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To all appearance, Vishni is a small, slim human girl who has yet to see her twentieth winter. Her dark eyes and mop of short, nearly-black curls are unusual in Sevrin, but her face is so alive with mischief and energy that people seldom linger on other details.

Vishni is, in fact, a fairy, currently exiled from the Faerie realm until she can gather enough entertaining tales to balance the scales of fairy justice.  Vishni’s crimes have not yet been specified, but if pressed, she might admit that she’s been collecting tales for nearly ten years.  If asked what a typical sentence is, she’ll airily respond, “Oh, that depends.”  (For the record, fairies are seldom exiled for more than a few months.)

Suffice it to say that the length of Vishni’s sentence has nothing to do with her work ethic. Like most fairies, Vishni loves stories. She’s an avid collector, an appreciative audience, and a fine storyspinner. For good or ill, she views any given event as a story-in-progress and often tweaks a situation to “improve the tale.”  Since all good stories require conflict, Vishni’s contributions usually come in the form of complications.

Despite her whimsical nature, she is often pivotal to the plots and capers planned by her current companion, Fox Winterborn.  Vishni is exceptionally gifted in the art of faerie glamour, and she can cast convincing illusions over herself or others.  The ability to change appearance at will is invaluable to a thief, and thanks to Vishni, Fox has avoided capture on several occasions.

The first of these near-misses occurred when Fox was eleven years old and learning the art of picking a pocket. Vishni was charmed by the audacious lad and amused by his horror at finding himself transformed in mid-getaway into a scantily clad female streetsinger (a euphemism for a woman of negotiable virtue.)  She and Fox formed a team, and Vishni began to build Fox’s legend–and collect his stories.

Despite Vishni’s quirks, Fox considers her his oldest and most trusted friend. Despite occasional warnings from his companions Delgar and Honor, both of whom know fairy ways far better than he, Fox refuses to believe that Vishni would fail him when her support really counted.  So far, his opinion has not been disproved.


The underground world of Fox Winterborn and his companions is a complex system that combines the mundane structures of Sevrin–cisterns, basements, root cellars, storm drains, and sewers–with the warren of ancient dwarf-built tunnels and chambers.

The Fox Den is a collection of underground chambers, the top “floor” of what was once a dwarf outpost. The most notable feature of the Den is the Feyglass, a large mirror with an ornately carved stone frame. This appears to be a window intp other times and places, for an ever-shifting vista of mountains, waterfalls, turquoise seas, and exotic cities emerge from the mists.  Fox, who yearns for travel and adventure far from the islands of Sevrin, finds both torment and solace in the Feyglass.

Fox suspects that the mirror might also be a portal into other realms. He found Avidan lying on the floor in front of the mirror, with no memory of how he came to be in the tunnel.  He tried to persuade his companions to move the den, but both Delgar and Vishni were adamant that they remain where they were.  Fox suspects that both the dwarf and the fairy know more about the Feyglass than they’re willing or able to share.

Thanks to Delgar’s skill at stoneshifting, the path to the Den is an ever-shifting maze.  Rhendish has tried for years to discover the secret of Fox’s ability to move through the city unseen and to disappear at will.  The adept wishes to do more than apprehend the thief, more than recover the trove of weapons and magical items Fox has been stockpiling for nearly a decade.  It is obvious to him that Fox has access to powerful allies, and he wants to know who they are and what their purposes might be.