The Gratitude of Kings(1997)
(A book in the Lythande Short Stories series)
A Novella by Marion Zimmer Bradley
In a year very long ago, a mysterious, lute-playing magician named Lythande is summoned to the wedding of an old friend, Prince Tashgan, at the castle of Tschardain. To the world, Lythande appears to be a powerful young wizard. In truth, she is a centuries-old magician masquerading as a man in order to hold on to her special powers. If anyone were to discover her true identity, all would be lost. Yet from the moment she sees the handsome prince again - and meets Princess Velvet of Valantia, his promised bride - Lythande knows something is terribly wrong. And when Tashgan asks Lythande to be his champion at the marriage games, a warning of danger sounds deep in her soul. Soon Lythande is entangled in the intrigues of court, where shape-shifting creatures and black treachery challenge her own special powers. Within the wedding party itself is a cunning enemy dueling for the throne. And the lovely Princess Velvet conceals a secret that could shatter a delicate trust. Now, as the marriage games begin, a stunning revelation threatens Lythande's greatest secret and could expose love as the most clever of illusions. With the future of the kingdom at stake, Lythande must rely on a very different kind of magic ... a magic born of a friendship and faith stronger than any sorcery....
Used availability for Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Gratitude of Kings
November 1997 : USA Hardback
March 2004 : USA Paperback