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but I can do nothing to get out from beneath them. Well, I suppose I could let Merreck kill me.'

'That will not happen. Trust me. Merreck will want to see you suffer for as long as he can.' Jerklenn did not smile as she spoke those words.

They reached the eastern limit of Tuzanor and stood at the end of a street that forked into a seemingly endless promenade, one edge looking out onto the distant horizon. Night was beginning to fall, and the Se'en Voltayn, the ridge of crystals that surrounded the city, sparkled in the distance.

Vance stared out. The horizon was spectacular, a red line turning green as it rose to the heavens. The clouds burnished gold as they were lit from behind. Despite the prospect of facing his unstoppable enemy once more, Vance could not help but be filled with awe at the sight.

'You won't see a sight like that on any other planet.' The man's voice was deep and filled with authority. Jerklenn and Vance both spun round to see Sinclair, the Anla'shok Na himself, standing behind them. They both bowed simultaneously.

'Please,' said Sinclair. 'We are not in the academy now. On the streets of Tuzanor, at least let me be a man again.' They both rose, Vance smiling at Sinclair's candour, but Jerklenn looking shocked.

'You are the Anla'shok Na. Wherever you go,' she said.

'That may be. But first and foremost I am an ordinary man. Pomp and ceremony I've rarely been comfortable with.'

The three stood for several moments. The silence became a little uncomfortable, but Vance could think of nothing to say. 'Would you mind, Jerklenn?' Sinclair said eventually. 'I think Vance and I have some things to discuss.

Jerklenn bowed reverently once more and walked back into the labyrinthine streets. Sinclair walked forward to stand beside Vance.
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