Spring 1958 – In the Gardens of the Lesser Khan


“We met, many years ago,” said the Black Man, “in the Burning City at the World’s End. I gave you a charge. Do you remember?”

I nodded. I said, “I carried your package in my dreams and passed it to an ancient queen.” 

“Yes,” he said. “I have a favor to ask of you. If you agree to perform it, I will be in your debt. If you decline … well, I make no threats. I will seek another champion but the chances of success will be lessened in the hands of another.”

I frowned. “That still sounds like a threat.”

He smiled, bluish white teeth standing out between black lips. He said, “It is no threat. Your chances of success are slight. But you have spoken with dragons and walked away unburned. It gives you a meager advantage.”