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The Last Wish, p.1

Andrzej SapkowskiPdf

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Original text copyright © 1993 by Andrzej Sapkowski
English translation copyright © 2007 by Danusia Stok
Excerpt from Ores copyright © 1999 by Stan Nicholls
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a data base or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Orbit
Hachette Book Group
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Orbit is an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. The Orbit name and logo is a trademark of Little, Brown Book Group Ltd.
First eBook Edition: May 2008
ISBN: 978-0-316-05508-6
Contents
1: THE VOICE OF REASON
THE WITCHER
2: THE VOICE OF REASON
A GRAIN OF TRUTH
3: THE VOICE OF REASON
THE LESSER EVIL
4: THE VOICE OF REASON
A QUESTION OF PRICE
5: THE VOICE OF REASON
THE EDGE OF THE WORLD
6: THE VOICE OF REASON
THE LAST WISH
7: THE VOICE OF REASON
Extras
Meet the Author
A preview of 'ORCS'
Geralt, steadying the carafe's pewter stopper with his thumb, poured himself some wine, took a sip and leaned back into his chair.
He was watching the monster with a smile. An exceptionally ugly one.
“Yeeees,” said Nivellen slowly, digging at the corner of his jaws with his claw. “One has to admit you can answer questions without using many words. It'll be interesting to see how you manage the next one. Who paid you to deal with me?”
“No one. I’m here by accident.”
“You're not lying, by any chance?”
“I’m not in the habit of lying.”
“And what are you in the habit of doing? I’ve heard about witchers—they abduct tiny children whom they feed with magic herbs. The ones who survive become witchers themselves, sorcerers with inhuman powers. They're taught to kill, and all human feelings and reactions are trained out of them. They're turned into monsters in order to kill other monsters. I’ve heard it said it's high time someone started hunting witchers, as there are fewer and fewer monsters and more and more witchers. Do have some partridge before it's completely cold.”
Nivellen took the partridge from the dish, put it between his jaws and crunched it like a piece of toast, bones cracking as they were crushed between his teeth.
“Why don't you say anything?” he asked indistinctly, swallowing. “How much of the rumors about you witchers is true?”
“Practically nothing.”
“And what's a lie?”
“That there are fewer and fewer monsters.”
THE VOICE OF REASON
1
She came to him toward morning.
She entered very carefully, moving silently, floating through the chamber like a phantom; the only sound was that of her mantle brushing her naked skin. Yet this faint sound was enough to wake the witcher—or maybe it only tore him from the half-slumber in which he rocked monotonously, as though traveling through fathomless depths, suspended between the seabed and its calm surface amid gently undulating strands of seaweed.
He did not move, did not stir. The girl flitted closer, threw off her mantle and slowly, hesitantly, rested her knee on the edge of the large bed. He observed her through lowered lashes, still not betraying his wakefulness. The girl carefully climbed onto the bedclothes, and onto him, wrapping her thighs around him. Leaning forward on straining arms, she brushed his face with hair which smelled of chamomile. Determined, and as if impatient, she leaned over and touched his eyelids, cheeks, lips with the tips of her breasts. He smiled, very slowly, delicately, grasping her by the shoulders, and she straightened, escaping his fingers. She was radiant, luminous in the misty brilliance of dawn. He moved, but with pressure from both hands, she forbade him to change position and, with a light but decisive movement of her hips, demanded a response.
He responded. She no longer backed away from his hands; she threw her head back, shook her hair. Her skin was cool and surprisingly smooth. Her eyes, glimpsed when her face came close to his, were huge and dark as the eyes of a water nymph.
Rocked, he sank into a sea of chamomile as it grew agitated and seethed.
THE WITCHER
I
Later, it was said the man came from the north, from Ropers Gate. He came on foot, leading his laden horse by the bridle. It was late afternoon and the ropers’, saddlers’ and tanners’ stalls were already closed, the street empty. It was hot but the man had a black coat thrown over his shoulders. He drew attention to himself.
He stopped in front of the Old Narakort Inn, stood there for a moment, listened to the hubbub of voices. As usual, at this hour, it was full of people.
The stranger did not enter the Old Narakort. He pulled his horse farther down the street to another tavern, a smaller one, called The Fox. Not enjoying the best of reputations, it was almost empty.
The innkeeper raised his head above a barrel of pickled cucumbers and measured the man with his gaze. The outsider, still in his coat, stood stiffly in front of the counter, motionless and silent.
“What will it be?”
“Beer,” said the stranger. His voice was unpleasant.
The innkeeper wiped his hands on his canvas apron and filled a chipped earthenware tankard.
The stranger was not old but his hair was almost entirely white. Beneath his coat he wore a worn leather jerkin laced up at the neck and shoulders.
As he took off his coat those around him noticed that he carried a sword—not something unusual in itself, nearly every man in Wyzim carried a weapon—but no one carried a sword strapped to his back as if it were a bow or a quiver.
The stranger did not sit at the table with the few other guests. He remained standing at the counter, piercing the innkeeper with his gaze. He drew from the tankard.
“I’m looking for a room for the night.”
“There's none,” grunted the innkeeper, looking at the guest's boots, dusty and dirty. “Ask at the Old Narakort.”
“I would rather stay here.”
“There is none.” The innkeeper finally recognized the stranger's accent. He was Rivian.
“I’ll pay.” The outsider spoke quietly, as if unsure, and the whole nasty affair began. A pockmarked beanpole of a man who, from the moment the outsider had entered had not taken his gloomy eyes from him, got up and approached the counter. Two of his companions rose behind him, no more than two paces away.
“There's no room to be had, you Rivian vagabond,” rasped the pockmarked man, standing right next to the outsider. “We don't need people like you in Wyzim. This is a decent town!”
The outsider took his tankard and moved away. He glanced at the innkeeper, who avoided his eyes. It did not even occur to him to defend the Rivian. After all, who liked Rivians?
“All Rivians are thieves,” the pockmarked man went on, his breath smelling of beer, garlic and anger. “Do you hear me, you bastard?”
“He can't hear you. His ears are full of shit,” said one of the men with him, and the second man cackled.
“Pay and leave!” yelled the pocked man.
Only now did the Rivian look at him.
“I’ll finish my
beer.”
“We'll give you a hand,” the pockmarked man hissed. He knocked the tankard from the stranger's hand and simultaneously grabbing him by the shoulder, dug his fingers into the leather strap which ran diagonally across the outsider's chest. One of the men behind him raised a fist to strike. The outsider curled up on the spot, throwing the pockmarked man off balance. The sword hissed in its sheath and glistened briefly in the dim light. The place seethed. There was a scream, and one of the few remaining customers tumbled toward the exit. A chair fell with a crash and earthenware smacked hollowly against the floor. The innkeeper, his lips trembling, looked at the horribly slashed face of the pocked man, who, clinging with his fingers to the edge of the counter, was slowly sinking from sight. The other two were lying on the floor, one motionless, the other writhing and convulsing in a dark, spreading puddle. A woman's hysterical scream vibrated in the air, piercing the ears as the innkeeper shuddered, caught his breath, and vomited.
The stranger retreated toward the wall, tense and alert. He held the sword in both hands, sweeping the blade through the air. No one moved. Terror, like cold mud, was clear on their faces, paralyzing limbs and blocking throats.
Three guards rushed into the tavern with thuds and clangs. They must have been close by. They had truncheons wound with leather straps at the ready, but at the sight of the corpses, drew their swords. The Rivian pressed his back against the wall and, with his left hand, pulled a dagger from his boot.
“Throw that down!” one of the guards yelled with a trembling voice. “Throw that down, you thug! You're coming with us!”
The second guard kicked aside the table between himself and the Rivian.
“Go get the men, Treska!” he shouted to the third guard, who had stayed closer to the door.
“No need,” said the stranger, lowering his sword. “I’ll come by myself.”
“You'll go, you son of a bitch, on the end of a rope!” yelled the trembling guard. “Throw that sword down or I’ll smash your head in!”
The Rivian straightened. He quickly pinned his blade under his left arm and with his right hand raised toward the guards, swiftly drew a complicated sign in the air. The clout-nails which studded his tunic from his wrists to elbows flashed.
The guards drew back, shielding their faces with their arms. One of the customers sprang up while another darted to the door. The woman screamed again, wild and earsplitting.
“I’ll come by myself,” repeated the stranger in his resounding, metallic voice. “And the three of you will go in front of me. Take me to the castellan. I don't know the way.”
“Yes, sir,” mumbled the guard, dropping his head. He made toward the exit, looking around tentatively. The other two guards followed him out backward, hastily. The stranger followed in their tracks, sheathing his sword and dagger. As they passed the tables the remaining customers hid their faces from the dangerous stranger.
II
Velerad, castellan of Wyzim, scratched his chin. He was neither superstitious nor fainthearted but he did not relish the thought of being alone with the white-haired man. At last he made up his mind.
“Leave,” he ordered the guards. “And you, sit down. No, not there. Farther away, if you please.”
The stranger sat down. He no longer carried his sword or black coat.
“I am Velerad, castellan of Wyzim,” said Velerad, toying with a heavy mace lying on the table. “And I’m listening. What do you have to say to me, you brigand, before you are thrown into the dungeon? Three killed and an attempted spell-casting; not bad, not bad at all. Men are impaled for such things in Wyzim. But I’m a just man, so I will listen to you, before you are executed. Speak.”
The Rivian unbuttoned his jerkin and pulled out a wad of white goat leather.
“You nail this crossways, in taverns,” he said quietly. “Is what's written here true?”
“Ah.” Velerad grunted, looking at the runes etched into the leather. “So that's it. And I didn't guess at once. Yes, it's true. It's signed by Foltest, King of Temeria, Pontar and Mahakam, which makes it true. A proclamation is a proclamation, witcher, but law is law—and I take care of law and order in Wyzim. I will not allow people to be murdered! Do you understand?”
The Rivian nodded to show he understood. Velerad snorted with anger.
“You carry the witcher's emblem?” The stranger reached into his jerkin once more and pulled out a round medallion on a silver chain. It pictured the head of a wolf, baring its fangs. “And do you have a name? Any name will do, it's simply to make conversation easier.”
“My name is Geralt.”
“Geralt, then. Of Rivia I gather, from your accent?”
“Of Rivia.”
“Right. Do you know what, Geralt? This”—Velerad slapped the proclamation—“let it go. It's a serious matter. Many have tried and failed already. This, my friend, is not the same as roughing up a couple of scoundrels.”
“I know. This is my job, Velerad. And that proclamation offers a three thousand oren reward.”
“Three thousand.” Velerad scowled. “And the princess as a wife, or so rumor says, although gracious Foltest has not proclaimed that.”
“I’m not interested in the princess,” Geralt said calmly. He was sitting motionless, his hands on his knees. “Just in the three thousand.”
“What times,” sighed the castellan. “What foul times! Twenty years ago who would have thought, even in a drunken stupor, that such a profession as a witcher would exist? Itinerant killers of basilisks; traveling slayers of dragons and vodniks! Tell me, Geralt, are you allowed beer in your guild?”
“Certainly.”
Velerad clapped his hands.
“Beer!” he called. “And sit closer, Geralt. What do I care?”
The beer, when it arrived, was cold and frothy.
“Foul times,” Velerod muttered, drinking deep from his tankard. “All sorts of filth has sprung up. Mahakam, in the mountains, is teeming with bogeymen. In the past it was just wolves howling in the woods, but now it's kobolds and spriggans wherever you spit, werewolves or some other vermin. Fairies and rusalkas snatch children from villages by the hundreds. We have diseases never heard of before; it makes my hair stand on end. And now, to top it all, this!” He pushed the wad of leather back across the table. “It's not surprising, Geralt, that you witchers’ services are in demand.”
“The king's proclamation, castellan.” Geralt raised his head. “Do you know the details?”
Velerad leaned back in his chair, locked his hands over his stomach.
“The details? Yes, I know them. Not firsthand perhaps, but from a good source.”
“That's what I want.”
“If you insist, then listen.” Velerad drank some beer and lowered his voice. “During the reign of old Medell, his father, when our gracious king was still a prince, Foltest showed us what he was capable of, and he was capable of a great deal. We hoped he would grow out of it. But shortly after his coronation Foltest surpassed himself, jaw-droppingly: he got his own sister with child. Adda was younger and they were always together, but nobody suspected anything except, perhaps, the queen…To get to the point: suddenly there is Adda with a huge belly, and Foltest talking about getting wed to his sister. The situation was made even more tense because Vizimir of Novigrad wanted his daughter, Dalka, to marry Foltest and had already sent out his envoys. We had to restrain Foltest from insulting them, and lucky we did, or Vizimir would have torn our insides out. Then, not without Adda's help—for she influenced her brother—we managed to dissuade the boy from a quick wedding.
“Well, then Adda gave birth. And now listen, because this is where it all starts. Only a few saw what she bore, but one midwife jumped from the tower window to her death and the other lost her senses and remains dazed to this day. So I gather that the royal bastard—a girl—was not comely, and she died immediately. No one was in a hurry to tie the umbilical cord. Nor did Adda, to her good fortune, survive the birth.
“But
then Foltest stepped in again. Wisdom dictated that the royal bastard should have been burned or buried in the wilderness. Instead, on the orders of our gracious king, she was laid to rest in a sarcophagus in the vaults beneath the palace.”
“It's too late for your wisdom now.” Geralt raised his head. “One of the Knowing Ones should have been sent for.”
“You mean those charlatans with stars on their hats? Of course. About ten of them came running later, when it became known what lay in the sarcophagus. And what scrambled out of it at night. Though it didn't start manifesting straight away. Oh, no. For seven years after the funeral there was peace. Then one night—it was a full moon—there were screams in the palace, shouting and commotion! I don't have to tell you, this is your trade and you've read the proclamation. The infant had grown in the coffin—and how!—grown to have incredible teeth! In a word, she became a striga.
“Pity you didn't see the corpses, as I did. Had you, you'd have taken a great detour to avoid Wyzim.”
Geralt was silent.
“Then, as I was saying,” Velerad continued, “Foltest summoned a whole crowd of sorcerers. They all jabbered at the same time and almost came to blows with those staffs they carry—to beat off the dogs, no doubt, once they've been set loose on them. And I think they regularly are. I’m sorry, Geralt, if you have a different opinion of wizards. No doubt you do, in your profession, but to me they are swindlers and fools. You witchers inspire greater confidence in men. At least you are more straightforward.”
Geralt smiled, but didn't comment.
“But, to the point.” The castellan peered into his tankard and poured more beer for himself and the Rivian. “Some of the sorcerers’ advice didn't seem so stupid. One suggested burning the striga together with the palace and the sarcophagus. Another advised chopping her head off. The rest were keen on driving aspen stakes into her body during the day, when the she-devil was asleep in her coffin, worn out by her night's delights. Unfortunately one, a jester with a pointed hat and a bald pate, a hunchbacked hermit, argued it was magic: the spell could be undone and the striga would turn into Foltest's little daughter, as pretty as a picture. Someone simply had to stay in the crypt throughout the night, and that would be that. After which—can you imagine such a fool?—he went to the palace for the night. Little of him was left in the morning, only, I believe, his hat and stick. But Foltest clung to his idea like a burr to a dog's tail. He forbade any attempt to kill the striga and brought in charlatans from all corners of Wyzim to reverse the spell and turn her into a princess. What colorful company! Twisted women, cripples, dirty and louse-ridden. It was pitiful.
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski / Fantasy have rating
Last Wish PDF Free DownloadLast

The Last Wish : Witcher 1: Introducing the Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski , Translated by Danusia Stok (Free Download), Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.

One reviewer said: ‘This book is a sheer delight. It is beautifully written, full of vitality and endlessly inventive: its format, with half a dozen episodes and intervening rest periods for both the hero and the reader, allows for a huge range of characters, scenarios and action. It’s thought-provoking without being in the least dogmatic, witty without descending to farce and packed with sword fights without being derivative.

The dialogue sparkles; characters morph almost imperceptibly from semi-cliche to completely original; nothing is as it first seems. Sapkowski succeeds in seamlessly welding familiar ideas, unique settings and delicious twists of originality: his Beauty wants to rip the throat out of a sensitive Beast; his Snow White seeks vengeance on all and sundry, his elves are embittered and vindictive. It’s easily one of the best things I’ve read in ages.’

Review quote

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There’s lots of imagination on show, the writing has a strong voice, and the Witcher is an entertaining character * Mark Lawrence * Like Mieville and Gaiman, [Sapkowski] takes the old and makes it new . . . [a] fresh take on genre fantasy * Foundation * One of the best and most interesting fantasy series I’ve ever read * Nerds of a Feather * Sapkowski has a confident and rich voice which permeates the prose and remains post-translation. I’d recommend this to any fan of Heroic or Dark fiction * SF Book * Delightfully dry humour, mythology brimming with radical creatures and a group of interesting characters, The Last Wish is a great introduction to this universe * Fantasy Book Review * Character interplay is complex, unsentimental and anchored in brutal shared history * SFX * Like a complicated magic spell, a Sapkowski novel is a hodge podge of fantasy, intellectual discouse and dry humour. Recommended * Time Magazine *.

Her Last Wish Pdf Free Download

The Last Wish : Witcher 1 (PDF Download).

About Andrzej Sapkowski

Andrzej Sapkowski was born in 1948 in Poland. He studied economy and business, but the success of his fantasy cycle about the sorcerer Geralt of Rivia turned him into a bestselling writer and he is now one of Poland’s most famous and successful authors, selling more in his own country than Stephen King or Michael Crichton.

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The Last Wish : Witcher 1 details

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  • Paperback 288 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 26mm 260g
  • 14 Feb 2008
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • Gollancz
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0575082445
  • 9780575082441