'She is my child.' Lauzoril saw Mimuay's face in his mind's eye and wondered if she would believe him when he returned to Thazalhar. He started walking again.

'Lauzoril!'

Again, he paused and looked back.

'Lauzoril, I owe you, and I pay my debts. What do you want?'

The witch-queen of Aglarond owing a zulkir! The map of Faerun had changed overnight. He thought of a thousand requests and rejected them all in the space of a heartbeat. 'A name. The name you give to your friends.'

She hesitated; he thought she'd refuse, which wasn't a complete surprise. A name, if it could be kept hidden, was a powerful word for any wizard to possess.

'Nethreene.'

'Nethreene,' Lauzoril repeated. That hot-silver presence he'd felt the night he'd spied upon her while she held the knife pressed against his mind. It is her true name, Shazzelurt insisted. The presence faded. He held out his hand-even in Thay, a handshake was a gesture of trust.

She strode forward and took it. They studied each other, eye to eye. Nethreene's grip was as firm as any man's, but the hand she raised unselfconsciously to touch his cheek was woman-gentle. He didn't risk the same familiarity with her. She seemed disappointed when they stepped apart.

'Consider my name a gift, Lauzoril. Remember it when you look at your daughter. Say it aloud when you need to collect a debt.'

'Perhaps I will,' he replied with a smile. 'Perhaps someday I will.'

The zulkir started walking again.

This time the Simbul did not call him back. About the Author Lynn Abbey is the co-creator of Thieves World, the first shared-world fantasy series. In addition to numerous non-Thieves World fantasy novels, she has also authored three books in the DARK SUN® series for TSR. She lives in Oklahoma. DARK SUN is a registered trademark owned by TSR, Inc..

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