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By Jack Vance, Anne McCaffrey

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Where Tristano was tall and loosely muscular, Aillas, less tall by an inch, seemed spare and taut. Their hair alike was light golden brown and cut square at ear-level; Tristano's features were blunt where those of Aillas were crisp. Standing together and smiling in the pleasure of each other's company, they seemed like boys. At Aillas' suggestion they seated themselves on a couch. " "We shall leave in two hours. " Aillas called the footman and presently they were served a pan of fried hake, with new loaves and butter, stewed cherries and bitter ale.

He is lean and spare, and talks in a voice like the north wind. His sons and daughters are dead; he does not know his own age but reckons it to exceed seventy years. No one brings him news; he thought that Oriante still reigned in South Ulfland. I assured him that Aillas, the new king of South Ulfland, was a sworn enemy of the Ska, and already had sunk their ships and barred them from South Ulfland. "At this news King Gax clapped his hands in joy. Sir Kreim, who stood at Gax's elbow, declared that Aillas' rule was transitory, and why?

Black curls clustered beside his cheeks; black eyebrows almost met above his long straight nose. His expression was rich and easy; his disposition would seem to be petulant, rather than vicious. " Sir Tristano performed a conventional bow. " Audry, leaning back, surveyed Sir Tristano through half-closed eyes. " Sir Tristano smiled. "Sir, I admit that I am only three years older than King Aillas, who perhaps for this reason regards me in the light you mention. Still, if you are dissatisfied, I will instantly withdraw to Troicinet and there express your views to King Aillas.

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