• The pain was as unexpected as a thunderclap in a clear sky. Eddis's chest tightened, as something closed around her heart. A deep breath might have calmed her, but she couldn't draw one. She wondered if she was ill, and she even thought briefly that she might have been poisoned. She felt Attolia reach out and take her hand. To the court it was unexceptional, hardly noticed, but to Eddis it was an anchor, and she held on to it as if to a lifeline. Sounis was looking at her with concern. Her responding smile was artificial.