Story Timeline
Curse of the Mistwraith
The Wars of Light and Shadow: Volume I
Reader Resource (contains spoilers)

On the Splinter World of Dascen Elur:

A naval battle engaged through deception and shadow burns one brigantine from Karthan, at the damaging cost of all but one warship of Amroth’s fleet. Arithon, Master of Shadow and last survivor of Karthan’s pirates is taken captive from the wreckage. Since his trained mastery as the High Mage’s grandson makes him too dangerous, he is bound, drugged, and forced to survive to stand trial to satisfy the vengeance of a longstanding blood-feud, and to publicly expiate the shame of a faithless Queen, who abandoned her marriage for carnal liaison with the kingdom’s worst enemy.

Amidst the trial, Arithon’s royal half-brother Lysaer, son of the Queen’s legitimate royal marriage, incurs his father the King’s displeasure. This debacle ends with both Lysaer and Arithon sentenced to permanent exile through the Worldsend Gate.

Beyond the Gate lies the Red Desert, a desolate wasteland in a broken world. As antagonists divided by a vicious enmity, Arithon and Lysaer are forced to strike a truce to survive. An encounter with an enchanted well built by a powerful Sorcerer extends their life-spans by five hundred years. When they reach the ancient ruin that holds their only hope of escape, they must fight side by side against a hostile remnant of ancient spellcraft. Their birth-gifts of  Light and Shadow, used together, let them reach and cross through the gateway that leads to Athera.

On the World of Athera

Third Age Year: 5637

The half brothers Arithon s’Ffalenn, Master of Shadow, and Lysaer s’Ilessid, gifted with Light, exiled through West Gate, are met as they arrive on Athera by the Fellowship Sorcerer Asandir and Dakar, the Mad Prophet, whose West Gate Prophecy forecast the defeat of the Mistwraith, Desh‑thiere, and return of the sunlight that had been lost to Athera for five hundred years.

Due to a prophecy of Dakar’s that the half-brothers are destined to fight, the decision is made to travel to the Fellowship of Seven’s headquarters at Althain Tower, there to determine their destiny. The Sorcerers must decide whether the half brothers should inherit the Atheran titles due them by the fact they descend from two established, but heirless, crown bloodlines.

Kept ignorant of his lineage, Lysaer despairs over the loss of his ruler’s status, since everything he knew, and all he was raised to become, involved statecraft and his succession to his father’s throne. Arithon, on the contrary, is secretly relieved to be spared from his past obligation, since his experience as his father’s bastard heir has profoundly reinforced his dearest desire to pursue his talent for music.

On the journey to Althain Tower, caught in the cut-throat political tension between townborn factions and the persecuted clansmen who inhabit the free wilds, Arithon meets his beloved, Elaira, who is under a life vow of service to the celibate order of the enchantresses of the Koriathain.

An outbreak of venomous meth-spawn is put down by the Sorcerers at Althain Tower.

In the aftermath, Dakar visions the Black Rose Prophecy, which forecasts that the Fellowship of Seven will never be restored to full strength unless Arithon accepts the royal birthright of his ancestry. Though that destiny runs against Arithon’s wishes, the Fellowship’s primary directive – to ensure survival of the vanished Paravian races – forces their choice to proceed with his coronation, provided the Mistwraith is defeated beforehand.

Third Age Year: 5638

The Mistwraith is contained at Ithamon by Lysaer and Arithon and driven into captivity through their combined powers of Light and Shadow.

Both princes are escorted to Etarra for Arithon’s formal accession, both against Arithon’s preference, and in the face of adamant, even deadly resistance from the town’s Mayor, its guilds and high council.

Lysaer meets Talith, sister of a prominent townsman.

The Fellowship Sorcerers’ effort to crown Arithon as High King, and reinstate Rathain’s monarchy fails when the Mistwraith places the half brothers under its curse: they will be enemies, bent upon each other’s destruction until one or the other lies dead.

War follows. Lysaer, whose cardinal virtue is the s’Ilessid gift of justice, leads a war host ten thousand strong from Etarra against Arithon, who is backed by the liege-driven loyalty of the clansmen in Strakewood Forest. Lysaer and Etarra lose eight thousand men, and the clans suffer the Massacre at Tal Quorin, when Etarran headhunters destroy their women and children to draw the clan fighting men into the open. To spare his allies, Arithon is forced to use his mage talent to kill. And in the aftermath of this massive insult to his royal gift of compassion, he loses access to all facets of his trained mastery. Survivors of the debacle made possible by his sacrifice include fourteen young boys, named as Companions, and Earl Jieret, twelve years of age, who becomes Arithon’s “shadow behind the throne”—or caithdein.

Lysaer returns to Etarra to begin to forge the alliance of town forces and take arms against Arithon, and to court his beloved, Talith.

Arithon leaves Rathain’s clans on their own for recovery to deny the directive of the Mistwraith’s curse a fixed target, then takes solace in his true heart’s desire – an apprenticeship to the Masterbard, Halliron, to develop his gifted talent.

At the opening of Ships of Merior, five years have elapsed since the Massacre at Tal Quorin. The season is spring, and the Atheran year, Third Age 5643.

© Janny Wurts