Skip to main content



Dragons of a Fallen Sun

Chapter 1

Mina’s Song

The day has passed beyond our power.
The petals close upon the flower.
The light is failing in this hour
Of day’s last waning breath.

The blackness of the night surrounds
The distant souls of stars now found,
Far from this world to which we’re bound,
Of sorrow, fear and death.

Sleep, love; forever sleep.
Your soul the night will keep.
Embrace the darkness deep.
Sleep, love; forever sleep.

The gathering darkness takes our souls,
Embracing us in chilling folds,
Deep in a Mistress’s void that holds
Our fate within her hands.

Dream, warriors, of the dark above
And feel the sweet redemption of
The Night’s Consort, and of her love
For those within her bands.

Sleep, love; forever sleep.
Your soul the night will keep.
Embrace the darkness deep.
Sleep, love; forever sleep.

We close our eyes, our minds at rest,
Submit our wills to her behest,
Our weaknesses to her confessed,
And to her will we bend.

The strength of silence fills the sky,
Its depth beyond both you and I.
Into its arms our souls will fly,
Where fear and sorrows end.

Sleep, love; forever sleep.
Your soul the night will keep.
Embrace the darkness deep.
Sleep, love; forever sleep.


The Song of Death

The dwarves named the valley Gamashinoch-the Song of Death. None of the living walked here of their own free will. Those who entered did so out of desperation, dire need, or because they had been ordered to do so by their commanding officer.
They had been listening to the “song” for several hours as their advance brought them nearer and nearer the desolate valley. The song was eerie, terrible. Its words, which were never clearly heard, never quite distinguishable-at least not with the ears-spoke of death and worse than death. The song spoke of entrapment, bitter frustration, unending torment. The song was a lament, a song of longing for a place the soul remembered, a haven of peace and bliss now unattainable.
On first hearing the mournful song, the knights had reined in their steeds, hands reaching for their swords as they stared about them in unease, crying “what is that?” and “who goes there?”
But no one went there. No one of the living. The knights looked at their commander, who stood up in his stirrups, inspecting the cliffs that soared above them on their right and the left.  
“It is nothing,” he said at last. “The wind among the rocks. Proceed.”
He urged his horse forward along the road which ran, turning and twisting, through the mountains known as the Lords of Doom. The men under his command followed single-file, the pass was too narrow for the mounted patrol to ride abreast.
“I have heard the wind before, my lord,” said one man gruffly, “and it has yet to have a human voice. It warns us to stay away. We would do well to heed it.”
"Nonsense!” Talon leader Ernst Magit swung around in his saddle to glare at his scout and second-in-command, who walked behind him. “Superstitious clap trap! But then you minotaurs are noted for clinging to old, outmoded ways and ideas. It is time you entered the modern era. The gods are gone and good riddance, I say. We humans rule the world.”
A single voice, a woman’s voice, had first sung the Song of Death. Now her voice was joined by a fearful chorus, a chorus of men, women and children, raised in a dreadful chant of hopeless loss and misery that echoed among the mountains.
At the doleful sound, several of the horses balked, refused to go farther, and, truth told, their masters did little to urge them.
Magit’s horse shied and danced. He dug his spurs into the horse’s flanks, leaving great bloody gouges, and the horse sulked forward, head lowered, ears twitching. Talon Leader Magit rode about half a mile when it occurred to him that he did not hear other hoof beats. Glancing around, he saw that he was proceeding alone. None of his men had followed.  
Furious, Magit turned and galloped back to his command. He found half of his patrol dismounted, the other half looking very ill-at-ease, sitting astride horses that stood shivering on the road.
“The dumb beasts have more brains than their masters,” said the minotaur, from his place on the ground. Few horses will allow a minotaur to sit upon their backs and fewer still have the strength and girth to carry one of the huge minotaur. Galdar was seven-feet-tall, counting his horns. He kept up with the patrol, running easily alongside the stirrup of his commander.
Magit sat upon his horse, his hands on the pommel, facing his men. He was a tall, excessively thin man, the type whose bones seem to be strung together with steel wire, for he was far stronger than he looked. His eyes were flat and watery blue, without intelligence, without depth. He was noted for his cruelty, his inflexible-many would say mindless-discipline, and his complete and total devotion to a single cause-Ernst Magit.
“You will mount your horses and you will ride after me,” said Talon Leader Magit coldly, “or I will report each and every one of you to the group commander. I will accuse you of cowardice and betrayal of the vision and mutiny. As you know, the penalty for each and every one of those counts is death.”
“Can he do that?” whispered one of the men, a newly made knight on his first assignment.
“He can,” returned one of the veterans grimly. “And he will.”
The knights remounted, urged their steeds forward, using their spurs. They were forced to circle around the minotaur Galdar, who remained standing in the center of the road.
“Do you refuse to obey my command, Minotaur?” demanded Magit angrily. “Think well before you do so. You may be the protege of the Protector of the Skull, but I doubt if even he could save you if I denounce you to the Council as a coward and an oath-breaker.”  
Leaning over his horse’s neck, Magit spoke in mock confidentiality. “And from what I hear, Galdar, your master might not be too keen on protecting you anymore. A one-armed minotaur. A minotaur whose own kind view him with pity and with scorn. A minotaur who has been reduced to the position of ?scout’. And we all know that they assigned you to that post only because they had to do something with you. Although I did hear it suggested that they turn you out to pasture with the rest of the cows.”
Galdar clenched his fist, his remaining fist, driving the sharp nails into his flesh. He knew very well that Magit was baiting him, goading him into a fight. Here, where there would be few witnesses. Here where Magit could kill the crippled minotaur and return home to claim that the fight had been a fair and glorious one. Galdar was not particularly attached to life, not since the loss of his sword arm had transformed him from fearsome warrior to plodding scout. But he’d be damned if he was going to die at the hands of Ernst Magit. Galdar wouldn’t give his commander the satisfaction.
The minotaur shouldered his way past Ernst Magit, who watched him with a sneer of contempt upon his thin lips.
The patrol continued toward their destination, hoping to reach it while there was yet sunlight-if one could term the chill gray light that warmed nothing it touched sunlight. The Song of Death wailed and mourned. One of the new recruits rode with tears streaming down his cheeks. The veterans rode hunkered down, shoulders hunched up around their ears, as if they would block out the sound. But even if they had stuffed their ears with tow, even if they had blown out their ear drums, they would have still heard the terrible song.
The Song of Death sang in the heart.
The patrol rode into the valley that was called Neraka.

In a time past memory, the goddess Takhisis, Queen of Darkness, laid in the southern end of the valley a foundation stone, rescued from the blasted temple of the Kingpriest of Istar. The foundation stone began to grow, drawing upon the evil in the world to give it life. The stone grew into a temple, vast and awful, a temple of magnificent, hideous darkness.
Takhisis planned to use this temple to return to the world from which she’d been driven by Huma Dragonbane, but her way was blocked by love and self-sacrifice. Nevertheless she had great power and she launched a war upon the world which came near to destroying it. Her evil commanders, like a pack of wild dogs, fell to fighting among themselves. A band of heroes rose up. Looking into their hearts, they found the power to thwart her, defeat her, and cast her down. Her temple at Neraka was destroyed, blasted apart in her rage at her downfall.
The temple’s walls exploded and rained down from the skies on that terrible day, huge black boulders that crushed the city of Neraka. Cleansing fires destroyed the buildings of the cursed city, burned down its markets and its slave pens, its numerous guard houses, filling its twisted, maze-like streets with ash.
Over fifty years later, no trace of the original city remained. The splinters of the temple’s bones littered the floor of the southern portion of valley of Neraka. The ash had long since blown away. Nothing would grow in this part of the valley. All sign of life had long been covered up by the swirling sands.  
Only the black boulders, remnants of the temple, remained in the valley. They were an awful sight and even Talon Leader Magit, gazing upon them for the first time, wondered privately if his decision to ride into this part of the valley had been a smart one. He could have taken the long route around, but that would have added two days to his travel and he was late as it was, having spent a few extra nights with a new whore who had arrived at his favorite bawdy house. He needed to make up time and he’d chosen as his shortcut this route through the southern end of the valley.
Perhaps due to the force of the explosion, the black rock that had formed the outer walls of the temple had taken on a crystalline structure. Jutting up from the sand, the boulders were not craggy, not lumpy. They were smooth-sided, with sharply defined planes culminating in faceted points. Imagine black quartz crystals jutting up from gray sand, some as tall as four times the height of a man. A man could see his reflection in those glossy black planes, a reflection that was distorted, twisted, yet completely recognizable as being a reflection of himself.  
These men had willingly joined up with the army of the knights of Takhisis, tempted by the promises of loot and slaves won in battle, by their own delight in killing and bullying, by their hatred of elves or kender or dwarves or anyone different from themselves. These men, long since hardened against every good feeling, looked into the shining black plane of the crystals and were appalled by the faces that looked back. For on those faces they could see their mouths opening to sing the terrible song.
Excerpted from DRAGONS OF A FALLEN SUN (c) Copyright 2000 by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. All rights reserved.

Dragons of a Fallen Sun
by by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman