Durnik's eyes narrowed. "Let's take him, Garion," he said.

Garion's anger at this stranger who was the cause of all this warfare and carnage and destruction suddenly swelled intolerably, and his rage communicated itself to the Orb on the pommel of his sword. The Orb flared, and Iron-grip's burning sword suddenly flamed out in searing blue fire.

"There! It's the Rivan King!" the black-bearded man on the cart screamed. "Kill him!"

Momentarily Garion's eyes locked on the eyes of the man on the cart. There was hate there and, at the same time, an awe and a desperate fear. But, blindly obedient to their leader's command, a dozen cultists ran through the slush toward Garion with their swords aloft. Suddenly they began to tumble into twitching heaps in the sodden snow in the square as arrow after arrow laced into their ranks.

"Ho, Garion!" Lelldorin shouted gleefully from a nearby housetop, his hands blurring as he loosed his arrows at the charging cultists.

"Ho, Lelldorin!" Garion called his reply, even as he ran in amongst the fur-clad men, flailing about him with his burning sword. The attention of the group around the cart was riveted entirely on the horrifying spectacle of the enraged King of Riva and his fabled sword. They did not, therefore, see Durnik the smith moving in a catlike crouch along the wall of a nearby house.

The man on the cart raised one hand aloft, seized a ball of pure fire, and hurled it desperately at Garion. Garion flicked the fireball aside with his flaming blade and continued his grim advance, swinging dreadful strokes at the desperate men garbed in bearskins in front of him without ever taking his eyes off of the pasty-faced man in the black beard. His expression growing panicky, Ulfgar raised his hand again, but suddenly seemed almost to lunge forward off the cart into the brown slush as Durnik's cudgel cracked sharply across the back of his head.

There was a great cry of chagrin as the cult-leader fell. Several of his men tried desperately to lift his inert body, but Durnik's club, whistling and thudding solidly, felled them in their tracks. Others tried to form a wall with their bodies in an effort to keep Garion from reaching the body lying facedown in the snow, but Lelldorin's steady rain of arrows melted the center of that fur-clad wall. Garion, feeling strangely remote and unaffected by the slaughter, marched into the very midst of the disorganized survivors, swinging his huge sword in great, sweeping arcs. He barely felt the sickening shear as his sword cut through bone and flesh. After he had cut down a half a dozen or so, the rest broke and ran.

"Is he still alive?" Garion panted at the smith.

Durnik rolled the inert Ulfgar over and professionally peeled back one of his eyelids to have a look. "He's still with us," he said. "I hit him rather carefully."

"Good," Garion said. "Let's tie him up -and blindfold him."

"Why blindfold?"

"We both saw him use sorcery, so we've answered that particular question, but I think it might be a little hard to do that sort of thing if you can't see what you're aiming at."

Durnik though about it for a moment as he tied the unconscious man's hands. "You know, I believe you're right. It would be difficult, wouldn't it?"


With the fall of Ulfgar, the cult's will to resist broke. Though a few of the more rabid continued to fight, most threw down their weapons in surrender. Grimly, Garion's army rounded them up and herded them through the snowy, blood-stained streets into the town's central square.Silk and Javelin briefly questioned a sullen captive with a bloody bandage wrapped around his head, then joined Garion and Durnik, who stood watch over their still-unconscious prisoner. "Is that him?" Silk asked curiously, absently polishing one of his rings on the front of his gray doublet.

Garion nodded.

"He doesn't look all that impressive, does he?"

"The large stone house over there is his," Javelin said, pointing at a square building with red tiles on its roof.

"Not any more," Garion replied. "It's mine now."

Javelin smiled briefly. "We'll want to search it rather thoroughly," he said. "People sometimes forget to destroy important things."

"We might as well take Ulfgar in there, too," Garion said. "We need to question him, and that house is as good as any."

"I'll go get the others," Durnik offered, pulling off his pot-shaped helmet. "Do you think it's safe enough to bring Pol and the other ladies into the city yet?"

"It should be," Javelin replied. "What little resistance there is left is in the southeast quarter of the city."

Durnik nodded and went on across the square, his mail shirt jingling.

Garion, Silk, and Javelin picked up the limp form of the black-bearded man and carried him toward the stately house with the banner of a bear flying from a staff in front of it.

As they started up the stairs, Garion glanced at a Rivan soldier standing guard over some demoralized prisoners huddled miserably in the slush. "Would you do me a favor?" he asked the gray-cloaked man.

"Of course, your Majesty," the soldier said, saluting.

" Chop that thing down." Garion indicated the flagstaff with a thrust of his jaw.

"At once, your Majesty." The soldier grinned. "I should have thought of it myself."

They carried Ulfgar into the house and through a polished door. The room beyond the door was luxuriously furnished, but the chairs were mostly overturned, and there were sheets of parchment everywhere. A crumpled heap of them had been stuffed into a large stone fireplace built into the back wall, but the fireplace was cold.

"Good," Javelin muttered. "He was interrupted before he could burn anything."

Silk looked around at the room. Rich, dark-colored tapestries hung on the walls, and the green carpeting was thick and soft. The chairs were all upholstered in scarlet velvet, and unlighted candles stood in silver sconces along the wall.

"He managed to live fairly well, didn't he?" the little man murmured as they unceremoniously dumped the prisoner in the rust-colored doublet in one corner.

"Let's gather up these documents," Javelin said. "I want to go over them."

Garion unstrapped his sword, dropped his helmet on the floor and shrugged himself out of his heavy mailshirt. Then he sank wearily onto a soft couch. "I'm absolutely exhausted," he said. "I feel as if I haven't slept for a week."

Silk shrugged. "One of the privileges of command."

The door opened, and Belgarath came into the room. "Durnik said I could find you here," he said, pushing back the hood of his shabby old cloak. He crossed the room and nudged the limp form in the corner. "He isn't dead, is he?"