The city was surrounded by savage enemies — but the strongest lay within...
Eleven hundred years after The Time of Fire... From stonewalled cities the Pelbar ruled what had been the northern Mississippi valley.
Of all the Pelbar strongholds, Threerivers was the most conservative. And of all Threerivers' citizens, Udge, her ruler, was the most hidebound.
In Threerivers there was never any doubt that women should rule and men should serve... until two boys, twins, started the events that landed one in jail and put the other to flight through a dangerous land peopled by hostile tribes.
Between Two Enemies
A series of sudden, sharp slaps, like trees breaking under winter ice, sounded from the hill behind them, and Peshtak began to fall. They turned, wavered, then advanced again, hoping to gain the Pelbar canoes. A sharp fight ensued on the shore, first with bows, then short-swords, but always punctuated by the sharp slaps from the hillside behind. Finally, with a yell, the Peshtak rushed toward the boats in a tight body.
"Let them through," the Pelbar guardcaptain shouted. The Pelbar ran aside, putting arrows into the hostiles when they could get a clear shot, then closed in behind. Grim Peshtak formed a half ring, backing slowly, loosing their remaining arrows silently as boats filled with men and shoved off...