FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
The Clans
Q: How do the clans perceive Davien in the years since the uprisings?
A:

The clans' attitude toward Davien was quite vividly displayed by Hewall and the scout escorting Arithon through the Mathorns in Peril's Gate - when they encounter Davien, they display open distrust and enmity, and but definitely don't want him in Arithon's proximity - this bias would be due to left over rancor from the uprising and the death of the High Kings, and the upset of old law, which has demonstrably left the clans hanging on - out on a limb and persecuted, in a struggle to survive.

They'd feel the Sorcerer's state was "deserved justice" and probably not look any deeper into the matter. If you think you saw a Fellowship Sorcerer say "punishment" - look again... it didn't happen. Bias would have been read "into" their very specifically noncommittal statements... one needs to look at the words on the page most closely, and without coloring them with presuppositions.

This series is all about overturning presuppositions - the readers' and the characters. So don't feel dumb if you get the whiplash - it's part and parcel of how this story rips off the layers of presupposition. Understanding means wearing the shoe on the other foot - and that means, changing the angle of view in opposition.

Q: In Traitor's Knot, only two s'Valerient heirs are mentioned, yet in Fugitive Prince we know that Jieret had three children. Am I missing something?
A: All three s'Valerient heirs are still among the living. The eldest is not mentioned in Traitor's Knot, but he is living among the clans in Strakewood, Deshir. Naturally.
Q: Can you tell us more about old blood succession, especially for high kings and caithdeins?
A:

MINOR TRAITOR'S KNOT SPOILERS!

Old Blood Succession - as under charter law - does not go by direct descent - (as was defined quite plainly by Masterbard Halliron in Curse of the Mistwraith when Arithon questioned his right to inherit as a "bastard" before High Earl Steiven)

Nor do kings or caithdein always rule until death - (Unlike town mayors, who are elected or selected by town council, but then hold their post for life)

Successions to High Kingship are ALWAYS without exception chosen and acknowledged by the Fellowship Sorcerers, primarily Asandir, as his nickname "kingmaker" implies. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS. If there are multiple blood relations (even cousins) to select from, the choice will follow Two factors: first, individual strength of character. Second, Calling - by this, the personal outlook of the choice would be the one, male or female, who had the best APTITUDE for the post - thus, if Arithon had more than one relative, he may fully fit the Character bill, but his calling, as musician and initiate may NOT have been most harmonious to the post - and a cousin or relation who had character but more aptitude for the throne (as in would have found fulfillment and contentment in the position) may have been chosen instead.

Caithdeinen are appointed for character and the ability to think individually. In times of peace, under a Fellowship appointed High King, they would have been selected from the lineage - a person close enough to the crowned ruler to KNOW them, and one with the guts to think his or her own thoughts - NOT a sycophantic personality, in short. These heirs are Designate - appointed by their elders. Kyrialt therefore was Designate for Shand, as is Ianfar to Tysan. An heir designate will inherit UNLESS the choice is overruled by a Fellowship Sorcerer. Which would only happen if the choice were corrupt.

In Fugitive Prince, when Jeynsa is chosen by Asandir - it is clearly pointed out that a Fellowship Sorcerer ONLY intervenes DIRECTLY by executing the choice of a caithdein IF!!! the royal lineage is immediately threatened. If the royal lineage fails, therefore, that Caithdein would be steward for the throne IN FACT. Royal lineages are irreplaceable. Nor are they "transplantable" from another kingdom's selected, bound line.

S'Brydion will NEVER become the next royal line for Melhalla. There's a specific set of reasons...

This could get a little involved, as there is a good deal of complexity that is not apparent yet in the story line... basically, there are old lineages and old lineages... all the old lineages, first were Paravian chosen when the compact was made. Royal lines were Paravian choices, that were then ACCEPTED in free will consent. There were some lineages that stood for land rule - these stood as liaison to the Paravians and petitioned for what could and could not be altered concerning the land. They were sworn to protect and preserve the free wilds. There were others selected for character to sit the rule of a town-based seat - such checks and balances within the system were designed to thwart private concerns and blind ambition from dividing the original INTENT of the compact: to hold Athera's great mysteries and all that supported them IN BALANCE with human affairs.

S'Brydion therefore ruled a keep town without a focus circle - not within the free wilds, but allied with charter law... AS the old towns were ruled, once, before the uprising. They ruled, direct, regulating the administration of the King's Justice in accord with charter law - in further liaison with the other old lineages appointed the land rule.

High Kings were land rule, set overall - they were the liaison to the Paravians, spokesmen for the Free wilds, AND the final justice above such as the s'Brydion, who administered directly to human affairs.

Old blood - were Paravian chosen... and each lineage only remained so by constant testing - the trial of Paravian presence was the determinant factor.

Townborn - COULD undergo the same test, by free will choice - in rare cases this has occurred, and a new lineage might (theoretically) happen - just as an old lineage could theoretically fail. Lacking Paravian presence, the factor that determines one way or the other has become a BIT blurred - it's now harder to identify talent with such a definitive touch. Those whose talent is too latent, or too buried, or too deafened to access - those ones are not going to be able to "tell" why this or that lineage can function as it does. So to a "tone deaf" townborn - there will be no "apparent" reason that the free wilds should not be just another acre of earth, ripe for exploitation. Nor will they fully realize that the old blood gifts are not arbitrary, either.

The absence of the Paravians has therefore created a schism that is become increasingly difficult for each "side" to reconcile. The "side" wearing the tinted sunglasses doesn't "get" the other side who see in a wider range of color... and those who see can't make a case convincing enough to point out what bits of the "spectrum" are missing.

Heir Designate for a land rule or a caithdein's post then is a statement of intent on the part of the elders - setting forth their choice to inherit the post - and this appointment can be (and has been) upset by either a CROWNED High King (which involves FOUR attuned initiations) or a Fellowship Sorcerer's direct veto -- prior to or during the ceremony of investiture, at which such an authority would be present. An heir chosen by Fellowship auspice AUTOMATICALLY will become invested without question - that ceremony is a formality upon the moment that oath is sworn to accept the post. Jeynsa, therefore, "owns" the power by default - she has but to "claim" it.

Kyrialt as designate WAS slated as Erlien's heir - but his full and final inheritance would not have been assured until the moment rule passed from his father. I made him a youngest son to, once again, MAKE SURE the reader didn't fall into the Earth based fallacy of presuming that heirships to land rules OR the old ruling seats just went to the nearest, oldest male relative in direct descent.

Now that he is under oath to Rathain, Arithon Teir's'Ffalenn is his liege. He therefore has forfeit all ties to Shand, saving perhaps that of blood lineage - by this, IF Erlien's line were wiped out (as there is not any present danger, him having so many mistresses and offspring) - then one of Kyrialt's descendents MAY be called to fill the post for Shand, if left vacant.

Erlien will need to name a new Heir Designate, and that one will be selected as the most worthy of his lineage, direct descent or NOT.

Note here that Ianfar was Maenol s'Gannley's cousin - and is still heir designate for Tysan.

Note: an heir designate may hold ONLY the caithdein's potential appointment without ties to the land's rule - as in the case of Barach inheriting the High Earl's title and Jeynsa taking the caithdein's seat. Such arrangements were often done when the High King was apt to be on the move - the land's rule could remain in place, while the Caithdein remained by the side of the king. If the king left the KINGDOM, however, the caithdein was expected to remain as steward during the absence. Jieret's departures from form did indeed reflect the strain of the times - which was why Caolle stood liegeman at the royal shoulder at Riverton.

Next Question which of course bears on Child of Prophecy - s'Dieneval's lineage survived through Dari s'Ahelas.

Lysaer and Arithon and Kevor, therefore, carry that potential strain of inheritance - as would any offspring of the s'Ahelas mages on Dascen Elur.

Meiglin s'Dieneval had no other children.

The High Kings who ruled during Paravian times had shorter reigns - provided there were plenty of family members to draw from. This was a VERY rigorous post - many died young. Some reigned only a month or a year or two - or even for a matter of days. Some had longer reigns. This has to do with the Nature of how they interacted with the Paravians - how many times they needed to stand as liaison - and how well they could cope with their lives, after such encounter(s)... it has everything to do with the Paravian interaction, as they were the primary focus. Something not easy to understand until the story unfolds further.

Traitor's Knot SPOILERS AHEAD - though this material is primarily informational -

Arithon asked the s'Brydion to 'reconcile' the standing mistrust with the old blood lines - and this referred to the schism arisen between the compact-driven clan interests and town based misunderstanding. There is no schism between old blood lines, or those who still follow charter law, as the underlying REASON for those laws would still be very much apparent.

Note: Sulfin Evend's encounter with his heritage after swearing oath at Althain and awakening to his family line's gifts. His trip into Avenor is an eye opener that WILL change how he thinks.

There seems to be a persistent tendency among readers to "box" this system into rigid boundaries - when in fact, it was more open ended than you may realize - the text does support this, but "colored glasses" effect often seems to obscure what is actually set down.

At the forming of the compact, the drake spawn issue was largely contained. Paravians were in fact leaving their Second Age fortifications - which were tied into Athera's mysteries (had focus circles) and were very, VERY sensitive ground. Mankind required shelter - therefore, there was a need met - those who COULD live on such sites were appointed charge of them. The appointments that happened in First Age Year One were to those individuals with the strongest heritable family traits - those "gifted" with the ability to perceive in the necessary range to UNDERSTAND what they were to guardian. These rulers also were charged to handle liaison to the high resonance land that could not be disturbed - the designated "free wilds" where Mankind could not have the right to "free will trespass"

Other areas were not so critically sensitive - and there, new towns were built for those who had less natural "tolerance" to the higher resonance of the Second age sites... land was given over to agriculture and roads, to what men needed to raise families and survive. The governing seats for these had a council, presided over by a family chosen for tenacity of character AND aware gift - and these "seats" were appointed AFTER Year One. Here, men had "free will" to do as they pleased, use the land as they wished, BASED ON certain precepts laid down by "charter right" to settle that territory. Alestron fell into this category. So did Hanshire. A mixed population would inhabit these towns - with the least sensitive finding MOST comfort in those smaller villages and areas furthest from the free wilds.

Therefore, to a certain degree, "tolerance" for the higher resonance sites determined who could live where - and who was comfortable in those locales. This factor tended to "isolate" the older lineages to a degree - as did the need to keep a next generation of children able to handle the duties set forth by the compact... mixed bloodlines tended to fail more often, and parents were naturally protective of their children's chances of a successful 'testing'. There were records kept of the lineages, and of the favorable "crosses."

While townsmen as a general population were not inclined toward this sort of expanded awareness, it must be noted: such qualities - such propensity to perceive - is inherent in mankind. Whether it is latent or not depends upon the individual - where their focus lies, how they live, what they choose to believe, how they grow and change and seek to develop themselves. We have naturally gifted athletes, but we also have people who train and learn to develop their physical gifts. Who work like crazy, practice, develop their BRAINS and arrive where they will through sheer force of character.

Latent gifts of any kind can be awakened. ANY town person not naturally inclined COULD choose to develop dormant awareness. Not many do - because people generally like to stay in their "comfort zone" unless pushed by circumstance to change. People who live by their physical senses tend to get pretty uncomfortably pretty fast, at the idea there is more going on than they can see, feel, touch, smell or taste... it's easier to "disown" the existence of such stuff, since it can't be grappled or easily rationalized. Radio or TV is fine when it is translated into sound by a "gadget" but damned if we want to waste a moment understand the frequency or wavelength, or spend a second of thought on those "unseen" energies as the carrier for complex information... the very 'concept' of direct translation without a gadget - ??? get off it!!!

Get the gist?

Encounter with a Paravian was powerful enough to incite change by resonance - not everyone wants that sort of baptism by fire... you encounter, you come back NOT THE SAME. Living in the Free Wilds would also favor a shift... as would time spent in a place on top of a focus circle, IF building and life surrounding did not interfere with that innate lane flow to "break" its pattern, and so reduce resonant frequency.

Therefore, over the course of Third Age residency, mankind tended to "clump" itself into enclaves of greater or lesser sensitivity - isolation and geography being what they are... the old lines got stronger, the weaker or complacent ones got "blinder" and saw the rulings done by compact as "not having much actual foundation" in the senses they COMPREHENDED AND UNDERSTOOD.

Therefore, MOST Second Age sites fell to ruin after the uprising. Jaelot being one of the exceptions. Hence, Halliron's bemusement when his party entered that town in Ships.

To cross free wilds, or pass by the old ways, or hang out in the old ruins CHANGES perception by resonance... which is well noted in the text.

There were no "better thans" attached to old lineage gift, nor stigma attached to townborn. The lines between are not fixed, or "cultural" but a matter of awareness, ability to listen, see and hear - a matter of tuning the brain to receive on a wider spectrum. Easiest to encompass if it "runs in the blood" but that is not a fixed prerequisite... for a "deaf" townborn to change would require SLOW CHANGE to assimilate the shift... or madness could result. This is not a concept outside cultural understanding HERE - what is "insanity" anyway?

Asandir - or for that matter - ANY Fellowship Sorcerer would possess the perception to KNOW a candidate - they see deeply enough, and widely enough to make assessment based on probability - therefore, any of them on their own could assess or choose a crown candidate. Asandir does this, for the most part, as he has most aptitude for executive action - as in, he DOES the doing, which is why he is the preeminent Sorcerer in the field.

As individuals - Each of the Sorcerers has their natural strengths and inclinations. These fall in different ranges and areas. No two alike. No one more than another. Davien could NOT do Sethvir's job, nor vice versa... each has his specific field of expertise.

Q: If the Mistwraith can be defeated, will the Fellowship seek an heir for Shand from one of the half brothers or from elsewhere?
A:

Arithon and Lysaer both carry the "lineage" of Shand.

Note: the Fellowship sanctioned Arithon for RATHAIN.

Note further: in discussion with Maenalle, COTM, concerning Lysaer in jeopardy handling the Mistwraith, they KNOW that there are other s'Ilessid survivors on Dascen Elur.

If they know this, extrapolate, they are aware of other s'Ahelas descendents there, too.

Straight logic suggests that, knowing this, they'd prefer the bloodline untrammeled with the other royal birth talents of s'Ilessid and s'Ffalenn, given that the legacy left by Dari's descendents is already gifted to a more than prodigious degree...

Q: Is there not an echo between the Native Americans and the Clans?
A:

Anyone familiar with indigenous culture would notice quite quickly that the clans are Nothing like...

There are areas where Some beliefs run in parallel - the connection to an animate natural world, certain other aware ways of accessing the unconscious mind, and a knowledge of energetic forces... the ways these are applied are somewhat universal, due to their nature... it would be a mistake to attribute these to any one culture.

Beliefs tend to structure how the universe is perceived; similarities may flow along those lines, but there is "no" culture that this story derived from.

Q: Why did you make the battle of Tal Quorin intense?
A: It was done with harsh edges deliberately - not to be bloody, or because I had to prove anything but because I have a thingie about literature/history/entertainment glorifying war. It's romanticized, made "heroic", offered up as a solution - and I find that particularly abhorrent. Fantasy in general often has "elves munch the orcs" and makes the solution by the sword a justification. Personally, this smoothing over an essentially ugly mess is chilling. I wanted to write a book in which the reader WAS chilled by what happened. And haunted. And, as the characters were, damaged enough to skew viewpoint.
Q: How were the scouts able to determine that Lysaer was a s'Ilessid?
A: s'Ilessid often are fair - this is how Dakar tagged Lysaer to begin with. Now, on the scene in the pass - here we have a fair man, royal demeanor, in company of a Fellowship Sorcerer whose "second name" is "kingmaker" - there wouldn't need to be a lot of guesswork - given Arithon's accent, and the insinuations raised with Grithen's band, ahead of that encounter. Conclusion: Tysan's scouts aren't dummies. (grin)
Q: Does Elaira have clanblood in her?
A: Elaira would indeed have clanblood somewhere in her bloodline - perhaps several lineages - but it need NOT be in the immediate generation before her. Throwbacks happen. That's why there are mage talented among the townborn. That's where the Koriathain draw their initiate talent. Without spoiling story, I will say that Elaira was not the child of a rape.
Q: If the clans were never rulers, did they originally live like aristocrats (as their titles imply) or did they always inhabit the woods like 'barbarians'?
A: The clans originally inhabited the old (by then nearly abandoned) Paravian strongholds. Certain of the towns were built, under Kingdom Charter and Paravian permission.

There were clansmen guarding the perimeters of the free wilds, to protect against infringements by man - the centaur guardians protected the proscribed lands, which clans passed through by permission.

A LOT of old lore concerning care of the free wilds would have passed into clan knowledge through the course of negotiations. Many of them spent much of their lives in the wilds, but civilized life was a part of their venue. This is stated outright in Curse of the Mistwraith when the princes visit Maenalle's outpost at Orlan Pass.

The uprising changed everything - overthrew all order in the towns - the clans were driven out, to fall back on their woods lore for survival. This would have been a harsh process, a cruel change. They were literally hunted, with intent to extinguish the old bloodlines. The Paravian departure left the free wilds in clan charge, and the practice of town headhunters/bounties made that portion of history a bitter and bloody one.

Q: Can you tell us what happened to Kamridian s'Ffalenn in Kewar Tunnel?
A: Kamridian was challenged to enter Kewar, by Davien himself - this was done to "prove a point" to the Fellowship of Seven. (See Curse of the Mistwraith, chapter set IV for Davien's motive.)

Kamridian was considered, at that time, the epitome of what a High King ought to be. He accepted the challenge - in defense of the Sorcerer's position - though NOT at the request of the Fellowship themselves.

He encountered his reflection, exactly as Arithon did. He failed to reconcile with his past - due in fact to his virtue and strength - and because, unlike Arithon, he stopped asking for answers.

He died.

This became the pivotal point upon which Davien based his decision for subsequent actions.

Though Kamridian entered Kewar of his own will, the Fellowship consider the event as it was - a tragedy that should never have been put to the test.

Others passed into Kewar besides Kamridian - most died - some lived - but the test it was fundamentally designed to underwrite was to sound a the mind of a ruler, in self clarity, the purpose being - if a king cannot stand in judgement upon himself, and survive the flaws of his character, how can he govern another with wisdom he will not apply to himself?

Q: What could ever induce a person to enter Kewar Tunnel by free choice? What does it offer beyond peril? Is the Maze still operational after Arithon's precipitous exit?
A: Kewar Tunnel was created by Davien - for reasons that are all tied up in his past history and relationship to the Fellowship. It'll all come out in due time.

The tunnel is very very much still functional.

As to why people would willingly enter - look at the madness humanity entertains all the time on This planet - Why do folks climb Everest and get brain damaged on oxygen deprivation? Why does a person enter into any sort of challenge? People test themselves all the time against lethal stakes a whole lot less logical than the challenge Kewar poses.

Kewar is a rite of passage into self-forgiveness and wisdom. The self aware individual - if self aware enough - could walk straight through. Not every passage would be as brutal as Arithon's was. For one wielding ruling power, as Kamridian did, the straits would not be simple.

What is the marriage, between ruling power, and wisdom, after all? Tolkien's Ring myth examines the fact that absolute power corrupts; but the wider view might argue - those who hold power are the ones who WANT power - why do these who seek positions of authority want power? There, in themselves, lies the door to the reason for the weakness that lets in the corruption. Hobbits did not want power - their wants were more basic and innocent - hence, the ring had less hold on them. Yet show me the truly wise being who is anywhere near a position of ruling irresponsibility... a right stranglehold of a paradox that has been among us for as long as humans have had thought and concept of order.

Q: What would Lord Governor Morfett see as a half-breed?
A: The answers are all pretty well inferred in the conversation between Sulfin Evend and Lysaer across the campfire in Daon Ramon Barrens... and in Mearn's take in the scaling the tower scene in Fugitive Prince.

Clan bloodlines CAN and HAVE and WILL outbreed. This is NOT a selective breeding program! Free choice does prevail... notice in Peril's Gate, what happens when this occurs: the OFFSPRING do have a choice what side of their heritage to pursue, and many such choices have happened in the past - so "townborn" bloodlines do contain outbred descendents. Clanborn mothers usually kept the children within the culture; fathers sometimes did not - mothers being townborn.

The reason Why clan normally chose NOT to outbreed are their responsibilities to their charge of standing as liaison to the Paravians... their children must survive the experience... therefore, staying within known lines increases the chances of successful contact.

Outbred descendents CAN carry the traits that make it possible to handle Paravian contact... AND AND AND - in cases, this quality can also be initiated in anyone, With Training... be wary, though this process is not simple! Careful you don't fly onto tangents...

What would Morfett regard as a 'halfbreed' would be an outcross carrying definable talent. (Morfett's reference to Halfbreds referred to the tribes of the Sanpashir Desert. More on this will unfold in the course of the coming volume... and supporting material.)

Talent IS NOT THE SAME as a royal bloodline carrying the Fellowship's alteration for the royal gift. These two ideas are not the same, nowize. The original founding father of a royal line DID have powerful talent, yes. The royal gifts were ADDED AFTER. They do not pass the same way.

S'Ellestrion line is gone. Elaira is not some long lost family offshoot - she'd have been recognized Instantly were that the case.

A clan outcross - yes. Koriathain scour for these, and grab the women ASAP. The men, they keep track of - and watch where their children wind up. TALENT identifies them. Sometimes other things.

Note clue: Braggen's statement about his own family history in Peril's Gate.

Royal lines are the ONLY lines that carry a meddled with difference. This is the Fellowship's direct responsibility, as you will discover as the books progress.

Caithdein's lineages are marked by their strength of talent... successors chosen for this quality, not in direct line "who was born first" - not stated, but if you look at how successors arise, they are not firstborn to firstborn, this is demonstrable within the text. Often their talent was SIGHT - why? This is (I should think) self evident - they stand as conscience for their king... and can stand in judgement of them... three authorities on Athera can judge a crown prince or king unfit - a Paravian, a Fellowship Sorcerer, and under Charter law in the absence of the above - the realm's Caithdein.

A caithdein's lineage might end - a new one would be selected among the available talent by Fellowship auspices... sure hope this is clear...

A royal line, ending - another matter, and a loss of far greater gravity.

Clan lineages are known, and documented, BUT only so far as they needed to be to keep Paravian contact safe as possible. There was NO SELECTIVE "breeding" program - Sulfin Evend made this very clear, when Lysaer jumped to that conclusion... Check out that discussion.

Outcrosses wishing to reclaim their clan heritage CAN do so - the way this would happen is clearly delineated in Peril's Gate.

Lastly: since Paravian departure, the clans have no way to "test" subsequent generations... therefore, it is a scary thing to risk outcrosses, or to stray outside known lineage... no way to know if the resulting generation's talent for survival is breeding true - therefore, since they still Value their charge, and honor their burden of ancestry - they are being Cautious to stay isolate... so that when/if Paravian presence returns, they don't invite a mess, and a needless tragedy. Headhunting, and the rebellion have lost them much resource. They are desperate to preserve what is left, but NOT at the expense of "planned breeding programs" - they are mindfully aware, and guarded about holding their birthright responsibility. This is not a Law. It is choice.

Solving the "initiate power" deficit (at Fellowship/royal line/Lysaer and Arithon's light and shadow gift level) on Athera by "just have more kids" is a drastically simplistic view that would not, in cold fact, provide a solution... and in the latter case would NOT WORK. Those gifts are not heritable ones. The material in the books clearly supports this.

Q: Have there been Queens? As opposed to Kings?
A: Yes, in brief... as you've seen with the succession of Caithdeinen - gender is not at issue.