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shut and darkness fell over the marketplace once more.

Bakkatt turned and strode purposefully across the market square. When he reached an area of light, he made a swift hand signal ordering the Rangers to regroup. Vance moved toward Bakkatt, remaining invisible as he padded across the stone streets. Merreck and Jerklenn appeared out of the shadows simultaneously. Although he had seen this many times, Vance never ceased to be staggered by their skill at concealment. In EarthForce, he had been trained to shade and track a target without being seen, but now he could stand right beside a subject, even someone with a keen ear and a vigilant eye, and still not be noticed.

'The market registrar has given me Volt's address,' said Bakkatt.

Vance frowned. 'He just gave it to you?

'The merchants of Torvag must register their whereabouts at all times. Only in that way can they guarantee the goods they trade. No merchant who valued his neck would try to swindle a stallholder or customer if his address was common knowledge. For this reason, merchants are also very well protected. We must assume that Musan Volt is better protected than most.'

Under cover of darkness, the Rangers moved deeper into the Merchant's Quarter and toward the residence of Mu-san Volt. The buildings seemed even more expertly crafted up close than they had from across the city, each clawing towards the night sky as though they were bejewelled hands sprouting from the ground. Vance saw no easy entry points for any of them. Visible entrances were blocked by ornate wrought-iron gates or solid, steel-shod doors.

Above them, several walkways linked the various towers. From his low vantage point, Vance spotted guards roaming the balconies, ever wary of thieves and assassins. This would not be easy.

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