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Timegods' World

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Timegods' World

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Author: L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Publisher: Tor, 2000
Series: Timedivers

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Book Type: Omnibus
Genre: Science-Fiction
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This omnibus contains two novels by L.E. Modesitt that comprise a larger story unit, Timedivers Dawn and The Timegod (expanded from his first novel, The Fires of Paratime). They were formerly published in mass market original form and are now combined and published together for the first time, in trade paperback. They are somewhat reminiscent of the Change War stories of Fritz Lieber, and although they are science fiction, they contain intriguing connections to the fantasy universe of Modesitts Recluce novels.


Timegods' World


For Wendy, Margot, and Mimi

Just because,

although each of you knows why.


THINK OF A world of witches, of high technology and space travel, of science and superstition. A world on the verge of changing inhabitable planets into green pastures and endless forests, a world so short of energy resources that all fuels are grown or captured from the sun.

You say there is no such world? Or that it is only our world, dressed up for a storyteller's pleasure?

Set aside your doubts... this world was as real as any you will know... and learn about the timedivers' dawn. Perhaps it began here:

"MERYN." THE SLIGHT, sandy-haired woman looked as though she carried perhaps a score of years, until she gazed upon one, and the darkness behind her eyes delivered the weight of centuries.

"Yes, Mother." The second woman, also slender and sandy-haired, could have been a twin to the first, except for the lesser depth of her eyes.

"It's time."

"I know."

"There can be no more witches in Eastron. Not now. Not with the empress of Westron's demands, and the weaknesses in the Duchy."

"But the Bardwalls still stand ... ."

"And they will, and you may always return to look upon them. You must make a place among the people of Westron and learn their technologies. Our time has gone and will not come again for centuries. Not until they have stripped the last metals from the ground. Not until they have been hurled from the skies."



"Do you really believe that?"

"Daughter, I know that Eastron is dying, and all the villagers and all the gentry will blame it on the witches. Because of the duke our faces are too well known. So I will face the empress with him, come what may, and you will survive."


There is no answer, for the older witch has vanished.

The younger woman looked around the retreat, then continued placing her few things in the pack, which will be all that she can carry on her instant yet long journey.

IT SEEMS SO simple. It is not. It could have begun here as well:


Thud! Crack!

One rock, then another, struck the whitewashed wall.

Their target, a stocky boy-child with strawberry blond hair, a dazed expression, and shoulders already overbroad, looked down from the low wall where he balanced. Looked down at the whitewashed surface where the rocks had struck near his feet, then back at the gathered handful of women, crippled veterans, and the priest.

" his mother..."

"...dead... thank Verlyt... !"

Crack! Whmmmpt!

"Suffer not a witch, nor a witch's child ..."

The boy looked from one face to another, back and forth, as if seeking reassurance.


One of the rocks struck his shoulder, hard enough to stagger him.

"Witch! Witch! Witch!" The chant began in earnest, echoing between the walls, drowning out the occasional low rumble of dry cloud thunder. Thunder that promised nothing but clouds that delivered no rain, no respite.

"Witch! Witch! Witch... !"


Suddenly, the boy's dazed expression vanished and his face screwed up, as if he were about to cry. In a single motion, he tightened his lips and jumped down on the far side of the wall, away from the crowd, and began to run.

Pad, pad, pad, pad ... ! The alleyway remained silent for an instant, the villagers momentarily silenced.

"Witch! Witch! Witch... !" The chant took on an even more frantic note.

Some of the veterans dragged themselves over the wall and hobbled or ran, knives in the hands of those who still had hands, after the fleeing child. Others turned back into the main street and dashed around toward the other end of the alley into which the child had fled.

"Witch! Witch! Witch ... !"

Thud! Thud, thuuddd, thhuuddd . . . The heavy roll of the priests' drums supplemented the chant.

From huts and houses, from the vintners and the villas, the pursuers gathered, pounding down street and alley, tearing through house and hovel.

"There he is!"

"...witch-child... !"

"SUFFER NOT A WITCH TO LIVE, NOR A WITCH'S CHILD!" boomed the amplified voice of the priest.

The boy, backed into a narrow niche between two walls behind the produce market, held a rock in each hand, waiting.

Crack! The first rock from a villager slapped against the wall.

Crack! Thud! Crack! Thud! The past experience of the rock throwers showed as stone after stone bounced against and around the boy.

He threw one stone back. It missed. He threw the other.

"Devil! Witch-child!"

Overhead, the dry thunder rumbled, and the dry clouds churned.

A rivulet of blood dribbled down the boy's face, no longer expressionless, but filled with rage, even as the tears diluted his blood into pinkish streaks.

Crack! Thud! Thud!


"...damned witches... ! reclaimed their own ..."

The small niche in the walls was empty, vacant but for rocks and streaks of blood upon the walls.


A third of a world away, two soldiers paused by the roadside to investigate a heap of clothing.

"Kid... been beaten..."


"Frillen, now what? Another discarded sack that has to be an aggre-bel?" The heavy-set and silver-haired forcer glared at the two as he spoke.

The trooper pointed. "Kid. Beaten. He's still breathing."

"He'll live. Put him in the rear freighter with Garchuk. He looks strong. The ConFed home will take him. Now, let's get moving."

The two troopers shrugged. One lifted the boy and marched toward the military freight steamer. The other followed the ConFed forcer.

Copyright © 2000 by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.


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