Here is the second sneak preview for Initiate's Trial - please note: this material contains minor spoilers...it also is DRAFT, and copyright by the author. Please, if you wish to share, use respect and do so by way of direct links to this site.
Thank you - and - don't say I didn't listen to your wishes and provide an explosion - not everything will be as you think, so take warning...
This said, Here's the preview:
The Sorcerer paused in a winter cold lane. Seamed face upturned, his luminous eyes blank with thought, he appeared as innocuous as a maundering grandfather lost on the way home from market. In fact, his honed senses were tightly entrained for one purpose: to sound out every spirit sprung from the outbred, matrilineal branch of s'Gannley, and bearing the blood heritage of Sulfin Evend, a name still reviled by the temple archives as the Light's most nefarious heretic.
The spirit Asandir selected stood out, hot as bright flame, from the pack of siblings and close cousins. She was a pert creature, incorrigible, rebellious, and wild as a sparrowhawk among pecking doves where she stood, surrounded by swank admirers and Etarran dandies. Asandir cornered her amid the crowd in a dimly lit, wainscotted tap room, just after she finished the knife throw that demolished five shouting contenders and won the coin purse their male prowess had wagered. Flushed with laughter, dressed in a stylishly laced velvet bodice, full skirts, and ribbon tied slippers, she crowed like a hoyden and twirled face about in a scintillant sparkle of jewels and flushed victory.
The piroette fetched her, pink nose to chest, against the tall Sorcerer's presence.
Daliana possessed the keen depth of her forefather's instincts: tawny eyes widened, stopped short in her tracks, she tipped her chin upward and gasped. A truth-seer's vision recognized the implacable power, leashed behind the seamed face that confronted her. Fearless, without artifice, she dared to speak first. "Who are you and what do you want of me?"
"Do you not know?" Asandir's smile was lightning against thunderhead, crackling with the pent forces of upheaval and change. "I've come to request service befitting your ancestry. Though I daresay, the matter should be broached in depth, under raised wards, and in privacy."
The cramped room provided to patrons who paid to conduct their close business was furnished with a polished, round table and comfortable, stuffed chairs. A tray of bread, cheese and wine was provided, along with wax candles for the paned lamps that hung from bronze hooks in the ceiling beams. Under that light, Daliana's straight, dark brows looked severe, drawn into a frown as forbidding as any displayed by her distrustful ancestor. "Sulfin Evend was a captain at arms, skilled at weaponry and history says also, a master tactician."
"You are his equal, for tactics, I think." Folded into a chair, the Sorcerer opposite looked more rumpled, but not less imposing. Deep shadow accentuated the sharp planes of a face outdoor weather had chiseled. His leathers were worn, but his silver hair gleamed, spilled over the breadth of squared shoulders. "You have the s'Gannley talent, in full measure. Also an enviously quick set of reflexes. And courage to blister any man pink."
From pale, she had colored. Nerves showed, in the trembling flare of her jewels. Still, she had fiber. She had not interrupted the brutal, succinct explanation of the fated relapse that must come to hound Lysaer's sanity, now that -(the event referenced here has been deleted to avoid Major Spoil - sorry, you'll have to wait on the book.)-
Now quiet, the Sorcerer was content to allow her to weigh her decision: whether or not to stand forward, as her ancestor had, as a tormented ruler's clear voice of conscience. She was not to be pressured, or rushed, or cajoled. Asandir's lean hands stayed busy, and his strong teeth, tucking into the food with an appetite any effete Etarran would have deemed shamelessly ravenous.
As the ragged silence drew out and gained weight, he laid down the chunk of cheese wrapped in bread, poured out a goblet of wine, and pushed the stem between Daliana's delicate, ringed fingers. "You would not, of course, rely on force of arms. Quickness, yes, and a glib turn of phrase, and also, the most artful advantage of all. Your illustrious predecessor could fight, as a male. Never discount the fact you won't have to."
Daliana stared back, arrow straight, while the candle flame rubbed warmer, cinnamon highlights into the walnut dark braid she wore pinned in a circlet above her delicate face. "Lord Lysaer can't stand the sight of me," she said, strippingly frank. "That's been evident since the first day my mother presented me to his court."
Asandir stared back, a bold glint in gray eyes that never stopped measuring. "You remind him of someone," he said. "As you choose, you might press that advantage. Lysaer has never healed that glaring weakness. It threatens him, truly, in places he would rather deny that he's naked and vulnerable."
Daliana met the Sorcerer's cool regard, rapacious with innuendo. "Would you care to elaborate?"
"I would not." Before rebuke for her indecent prying, the Sorcerer attacked his cold meal. If he seemed pleased that she was not afraid of him, his words held a ring that ran beyond cold, as he added, "Sweet lady, you realize the boon I am asking cannot be repaid with any promise of triumph or happiness. I am asking you, of your bravery, to shoulder a peril beyond imagining. The charge, if laid on you, would risk your life! Before, Sulfin Evend appealed to receive his binding oath for the love of a friend, and because, in the breach of a peace that could torch the known world into flames, he was desperate. I come before you as the supplicant, this time. The need that commands me to ask for your service could lead you to bitter defeat, and a destiny cruel beyond all reprieve."
"Sulfin Evend succeeded!" Daliana reminded with a whiplashing snap.
Then she spilled her wine and broke into tears, as the Fellowship Sorcerer bowed to her.
He knew! Before she spoke, at her very heart's core, Asandir already had sensed the shift that framed her commitment. Before he left the room, she would swear his great oath, and take on the spirit mark of his arcane protection: to defend Lord Lysaer from the recurrent threat of the madness roused by Desh-thiere's curse.
(admin corrected quotes and single quotes to show correctly in all browsers)
(Message edited by admin on July 28, 2008)
Ah, sweet... and very thought provoking, in a multitude of ways. Very much to ponder now! Thanks ever so much, Janny, for posting another preview.
Okay, then, I would say some time has passed since the end of SF!
I like Daliana already.
Very, very, VERY cool... thank you, Janny!
OMG - ... ... omg OMG!
Wow - this is totally awesome!
Thanks for sparking anew my withdrawel symptoms Janny!
*goes off gnawing his own arm which causes less pain than not having the not-yet-book in hand*...
*Chuckles at Laneth, recognizing similar personal straits*
But how will you hold the book if you gnaw off your arm? That's the dilemma that keeps mine attached!
Very nice, Janny, and it neatly addresses the apprehension several had over the impending loss of Sulfin Evend as a character (ah, but who does he marry, that he might have offspring?). Can't wait to see how we jump into the future, and am hoping to be able to get a hardback here in the States when this next chronicle is ready.....
I had suspicions about the jump ahead based on Janny saying that Arc 4 could be read as an individual series, without necessarily having had read the first three arcs.
There's an invetion out there called the book pillow: http://www.peeramid.com/
and feets can be used for things too :D
(Also, I'm just gnawing on the left arm - it doesn't do much usually...)
The Light's most nefarious heretic, eh? Interesting, interesting! Thanks for posting this Janny, keeps the appetite whetted...
Indeed, I thought such a title would be saved for Arithon - unless of course, they were only counting people who were meant to be supporting the Light. :D
But it is indeed -very- interesting. Let the mulling commence!
And Thank You Janny, for posting this for us. *nods*
One couldn't really be called a Heretic unless one was a part of the religion in question, no?
Arithon has never subscribed to any of the tenets within the religion of Light, (nor has he ever been accepted as one of the followers), and so could not necessarily be labelled a heretic.
I would more describe Arithon as a royal pariah - socially outcast and considered in many parts of the Kingdoms as evil and not a simple human like them, even though by birthright he is a sanctioned ruler of Rathain (probably where he is most despised, besides Tyson)
Yes, pariah would be my word of choice for Arithon
Sulfin Evend's direction was clear by the end of SF - he had lost all belief in the cause of the Light even though he was Commander of the Armies of the Light (or something similar) and, as the above says, existed to save Lysaer and Athera along with it. The Light thought any and all of the following corrupt, irredeemably evil and to be exterminated from Athera: The Fellowship, Arithon, the clans, the Compact, Paravians, Ath's Adepts - basically anything of the "old" ways.
As a caithdein, he was bound to serve these "old ways", the most gross heresy of the Light.
The most interesting part of this passage has been deleted but the next most is Daliana's outburst that "Sulfin Evend succeeded". The heretic succeeded. Athera has not gone up in flames, Lysaer (now Lord as per the prologue) is still in power and, it appears, having managed lengthy periods of relative sanity. I wonder if he's spent the past 200+ years trying to repair the damage of the first three arcs?
Alas, I was wrong. Time has flowed, quite significantly.
Still, looks like there is some wonderful material in the intervening years for flashbacks, a short story, or, dare I say it, even a novella?!?!
Thanks for the appetizer, Janny! Too bad the darn meal is so far off. I might join Laneth, and start gnawing on my left arm.
Thanks so much for the excerpt. I will definately be mulling that one for the next two months. I like that you're going to go into other generations. Nifty.
Wow- So the next book takes us generations forward and Sulfen Evand is still mentioned!He was always fairly disgusted by the Light's religion and his fellowhsip oath did not win him any points with them. I would love to speculate on who he had children with. His decendants appear to be well placed in society. I guess Daliana reminds Lysaer of Talith.
And Lord Lysaer- no longer Prince? Has someone else shouldered the kingship?
Thank you Janey- keep writing!
It looks like the meaning behind "Canon" is cleared up. It would probably take a couple of hundred years and a limited role from Lysaer to establish a religion of the light organized and dominated by more mundane folk.
I have serious doubts about Lysaer's ability to be an effective leader of religion or at molding scripture, so I suggest that this role was slowly but surely taken from his control and put in the hands of those who manage it best - bureaucrats and power mongers.
So, does Daliana become the Initiate eventually put on trial for following in the steps of her forefather? Or is her emergence in the story line too early to get herself into deep trouble?
If Arithon's daughter was the Initiate, it would be interesting to see if she and Daliana clash
Ahh, but over 200 years in the future... Perhaps it is Arithon's great-grand son?
Lysaer was arguably already the Sword of the Canon where the Canon is the Religion of Light. His bidding to try and rid the world of the old guard and re-establish humanity's freedom was guided and abetted by other cabals and older factions than what he started.
The Alliance of Light was about converting the entirety of Athera to the Light by the sword. As Lysaer himself admitted in a moment of lucidity outside Alestron, even he may not be able to stop what he's created, so perhaps his pursuits in the subsequent centuries were trying to ameliorate and potentially start to heal the town/clan rift to allow peaceful co-existence of the various doctrines.
Hunter, I believe you may be overly generous and overly optimistic in you hopes for Lysaer!
After all, this guy has been coddled, protected, lied for, assasinated for - just about anything you can imagine - to protect his unsullied image as the protector of Light and the defendor against Dark. And he never hesitated to let that happen.
It is only in his role as the only possible defence against Arithorn that he's been able to commandeer the treasuries of the cities and maintain his exalted appearance (and cushy lifestyle) - all in the face of massive blunder after massive blunder, catastrophe after catastrophe.
Those who've used the Alliance of Light to gain power and wealth wouldn't let go of that easily, nor, do I think, Lysaer himself could face the ignomity of being outed as a fraud and losing his privledges. I'm speculating (wildly, of course) that he's licked his wounds for the last couple of centuries and the Canon was developed more or less without his direct involvement (outside of serving as a figurehead).
Which suggests an interesting reason behind Sulfin Evend being labled "most nefarious heratic".
He outed Lysaer!
Probably he only managed to relieve Lysaer of his godhead and possibly left a nasty, unsilencable rumour about Lysaer being afflicted with Desthier's curse that prompted those in future ages to go back and review actual history to find out the truth (giving Janny the perfect opeining to weave this fabulous tale for us all).
This begs the question as to why "Lord" Lysaer. Is this "Lord" as in "Our Lord and Savior" or "Lord" as in one of noble character and/or position?
This begs the question as to why "Lord" Lysaer. Is this "Lord" as in "Our Lord and Savior" or "Lord" as in one of noble character and/or position?
Gary, it might just be that Lysaer rejected the titles of "Prince" and "Your Grace" because they were a reminder that his original power base came from the old ways - Royalty with ties to the Compact, Paravians, the F7, and the Clans.
But, since he is of noble birth, he could easily take the more generic title of "Lord" - remember, Diegan was referred to as "Lord Diegan" or "Lord Commander Diegan" even though the titles were not legal, according to the original kingdom charters. Lysaer could NOT use the noble titles of Duke or Earl, because those are titles held by Clansmen (Duke Bransian, Earl Jieret, Earl Maenol, etc.) and the last thing he would want would be a reminder of his ties to the Clans - political suicide.
Then, too, Lysaer managed to get himself elected Mayor of Etarra, and one possible title there is "Lord" Mayor.
"Lord and Savior" might be inferred by those who still believe him to be the Avatar.
I actually agree more with Hunter. I think that Lysaer allowed that stuff to happen (ie. the assassination, the lying) because he has been so ignorant to the corruptness of society and the people that he's unwittingly surrounded himself with. He picked the townsmen because they were his comfort zone, what he knew. The clansmen reminded him of Karthan's pirates and his character was raised to believe that they were evil.
His character is run by the justice that is his birthright, but twisted because of the curse. To allow someone to knowingly assassinate for him makes no sense. If he felt that it was just for them to die then he would just execute them. Assassination implies that the person being offed is someone that he couldn't convince society was guilty of whatever reason they were getting killed.
I think that his eyes have been opened in the last book and I agree with Hunter that he's probably spent the last several centuries trying to clean up his own mess.
Remember, the mistwraith can't be destroyed without Arithon and Lysaer's connection to each other. So, unless Janny plans on the mistwraith winning or throws in another way to kill it then Lysaer has to eventually agree to work with Arithon and overcome the curse as Arithon did. My opinion, which could be completely wrong as I'm not Janny, is that Daliana is going to be the key to that change.
In the second paragraph of my post, in the third sentence I intended the word 'just' to mean that if they deserved death. Sorry about that.
In re-reading this passage, several rather interesting items seem to appear. Remembering that Lysaer execute Maenelle s'Gannley and that Lysaer subjected the s'Gannley clans to slavery, prompting them (if I recall) to call forfeit the life of the great pretender should they have a chance.
Daliana appears to be full blood (or close enough) s'Gannley, aware of her heritage and able to be presented to Lysaer's court.
It does raise an interesting question of what has happened such that Lysaer is no longer wanting to exterminate the old blood clans; and that s'Gannley off-spring are agreeable to being in Lysaer's presence. Was Sulfin Evend's great heresy to reconcile Lysaer with the s'Gannley clans who should have been his caithdein?
Any bets that Daliana reminds Lysaer of Maenelle, the murder of whom was an unforgivable act and the advantage that Daliana may be able to press on Lysaer?
I wonder if Daliana reminds him of Talith. I don't think he really ever got over her murder.
I'm certain it's Talith. The moment she was described as tawny haired, I thought of Talith. Asandir says Lysaer has never healed that glaring weakness, and I honestly think Talith is the only person he's truly had a weakness for. In fact, does not Sulfin Evend use this fact to his advantage several times? I seem to recall that one of the few ways he had to recall Lysaer to sanity was to mention her.
The slight flaw in my clan logic is that she doesn't actually recognize *who* Asandir is. She recognizes *what* he is immediately..
Talith is a good possibility, although it's not mentioned here specifically whether there is a physical resemblance.
I also tend to think the title "Lord" is used in the noble sense, rather than the religious.
And Talith also popped immediately into my mind when reading Janny's sneak preview, although Maenelle is a great speculation!
As for Lysaer's sense of justice, he was already making compromises from the early books to justify a "minor" injustice in the cause of trying to rectify a larger one (Arithorn).
Arithorn's use of Paravian magic at the end of SF possibly put a kind of wedge between the curse and Lysaer's personality, but when I think of all that Arithorn had to go through to get himself free of the curse, I can't believe that Lysaer - without the same abilities as Arithorn - could free himself further from the curse on his own.
But, Paravian magic is potent stuff! Maybe it provided Lysaer enough breathing room to keep the curse at bay?
Ah, I am mistaken, she's tawny-eyed instead, still, personality-wise she reminds me pretty strongly of Talith.
"She was a pert creature, incorrigible, rebellious, and wild as a sparrowhawk among pecking doves where she stood, surrounded by swank admirers and Etarran dandies."
Talith was feisty, a fact which sadly lead to her downfall since sneaking out of Etarra to join Lyaser was what let Arithon catch her in the first place.
Could it be that she resembles Sulfin Evend so much that it could be the reason Lysaer can't stand the sight of her? Considering it seems like she is also about to become a guardian of Lysaer's sanity, as Sulfin Evend was at some stage, and it seems like he did something drastic to betray the Light...
Sulfin Evend was fated to chose between the Land and the Alliance(per Enithen Tuer) and to make a decision about Arithon which would have generational consequences(Beidar).Perhaps these two "events" are one and the same. He succeeded in something big which we can assume was avoidance of catastrophe.. He never liked or trusted the religion built around Lysaer, was marked by a sorcerer so it is easy to see why he would be named heretic. He would be the fall guy to allow Lysaer to retain dignity if they tried to dismantle the religion.I am really interested in who he had kids with- did he reconcile with and have a clan born wife? Was it a young cousin of Talith? This is a paralell story to Arithon's and Jieret.
I'm with Tundrahorse... I think Daliana resembles SE to such an extent (if not in looks, than in demeanor) that even Lysaer recognizes the spirit of his character in her.
And as for SE marrying? Not impossible, but I don't think it likely based on what we know about him as of Stormed Fortress. I don't believe Daliana is a *direct* descendant, but that of one of his close kin, based on this from the passage above:
The spirit Asandir selected stood out, hot as bright flame, from the pack of siblings and close cousins.
Sulfin Evand is identified as a forefather- not distant uncle. By the time of this new book there are many outbred s'Ganley i.e. "from the pack of siblings and close cousins" but only direct descendants could bear "blood heritage" of Sulfin Evend as opposed to Raitt Raven or some other of his relatives.
Also SE has light eyes- I think grey,not "tawny", the hair color and quick reflexes are probably clues but I'm too lazy to track them down!
I'm still shooting for Daliana being a combanation of Talith and Sulfin Evend. They were really the only two people to have any influence over Lysaer. If combined into a character, one that reminded Lysaer of Talith but had the inner fiber of Sulfin Even, I think that Daliana would have the greatest chance of success.
Also, what if Sulfin Evend didn't get married. What if the Fellowship pulled an Arithon and had Sulfin Evend sleep with someone from one of the tribes to carry on his line? Just a thought.
When is this next book coming out??
Now, now, let's not be hasty. We need AT LEAST one more teaser first, as the talespinner doesn't appear to be anywhere close to finished. Let's see *checks watch*: last teaser released on 7/27...nah, too soon! ;)
Instead, we need to wonder what Asandir and the F7 have been up to during the intervening period. I can hardly believe that Kharadmon would stay on star watch for 200 years, for example.....
And how about Arithorn? 200 years of sailing the high seas... hmmm, probably not. 200 years of no direct conflict with Lysaer? Even harder to believe.
But maybe some good things have happened! 200 years should be plenty of time for Arithorn to release the myst wraiths trapped in book one. And how about using his master bard talent to open ALL of the force lanes laid down by the Paravians? That would keep the town born off balance and possibly help the clans.