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A strong party of tribesmen and Tarf had gone on to the tower and were fighting their way into it.

They saw the dark man on the dappled beast, the huge white hounds, Halk and the sun-haired woman and the off-world man, the winged Fallarin glinting with gold in the sunlight, the Tarf with their striped bellies and four-handed swords, the tribesmen in their leather cloaks, the villagers with crude weapons and faces full of hate.

Beside Stark and the pack, one hundred and fifty Fallarinwith Alderyk at their head and twice as many Tarf to serve themmanaged the Runners with small bursts of sandstorm, guiding them and holding down their speed.

The Tarf went on their own limbs, and they could outrun anything except the Runners.

The Tarf had kept him in close touch with the movements of both armies, and he knew that Ildann's force was facing the Ochar.

But there was another singing, and that came from the camp of the Fallarin, where the Tarf stood guard in a silent circle, armed with four-handed swords.

Half the Fallarin, with the rest of the Tarf and one-third of the tribal army, waited in the fields.

Stark and Klatlekt and several more of the Tarf had taken wounds, but none was disabled.

Alderyk rode where he would, Klatlekt and half a dozen Tarf trotting attendance beside him.

The hundred Tarf, in quiet ranks, blinked in mild unconcern at the townsfolk.

The Fallarin, idling in reserve, shot a whirlwind against them, and in its wake the century of Tarf loosed a storm of arrows and followed that with swinging steel.

The Tarf, their agile servants in stripes of green and gold, with four powerful ropey arms apiece, did the work of breaking camp.

On the ledge by this entrance a Tarf stood sentinel, leaning on his four-handed sword and blinking horny eyelids with the timeless patience of his kind.

But no group of wayfarers could remain forever unnoticed and unseen, particularly not a group containing a half-dozen winged Fallarin and twelve trotting Tarf with four-handed swords, a ten of veiled riders in colored cloaks, another ten of men and women in steel and leather, and thirteen great white hounds with evil eyes, led by a boy in a blue smock.

The nonhuman minds of the Tarf were immune to hound fear and their swords were very sharp and long.