Sirronde d'Aneik is a Rodmistress -- one of the many wielders of the blue Flame of Power whom the Goddess sends into the Middle Kingdoms on Her business of keeping the flawed world She created running as best it can.

This tale from Sirronde's early practice tells of her mission to discover why it is that a vital bridge being built in the sparsely-settled mountainous region of south Arlen won't stay built. What she finds isn't (as she initially suspects) a curse or a structural problem, but something far more dangerous, born of a love gone tragically wrong.

Sirronde is skilled at her magical craft, but finding a solution to the personal and public disasters about to unfold in the tiny one-street village of Dalthant at first seems impossible. Unwilling to accept defeat, Sirronde devises a last-ditch plan to save the innocent lives enmeshed in the building of the King's new bridge, and the two lovers whose fates are entangled with it. That plan will drive Sirronde literally into the arms of the Goddess's ancient foe -- Her dark Lover, the Shadow. But can she escape that deadly embrace without paying her own soul as the price?

The first novelette in the "Sirronde's World" sequence, The Span was originally published in Dragon Magazine in February 1999. The third work in the sequence, Parting Gifts, appeared in the fantasy anthology Flashing Swords 5 in 1981, and is also available at Ebooks Direct. The second work in the sequence is presently in progress.

Reader advisory: This novelette contains adult / mature themes and situations set in a sexually diverse and inclusive universe.

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