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Tempests and Slaughter

Tamora Pierce

  “Tamora Pierce didn’t just blaze a trail. Her heroines cut a swath through the fantasy world with wit, strength, and savvy. Pierce is the real lioness, and we’re all just running to keep pace.”

  —LEIGH BARDUGO, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  “Tamora Pierce creates epic worlds populated by girls and women of bravery, heart, and strength. Her work inspired a generation of writers and continues to inspire us.”

  —HOLLY BLACK, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  “Few authors can slay so effectively with a single sentence—I mean fist-in-the-air, shouting-at-my-book slay—as Tamora Pierce. All these years later, I still draw strength from her words.”

  —MARIE LU, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  “Tamora Pierce’s books shaped me not only as a young writer but also as a young woman. Her complex, unforgettable heroines and vibrant, intricate worlds blazed a trail for young adult fantasy—and I get to write what I love today because of the path she forged throughout her career. She is a pillar, an icon, and an inspiration.”

  —SARAH J. MAAS, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  “Tamora Pierce is a seminal figure in the fantasy field of writing, turning out one terrific book after another.”

  —TERRY BROOKS, New York Times bestselling author of the Sword of Shannara trilogy

  “It’s impossible to overstate Tamora Pierce’s impact on children’s literature. Her tough, wise, and wonderful heroines have inspired generations of readers. Her encouragement of up-and-coming authors is unparalleled. Thank you, Tammy, for Alanna and Beka and more, for your generosity of spirit, for your incredible legacy.”

  —RAE CARSON, New York Times bestselling author

  “In the world of YA fantasy, there’s before Tamora Pierce, and then after her female heroes started kicking down the doors (and walls, and other barriers)!”

  —BRUCE COVILLE, New York Times bestselling author

  “Tamora Pierce is a trailblazer for so many fantasy writers, hacking through the old tropes with her narrative machete and showing us that girl-centered adventures are not just possible but amazing. Many of us might have peered at the impenetrable thicket of traditional fantasy and given up before we even began, if not for her.”

  —RACHEL HARTMAN, New York Times bestselling author

  “Tamora Pierce’s writing is like water from the swiftest, most refreshingly clear, invigorating, and revitalizing river. I return to her books time and time again.”

  —GARTH NIX, New York Times bestselling author

  “Tamora Pierce is gloriously unafraid to give her readers joy and laughter along with adventure and struggle, to let us love her characters wholeheartedly and find the best of ourselves in them, and her books never cease to give me happiness and inspiration.”

  —NAOMI NOVIK, New York Times bestselling author

  “Tamora Pierce and her brilliant heroines didn’t just break down barriers; they smashed them with magical fire. Alanna and Daine and their cohorts forged a new path for a whole generation of young readers who wanted to swing the sword instead of sit waiting in the tower.”

  —KATHERINE ARDEN, author of The Bear and the Nightingale

  “Tamora Pierce’s bold, courageous heroines illuminate the journey to womanhood. Whenever I meet someone else who’s read her books, we share a certain knowingness—that Pierce’s stories have not only delighted and inspired us, but indelibly shaped our lives.”

  —CALLIE BATES, author of The Waking Land

  “Tamora Pierce is the queen of YA fantasy, and we are all happy subjects in her court.”

  —JESSICA CLUESS, author of A Shadow Bright and Burning

  “Tamora Pierce’s novels gave me a different way of seeing the world. They were like nothing I’d encountered before. Alanna stormed her way into my thirteen-year-old heart and told me that I could write gorgeous, complicated novels about vibrantly real people in fantastic situations, and to be honest, she’s never left.”

  —ALAYA DAWN JOHNSON, award-winning author of Love Is the Drug

  “Tamora Pierce is an epic trailblazer in girl-powered, feminist fantasy.”

  —LAURIE FOREST, author of The Black Witch



  Tempests and Slaughter


  Trickster’s Choice

  Trickster’s Queen


  First Test



  Lady Knight






  Wild Magic


  Emperor Mage

  The Realms of the Gods


  Alanna: The First Adventure

  In the Hand of the Goddess

  The Woman Who Rides Like a Man

  Lioness Rampant

  Tortall: A Spy’s Guide

  Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Text copyright © 2018 by Tamora Pierce

  Cover art copyright © 2018 by Jeff Huang, feather copyright © 2018 by Wendy Stevenson / Arcangel Images

  Map copyright © 2017 by Isidre Mones

  Excerpt from Tess of the Road copyright © 2018 by Rachel Hartman.

  All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

  Random House and the colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

  Visit us on the Web!

  Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Names: Pierce, Tamora, author.

  Title: Tempests and slaughter / Tamora Pierce.

  Description: First edition. | New York : Random House, [2018] | Series: The Numair chronicles ; book one | Summary: Arram Draper, Varice Kingsford, and Ozorne Tasikhe forge a bond of friendship that sees them through many changes as student mages at Imperial University of Carthak.

  Identifiers: LCCN 2017006342 | ISBN 978-0-375-84711-0 (hardcover) | ISBN 978-0-375-94711-7 (lib. bdg.) | ISBN 978-0-525-57854-3 (int’l) | ISBN 978-0-375-89333-9 (ebook)

  Subjects: | CYAC: Magic—Fiction. | Healers—Fiction. | Princes—Fiction. | Fantasy.

  Classification: LCC PZ7.P61464 Tem 2018 | DDC [Fic]—dc23

  Ebook ISBN 9780375893339

  Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.


  ep + a



  Tortall Books by Tamora Pierce

  Title Page




  The Imperial University of Carthak

  Chapter 1: August 30–September 1, 435

  Chapter 2: September 2–October 14, 435

  Chapter 3: October 14–16, 435

  The Imperial University of Carthak the School for Mages

  Chapter 4: October 16, 435–March 436

  The Imperial University of Carthak the School for Mages

  Chapter 5: June 1–4, 436

  The Imperial University of Carthak the School for Mages

  Chapter 6: June 5, 436–March 18, 437
r />   The Imperial University of Carthak the School for Mages

  Chapter 7: May 23–August 24, 437

  Chapter 8: August 25–28, 437

  The Imperial University of Carthak the School for Mages

  Chapter 9: August 31–December 2, 437

  Chapter 10: December 3–31, 437

  The Imperial University of Carthak the School for Mages

  Chapter 11: January 1–9, 438

  Chapter 12: February–March 438

  Chapter 13: March 438

  Chapter 14: April 438

  Chapter 15: April–May 15, 438

  The Imperial University of Carthak the School for Mages

  Chapter 16: June–September 2, 438

  Chapter 17: September 15–30, 438

  Chapter 18: September 30–October 438

  Chapter 19: October 438–June 439

  Chapter 20: Summer Term 439

  Chapter 21: Summer Term 439

  Chapter 22



  About the Author

  Excerpt from Tess of the Road

  To ladies of great generosity to stray and homeless cats:

  Aurora Celeste (and her small future readers),

  Jennifer Margaret Grosse,



  and Kate Kelley

  with heartfelt thanks from my caretaking family and me


  The School for Mages

  The Lower Academy for Youthful Mages


  Student: Arram Draper

  Learning Level: 10

  Breakfast—Third Morning Bell

  Morning Classes

  History of the Carthaki Empire

  Essentials of Water Magic, beginning studies

  Language: Old Thak

  Lunch—Noon Bell

  Afternoon Classes


  Essential Earth Magic: Seed and Harvest (First Half Autumn Term); Stone and Earth (Spring)

  Reading and Writing

  The Tools of Magic: Bowls, Mortar and Pestle, Salt, Water, Vials

  Supper—Seventh Afternoon Bell

  Extra Study at Need

  Arram Draper hung on the rail of the great arena, hoisting himself until his belly was bent over the polished stone. It was the only way he could get between the two bulky men who blocked his view. He knew it was risky, but he couldn’t waste his first chance to see the gladiators when they marched into the huge stadium. His father and grandfather were back at their seats, arguing about new business ventures. They weren’t paying attention, waving him off when he asked to visit the privies and never realizing he’d squirmed his way down to the rail instead.

  Apart from them, he was alone. There were no friends from school for company. They all said he was too young. He was eleven—well, ten, in truth, but he told them he was eleven. Even that didn’t earn him friends among his older schoolfellows. Still, he wasn’t a baby! If he didn’t see the games with his family today, he might never get the chance, and he’d learned only last night he might not see Papa again for two years, even three. Carthak was a costly voyage for Yusaf Draper, and his new venture would take him away for a long time. But in the morning, Arram would be able to tell the older students that he had watched the games right from the arena wall!

  Already he’d heard the trumpets and drums announcing the arrival of the emperor and his heirs. He couldn’t see their faces, but surely all the sparkling gold, silver, and gems meant the wearers were part of the imperial family. He could see the Grand Crier, who stood on a platform halfway between him and the royals. More important, he could plainly hear the man’s booming voice as he announced the emperor’s many titles and those of his heirs.

  “Lookit!” The bruiser on Arram’s left bumped him as he pointed north, to the emperor’s dais. Arram wobbled and might have pitched headfirst onto the sands twenty feet below if the man on his other side hadn’t caught him by the belt and hauled him inside the rail. Without appearing to notice Arram’s near fall, the man on the left went on to say, “There’s the widow, and her son! She never comes to games!”

  “Who’s the widow?” Arram asked. “Who’s the son?”

  The big men grinned at each other over his head. “For all you’re a brown boy, you don’t know your imperials,” said the one who had bumped him. “The widow is Princess Mahira, that was married to Prince Apodan.”

  “He was killed fightin’ rebels two year back,” the other man said. “An’ the boy is Prince Ozorne.”

  Now Arram remembered. Ozorne was a year or two ahead of him in the Lower Academy.

  From the podium, the crier bellowed that the emperor would bless the games. Everyone thundered to their feet and then hushed. His voice amplified, most likely by a mage, the emperor prayed to the gods for an excellent round of games. When he finished, everyone sat.

  For a very long moment the arena was still. Then the boy felt a slow, regular thudding rise through the stone and up his legs. His body shuddered against the railing. Nearby, in the wall that took up a third of the southern end of the arena, huge barred gates swung inward.

  Here came drummers and trumpeters, clad only in gold-trimmed scarlet loincloths. Their oiled bodies gleamed as brightly as the polished metal of their instruments. The brawny men represented every race of the empire in the colors of their skin and hair and the tattoos on their faces and bodies. One thing they had in common: iron slave rings around their throats.

  Arram rubbed his own throat uneasily. His original home, Tyra, was not a slave country. Three years in Carthak had not made him comfortable with the practice, not when there were no slaves at his school. He saw them only when he was outside, and the sight of them made him edgy.

  The leader of the musicians raised his staff. The trumpeters let loose a blare that made Arram jump, almost tipping him over the rail. The men caught him again.

  “You’re best off at your seat,” the friendly one advised. “Ain’t your mamma callin’ yeh?”

  “I’m eleven,” Arram lied. “I don’t need a mother—I’m a student at the School for Mages!”

  The men’s laughter was drowned out by a thunder of drumrolls. Arram gave the sands what he called his special, magical squint. Now he saw waves of spells all over the arena floor. They sent ripples through the air, carrying the arena’s noise even to the people in the seats high above.

  “Why do they allow spells on the arena sand?” he shouted at the friendlier of the two men. As far as he knew, magic was forbidden here. Perhaps they allowed only their own magic, just as they allowed the emperor’s magic.

  “What spells?” the man bellowed. He reached over Arram’s head and tapped his friend as the musicians marched past. “The lad thinks there’s magic on the sands!”

  The other roughneck looked down his flattened nose at Arram. A couple of scars on his face told the boy he may have come by that nose in fighting. “What’re you, upstart?” he growled. “Some kind of mage?”

  “Of course I am!” Arram retorted. “Didn’t you hear me say I’m in the School for Mages?”

  “He’s simple,” the friendlier man said. “Leave ’im be. Who’re you bettin’ on?”

  The other man seized Arram by the collar and lifted him into the air. “If you’re a mage, spell me, then,” he growled. “Turn me into somethin’, before I break yer skinny neck for botherin’ us.”

  “Don’t be stupid!” Arram cried. His mind, as always, had fixed on the question of magic. “Only a great mage can turn a person into something else! Even—”

  His foe choked off Arram’s next comment—that he might never be a great mage—by turning his fist to cut off the boy’s voice entirely. “Stupid, am I?” he shouted, his eyes bulging. “You moneyed little piece of tripe—”

  Arram might have corrected him concerning the state of his pocketbook, but he couldn’t breathe and had finally remembered a teacher�
�s advice: “You don’t make friends when you tell someone you think he is stupid.” He was seeing light bursts against a darkening world. He called up the first bit of magic he’d ever created, after a walk on a silk carpet brought flame to his fingers. He drew that magic from the sands and seized the fist on his collar.

  The tough yelped and released Arram instantly. “You! What did you do to me?”

  Arram couldn’t answer. He hit the rail and went over backward, arms flailing.

  He was trying to think of lifesaving magic when a pair of strong, dark brown arms caught him just before he struck the ground. He looked into a man’s face: eyes so brown they seemed black in the bright sun, a flattened nose, a grinning mouth, and holes in both earlobes. His head was shaved.

  “You don’t want to join us, lad, trust me, you don’t,” he told Arram, already walking back against the line of marching gladiators. The ones closest to them were laughing and slapping or punching the big man on the shoulder. Like him, they wore leather armor. Like him, they were oiled all over. Some were missing ears or eyes. These were the beginners, the midlevel fighters, and the old-timers, not the heroes of the arena. Some didn’t look at Arram; they were murmuring to themselves or fondling tiny god-images that hung on cords around their necks.

  “Hurry, boy,” an older gladiator muttered to Arram’s rescuer. “Guards comin’.”

  “You don’t want the guards catching you,” the big man explained to Arram as he quickened his pace. “They’ll whip you before they cut you loose. Is your family here?”