his situation. By his reckoning, two of the nine had fled, and five were either dead
or wounded, leaving two. His odds were greatly improved.

He approached stealthily, stopping often to listen. As his eyes reaccustomed themselves to the night he perceived two shadowy figures
pressed against the earth, several feet apart. A third lay prone, groaning softly, his right arm thrown above his head. Carter searched the
field but saw no one else.

He advanced silently, relying on his Mantle. When he was quite close, he cried, "Make no move!"

The anarchist on the right whirled onto his back, and died there, shot twice through the chest. The other man threw his hands high and
cried, "Don't shoot! I surrender! I surrender!"

Carter forced him to lie down again, hands and feet sprawled to the four quarters, then checked the groaning man and made him do the
same. All the others had seemingly fled, and finding himself secure, Carter began to tremble. He had killed more men tonight than in his
whole life before; he struggled to keep from being ill.

"I am the Master of the house," he said softly to the unwounded man. "What are you doing at Innman Tor? What did you steal?"

"We took nothing, my lord," the man said, voice quavering.

"Do you know the power of the Master?" Carter asked. "Answer truthfully or face my wrath."

"I implore you, my lord, do not abuse me. I am not a common lout, but a professor of history."

"You are far from your scholarly studies. A man becomes what he does. Why were you at Innman Tor?" Carter drew his Lightning
Sword, and its glow made his features stark and cruel. He could not resort to torture, but to bluff and bluster.

"Mercy! I will tell. I will tell all! Mercy!"

Carter was never able to reconstruct what happened next, except he felt an enormous dread, as if a hand squeezed his heart.
Simultaneously, the air trembled, and from the darkness coalesced an enormous face, illuminated with a light of its own, yet conferring
no radiance on its surroundings, the visage of a man, shrouded in a hat and cloak. Malice emanated from it, a beating force that drove
Carter to his knees.

The face rapidly shrank, and suddenly a figure twice human height, deepest jet, a shadow among night shades, loomed above Carter and
his captives, its hands, the claws of an eagle, descending to rend him.

Barely in time, Carter parried, hurling the Lightning Sword before him; a blinding charge erupted where blade and talon met; a burning
wave like liquid fire beat against Carter's face. The assailant gave a shriek of pain and staggered backward, even as Carter's sword-arm
fell useless to his side, the blade dropping pale and cold from his hand.

Yet, as both adversaries stood benumbed, Carter summoned the Word Which Gives Strength, the only Word which leaves its Master
stronger after being spoken, though it later takes its toll. Sedhattee. The earth shook; his arm grew hardy. He scooped up the sword
and scrambled to his feet.

His enemy advanced again, towering above him, features suffused in rage. As Carter lifted his Lightning Sword in defiance, its star-light
bloomed blinding radiance, brighter than before, causing the assailant to falter and cast his hands before his eyes. Carter struck without
hesitation, slashing at his foe's left leg, ripping a cruel slash in the thigh. Not blood, but gray mist poured forth; the monster howled its
rage and retreated toward the captured anarchists. With a baleful glare it raised its hands above these; a dark whirlwind descended
among them, only to dissipate at once. The creature abruptly vanished.

Carter turned in a swift circle, heart pounding, seeking his foe. Seeing he was truly alone, he lit his lantern and examined the ground
where the assailant's talons had torn the earth. As the light flickered over the captured anarchists, he gave a gasp at faces moon-pale,
drained of all life. A shiver raked his spine.

Before he could survey the excavation, he heard the whinny of a horse above the crater's edge. "The treasure!" he cried, and sprang
away.

By the time Carter sprawled over the rim, he heard fleeing hoofbeats and a wagon rattling away. The wheel-tracks lay fresh in the loose
soil; he followed at a fast trot, stumbling over the furrows, thankful he kept himself in good condition. He reached the streets, and by the
light of the lamps, spied a wagon plunging along an avenue, carrying several men. He dared waste no time in stealth, but ran after, and
soon heard the cries of sentries at his back. When he disregarded the warnings, shots ricocheted around him, and momentarily he feared
being slain by his own allies. But the pursuit quickly fell behind.

At the outskirts of town, he followed the single road leading from Innman Tor, smooth ground for both running and wagon-wheels. He
maintained a strong, steady pace, reserving a shard of strength for combat. At the end of a mile, tall shadows of Corsican pines rose
before him, and beneath those, the eaves of Evenmere.

He spied the wagon, standing beneath the gabled roofs, the light from a half-opened doorway spilling onto the lathered horse. After a
moment's indecision, he doused his lantern, slipped between the sheltering pines, and drew close enough to survey the house. He could
not be certain whether any anarchists lurked there, but after careful observation, crept toward the rear of the wagon.

He found it empty. The anarchists had indeed vanished. He drew his pistol, sprang to the half-opened door, and flung it wide. Pale
yellow light flooded into the night; he stepped into a narrow foyer, then on through another door, finger on trigger, expecting an assault,
but discovering only an empty corridor stretching into the distance. He pounded down its length; his quarry had several minutes
advantage, but their use of the wagon suggested they carried a cumbersome prize. He came to an intersection, leading left and right,
where he paused in uncertainty. Mentally, he followed the maps, tracing the branching corridors. The way to the left led to assorted
rooms eventually returning to the courtyard surrounding Innman Tor, the way to the right, to other portions of the house. He took the
latter, down the brown, lusterless halls, into unlighted passages. As he knelt to kindle his lamp, he thought he caught a distant flicker far
down the corridor, but it faded too quickly, leaving him uncertain he had seen it at all.

He brought the lamp to a low burn, then mantled it, so its thin stream of escaping beams formed mock constellations on the walls. He
plunged into the shrouded way. At a trot, objects seemed to leap before him, keeping him miserably apprehensive, the only sound his
footfalls on the threadbare carpet, the pumping of lungs, the air flowing past, the hushed burning of the lamp.

He passed two doors, which by his maps opened onto small rooms. He feared his adversaries might suspect his pursuit and conceal
themselves therein, yet he had no time to search every cranny; in such a vast structure he must overtake them soon or not at all.

He faced another dilemma as he came to a spiral stair, with the corridor continuing beyond--if he followed the passage, it would soon
lead to the fringes of Veth, where captured anarchists were usually hanged--if he chose the stair, the upper stories presented roads going
either toward the Long Corridor or to the dark reaches of the South.

Carter chose the stair, and ascended wide-eyed, wishing he knew the exact number of his opponents. If five, they might spare a man to
waylay him; if four, assuming a heavy load, they would not; yet it was all speculation.

The stair ended at the next floor, and the passage proceeded to the east without forking, but his heart misgave him; he had already made
many choices, any of which could prove false, and he saw no trace of his foes.

A multi-tiered gallery opened before him. Gas-lights sputtered in the hall below, luminating an intricately tiled floor. Tall windows stared
down from the east; the room would be lovely in morning light. By this, he knew he had left drab Innman and passed into the ornate
region of Lippenhost, one of its protectorates. He kept close to the bannister rail as he proceeded along the gallery. When he had nearly
traversed its length, he heard low voices and muffled footfalls above him. He doused his lantern at once and leaned over the railing to
view the floor above.

A shrouded light passed directly overhead, but the railing hid the men from his sight, nor could he fathom their muttered words. Still, he
was certain there were more than two, and their grunts and exhalations indicated they struggled with some burden.

He sought a route up, but having no rope, nor being able to reach the floor above by mounting the railing, he raced toward the stair,
guided only by the luminance below, certain he would meet no adversary. The mistake proved nearly fatal, as a shot rang out, not ten
feet from him. He returned fire, and was answered by an agonized cry. He rushed to his assailant, knowing a wounded enemy to be
most dangerous, but found the anarchist sprawled on his back behind a supporting pillar, dead. Until he recalled the power of his
Tawny Mantle Carter could not comprehend how his life had been spared--he had been running near the wall, concealed by his cloak.
The man, seeing nothing, but hearing his footfalls, had fired blindly.

He rushed through the gallery, and clambered up the stair to the next floor. If he had not heard the anarchists, his instinct would have
been to turn left, since his maps showed the right leading by a circuitous route into distant portions of the house. A rising panic
overtook him, for they were approaching an area of many branchings. He went as swiftly as stealth allowed, knowing he must be nearly
upon them.

Heart drumming, he passed back through the gallery, reaching its end without meeting his foes. As the light from the gallery diminished,
he slowed to a rapid walk, watchful of stepping into the anarchists' gun-sights. He passed another stair and three doors, all of which he
knew were not the way.

He entered a large, open area, knowing it so only by his maps, for with the lamps far behind he stood listening in utter darkness, calming
his breath lest he miss the breathing of others. Finally, he drew his Lightning Sword. Seven doors, outlined by its light, stood along the
wall. He approached each in turn, to see if any were ajar, but all were shut tight. Five he opened, listening, but heard nothing; two were
locked. After a quick deliberation he withdrew the Master Keys on their bronze ring and studied them until a gray skeleton key adorned
with a white stone beckoned him. By this he knew the two doors to be those only the Master could open or close.

By considering his maps, he eliminated two other doors leading only to the highest stories, where there would be no egress. A third led
to the basement, and though the anarchists might escape that way, it would be a torturous route, especially with a burden, through
narrow confines, down countless flights of winding stairs.

Of the two remaining doors, either was likely. Both led the same direction, though they ended several miles from one another. If the
anarchists sought the dark countries to the south, they would choose the left way; if they intended the Long Corridor, they would take
the right. He approached each and listened again without success. At last, based on hope alone, he chose the left way.

The stair consisted of long runs and wide landings, red carpet soft as velvet, redwood railings, red-bird wallpaper running alongside, a
comfortable place once, when it had been inhabited, made ghostly by the sword-light, the yellow eyes of the cardinals fiendish in its
golden glow. Carter shivered and took the stair two steps at a time, but softly, to avoid coming unawares upon his foes. The top
landing, like a red river, cascaded to crimson corridors, which flowed to more stairs, which coursed to corridors again, narrow passages
like estuaries, with pictures of red roses hanging askew, flowers upon the banks. Yet always he knew his way, for only one exit in the
upper stories could carry the anarchists beyond the wing.

When at last he reached that door, after a long hour of jittery corners, he found it irrevocably barred, nailed shut from his side, with metal
plates strapped across it and screwed into the frame. Dismayed, he charged back the way he had come, dimly wondering what terror
stood beyond that door for men to bolt it so fiercely.

Two hours were lost before he reached bottom and began ascending the other stair to the right. Gambling against another assault, he
abandoned caution for haste, this time over yellow carpet, past painted yellow railings with canary wallpaper alongside. When he finally
came to the top, he exited onto a malachite green passage. Although there are as many doorways in the High House as tunnels in a
colony of ants, he now knew the anarchists would proceed toward the Long Corridor, thus avoiding the more populated region of the
Downs of Gen. From there, he could not guess their final destination.

He followed throughout the night, and when the morning sun lit the panes and washed across the dancing motes, it found him following
still through Querny. He welcomed the dawn, though it reminded him of his weariness, and halted long enough to sit and breakfast on
strips of dried meat from his pack.

Thereafter, because of fatigue, the way became arduous, and he went as in a fog. At mid-morning, he met a man warming his feet before
a fireplace, who offered him hot tea and conversation. Carter seated himself gladly, and soon learned the fellow had seen his quarry:
"four gentlemen, dressed in gray greatcoats, bearing a burden hidden in a burlap sack. It was heavy, for they carried it between two
poles as if it were the Ark of the Covenant. I asked them no questions, for they scowled upon seeing me, and one man reached toward
the pocket of his coat, as if for a pistol. Another stayed his hand, or I believe he might have killed me outright."

"So he would have," Carter said. "They are anarchists, and I am the Master of the House. Would you aid me?"

"Forgive me, my lord, I did not know!" the man said, his eyes growing wide. "Simply command me."

"Go into the Downs of Gen, and inform the High Marshall of my pursuit. Have him dispatch messengers ahead, and tell him to send
search-parties in a wide fan between here and the Long Corridor. Tell them to be armed and prepared to kill."

"I know the way, my lord. I will gather my things and go at once." The man sprang from his seat as if commanded by an archangel,
stuffed his belongings into his pack, and darted away.

Carter rose, inspired by the tea and the man's obedience. He followed for another three hours, eating lunch from his pack as he went.
His enemies were surely as weary as he, yet they showed no sign of flagging--desperate need, beyond the fear of pursuit, drove them.
Afternoon gave way to evening, and still he did not overtake them.

At last, when the sunlight lay pale upon the lintels, he attained a certain site he had sought, drew a ragged breath, gathered his strength,
and summoned a Word of Power to mind. At first he could not bring it into focus--the Words are difficult to command, and his
weariness strove against him--but finally it hung suspended within his thoughts, the letters burning with fire. He carried it to his lips, and
spoke it with an effort. Talheedin. The Word of Secret Ways.

The corridor shook; the lamps trembled. A blue square of light, indicating the presence of a secret panel, arose from the doors of a
wardrobe standing against one wall of the passage. He opened the wardrobe, reached into its depths, and pulled aside a row of moth-
eaten jackets. On the back wall, beside four names, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy crudely scratched into the wood, he discovered a
hidden mechanism, which caused the back of the wardrobe to open onto a black corridor. He lit his lamp, entered, and shut the secret
door behind.

The walls of the passage were bare and the corridor itself less than five feet tall, forcing him to stoop. The bare boards creaked beneath
his boots, and part of the ceiling had collapsed to the floor, vanquished by the damp. According to the maps this passage provided a
short-cut to the Long Corridor, which he hoped to use to outstrip his opponents.

Through two long hours he followed the dreary, changeless way. The use of the Word had drained him, and he stumbled as he went,
but at last reached a hidden portal opening into the Long Corridor. A glimpse through a lensed spy-hole assured him no one was about,
so he unlatched the door and exited.

He was far from those drab portions of the Long Corridor near the Gray Edge, and the wallpaper and carpet in the deserted passage
glistened soft peach. He shut the door to the secret passage, a picture frame containing a rendition of Ilya of Murom riding in the pouch
of the giant Svyatogor.

Doubt assailed him. He had hoped to arrive before his opponents, but could not be certain he had done so; they might be either before
or behind him. Since he did not know their destination he might miss them either by dashing ahead or remaining behind. After brief
consideration, he resolved to press on, hoping to encounter other travelers who had seen his foes.

Two hours later, he met a pot-maker, dragging his haggard cart down the halls, who had followed the Long Corridor all the way from
Naleewuath without glimpsing the anarchists. Now certain his foes lay behind him, Carter turned back. He was tempted to conceal
himself in one of the doorways and await their coming; midnight approached--his pursuit had lasted twenty-four hours, and had come
after a long day of travel--yet he feared to lie down, lest they slip by while he dozed.

He walked dazed and dull for three hours, fighting to stay awake. At last, when he must either halt or sleep on his feet, he heard rustlings
around the curve of the gently-sloping passage. He drew his pistol, hugged the wall, and crept forward.

The anarchists had raised a hidden door in the center of the corridor. Only three men were visible, the fourth having apparently already
descended, one keeping watch while the others struggled to carry a burlap-wrapped burden into the opening. The sentry, expecting
pursuit from behind, kept his attention there, giving Carter an opportunity to draw within a few feet.

"Halt where you are," he commanded, pistol aimed.

The sentry turned, gun flashing, but Carter downed him with a precise shot. The other two anarchists bolted down the stair, while a
shout issued from the fourth below, who had apparently been struck by the full weight of the burden. One of the anarchists reached
back up to shut the trap door; Carter fired to prevent it, but missed his target, and the door slammed shut, followed by the sliding of a
bolt into place.

Reaching the spot, he drew his Lightning Sword and struck a mighty blow; power exploded from it, disintegrating the carpet, leaving a
burning stench, but the material beneath remained seared but otherwise unscathed. Carter stared in weary bewilderment, for the sword
seldom failed to penetrate its target, yet apparently the Long Corridor was made of sterner stuff. He sheathed the blade and brought his
maps to mind. The course the anarchists followed led through myriad turnings. Even with their burden, within twenty minutes they
could reach passages too varied to trace.

"Faugh!" he cried aloud at his lack of foresight. Yet few of the secret ways are known by any save the Master; he had not considered
his quarry using them.

Though he knew the cause lost, he refused to surrender. Despite his weariness, he made his way by a winding course into the passages
the anarchists had taken, where he spent three hours vainly seeking their trail. Finally, foot-sore and defeated, he threw himself into a
narrow alcove and tumbled into a slumber racked by dreams of corridors and flighty men.

He woke late the next morning. For a time, he considered returning to Innman Tor, for he wanted to investigate the crater by daylight,
but he was almost as near to the Inner Chambers now, and decided to send word to Count Aegis, ordering him to station a ring of
sentries around the crater and await his coming. This time, he would not go alone.

The False House
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