She shook her head, then began another vocalise, hoping that getting her cords clear would not take forever. When Anna felt her cords were clear, she walked back to the gelding and extracted from the left saddlebag the sketch of the ford she had drawn from memory back in Falcor. Once she unrolled it, her eyes flicked from the drawing to the terrain before her and back to the drawing, comparing the two. The sketch showed almost a wide and flat stone shelflike structure that would spread the river into a shallow and wide expanse, similar to the clay flats and gravel shallows that had existed before Anna had destroyed the bend in her efforts to annihilate the Ebran forces.
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She'd also sketched out what amounted to a gradual spillway that would funnel the river back into the deeper channel that existed below where the ford had been. While she could have used sorcery to construct another bridge, the ford had worked before, and she was reluctant to change what had worked, especially since the northern side of the river was so much lower than the south and there was little enough stone beneath the bluffs.
Finally, Anna lowered the scroll, turned, and motioned to Liende, who stood before the players. Anna waited until the red-and-white-haired woodwind player eased forward. Face them toward the river, not the Warm up and run through it a few times while I finish getting ready. Anna walked forward a few steps, before stopping and looking at the sketch of the ford and attempting to reconcile it to the reality of crumbling bluffs and mudflats split by a turbid river perhaps thirty yards wide in a deep channel. While the falk-horn, the woodwinds, and the strings tuned behind her, she sang the notes of the spell, using "la" instead of real words, and worked at visualizing the ford.
Anna tried to mesh the visual image, the words, and the melody, all without actually singing the spell itself. Halfway through, she stopped and shook her head. Could we try that again? After the second run-through, Anna took another sip of water, squared her shoulders, and nodded once more at the chief player.
Anna concentrated on just the spell and the image of the stone-footed ford the spell was designed to form, ignoring the heat, ignoring the fivescore armsmen mounted and ranked behind the players, using full opera voice to set the spell. Place them in their proper zones. Set them firm, and set them square weld them to their pattern there.
The bluff underfoot shivered, and kept shivering. Anna had to step sideways, but managed to keep her voice open, strong, and clear. The lightning marking her use of the harmonies, and unseen to any but her, or so it had seemed, flickered in the bright blue southern sky.
The haze that formed would turn into clouds, clouds that would dissipate within a few hours — glasses, she corrected herself mentally.
As the song ended and the shimmering haze lifted, Anna smiled raggedly. The bluff to her right had been trimmed into a stone-paved inclined road down to the river, and the murky waters of the Chean formed a glistening sheet nearly a hundred yards wide across the newly created stone ford. On the far side, a second stone causeway rose out of the ford to join the road through the dozen huts that represented the rebuilding of Sorprat.
The dizziness that accompanied strenuous songspell-casting again left Anna light-headed, but she stood firmly on the ground that shifted under her. Every spell she cast — or so it seemed — left her weak, if for varying periods. That she had to eat like a glutton to maintain her strength was something she still had trouble accepting. Anna took both, murmuring, "Thank you. Her eyes blurred, and she grasped at the saddle to steady herself, holding on until the dizziness subsided. The near-dozen players stood drained, their shoulders drooping, as they also sought water and biscuits.
Anna stepped toward them.
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She nodded to Liende, and offered a smile. Even after drinking and eating several biscuits, she remained light-headed, and might until the next day. But she remounted Farinelli, offering a smile to Himar. Once the column was remounted, Anna urged Farinelli toward the stone causeway that sloped down to the Chean River, toward the ford only she thought was necessary.
Was it really for faster travel to Mencha — and Ebra? Or because you destroyed the old ford? To redress the wrongs your sorcery has created? Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen.
No Quarter. Tanya Huff. The Outstretched Shadow. Mercedes Lackey. Bastion of Darkness. Lord of Mountains. Larry Dixon.
Quartered Sea, The. The Witch's Daughter. Fifth Quarter.
Darksong Rising: The Third Book of the Spellsong Cycle
Being a Green Mother. Piers Anthony. Diplomatic Immunity. Claws That Catch. John Ringo. To Light a Candle. Green Rider. Kristen Britain. Sing the Four Quarters.
Virginia DeMarce. The Given Sacrifice. How Firm a Foundation. David Weber. When Darkness Falls. Funeral Games. Jay Allan. House of the Four Winds, The. The Magic Engineer. Modesitt Jr. The Soprano Sorceress.
The Magic of Recluce. Imager's Challenge. Gravity Dreams. Antiagon Fire. Imager's Battalion. Recluce Tales. Besides a writer, Modesitt has been a U. Navy pilot, a director of research for a political campaign, legislative assistant and staff director for a U. Environmental Protection Agency, a consultant on environmental, regulatory, and communications issues, and a college lecturer.