In a world where the gods demand a strange and terrible offering, the only protections are magic and love.
The world of Blasphemer is ruled over by the Othergods, evanescent beings who leech sustenance from the souls of humans, leaving them to live out pale, aimless shadow-lives. The previous leaders, the supernaturally gifted High Magni, have retreated to magically defended bastions. Ancois, a typically arrogant young Magni, realizes that the defences of his bastion are failing. For the sake of his people and particularly his love Ellegene, he risks the hazardous traverse magic to find the one man who may be able to help. The Blasphemer is the last of his people—travellers who possessed an older, more earthy folk-magic than the Magni. The Blasphemer grudgingly agrees to take Ancois back to his bastion and give his aid...but will it be enough to overcome the Othergods?
The Blasphemer held up the targe and took a step toward the door. Another step and the door grain stirred. He made an “o” with his mouth and began a kind of whispering whistle, soft, long. He drew in air through his nose at the same time, a traveler’s trick taught to him so very long ago, so that the charm could be sustained without break. Sometimes it mimicked the soughing of wind in the boughs of trees, sometimes the hooting of owls or yowl of wolves.
The grain of the door still rippled, but smoothly, as if it was being stroked, soothed. It was an old charm, this, full of melancholy, of something passed, something lost, but for a while at least it was giving the poor tortured dryad a measure of peace.
A growl sprang from deep inside the door, its center starting to swell into its feral shape.
No attack came, no oaken fangs crashed against the targe. The Blasphemer kept blowing. Then he felt the targe come against the door. He gently pushed, and it gave inward.