Wars of Light and Shadow FAQ

Read Janny's responses to frequently asked questions about the world of Athera, taken from online interviews and forum posts. (She also has a FAQ about her career, covering topics like her writing process).

Half-brothers: Arithon and Lysaer
Can you summarize what we know about the Mistwraith's curse and how it influences both half-brothers?

The Mistwraith assessed both Lysaer and Arithon at Ithamon - it had free reign with Lysaer, and longer. Whether this was by its choice and design - or not - wait and see.

Lysaer has a character flaw. You can read the story and find it - it appears in multiple places, multiple angles, multiple layers.

Arithon has character flaws, too - the difference - when he encounters them, he's likely to admit to them, or at least show his honest confusion.

Lysaer - watch the behavior to know.

The Mistwraith used that character flaw IN CONCERT with the Royal Gift of Justice inherent in s'Ilessid. The combination "locked" the Mistwraith's manipulative entry - because the sense of justice tended to blind Lysaer, or bend him toward seeking a higher order - and that played into the hands of the flaw. Look at the scene where the wraith is removed, there is clear analysis of how this happened, and the Fellowship's admission of responsibility - that if NOT for the strength of the gift of justice at play, Lysaer would not have been so easily 'taken' into possession. The whispers of the wraith acted in concert, and reacted with that ingrained pattern of the s'Ilessid royal gift.

Lysaer, possessed, delivered the "packaged" pattern that cursed Arithon - when he was diverted, open, acting in compassion - to save the Raven - and was guarded "on the wrong quarter" - the packaged pattern was precisely designed from his own auric imprint - to enter and work with his nature with insidious subtlety - amplify and prompt what WAS ALREADY THERE in almost seamless concert. Arithon is trained enough to notice and correct course for the gross distortions - the littlest, the insidious, the subtle, did slip through, as the curse gained strength.

The curse is an auric patterning - a shadowing of the energy field that is interwoven with the self, an amplification and manipulation of the stuff of self. It cannot be "removed" without erasing those parts of the pattern it has amplified. Such a change would alter the being of the victim; and also, by extension, impair the body, since the flesh is the condensed, precipitate form that flows out of the auric pattern.

Why does the Curse strengthen at each encounter? Because, each time it "activates" its tendencies "burn" deeper into the self. The shadow in the pattern strengthens, much as water flowing through a channel "erodes" deeper and wider after a storm. More current, more conduit.

Those areas of self that were "cursed" by pattern are not accessible any longer to "free choice" which impairs the natural impetus for the spirit to grow, change, and evolve with experience. The curse "fixed" the flaws in place. Reason can question them. Will can fight their imprint. Choice can accept whether or not to ACT ON the imprinted impetus of the curse - or to resist.

Example - a person can scream with fury, have an overwhelming desire to smash something - but not ACT out that scenario.

The prompt is ALWAYS there to seek out and kill the other brother - it waxes and wanes with thoughts, attention, proximity. It activates into compulsion when the two auric patterns approach contact. The compulsion grows with each encounter.

Choice is heavily influenced - not totally fixed, unless the Curse is granted free rein. How long it remains active, overwhelming the character under siege - whether the surrender was passive, or actively fought makes a difference also.

The curse impairs growth toward change ONLY where it has fixed the pattern. This would leave a lot of latitude - as Arithon has demonstrated.

Music is vibration within a certain frequency; frequency specifies energy - light is a higher frequency of vibration - the electromagnetic spectrum is DEFINED by frequency - and more than that. To pin a song to a locale would disturb quite a lot!

Did Lysaer's father have the gift of justice?

I think I answered in depth, concerning the royal gifts - they are not linear in this fashion:

Due to the way they are transferred (a tale in itself) the gift will be "spread" between all direct descendents of the first forbear who swore oath to the Fellowship. It will not "pass" in equal measure: but like water flowing down slope, will "choose" the easiest route. Descendents with a natural tendency toward this trait in their character will "inherit" more of the gift than ones who naturally bend in another direction.

Further: the more descendents there are to "spread" the gift through, the less defined the inheritance...in some, it will be more pronounced, in others, not prominent at all.

Where there is only "one" descendent, the gift will fall to that one, and be expressed with virulently full force, no question.

This is why the line of descent varies, and why the Fellowship name the successor of ROYAL LINES always, without exception. Caithdeinen are Fellowship Named only in times when the royal line could fall into jeopardy and crown rule might fall to the shadow behind the throne. (see passage referring to that in Fugitive Prince when Jeynsa is named to succeed Jieret).

The royal gifts do NOT transfer to caithdeinen in case of failure of a lineage.

Therefore the degree to which a royal gift expresses is twofold: inherited potency (how many descendents there are who could "carry" the trait) added to personal CHOICE and CHARACTER: how is each individual inclined toward that gift in the first place.

In case of one descendent, but a character not inclined - you would see the gift express, but you would see the one in descended lineage at odds with its drive....there would be internal conflict with that gift....not a good situation.

In Arithon's case: his character is in accord with the gift, AND the gift, unstoppable as he is the only one living bearing the lineage.

In the case of Lysaer's father: given the man's extreme hatred, and the long-term erosion of his character in the course of a truly (you have no idea) BITTER feud: the gift of s'Ilessid justice WAS at play, or Arithon would have died in a messy way, rather than have been sent through the Gate as exile.

Sometimes I feel like skipping over the scenes with Lysaer in them. Why should I bother to read them?
The more you, as a reader, can hold an open mind and see what is actually there - the more the truest depths in this story will stand revealed.

Although many readers flip past the Lysaer parts, (and that IS OK!) there is a lot of information and widening of viewpoint that happens in those scenes. A facet of the series that is part of its completion. Circles are not joined by leaving out parts of the arc...

And for seeing Lysaer in a truer light - if you Didn't know Arithon, what would you think? Therein lies the question.

Why was Rauven so unfeeling toward Lysaer?
The Lady Talera of Rauven married Lysaer's father, who was King of Amroth. The marriage settlement was gifted talents to be assigned to her unborn children. (Had she more of them, yes, there would have been more elemental masters). When the King of Amroth later indicated, through a political slip, that his insistence on this form of dowry and the marriage itself had been for expediency, in gaining an edge with his feud with the pirate kings of Karthan, naturally, the mages at Rauven were not so terribly pleased.

Talera made threats that if the childrens' gifts were to be used for gain in war, she would retaliate. Her immediate obstruction made itself felt: no more children would be born to the marriage. Once her husband reached the point where he would impose his will upon her regardless of what she threatened, she left, and had her liaison with Avar s'Ffalenn. This was not supposed to be a love match, but grew to be so. When it became plain that the war between Karthan and Amroth would only be exacerbated by her indulgence, she broke off the relationship and returned to Rauven. Arithon was born there. Lady Talera died only a few years later, some said of grief; others of exhaustion and stress, since the years she had endured as Queen of Amroth had never been happy ones for her, caught as she was as a gamepiece between feuding factions.

The High Mage of Rauven had the raising of Arithon. As the boy was also the most gifted apprentice he had ever trained, and much of his love for his lost daughter was invested in her child, it is natural that his sympathies should have fallen to Arithon, the grandson who was close to him, and not the one who had been born as an instrument of war (whether or not Talera's obstruction prevented Lysaer's use on the battle front, at least until the time of Curse of the Mistwraith's opening. The fact that exile fell upon both grandsons, equally, was a "fairness" of the nature of the code by which the Rauven mages live, which is an evolved and different code than the tenets of the Major Balance by which their ancestress Dari received training from Sethvir. Years of isolation on Dascen Elur would ensure change; would promote change; which was the lynchpin of the West Gate Prophecy.

Why did Asandir give preferential treatment to Arithon when the two brothers were found inside the West Gate?
One kingdom was not more important than the other. When the brothers were found, Dakar was predisposed to take care of Lysaer, due to his bet. One presumes, and the narrative follows, that Asandir would have let Dakar pursue his interests in the one prince, in particular since Dakar's hasty presumption tagged Arithon as "unimportant" and a servant.

In the cottage, where Dakar challenges Asandir's priorities, Asandir answers that "he chose according to need." This phrase did not (is this where you got confused?) refer to the kingdoms each prince was heir to... it referred to Arithon's personal state.

My logic as author, writing this story, was to look at the two brothers' state of mind. Lysaer was born and raised a privileged prince; he was trained to judge and rule; until the actual shock of exile, he'd had no traumatic events since his mother's departure when he was a child. He would have been the less tested character; but also, the one more immediately resilient, as he had not yet had more than the one setback, where his mindset failed to compensate for his fate.

Arithon had given up his preferred talents to rule for the greater good; suffered the hideous reverse of seeing his dreams ruined, his father die, and himself, fall into the trapped mentality of the feud at its basest level, when his aspirations had encompassed the genuine effort to restore peace. That setback, it's seemingly hopeless outcome, had driven him to despair deep enough to (1) try to provoke his own death (2) succeed only in being subjected to a drug addiction of harrowing proportion (3) be forced on display as scapegoat before enemies his ancestors had bequeathed him and (4) have to endure the physical abuse, and the mental abuse, as the King of Amroth's captive. Then, on top of this, we see him have to cope with the privations of the Red Desert AND the responsibility for the life of a half-brother who hated him. And on top, the Curse of Mearth, which, given more past anguish to draw from, would be the more insidious for Arithon. He is already a character under siege, having followed his ideals and failed miserably; therefore, at the hour of arrival through the Gate, he would be the more needy character.

I chose to examine his side of the conflict more closely, since his straits were the more complex. Had we seen Asandir's healing of Lysaer in the same depth, we would have learned NOTHING NEW. Lysaer's immediate woes, as we know them, from his trials in the desert, will disappear with the "just cause" of the Mistwraith's dilemma, and the knowledge of a kingdom awaiting. Since Arithon's problems are going to be amplified by the same fate, his reactions warranted the closer look for reader understanding, if nothing else. I saw no point in slowing down the unfolding of the whole, just to give Lysaer equal stage time here.

What happened when Arithon drew his sword against the Khadrim?
Toss OUT your scripted assumptions (smile) and see - "it flung sidewards" and crashed - was not struck or hammered out of the sky... the sword's vibrational sound and light were merely present.... and what happened happened.... there was no direct blow struck. Passive shift in resonance, not an applied blow.... Asandir just said, "Draw your sword" that's it...

Yes, the sword was made for conflict with Khadrim - careful how your draw assumptions around your picture of "conflict" There are other ways to resolve than force used as destruction As You Know it...

Was it the defense wards of the sword that protected Arithon from the fire of the khadrim, or did he use magery himself for protection?
It was Arithon's mastery of shadow which screened out the damage from the fire. The sword, of itself, has no power that can be tapped, by straight will or other than by the justice of the cause for which it was drawn.
How were the scouts able to determine that Lysaer was a s'Ilessid?
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)
When Arithon and Lysaer were attacked by the Mistwraith at Ithamon, I perceived that Lysaer had poured too much of his life force into defending and that is why he lost consciousness. Why did Arithon also lose consciousness?
Arithon had wardings up - and the attack by the Mistwraith cut through - for that short period before Asandir showed up, it was 'inside' his defenses - he was fighting for his life, on an energetic level - the wraiths can feed on life force. When they do, they get stronger.

Diffused in the fog, over all of Athera, the effect was also diffused (there were not enough wraiths to choke a whole planet, Traithe cut off South Gate before enough got through - Athera's infestation was never as deep as Marak's). As the fog was reduced, the wraiths were concentrated into the area over Ithamon. You will recall, that in this attack, the wraiths "tipped their hand" - displayed traits not seen by the other members of the Fellowship.

There is a greater thread at work here - I can't tell you any more at this stage of the story's development - you'll have to read and see.
Why was Lysaer the one who sealed the breach when the Mistwraith was being confined? Also why didn't the F7 or Lysaer realize what's happening?
[The following answer was written and contains information pertaining only to Volume I.]

This was a considered decision, and the logic is shown by Dakar's reminiscence of Asandir's reasoning; and later, on the side of Rockfell Peak, with an analytical discussion with Kharadmon.

Yes, Arithon was mage trained. To allow the Mistwraith ANY chance of accessing his knowledge and talents, could not be risked. The sorcerers at the time did not know that in fact, this had already happened, in the incident in Ithamon, since the Mistwraith had left NO TRACE of meddling. It simply encompassed the knowledge and nothing else. In Vol. II, there will be a lot of deepening in the reader's knowledge of what the Fellowship is, what it's goals are, and how the magic they use works. It is a system based on free permission - as exemplified by Arithon's discussion with Asandir at the Camris outpost. Lysaer had no mage training; he would be the less dangerous character, if he became exposed to exploitation; he was ALSO the one whose whole philosophy is based on SACRIFICE FOR THE GREATER GOOD. When asked, he would respond as he had; Arithon's motivations are different/being mage trained, he would have viewed the dilemma MUCH differently, and in fact, he may not have given the same permissions that Lysaer did, of his own will, being schooled to see the problem from a wider/more individualized angle. Once again, I'd expect you will see the differences in the half-brothers' philosophies more clearly as each volume progresses.

The Fellowship's study of the Mistwraith for 500 years, and why didn't they anticipate the results. Here, I confess, I have a much deeper understanding of the problem than was exposed (except in snatches and by inference) in Vol. I. The Mistwraith itself is outside the Law of the Major Balance, and is, in many, many ways, a blind side entity, so far as the Fellowship is concerned. WE know that Traithe encompassed its entirety, and was all but destroyed. We know that the Paravians, known to have the deepest powers and the deepest grasp of the mysteries extant upon Athera (more on this, subsequent vols) REFUSED OUTRIGHT to Name the creature. They gave way before it, and vanished from the continent, and the Fellowship DO NOT KNOW WHY.

Much of the Five hundred year study would have been a frustrating, baffling failure, from the Sorcerer's point of view Dakar (Vol. II, full disclosure) makes two kinds of prophecies: those which are malleable and can be subject to change, and those which are absolute. The West Gate one was of the absolute variety. The Fellowship knew they would have means to reduce the Mistwraith. Given the limitations of their powers (which are not, I admit, all apparent in this book, but will become so as the story unfolds) and their tendency to build power on the tenet of free permission, they would not be inclined to use straight force to impose their will. Ah, gosh, I'm a bit wrist tied here, because I know what you'll soon see in Vol. II, and I don't want to spoil. Suffice to say that there is a delicate balance that holds the Fellowship to this planet, and that their handling and mishandling of the Mistwraith is all tied up in that. Be patient if you can and give book II a close look. I think the question will be clearer.

No, they would not have seen a possession; they had no Name pattern for any entity of the Mistwraith; I believe Sethvir admitted this, anguished, when Asandir was castigating himself for the same thing, just after the curse's casting.

Lysaer was not disposed to listen or to hear logic, at the time. His blindness of character, predisposed by his drive to seek justice; his left over bits of hatred from the feud; (everybody harbors blind prejudice from their traumatic pasts) his absolute NEED to resolve his inner dilemma, on how should the disparities of justice inherent in Athera's cultures be handled; and the outright DAMAGE imposed by the wraith all drive his actions at this time. No, he is not seeing events with dissociated clarity. Yes, it is a shortcoming, but I hope, a human one. His lack of mage training would exacerbate this tendency. Mages in Athera view from a pinpoint, individual perspective, a case by case basis, which they mosaic to build a whole. Harmony begins with one note, and is established from the ground up. Lysaer believes in imposing order from the top down; in individual sacrifice for the greater whole. Elaira outlines this difference between Arithon and Lysaer in the garden. It does indeed effect how each character acts; and Lysaer is the more susceptible to delusion because he believes in ruling, imposing justice, from the throne down. He's less likely to see, or be stopped, by the case by case basis where individually that justice creates discord, since in the great picture, he has created more order than chaos. I hope I've explained this OK.

So Lysaer doesn't realize what's happening because his ruler's sensibilities are satisfied that no injustice has been done.

Lastly, in this issue, the Fellowship are also partisan - to their own interests. The Black Rose Prophecy, which is paramount to their continuance, and the greater, driving purpose of their existence. They will allow this "conflict" now, in hope or maybe knowing, that over the course of an age, the greater picture will resolve. They are placed in the crux of dilemma, and have very little choice that does not offer some sort of obstructive disaster, to THEM, as I think the strands scene established.

Arithon has an edge in knowing how his individual self has been meddled with through the self knowledge imposed by his mastery of magecraft; which we have scene working in the scenes with the drug, in chapter II; and later on, in the Tienelle scrying. It is indeed his advantage in training at work. Not any favoritism in character treatment. Yes, he IS the more aware individual at THIS POINT IN TIME IN THE NARRATIVE. Lastly, I guess I should say that I am not trying to write a nonpartisan book; I WANT you to see the complexities at play with Arithon's half of the story, because if I didn't outline them in clearest depth, our own society's natural prejudice would cause us to fall into Lysaer's camp. I want, as this series develops - the sense of "there but for the grace" - if you didn't KNOW all the factors at play, you, too, would have fallen for Lysaer's definition of expediency. I want you to feel enough of both sides of the conflict to realize the futility of the bloodshed. I want you to see why Lysaer' has his driving obsession, where it comes from. I'm not going to give you the grounds you're maybe asking for - to condone it. And the series as it moves ahead will have plenty of surprises, for both characters, and for reader expectations of same.

What are the relative heights of Dakar, Arithon and Halliron?
Arithon is shorter than Dakar, Dakar is taller than Arithon, but shorter than Halliron, who would be considered tall.
While Arithon was training under Halliron, was the only instrument he studied the lyranthe?

The lyranthe is the more difficult instrument - and has the most tonal harmonics. This is the instrument that takes music to its most high art, on Athera. Therefore, it is played by the more accomplished musicians. The other instruments are available - and for the most part, played.

A bard with a lyranthe can make a symphony unto himself. Which is why it is the preferred, for solo performance.

What is the nature of bond between Arithon and Elaira which formed early in the series?
When Arithon and Elaira went into trance, they forged an energetic, empathic bond - by the fundamental truth of their Named being, tapped into each other to access the mysteries, and in so doing, dissolved their individual boundaries, one to the other. Anything that occurs, in linkage with the True Self (Named being) would translate through into physical manifestation. This means: they are energetically corded deeply enough that intense feelings, and some intense thoughts became empathic between them. If one dies, the other will not be affected, except for the fact the partner would share awareness of the crossing.
Are there parallels between the Odyssey and Arithon's trials in Kewar?

You Asked - I loved the Odyssey as a child - to me, it is "true epic" in that - the main character's choices and encounters reflect the fabric of the whole society he lived in - and he "broke" every rule of honor he had, as a human, while defining the meaning and staying true to the principle behind it. Not like the classic tale of "good vs. evil" but more a definition is why is "good" a state of being worth striving for, again and again.

Arithon's trials in Kewar were not (consciously) any sort of parallel, although I too, aspire to write a "true epic"

To me, his re encounter with his past choices was all about seeing him match his triumphs and his failures with his OWN sense of his self worth. Where he failed to live up to what he believed he "should be" - where he had thought he had, but was self blinded - the maze laid all bare.

Triumph in the maze IS whether the individual has the character to accept the full range of themselves - their strengths on equal footing with their failures. It is about holding self-value in the face of being human - and it is about being strong enough to change vantage.

If you see the Odyssey as Odysseus' trials of character, on the field and on his way home to his wife - about his failures that also forged his strengths - then the two stories would in fact run parallel.

Failure in the maze is about denial or acceptance of self. The strong character acknowledges honest (and dishonest!) failures, and learns self forgiveness.

To me, I think that is the hardest course of learning, in being human....if we cannot assess, judge, and finally forgive and change, we certainly cannot handle doing that, with regard to others.

I don't understand why Arithon encountered certain events within Kewar and not others. Can you explain how the maze chose what events to portray for him to re-live?

This is a pretty straightforward dynamic - Arithon and Mak s'Ahelas were emotionally corded (tied) by unfinished business - for the childhood incident - he'd have perhaps had residual resentment, anger - over the incident with Jorey. Therefore he'd see the connections in their entirety. Same with his decision to leave for Karthan. His grandfather's grief had lasting impact, would have perhaps seeded regret. A choice made, and its impacts - if there was Anything hooking it active - would create a reaction in the energies of the maze.

In the case of Asandir - this is a Fellowship Sorcerer who received his magic from the Dragons....there would not be emotional cording, period. A Sorcerer's defenses are far, far more extensive. Fellowship are a law unto themselves - not the same as Adepts, not the same as Paravians - though they can interact and perceive and even, wield the same forces with similar clarity, their powers are different.

A Fellowship interaction with Arithon would therefore affect Arithon - what his personal conscience and belief-in-hindsight made of it - such a relationship is not going to carry the same dynamic!!! as a family tie, or as with Mak also, one of a mentor/student that is based on interaction through human initiate talent.

Why did Arithon "see" into Asandir's insight at Athir? Because there was a blood binding made, that "tied" his promise to the Sorcerer - an active link which made an energetic tie - and a powerful one - the impact could not do other than deflect the energies of the maze in reflection, for the moment as the binding was made, Arithon "saw" into Asandir's awareness - saw himself, as the Sorcerer saw, for that instant, and ONLY as it pertained to the sense of HIS PERSONAL belief as it concerned his self image -

Kewar reflects that in a person that is NOT RECONCILED. It is impersonal - does not care What reason creates the sand in the pearl. If the person did not reach self-acceptance on ANY act, relationship, belief, idea - that would reflect until it was reintegrated.

That which is claimed, owned in full, or reconciled never arises. Those things which are "good" that don't "fit" the image - the person "believes" of themself - if they feel they "did not deserve" or that the caring they showed was not "enough" to meet their own image of who they felt they were at the time - likewise the maze reflects....so kindnesses that don't reconcile will reflect as UNRECONCILED - and they will be shown for what they are - acts of love that were real, and true.

Example: Arithon felt enormous grief and guilt at Madreigh's death - all he gave or was in return was not "enough" - the death was unreconciled, still held in shame.

But the other side of the dynamic did not reconcile - Madreigh died content. He gave himself willingly to spare Jieret; and was given, and grateful for, the reprieve of a pain free passing. Arithon felt only the guilt - therefore, Madreigh appeared to return the same gift - to grant the clean crossing once given him.

Arithon had owned the impact of the death and the grief -- but he had not owned the positive impact of his own sacrifice, his own caring, in participating in the event.

All that is disowned - unreconciled - left unresolved, the maze will reflect. The self's opinion and judgment of the self -- If the person's self image takes on responsibility for - identifies with - someone else's experience - then it IS the self's opinion on the event that imprints the reactive properties of the maze.

Why didn't Arithon s'Ffalenn encounter Caolle in Kewar Tunnel?
If you recall the passages in Fugitive Prince, where it happened, Caolle DID forgive Arithon while still alive. In addition, there was also mention in Grand Conspiracy of a formal, written exoneration given Arithon from his Caithdein - for Caolle's death... the scene on the s'Brydion Galley, if my mind recalls exactly. Arithon, also, finally, accepted his debt to Caolle's sacrifice.... He told Jieret so, in the cave by the Aiyenne - and I believe, it was referred to as well just before his entry into Kewar itself. Therefore, as a responsibility already consciously accepted, Caolle did not appear that way. Kewar took into reckoning and accounting only those things that were NOT consciously handled.
Can you tell us what happened to Kamridian s'Ffalenn in Kewar Tunnel?
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?

Why did you write a scene where both Lysaer and Sulfin Evend were naked?
(The mentioned scene between Sulfin Evend and Lysaer,) seen on "one level" can be read in one narrow way -- yet -- it is not a physical scene in its implication, one bit. The camouflage (clothing) is off the ideas and the characters...and the conversation and revelation, and the honesty of their interaction, therefore, stripped utterly naked.

It was a complete leveling of the field, precisely as stated. Lysaer issued challenge: he IS 'justice' in accord with his gift in that moment. Sulfin Evend accepted the terms without reservation.

I do nothing without purpose.

If this had been a "physical" scene, you'd have been given that at ONLY that level. This book, as a whole, has more areas that risk being interpreted at the least discerning/most common denominator, even though I made every effort to widen the imposed boundaries of ofttimes rigid ideas. (bare skin = sexual context)

So I appreciate seeing the various ways in which different readers make the scenes "their's" - it helps me to know in more clarity what may need to be 'restated' later, in broader context - so that the rest of the series can more clearly unfold with the intricacy of its full design.

There is no judgment call, here - you will see what you want or expect, to experience....until another twist or turn of the story rips off the mask you were wearing...

On another count --

I wonder, a bit - if anyone's "opinion" of Asandir shifted, through this one....it was a serendipity that discussion of this character arose, Exactly as I was writing the unfolding scenes at Althain Tower.
How should we understand each character's actions in the context of the larger story?
A reader needs to assess the trustworthiness and scope of the character in the story who is reacting, or speaking - how much do THEY know, how clear is THEIR vision, how uncluttered THEIR agenda, concerning the event they are responding to.

It would be significant to examine, where sweeping conclusions are drawn CONCERNING THE FELLOWSHIP - that those conclusions are LYSAER'S. How many of those "opinions" were inadvertently echoed, or picked up, and carried forward - due to you readers' assumptions?

That the Fellowship answered Lysaer's conclusive statements with silence - not refutation - how does the READER presume to interpret that silence?

And, if you do so dare - if the observer/reader felt the silence IMPLIED the Fellowship accepting that accusation (did it really!?!) They've now shared a decision with Lysaer. Accepted his stance. If the observer/reader assumes his stance is their truth, they've engaged choice - if they bought his stance without thought, that too, was a choice - they chose to take a character's judgment at face value, and not to think - in free will. Perhaps because the reader/observer identified with Lysaer's anger - perhaps because they identified with or allied themself with, one of Lysaer's shared frustrations. More likely because (in the moment's convenience) they, as reader, lacked the imagination to look beyond the limited baggage that concensus society holds as knee jerk, taught moral "truth."

Free will choice made in an alliance of sympathy can in fact create a viciously closed mind.

The open mind questions - that is choice brought up to conscious awareness. Lysaer decided that he KNEW. The Fellowship allowed him his (hurtful, to them! And to him!) decision in total Free will.

Can you tell us more about your characters and their fates? Are some "good" and others "bad"?
Lysaer is a very dynamic character - his strengths, played against his flaws, and his denials are not going to make a "tame" situation. Any character next to him (that has a tiny iota of intelligence and honesty) is going to HAVE to choose to respond.

One with the creative intelligence to be a tactical commander can't be a puppet - so any character who had Sulfin Evend's role WHO SURVIVED THE COURSE would naturally have to grow.

Few characters in this series are "spear carriers" - one of the ways you will know which ones aren't - they will have a sense of "past" to them. And this one did, right from the get go.

He had presence, too - ones that come in with that are going to develop (like Raiett did).

But none in Lysaer's inner circle are going to stay inert. They will either go the route of Sulfin Evend - or they will be used (like some you saw meet their downfall.)

Where there is power, there must be responsibility - or something else will step in to claim the primary role that is abdicated.

Asandir said it neatly in Vol. I - Power without wisdom eventually destroys itself.

I can't stand a book wherein one side is "good" and has all the intelligence, and one side is "bad" and is run by fools.

Therefore, there will be greedy man, ambitious men, AND loyal, upright, caring characters in all situations.

Sulfin Evend just stepped in to that role, as Diegan's natural successor.
Athera and Splinter Worlds
I'm looking at the map of Athera. Where's the equator?

The equator is south of the continent of Paravia, by a bit, yet.
Can you tell us how Athera compares with Earth as a planet, in terms of distance, scale, and composition?

The scale of Athera is in leagues (3 miles to one league)Los Lier to Corith is about 850 leagues distance. (Crow fly measure)

Athera herself: she is smaller than Earth, but has more substance: more iron at her core. More axial tilt - therefore, more extreme shifts in season, north to south - the climate shifts are therefore more extreme; she has a stronger magnetic field as well.

When does the year change in the Atheran calendar?

Year Changes on Athera are marked on winter solstice - timing specific of the astronomical event would have been Paravian - in towns, such precision was not necessary, or observed. Therefore, season change and year change would correlate to Noon (zenith sun sight) in the locale of the recording observer.

Is famine a problem on Athera?

Have you SEEN any "starving subservient peasants" in the course of the manuscript? It isn't rather the Atherans' "colored view of Earth's history" happening but (NO slur at you or anyone, just general authorial observation) what coloration comes to the "story" is in the eyes of the READERS.

Athera does not have a starvation problem, nor disease as we know it "here." The rule is not "medieval" one whit, as evinced by the oaths taken - the High Kings are in SERVICE to the people not the people in service to the High King....the King's justice in fact functions differently.

This world's "boundaries" are vibrational ones...this also explains WHY disease is less prevalent - and more in some areas than others.

Survival on Athera is NOT at stake - and where on Athera, in the manuscript, was there one little place that depicted the problem....what areas of difficulty you did see (the children conscripted by the knackers in Vol. I) were created by POLITICAL lines....look carefully and notice Which cities you see street children....the clues are all quite in view and self evident. If your eyes are not presuming, in which case, you will assume what you see --

What are the names of the five towers at Ithamon?
The Compass Points, or Sun Towers are as follows:
  • North, Alathwyr, white with alabaster combing, its binding quality being Wisdom.
  • East - Dunlaithe - black granite and obsidian, with a black tourmaline finial, its binding quality being endurance, or the Paravian concept of Honor.
  • South - Lilaere - rose quartz, its binding quality, Grace
  • West, Kieling, green jasper, its binding quality, Compassion.
The fifth tower, at the city's height, was Daelthain, the King's Tower, its binding power being Justice (and so, Law) - this one at the time of the story is fallen to its foundation.
When observed from the outside, what kind of distances are we talking for the diameter of an average grimward's protected area?
From the outside, they're not terribly large - though they do vary. The smallest is about a half a league; the larger ones five to ten. (These are diameters).

There is scale in leagues on the map.

Where is the eighteenth grimward which Sethvir is holding secure?

The eighteenth grimward is not located on the surface of Athera.
What would happen if the Desh-thiere's wraiths got tossed into a grimward?
You already have half the question answered for you in the books: a spirit unshielded by flesh in a grimward becomes subsumed, its consciousness of itself gets totally annihilated.

Desh-thiere's intelligence IS made up of spirits, every one of them stripped of the flesh...

Result of this ignorant and reckless experiment, if any one was a fool enough to try: the grimward's vortex gets bigger...

Why Sethvir had to destabilize the wardings on the one that thirty eight Hanshire guardsmen "died" in...and why Asandir nearly lost his life, "containing" the shift in the vortex from within until the last survivor blundered his way clear...
Is it possible to obtain a larger scale map of Paravia?

Enlarged version of Athera map: send a self addressed envelope with POSTAGE attached, and a request, to

Janny Wurts
5824 Bee Ridge Road
PMB 106
Sarasota, FL 34233

This map offer is no big deal, and NOT fancy - Think of it as a working copy - it will consist of two photocopied sheets you will have to fit together - and can be folded into a regular business stationery envelope (#10 will do nicely). One first class US stamp, or for Europe, two International Reply Coupons (for those outside of the US, these should be in the approximate amount of USD $1.60, which is usually 2 coupons). Airmail, foreign, is .80 per half ounce, and the mailing requires at least an ounce because I put goodies in..

The original map measures 36 inches to the long side, and is quite impossible to reproduce without a blueprint copy machine. Therefore, for the purpose of these requests, I had the size reduced, and do it in "two takes" on our regular office copier.

It comes out bigger and clearer than the little one in the book, but is by no means "frameable" - just practical.

How did the Mistwraith spread across Paravia? What were the last bastions of sunlight?
There was a very long period wherein the Mistwraith was fought, contained, fought, recontained - the line of its advance happened in stages, and sunlight was not totally lost, everywhere, for several generations.

Sanpashir and Selkwood were the last holdouts on the continent.
Does Athera have a history outside the First, Second and Third Ages?
Yup - First, Second and Third Ages - are only a FRAGMENT sliver of Atheran history, in total. Drakish histories extend back WAY further. (They covered the Era of Destruction, which followed AFTER the Era of Creation - Paravian arrival marked the Opening of the Era of Redemption, of which there were Seven Ages...)
Can you tell us more about methsnakes?
What animated the (aberrated) biological body of the Methsnakes did not have the capacity to EVOLVE in awareness - this differentiates them from other "alive beings". There are further complexities behind this - try not to oversimplify... (smile)
What is the nature of the old stones at Avenor?
These stones ARE awake, but not in the same sense as the lady's in Jaelot. They were participants with the Centaur Guardians, and held their magics and certain standing patterns for two ages. Unseating them has had an effect.
What could ever induce a person to enter Kewar Tunnel by free choice? Why would a Paravian feel the need to face the Tunnel?
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 responsibility... a right stranglehold of a paradox that has been among us for as long as humans have had thought and concept of order.

Which floor of Althain Tower is Sethvir's quarters?
Off the top of MY head - the fifth floor is NOT Sethvir's living quarters...

Althain Tower has nine stories. ("Nine stories" to me, says nine levels above ground. Thus, Althain Tower would follow the European methodology: Cellar, Ground Floor, 1st level, etc.)

  • Ground level holds the Paravian statuary and the main gate entry.
  • The cellar holds the focus circle.
  • Second Floor is the storerooms.
  • Top, or ninth floor is the Library.
  • Third holds the King's Chamber.
  • 7th floor has Sethvir's chess table, where Dakar fell asleep prior to Kharadmon's rude summons, in Mistwraith.

Ath's Adept goes downstairs to a guest quarters, from the King's Chamber, which would mean, first level, (for the reader, by extrapolation; somewhere I had a scrappie of paper that mapped the tower, but she's done buried, and deep too!)

My off the top sense is that Sethvir's quarters are fourth floor - but I need a direct reference for this, if I can find it... I seriously doubt it'd be fifth, since I know the sense of what should be there... not a living quarters!!

Who built the four the four Worldsend Gates?
The Gates - were Fellowship built. Look to the underlying "four directions" - there is lots and lots of meaning to this, mostly found in indigenous culture, though Christianity's archangels, four of them, carry the same underlying energy. There are reasons and reasons for everything. I CAN say - none of the gate worlds were ever inhabited by humanity - any human presence would have originated through the settlement permitted by Compact on Athera. If this answer seems maddeningly obtuse - there is a lot of the story yet to go...
When exactly did the Fellowship exile people through South Gate?
Exile through South Gate, for those who chose to pursue the Compact's forbidden technologies, would have happened before creation of the Mistwraith.
Can you tell us more about the worlds beyond South Gate before the creation of Desh-thiere? Why did the Koriani never choose to leave Athera?

The question ties to the function of Southgate itself, and its intent: to provide a "free will" escape from the constrictions of the compact.

Primarily the worlds past south gate were chosen for expansion of "technologies" that held the potential to shift planetary resonance. Machines that could "level mountains" - clear-cut forests - develop weapons of mass destruction - change the day/night balance of the light on a world - all these (and many more) would apply.

Therefore, what went through southgate would not return unless a wisdom accompanied, that understood the full scope of resonant cause to consequence. This is not a linear function. It is dimensional, and frequency based.

The frequency of the environment on the otherside of southgate would not readily support certain forms of "magic" - power and control based would not function with nearly the same range of potency. Therefore, Koriathain would avoid going where their powers would be "lessened."

Next - their jewels. Would not function as powerfully as they do in Athera; and the knowledge stored IN them - would be "cleared" by the gates forces. To take a focus jewel through - would erase its records; clear it. A focus jewel set as record keeper on the other side - brought back by an adept - would be cleared; and the adept, understanding resonant causation, would have no REASON to base themselves in a technological paradigm....

The events at the time of the compact were COMPLEX...a right tangle of politics and messy issues on the human side, and a frank dilemma, on the Fellowship's. Koriathain came to Athera and settled by CHOICE - they were, and remain, piqued, that they were not party to the formation of the compact. The compact permitted them to hold their records in crystal - it would be a straight violation to access them with intent to make them manifest in Any other form. Accessing a record from crystal - no work for a novice! Only the highest levels of administrative rank could do so....and in the case of the Waystone, and certain depths of the Skyron, at this time, only the Prime.

Therefore - why be Koriani and go through Southgate, and effectively, place yourself in an environment where your powers are, if not stripped, then vastly reduced...and you can't take your records that are technology based to recreate them...take yourself back to the 'magical' stone age and start from 'scratch' - in a technology oriented society...would you? The entire oath taking/initiation system they hold as their "order" would break down....and their PRIMARY reason for existing would be lost, irrevocably....their fundamental purpose is in the books...

Can you tell us more about Marak, where the Mistwraith originates?
The Order of Events as actual was this:
  1. Marak's world had no mists.
  2. The Fellowship created the gates (Southgate leads through another world to Marak, much as the West Gate leads to the world of the Red Desert through another to Dascen Elur)
  3. Those who INSISTENTLY kept reinventing technologies that required NO frequency based knowledge or awareness to invoke power and control = mass destruction - chose exile.
  4. Their "science" began the process that eventually created Desh-thiere.
  5. A bleed-thru happened - an attempt to combine the End Result of initiate awareness with tech based appliance. It backfired, and badly - the planet of Marak lacked the electromagnetics to support it.
  6. What you got.....

The scenes in the novel(s) that detail the creation of the Mistwaith are sketchily shown (at this point) in Warhost when Kharadmon returns to Althain Tower.

Why are the Worldsend Gates important? And why didn't the Koriani ever choose to leave through one of the Gates?

The "splinter worlds" were gate linked to Athera at the time that the compact was designed and accepted, as PART OF mankind's grant of sanctuary.

The fine points are both simple and complex.

Athera is a high resonance planet, has to be, to support Paravian survival, and even, to enable the lives of the dragons who first evolved there. Not every human refugee WANTED the changes required to live there....not every human was suited to life as it would need to be lived. Not every human, in short, desired to align with the lifestyle required by the compact, which was a set guideline to protect Athera from experiencing a downward spiral in frequency.

Each gate has two worlds - a "first" world, which acts as a buffer, and a second, which served as a destination. Paravians might visit the buffer for short periods. (Recall that they live without entropy) The terms on the buffer worlds were a little looser.

The destination worlds allowed complete free choice existence. No law or restriction in frequency was in place.

When humans settled Athera, not Everyone came. Those that DID accepted the terms of the compact. The loss of unrestricted land use DID have benefits: humans on Athera seldom fall sick from debilitating disease (did you not notice??? Talera s'Ahelas died of fever on Dascen Elur, but had she lived on Athera, she would likely not have perished of disease) The very few instances of "sick" you have seen were confined to Etarra and Jaelot (or other areas where lane flows were disturbed. (The Mayor's gout, a jailer's cold, Halliron's brief cold all occurred in Jaelot's proximity, and the flow to that focus circle is flat messed up)

Each destination world had to be CAREFULLY chosen. It had to accept human habitation by free will. Dascen Elur in particular had very little inhabitable land mass - it was largely open ocean. (Reasons for this, and also reasons why the buffer world was predominantly a mineral desert)

Each of the gate worlds had a purpose, as "escape valve" for specific things -- South Gate was where technology was permitted to develop.

The immediate question: why should the Koriathain NOT have gone to a gate world -- is easily answered -- because their "magic" worked FAR MORE STRONGLY on Athera. They stayed for the power. That simple. Stayed for the power, and but always were resentful they could not make full use, as they pleased.

So - now you know the gate worlds permitted, even if in mosaic fashion, free expression of human free will - in such a way that Athera could remain undamaged - then you may be able to peer into the cracks of this tale and extrapolate some of the extenuating politics.....:-)

The gates, and the splinter worlds, were Fellowship workings - with a degree of partnership from the Paravians, since their world was the one subject to the effect by the prospect of human settlement.

Dascen Elur was a far flung set of islands, inhabited by a varied set of cultures who had to work together to trade to maintain their quality of life. It had a few spots where resonance was magic-friendly - and Dari s'Ahelas obviously would choose to settle there. Her issue remained.

Amroth - where s'Ilessid stayed, was the largest population center - and a prince whose gift was justice would naturally gravitate to that place.

The more sensitive s'Ffalenn heir chose the peacefully isolate, out of the way beauty of the original Karthan.

I have always warned that the complexity of Athera's fabric is wider and larger than this story reflects - or even, than all the points in this story can illuminate. Take care not to oversimplify as you play with the concepts.

The gates and splinter worlds, their makeup and function, were anything but simple in designed intent. To view the Law of the Major Balance on Athera, and man's FREE place in the pattern, the gates and splinter worlds must be taken into account.

Does anybody on Dascen Elur know about Paravia? I'd assume the mages at Rauven do, but what about the other people? And if so, what is the extent of their knowledge of it?

Most of the recorded knowledge (archived and reliable) about Paravia on Dascen Elur is at Rauven. Dari's transcribed histories are the source material. The knowledge is not common, specifically due to Dari's aware viewpoint....she was not only highly trained, but a talent with a rogue gift. For this reason, access to Rauven's inner libraries is not "free" to anyone.

The other areas only hold fragments - largely lapsed into legend. There is a reason for this - it has to do with the course of that world's settlement, and the fact that written knowledge of Paravia really wasn't relevant to the purpose of the relatively small number (think outpost) of people living there at the time of the directional sealing of the Gate.

How did the blood feud between s'Ilessid and s'Ffalenn originate?

Dascen Elur is a world of oceans, with small population, and widely scattered volcanic archipelagoes. Communication was slow and difficult, with all goods carried by ship. With no major continents to break up the wind, weather patterns were dangerous, quick to change, and the dangerously fierce storms could cause widespread damage. Fishing was a major staple; salt fish, in particular, carried folk through winter where soil was stony and crops subject to storm damage. Spruce forests on the mountainous slopes and the straight trees in protected valleys were used for ship building, and the houses warmed by gathering peat or sea weed.

The s'Ahelas lineage had been trained to the rudiments of power by Althain's Warden. Upon their small islet, the descendents made craft their byword and their trade.

S'Ilessid had the largest population and the wealthiest holding of land, best protected for agriculture.

Karthan and s'Ffalenn had very little arable land, and the severe storms at the wrong season often caused the crops at low elevation to fail. So they made their way by using what timber they grew to build ships, and move trade goods by sea in exchange for coin to buy what they needed.

The inception of the feud did not involve the royal houses at all, at first, but began when a grain merchant engaged s'Ffalenn ships to move a surplus crop to another islet. This merchant was subject to Amroth, from the largest island in the richest archipelago ruled under s'Ilessid. The grain shipment was outbound for smaller islet where crops had failed due to drought, also subject to s'Ilessid, and under the royal treasury's auspice, and funded by Amroth's council as relief to the realm's subjects caught in hardship.

The grain delivery was accomplished in the teeth of a rising storm, and the sacks of barley, oats and wheat placed into a dockside warehouse. The stores should have been removed to the security of high ground immediately, but the factor's son in charge of the lading was injured in the rushed unloading, and the underling who took over for him made off with a portion of the shipment for blackmarket profit. To hide his nefarious tracks, he got the overseer drunk, and paid off a corrupted harbor official. So the rest of the grain languished at harborside, and the s'Ffalenn captain, ignorant of skulduggery, had already laid his deepwater vessel offshore to escape the dangers of riding out a bad gale in an exposed, inadequate anchorage.

His ship rode out the storm elsewhere and returned to Karthan, unaware of anything amiss.

The grain in the warehouse molded, dampened by leaks from a storm-damaged roof. In desperate efforts to hide the mishandling and the shortfall due to theft, in fact to deny the fact that the relief grain had arrived at all, the guilty parties jettisoned the spoilage in the harbor by night to avoid vigilante justice at the hands of the hungry. The lading lists, the records, all documents appertaining to the shipment were destroyed; and in the famine that raked the isle, many of the key witnesses sickened and died.

Karthan sent to the King of Amroth to collect its due fee for shipping; and s'Ilessid paid in good faith; while the islet suffered, unknown to anyone, until the desperate appeal reached Port Royal that folk suffered, with children dead, and no relief grain received to ease their condition.

A s'Ilessid cousin was dispatched to investigate. He was received by officials unaware they were covering a lying colleague's dishonesty. No grain had been delivered, they insisted. No paperwork existed in the harbor master's office.

A now angry delegation was sent to Karthan to demand redress, not just for payment for a delivery paid for by the royal treasury, that was apparently never made, but to claim blood fee for the dead, and fines to settle the devastated islanders, with the additional demand for another shipload of grain to replace the one (apparently) absconded at sea.

S'Ffalenn denied all charges. Under questioning their captain swore he had made a proper delivery. The time of year being winter, there was no surplus grain in Karthan to spare, and Karthan's wealth, being ships, the demand in gold was too great to pay, even had there been cause for redress.

The quarrel grew heated. The s'Ilessid ambassador sailed back, unsatisfied, but bearing the original ship's log, and the stamped excise papers with the island factor's sign off for receipt of the shipment.

The ambassador was murdered in Port Royal, enroute to the s'Ilessid King, and the papers he carried disappeared. Whether this was the unrelated work of footpads, or the long reach of the corrupt island official, who now feared to hang for treason, is not clear.

But a second delegation, by two of the royal family, was sent from Amroth to Karthan to demand immediate redress. Without the original proof, the s'Ffalenn decided there was no way to swear to their honesty without sending their own ambassador to the King of Amroth, so both parties set sail together for Port Royal, including two sons of s'Ffalenn descent to earnestly match the two sons of Amroth's king, returning empty-handed to their father.

Mishap struck at sea, a common occurrence with Dascen Elur's violent weather. All four royal sons died of bad food from spoiled ship's stores. The bodies were heaved overboard by the captain, who ordered his ship, and his sickened crew, back to Karthan.

Amroth's s'Ilessid king was told by a corrupt council member that his sons had been murdered by a bribed councilman, paid off by the blackmarketeer on the islet. Both royal houses were devastated with grief, and for their own reasons, stayed annoyed with each other – s'Ilessid, believing s'Ffalenn corruption had caused a whole islet's population to suffer cruel deprivation, and s'Ffalenn, for believing they had been set up, since the original state papers had vanished in Amroth's capitol with no explanation.

Negotiations broke down again over the grain, and s'Ilessid's response was a demand, in coin or in kind, for damages to both the islet domain's families, AND now the royal house, for two sons dead on a s'Ffalenn ship. Reparation was promised if the settlement was not paid immediately in full.

Another meeting was attempted, with discord and hot words on both sides, and again, the issue was clouded by the dishonest factor who ditched the grain, and the harbor officials on the islet, now terrified to disclose the (likely) unsavory truth, with royal deaths involved on both sides.

The end result raised contention enough to send an army out of Amroth, which invaded the sparsely populated archipelago of Karthan and sowed the fields with salt to punish its villagers in like fashion for the starvation of Amroth's cheated subjects.

So began the feuding between the kingdoms on Dascen Elur, which lasted until the last s'Ffalenn prince was exiled through the Worldsend Gate. A peace was accomplished – with the eventual annexation of Karthan as a subordinate colony under Amroth's crown.
Beliefs, Magic, and Music
How do magical forces work on Athera?
There are "layers" to the access to magical forces on Athera - the most direct, are direct; the middle ground uses objects that can act as bridge to create those vibrations (crystal) and the least direct are done through use of symbols which invoke sympathetic vibration. Frequency raised directly into higher vibration, or frequency invoked by harmonic octave. One is a mastery, the other a rote.
Can you tell us more about the consciousness of quartz crystals?

Quartz crystals are piezoelectric. They can, by their physical nature, gather, hold, release, and pattern the release, of electrons. Your computer uses this property.

Depending WHAT FREQUENCY a quartz crystal is emanating would change the overall effect....they can react to a far greater range of the electromagnetic spectrum than our physical abilities have measuring systems to detect.

So, the physical properties of quartz would extend and descend above and below the range of our measuring devices....they would therefore, concentrate, store, focus, amplify - into frequency beyond the physical.

You as a consciousness "think" and there is an electrical pulse crossing the synapses of your brain. Where there is current, there will be a magnetic field....therefore thinking creates and generates an electromagnetic field. Quartz, being reactive, reacts...this is straight physics.

Now, what "chooses' to think - what directs? the nature of those thoughts - what therefore, originates the CHOICE of what pattern of electromagnetic field will be created.


At what frequency does consciousness express itself??? What kind of "field" is generated, by choice of thought, choice of belief, choice of "limitation and boundary" - defined by what is "true" or "Not true" - what creates the boundary?

Our eyes and ears and sense of smell ARE frequency based. We have "limits" on how far into the ultra violet and infra red we "see" - yet - birds see into the ultra violet, where we can't. Other creatures sense frequency where we can't. To us, those frequencies "do not exist" unless we bolster our observing and measuring device beyond what the "eye" can observe.

Light travels in wave form - and particle form. What determines which is detected? The classic quantum experiment - where the photon is "observed" passing through a slit by a human - and it is "seen" as a point. Where it is "unobserved" and recorded by camera - the film shows a hazy arc of exposure - the "photon" unobserved was a "wave" - not a point.

The observer creates the point of view. This has been proven beyond question.

We are the prisoners of our observing and measuring devices (physical biology, extended by whatever measuring apparatus we invent to extend the range of view)

Well, the spectrum extends ABOVE and BELOW that range that we've found means to measure.

At what frequency IS consciousness "recordable" - how fine a point of expression can it have, IF we could "see past" the limitations we currently have?

At what frequency would a Quartz crystal express what it WAS - it's individual beingness - NOT what it was influenced to "reflect" - - -

A crystal from Earth or Imarn Adaer would not be less....

The compact was a "boundary" imposed to preserve the mysteries on Athera....in physics, think of interference patterns. If you mix a low frequency with a very high one - the result will be a frequency IN BETWEEN.

Play in harmony or play out of harmony - you will create different patterns of interference - low notes mixed with high notes will change the interference pattern. If the low frequencies are IN RESONANCE they will reinforce the pattern. If they are OUT of resonance, they will break up the pattern, and create a different one. And different harmonics will emerge.

"Forced mastery" - a harmonic frequency OUT OF PHASE with the frequency of a quartz crystal's natural resonance.

What determines awareness - HOW WELL DO YOU LISTEN? and at what range.

Simply: the frequency and harmonic pattern that enable Paravians to be what they are, to exist - Athera's harmonic pattern of frequency - "holds" the resonance that enables the mysteries.

Change that - introduce too strong, or too many conflicting patterns - that resonance will "break" and reform.

I think this should allow you to extrapolate some of what you were wondering about. I put it on a physics footing, since that seemed the direction you were asking from.

Consciousness emanates patterns of frequency - how fine are you able to "see" - how aware is the originator of such a pattern - of their own pattern, first, and of interaction with others? Is what you are "imposing" in phase or out of phase...the crystal reacts, regardless.

Now, if the two are "in phase" -- in harmonic intent - (permission) you'd get more boost to your signal, yes? If both are in accord you'd get a more refined transmission - the string plucked and fretted at JUST the right point brings harmonics into phase - and you have a more resonant instrument....one that has been played for years, the wood aligns in resonance to the tones - and you have "better tone" - better alignment, and cleaner transmission...a more resonant sound=more range of frequency, as defined by emergent harmonics.

Like tuning a radio dial to "hear" stations - frequencies - how wide is the bandwidth? Your radio dial stops at a lower point and an upper one - but the spectrum does NOT stop. Only the bandwidth available to that radio does...

This determines the nature of HOW any source of consciousness (Koriani or otherwise) will "interact" with the "mysteries" or the frequency bandwidth available on Athera - and "served" and "preserved" by the compact.

There's a bit more complexity to this - as choice gets added into the mix - based on the limitations held by the one making the "choice." But the foundational premise is most consistent.

Why silk to wrap the acorns or crystals in?
It has esoteric properties. Symbolically - there is meaning, silk is a cloth woven from an organic thread that is the stuff of cocoons... If silk had not been available, leather could have served the same function. But it's bulkier, heavier, harder to bundle and tie. Silk has antistatic properties, too, doesn't it? Look at its relationship vis-a-vis electricity.
What is Ath Creator?
Ath Creator is - the all that has no bounds.
How did you come up with the "religious" aspect of your books?
Straight into a loaded topic, indeed.

I get mail like this - and I always answer this way. I am writing a work of FICTION. If you see something in this that you find has meaning to you and your beliefs - lovely. If you see something that makes you mad, good too. Take your stand. If you are moved to see beyond what you know, or find a bit of beauty or some insight into an ugliness - great. If you are just reading a story - fine as well.

This is as you make it - if the story opens a door or makes you question - well, life at its best is an exploration. Works of fiction can provoke exploration.

For Athera's paradigm - this has been explicitly and quite tightly defined in the topic on this board - look it up, respond there if you like. Make your comparisons as you wish. Let's keep the FICTION separate...

Now, Athera behind - what do I believe personally?

Well, I have put a LOT of study and thought into this. And here is what I have found, looking at cultures from all areas of the world, and all walks of life. And through direct experience, which is the better yardstick, because it shifts discernment.

The first thing I have found is that, once there is a 'system' of belief, there are limits, and there is, therefore a limit implied or placed on the concept of 'god' (which is already limited, since the very language has chosen is a 'gender' specific word...does 'whatever it IS' have gender???...if so, which ONE - now that, to me, starts feeling absurd...I feel that irreverent laughter bubbling up...just the idea of the "conversation in heaven" at the momentous MOMENT of decision - which gender...hey? Better think! It's for ETERNITY!!!!

(smile - this is a JOKE! ok?)

And there, logic tangles very badly, because if 'whatever it IS' out there (or in here, or everywhere) has no limits - our minds can't grasp it anyway. Our senses don't speak widely enough. Our 'logic' must order everything - and the "All" would have in it more than order...more than logic...beyond understanding.


There seem to be two major "belief sets" going within human experience - is everything 'alive' (and conscious, but not necessarily humanly conscious) or is everything 'dead' - just things.

That choice of belief right there creates two entirely different sets of ethics, and people kill over it.

Now, there are two more belief sets - are Human Beings inherently good - or inherently 'evil'

Is "what ever IT is" compassionate (and we create our own trials) or is "whatever it is" punitive in nature?

If it's punitive - hey, you better get it right before you croak! And For Their Own Good, so must everybody else!

If it's compassionate - who makes the sickness and suffering?

Past that one - Is it limited to what we can PROVE or is it beyond that? (limit, or not a limit at all?)

Now, the belief set splits again:

One says, your "suffering has value" and the other, your suffering is self made and you'll stop when you decide to stop....which means, getting conscious of why you chose to twist yourself into a knot to start with - or were 'taught' that it was necessary - or encountered your first belief it was not a choice at all. "Too bad, you're stuck. That's Just Life. Misery Happens. Accept it." Why'd you buy that one? What if it wasn't true? If you bought it, you'd never EVER know, because you'd never look beyond...never question.

Acceptance implies a limit, doesn't it?

"Ask and you will be answered."

What if you never thought or dared, to ask?

Choice - or not choice.

Put up With It, or Grow Out of It.

One set of beliefs has limits. The other does not.

One is a "closed box" - the other an open door.

One makes human beings puppets in a "dead" world, the other makes humans free beings in a living one.

One is static in nature, the other infinitely creative.

If you have a punitive god, life is awful unless you are Good.

If you have a compassionate god, you are, inherently, allowed the power to choose to make life beautiful...and the very compassion that allows the beauty would love enough to allow free CHOICE to create the ugliness too.

Which world do I want to live in? Which world do you? Each person can choose what to believe.

There are bits of the shining whole in all of the 'systems' - but as systems that must be made to fit into a conceptualized human framework, they by their very nature can't touch the bigger framework. To think otherwise - would imply a fixed limit!

What do I believe? That our reality is VERY fluid. I have seen things happen that no 'system' could explain. Therefore, and I can't convince anyone else, nor would try - I don't think there are limits to our existence. I experience a creative, loving, compassionate BEING with the astonishing capacity to allow us to be as we wish to be. And the flexibility to allow us to change what we wish, minute to minute to minute.

I believe human beings are inherently good, and that limited awareness is the source of ugly behavior - limited awareness that is fear. Fear being divided into Abandonment, and or, Separation, at whatever level (physical, emotional, mental or spiritual). And I believe that fear can be healed. Clear out the fear, and the love will manifest by choice.

That last paragraph - yes - is very likely reflected in my work.

I would flinch to see anyone attach any one "system" to me - or my work.

They are better left free to see what they want to see, which is in large part what freedom to explore is all about.
Do "Crossing the Veil" and "Crossing Fate's Wheel" mean the same thing?
No. They are different; the veil is not synonymous with death.
I get confused when I read "Name" in the series. Can you explain what it means?
Name is the actualized word for the unique sense of being of an individual (person or thing) and connotes its singular aliveness.
How do we fit Trued Self into what we know of time and space in the real world?
It is a dimensional concept and can't be jammed straight back down into the linear - Trued Self is outside the veil, guys, beyond time/space.

The DNA is the "instant" signature tag - but the vow invokes the Trued Self...as witness. The oath's power will dissolve at death, but the driving awareness of what has happened is greater...you're not looking at a pinpoint, but a hologram....

It is not the physical that determines the energy, that's UPSIDE DOWN. It's the energy that determines the physical...

You can't measure this paradigm by Newtonian physics!!! Take you right down a dead end street. Have to look at the quantum....I keep telling you to look multi dimensionally - what happens in Kewar in Peril's Gate is in NO way within 4 dimensions...right in your face, that the centaur that WAS there and present "would not fit"

Look at the step Arithon takes to initiate the pattern, and the last step, where he clears the maze through absolution....did he step Anywhere? Physically?

The "lock" upon the fortress at Earle; Davien's Five Centuries Fountain - the "spherical chamber" with no entry, no opening with the welling fountain inside Kewar....yeeps, the examples are myriad.

The Raven Herself and the raven himself...

The adepts and their hostels, and Elaira's direct experience of them...

Asandir's downsteppng the energy at Ithamon, and the flower, and earlier, the briar to the rose, when he greets Maenalle....

Arithon's handling of the grand confluence in the Mathorns....

This story is so seeded with stuff - that's gotten so little discussion.

Myriad examples...

The good news: there will be more in further arcs...grin... it does all connect. But not if you keep trying to jam it into 3 dimensions, inside a measurable cause-effect paradigm of time/space being All there is to the picture.
Is it actually possible for an amethyst to turn into a citrine or, since citrines seem to be his favorite gemstones, does it mean that Davien's been meddling again?
If a natural amethyst is subject to HEAT, it will change to citrine....this happens naturally - it also can be done by "baking" (and is, by some Humans).... Therefore: the shift in the Waystone at this jointure did not involve Davien.
Can you tell us more about vibration, resonance, harmony and intent?

Music is vibration within a certain frequency; frequency specifies energy - light is a higher frequency of vibration - the electromagnetic spectrum is DEFINED by frequency - and more than that. To pin a song to a locale would disturb quite a lot!

There are two factors to consider here:

Resonance, which relates to frequency - when two unlike frequencies collide, a new one is forged out of the mix. Therefore Harmony/harmonics is one component. A new standing wave forms out of the break into chaos, when those two frequencies intermingle. The new 'tonal signature' will be not so "low" as the lower source, and not so "high" as the higher one, but a point in between the two. The higher will lift the lower.

If the two sources are out of harmony, one result; if the two sources are in harmony, or in concert -- another set of harmonics will be struck off - reinforcing both tones.

The second is INTENT, which lies behind any human endeavor: why and for what goal. This sets the boundaries for the forward cascade of event.

Can you tell us more about magical 'unbinding'?
Arithon unbound Ath's order in a piece of matter (the arrow) and paid a grievous price for that.

The drakes were never 'unbound'- in that way, as there was no such thing to 'unbind' - you are dipping into the nature of the drakes themselves, and that is a deep subject indeed.

The Fellowship were given their powers by the drakes - AND - they received *and* subsequently owned their redemption from their living contact with the Paravians. These are the forces that changed them, irrevocably, from what they once were. It is a terrible power they carry - tempered by a grace that is born of ineffable compassion, and far more.

The grimwards guard the ghosts of dead drakes, still dreaming - and their dreams call, and their will spins form, and their desires create without love. Enter into a dragon's dream, fall into "Synch" with it - and the unbinding will not be the drake's, but the one who lost themselves into the spiral.
I'm still confused. Is 'unbinding' the same as 'unmaking'?
There is a profound difference in terminology - my wording was 'unbind' - yours, 'unmake' - the concepts are not one whit the same.

Explaining the nature of the drakes - in a word, I did, as above. To explore that further would lead into the Age of Dragons - and another story, totally. The foundation for understanding that arc is not laid - except by its absence. As you comprehend the Paravians, who were Ath's gift - in their shadow lies the answer to what you are asking to know.

At this moment, I'd prefer to stick to the story at hand, being under deadline. What more pertains will unfold as the tale does; anything else, at this time, is superfluous.

I only have so much time. Rather than spout facts, I'd rather hold the material and use it to unfold another tale. Athera's dragons are not found elsewhere. There are, to my knowledge, no parallel concepts extant in the field at this time.

If you are looking for some weighty theory to 'solve' the Age of Man - it's a dead end maze you are persuing. The solutions are going to come from what is ALREADY set in motion.

The dragons are part of Athera's fabric, but to presume one will "save" the world at this stage would discredit the integrity of every character, and what I have striven to lay down. Deus ex Machina is not my way. I won't lead off onto tangents, never mind whether the information you've asked for exists.

Now smile! I'm not mad - just making my point as clear as I can.

I'd respond the same way, if anyone asked what the opening event of Fourth Age Year One was. (grin)
We have seen a number of different kinds of oaths sworn by characters of Athera. Could you elaborate on these?
The founder's oaths - Arithon's blood oath to Asandir... other sworn attachments on Athera.

All are differ from each other, all are interrelated; it's a matter of scale - a matter of name/and a matter of Name, this is determined by INTENT at the time of the swearing.

Oaths that are promises and attach only to the conscious self awareness of a non mage trained person - the lightest of them, obviously. Whether they are kept, or not, is a matter of sincerity, integrity, and strength (or weakness) of character.

Oaths that attach to crystal - quartz is piezoelectric - it gathers and releases electrons/stores, holds, generates and releases current. Quartz, on its esoteric properties - frozen consciousness. Cannot access itself, as consciousness, but it can relate to other consciousness that is self-aware and fluid - (it can pick up, gather, hold, release electrons - currents - in formation/patterns. Information. It can release - energy. It can access other frequencies, and do the same.)

The physical properties - used in this world, daily, in your lives as quartz driven technology - your clocks and your computers - way of life.

The esoteric properties - go beyond.

Quartz can carry energy outside time/space - extend beyond the veil... so an oath sworn over a crystal in the frequency pattern that is Athera's living matrix form a binding on another level indeed!

Blood oaths - obviously - tie to the individual... tagged to the individual signature - DNA - which is more than its physicalness. New experiments here show that the DNA helix carry electrical current. Run electrical current in a spiral: bingo - electroMAGNETIC - you get a magnetic field. This is the property that drives an electric motor - run current through a coil, create a magnetic field, turn a shaft... so, electricity through DNA will create a specific resistance, and a specific magnetic field... a very very individual signature not only encoded chemically, but into magnetics as well... so a blood oath - on Athera, in the matrix of its frequency - "tags" a person past/present/future/now/then/forever - an attachment invoking Name. (See notes on Name vs. name) A tie to the Truer self. Revokable only by the Truer self.

A blood oath sworn by the Truer self and given over in TRUST to a Sorcerer... get the picture??

A royal oath: ties to the LAND. Read particulars in Mistwraith when Arithon swears RIGHT OF SUCCESSION. Extrapolate yourselves...

The founding s'Ffalenn forebears - they didn't just swear an oath - far from that. They GAVE OVER IN TRUST permission for an alteration in the DNA signature of their heirs... a trait each one possessed was amplified, and passed INTACT in the gene code to the heirs - The Fellowship enacted this signature alteration - made it 'indelible' in the code, as it were - responsibility for such a shift in heritability - joint. How it plays into the future - Fellowship auspice/Fellowship debt... a very grave step to take. Those born to a high king's lineage bear this "change" to a greater or lesser degree - according to the heritability of the same traits in the individual, this "change" will be more or less apparent. Fewer heirs, more "charge" in the change. THIS is why the Fellowship MUST ANSWER a royal heir's request - they are bound in a way - responsible in Part for what the original partnership entails.

The founder's oaths extend beyond the veil, but not as a "binding" - this is more intricate. More esoteric... it involves destiny, and the aligned destiny of the individual born into the lineage. There isn't foundation material enough, yet, in this arc to tie this bit to much that's meaningful. There will be another layer... wait for the material to come - I can't mesh it intelligently now. It would take more than extrapolation - The foundational layers are solid, I know the progression well, but I'd rather (for you) let the story evolve it - not just spout stuff that feels like theory. When it is anchored enough in arc 4, ask again.

Examples you can look at: a blood oath sworn to the self via the Truer Self - Arithon's blood oath of truth, made to HIMSELF - but done in Jieret's presence - with Dakar as formal witness - concerning his testimony of events at the Havens (Fugitive Prince, scene on Corith).

A blood oath sworn between two individuals, in consent - "binding tie of friendship" with the added fillip - Arithon was mage-trained and cognizant of All the levels (made intent have striking clarity) Arithon's and Jieret's tie done in Strakewood, Deshir, Curse of the Mistwraith.

A blood oath sworn in trust to a Sorcerer (who will hold the integrity when the individual cannot) Arithon's blood oath at Athir.

Note: intent plays Also - the actual words Will affect what happens.

In the case of a ritual oath (over blood or quartz) the tie will carry the Truer Self whether the individual involved is aware of this, or not... such an oath will dissolve at the death of the self (not as opposed to the Truer Self) UNLESS the intent is set otherwise. Look out for the words of the contract! (grin)

Can you explain the different types of laws present on Athera?
There seems to be perpetual confusion on this point, which is not simple. The various kinds of 'law' that are operant on Athera all bear different names, for a reason: they are not the same, and can't be rolled one into another at whim. One form may derive from another -but they are not the same.

Paravian Law & Ath's law - tightly intertwined.

Law of the Major Balance - all consciousness is autonomous and due the respect of free will. This is one point of Paravian Law, and Ath's Law. The Fellowship adhere to this where they can - but the drake magic they carry can transgress - the power is theirs to cross that line - their choices in this respect are what hold them in constraint, NOT an actual constraint on their abilities. They choose to adhere. Where their binding charge conflicts, they may not. "They are charged never to violate" does not mean, they are UNABLE to.

The Compact - a set of guidelines, drawn up under Paravian auspices that the Fellowship SWORE TO SEE THAT MANKIND ADHERED. Yes, they are limits. Mankind's settlement was bargained for, BY THE FELLOWSHIP, and the Sorcerers' intercession was granted BY THE PARAVIANS, with the caveat: the Fellowship must stand surety for the PROMISE that Athera's mysteries - the health of the planet itself - must not suffer adverse impact. Paravian permission allowed Mankind's settlement, within a set of guiding parameters. The early settlers all agreed to these terms. If their descendents violate these terms, the Fellowship must intercede - Man chooses to "break" the law of the compact - which expressly forbids slavery - both of the mind and of the body. Lysaer was called onto the carpet for bound slavery of the clans, AND for knowingly enslaving others by perpetuating the delusion that he was "the voice of the divine".

Charter Law - written in accord with the compact, to ensure that development of any kind ran under Paravian auspices. Now, within the towns, man is quite free to "violate" against himself - kill, destroy, may domesticate his animals - et al - but within the hard limits of the compact - no slavery.

The High King's justice addressed inequity. King's justice would mostly be in accord with Paravian law, but scope and play would be allowed for human limitation, that would not see with the depth and distance of the Paravian viewpoint.

Town Law - not in accord with Charter Law, but, in allowance for human free will - not necessarily enough deviation here to warrant Fellowship enforcement - except where it strikes in direct violation of the Compact. The concept of 'land owning' - not at all "legal" under Charter Law or Paravian law - not a violation of the compact, EXCEPT where it impinges on the "free wilds" that are not open to development.

Mankind can violate the Law of the Major Balance at will - and does so, daily, yet still fall inside the tolerance permitted humanity under the compact. The Fellowship left as much open to free choice as they could - where the Paravian presence could allow man self-rule, man has it, fully.

Ath's Law can be violated all over the place - as it is, also, daily - there is no "retribution or punishment" - only disharmony results.

The High Kings and the clans are Fellowship agents to uphold the harmonious existence of man on Athera - they will operate under Charter Law, exclusively, and the Law of the Major Balance, more tightly. They will interact with the Fellowship, most tightly - which is why Fellowship presence works hand in hand with them. They inhabit the "free wilds" under Paravian law, with Paravian permission - therefore, their behavior in said territory is strictly kept. Were they to violate, intercession would be swift - as it would impinge Directly on the compact. Within a town - where man's rule is left to itself, no intercession would happen without dire provocation, and a warning would be first.

Example - a fence, a road in the free wilds would receive Fellowship intercession - and has, if you read in carefully - within town walls, it would not.

The Fellowship's efforts at Etarra prior to Arithon's coronation were an intercession - Morfett's will was not honored - he was 'manipulated' and pressured most subtlely. Reason: a Fellowship attempt to restore Charter Law and a High Kingship. Etarra itself is a violation - sited on a pass, were no building should stand. The strict observance of the compact has 'slipped' in spots, where Fellowship presence was stressed thin. With the Paravians gone, the Sorcerers are still striving to "bring those areas back into line" without a gross intervention. Etarra is "at sufferance" while there is time to deal with it gently - hence, Arithon's attempted coronation happening first.

A Paravian return would curtail the leniency of this plan - something to think about, speculate on.

A Grand Confluence of the Lane tides now causes "damage" to town constructions - think what might happen if the Paravian dancers raised that energy, all over the continent... Fellowship are in "damage control" right now. Hoping to set right without upheaval. They ARE responsible for keeping the compact, and they know it! Humanity violates at ITS peril.

Lysaer, then, was "outcast" for inciting "slavery" both mental and physical.

The Koriathain would act as they please, within the bailiwick of their Order - enslave their offworld crystals as they please - but outside, where they impact Athera - the compact must be upheld by the Fellowship. That's the conflict - to do what they want when they want, they must contend with Fellowship power - and they have enough in their own right to have impact, make trouble, scheme. They have enslaved others - do regularly, by their oaths - where they "fall through the cracks" is, that the victim chooses (free will) to subjugate themselves before they are set under binding.

To escape binding - ASK, or DEMAND the freedom as established in Charter Law, or the Compact - a free will choice request for restoration of that basic right - the Fellowship can then act, and right smart! Under the Law of the Major Balance AND the Compact.

When stuff falls into Fellowship hands, they regularly "free" - the necromancer's stick, in Grand Conspiracy, Lysaer's Shadowbane, in Fugitive Prince - not, however, where that "item" isn't Atheran - the Waystone was "held in trust" - to have messed with it would be in violation... (a crystal consciousness that is enslaved that desires its own freedom will shatter, or depart - with the result that the crystal "goes dead").

How much would a town have to violate the Major Balance - which happens all the time! - to incite a Fellowship intercession? - A Sorcerer would be called to act only if the Compact terms are broken or threatened - read damage to the free wilds - or damage to the dynamics of the planet's resonance - slavery forced without consent, or mass delusion of the mind (enough to impact AND impair the energetic frequency of the lane tides).

A Sorcerer who is asked to stand as ambassador (As in Asandir standing for Arithon, or for the Fellowship standing surety for Talith's ransom in Havish) can accept this responsibility, or decline it, at will. Arithon, as Teir's'Ffalenn can ask and receive that help, made in accord with Compact and Charter law.

There is also tribal law - adhered in the Desert of Sanpashir. We haven't gone there yet - but the story will in due time.

Considering what you've said about the laws, what of the re-routing of the Severnir River?
There is much more to the damming of the Severnir than meets the eye. Much will unfold as the story progresses.

Here's one point on that subject that won't spoil anything for later - the damming of the Severnir laid 'waste' (dried out - shifted rainfall patterns) Daon Ramon - which certainly made it easier to keep townsmen from using the land for other purposes. Paravian absence meant the Riathan did not need the site to breed. Easier to keep 'wild' as a briarpatch.

How do you tune a Lyranthe?
The Lyranthe has 14 strings. They are tuned in "courses" of two.

Effectively, then - you have five "courses" of strings set over a fretted keyboard. You have two "courses" of drone strings.

The drone strings - doubled - are set over an octave. Each course = two octaves. The lowest drone is (higher course) one octave down from the lowest of the melody strings. The other is tuned EITHER at third interval, or fifth interval, OR seventh, depending on what the "tone" of the piece would be. One course could be plucked singly; or both courses at once.

Melody strings - E - A - D - G courses set in octaves; the highest course of the melody strings was set in UNISON, keyed to the higher string in the course adjacent. THIS STRING might vary, depending - tempered scale or pentatonic. The lower E string might change also - to an open tuning, if the fingering demanded.]

The lyranthe was played with a "fingerpick" style - built around chords using the lower melody string and the drones.

E - A - D - G is a very common tuning - it's EASY TO FINGER - many stringed instruments base their tuning on this - violin, tenor banjo, and a chunk of the guitar, for one. It's not an accident that this "works" for humans with four effective fingers to use on the fret board.

A very good lyranthe player might use the thumb on the fingerboard - (you may have seen skilful banjo players do this) wrapping the hand all the way around the neck - that's why the neck is so narrow. Open tunings on folk guitar are also common - dropped D tuning, for instance. A skillful player with good ear for pitch can change the tuning very very fast, between sets, or between tunes. The drone strings would NOT be shifted often - though if you were doing dirges or laments, vs. fast paced dance tunes, this might well entail a change.

The concept of a "drone" - in a bagpipe, or in an Appalachian mountain dulcimer - is not to change the tuning. They are set at octaves, to a specific note, and stay there. They are played against the melody notes - either to add harmonics, and enrich the bass sound - or - to create dissonants. It is the moving play of harmonics and dissonants that add dimension to the sound. If you listen to an instrument that has a drone - you will hear this. Particularly if you are sensitive in the upper ranges - the "appearance and cancellation" of the higher harmonics - quite effective. It increases the range.

Have you ever heard a Mountain Dulcimer - it has two drone strings. A Lyranthe would likely be a 'cross between that drone string sound (when used!) and the octave courses on a 12 string guitar - savvy?

Go to a guitar shop, listen to the octave courses on a good 12 string - then listen to a mountain dulcimer, which sits flat in the lap and is plucked, which makes for a thin, sweet sound, but lacks the 12 string's richness. The dulcimer would give you the drone string effect. The 12 string has 4 octave courses, and 2 unison courses - the combined effect is like no other, very striking. In my own experience doing Celtic ballads (a specialty I pursued years and years before it was "popular") I found, 12 string guitar was the finest solo backup for such singing - the richness of the octave courses added a dimension, and the unison courses, in the treble, just drilled those high harmonics right out of the air - clear and pure - perfect counterpoint, finger picked, in melody, for the voice overlay.

The drone effect happens in mountain dulcimer, and bagpipes, bringing out again, reinforcing harmonics, upper and lower - that gives a warp and weft feel, like a tapestry, as the melody notes weave through. This is how I "designed" the sound of the lyranthe - but with more range - and why it was designed with drones.

If you ever watched a perfect pitch musician tune his instrument in a smoke filled bar - changing a guitar from traditional tuning, say, to dropped D tuning - well, it's almost instant, and very painless. If a man or woman was masterbard caliber, they would have this gift of pitch.

Strike the note, turn the peg, and listen when to stop. A quiet room, a sensitive ear, will also register when the "harmonics" come in phase, if another string is plucked simultaneous.

In a very crowded room, every where there is a lot of noise - where the lower pitches fall into the noise, touching the string at specific points invokes the high range harmonic - with piercing clarity - tuning is very, very efficient, setting one harmonic against another - corrections can be made almost instantaneously and with absolute accuracy.

What musical scale do the bards of Athera use?
Masterbards would know both true and tempered scales, and use both. If they were playing for dancing or session, they'd likely use tempered for flexibility of key. If they were playing to access emotion, or strike into the higher frequency harmonics, they'd absolutely retune for key, in a true scale. Their craft would not evoke if any note were off the exact frequency to strike the overtone harmonics.
Could a Lyranthe actually be constructed?
The Lyranthe on the cover of Curse of the Mistwraith looks like it has 10 strings over the finger board and 4 free floating ones(the drones?)so maybe it is conceivable. It would certainly make an interesting project.

The four free floating ones are two courses of drone strings - think Mountain Dulcimer.

If you ever want to try an interesting project, holler - it would be Quite interesting.

There are five courses over the fretboard. Think E, A, D, G, and one course that would alter in varied tuning - much as open tuning does to facilitate playing in certain guitar keys...
Can you tell us something about the deeper patterns in the series?
Like magic, like numbers, the oaths, too, follow pattern.

Oaths sworn over crystal - like Fionn's are one type.

Koriani BINDINGS sworn over crystal are another.

Arithon's blood oath at Athir - another altogether.

Listed in degree of severity of commitments - hope you find this fun to chew on. There is a lot more to this than meets the eyes yet (material offstage, that WILL come on in course of future volumes - critical to the characters and plot, so I can't say more.)

Meantime, since I won't tell, you'd have to ask a Fellowship Sorcerer and understand ceremonial ritual.

Dakar the Mad Prophet
When was Dakar the Mad Prophet born?

Dakar's birth date is actually listed as 5056 on his character reference notes, which is in line with both his making the West Gate prophecy at age 4, and his witnessing the last of the Paravian Dancers as a child (as a Fellowship ward, after his family ostracized him).

Dakar seems to be one of the more popular characters with your readers. Can you tell us more about him?
Dakar came to the attention of the Fellowship of Seven very very quickly - and the hints are in the books, though admittedly, well buried. Here's the map to find them:

Look up the date of the West Gate Prophecy. Then stack that against Dakar's stated age in Ships.

You'll see quite quickly why his talent 'was not overlooked.'

There is a lot more to Dakar's origin - a story's worth, on its own account. I'd prefer to unfold that in its due time.

Why was Asandir the one who took charge of him as apprentice? This requires an intense look at Asandir's character - and if I base my guess on the postings here, he's perhaps the least understood of the Sorcerers - and yes, I've included Davien in that estimate. At least with Davien, readers have HAD to look carefully. Asandir at this point seems to have been "typecast" without the benefit of close scrutiny.

For one, just thinking of Dakar and Ciladis - wince. And Traithe was impaired...
How'd the Mad Prophet get his name?

What a crack up!!! I'll have to ask the character! That's the way he introduced himself on the page...

So - you probably do have to be a "little" patient while I duck into his head and ask him. (grin)

....it's to do with a rather *colorful* incident, and a batch of town guardsmen driven stark, raving nuts by Dakar's eight weeks under a jail sentence....oh, it's a fun incident, all right, and will very likely surface in all its wild glory somewhere in some future volume.

As you might suppose, there were drunken bets over who was going to win at the dice game. It got out of hand in a spectacular way - and really -! Could distract me utterly from writing a chapter/scene that's been intricate decades in the planning.

This event could make a nice short story, at the least.

How similar or different is the s'Valerient Sight gift to Dakar's prophecies?
Dakar's unconscious, tranced prophecies are NOT at all the same as Jieret's Sight. There are more minor technical variances between the visions he can recall, and Jieret's Sight. Peril's Gate provides more depth and insight on this.
I was wondering when Dakar is delivering a prophecy.....does he say the exact words the prophecy wants or does he use his own wording to describe the intent of the prophecy?

Depends on the prophecy.

If Dakar is aware, he "remembers" the scenes viewed after he awakens. The words he chooses would be colored by his interpretation. His interpretation might be "right on" or might reflect his perception of the event, colored by his personal awareness. The way this might happen was most clearly demonstrated when he "saw" the scene, as shown by Sethvir, of Mearn and Parrien's deception of Lysaer regarding the Riverton conspirators. Dakar "presumed" he saw deaths - Arithon "heard" the pitched frequency that said, not. Dakar interpreted wrongly. He can do the same thing with a scene or event.

This given, it would be DANGEROUS to presume he always sees a prescient event in distortion.

If his prophecy is a tranced one, this will not be an unfolding of prescience, but the Seer's Sight of Prophecy - the scenes may not be there at all - and would not be recalled, if they were, in any event. The words spoken in tranced Sight would be in strict accord with the event that provoked the prophecy. These auguries are utterly different in their source....NOT the same animal.

Stormed Fortress will reveal a bit more about Dakar's gift as Seer/Prophet - it is, put simply, more. Not all has unfolded at this time, and you haven't seen the depths, to know why, yet. All in good time, the steps are planned...

How does Dakar's vision (or for that matter Jieret's sight or Koriani scrying) work? Is it just like watching a TV screen or can the scryer sense the energy or Name of the person the are scrying?

Dakar has what is known as the "gift of prophecy". His unconscious visions are those that are fated. He is not conscious of them because they originate outside of himself. He is the unwitting conduit.

Those insights he has while awake are within the domain of his selfhood - although he may not be conscious of where within himself they originate, they ARE within his scope...and accurate, depending upon which octave of existence his sight has tapped into. Some energy signatures are more probable than others. All have weight to them. Just being "warned" they are there would not be enough to shift that future - a change of course would have to result - a conscious change in the choices being made. These sorts of vision fall into the probable.

Jieret's Sight falls more into the catagory of Dakar's waking vision - but - due to his oath as caithdein, his visions that are tied to the realm would be more wakened, more immediate, more reliable, and more real. Higher frequency connection, as it were. Clearer channel to power. Past and future, seen outside of time/space are simultaneous....when the boundary blurs, it is in the 'moment' - and so, taps the energy of the 'moment' - which may or may not be mutable, depending on where the access point originates From.

Sethvir has a broader view - he sees the "picture entire" and can read where the general flow leads - in multiplicity - the further into the future, the more gray - he reads possible outcomes, based on the currents at play, and the edges blur more, Right turn, here, creates this outcome, left turn, that one; and of the two possibilities (or more!) there would then be exponential possibilities, and so on each generation. Sethvir can track any or all, only limited by what he can accurately hold in memory. The gift of the s'Ahelas royalty (foresight) in its awakened and most potent form ran along this avenue - but not with the breadth of awareness that Sethvir with initiate powers from the dragons, and the Paravian gift of earth-sight can bring to bear.

Koriani scryings are mechanical, an inception of energies, amplified in crystal, then turned to sight outcome. This creates blind spots - data out will ONLY be as good as data in....they use gifted talent, but - the amplification is not an aware process. Just as with a stereo amplifier, the gaps and distortions in the "recording" get amplified, and widen - the reproduction is never clear as the actual live performance.

Levels and layers of ways of viewing the possible, the probable, before they become actual - all run on the same energetic theory, but the method of access differs.

Strand casting and the calling of the Elements done at Earle - another method of viewing that access causal reality from OUTSIDE time/space.

I'm confused. In Traitor's Knot, Dakar seems to be unaware of his prophecy in the s'Valerient lodge tent, but is later able to remember it. I thought this wasn't possible?

Dakar was very drunk - and if you read the scene carefully - he mumbled what he saw aloud, and when pressed, did recall the scene from memory.

His deep trance prophecies cannot be pulled back into recall --

Already in draft, in SF, there is a scene that begins to deepen the understanding of Dakar's gift. Just another detail that's gonna unwind more fully...

This Series - cannot be assimilated ONE BIT until it is fully finished - nor can its parts and its arcs show their complete and final connection. Anymore than the presumption that this was "just medieval fantasy set on another world with funny names" (some reviewer's takes from CoTM) could hold water, NOW. The intricate depth of understanding of All the factions, building now, is utterly necessary to achieve the impact of the finale.

Would the scene in the Halwythwood grove have even Worked without prior understanding of ALL of the layers and multiplied levels upon which that one drew....I doubt it. The emotional tenor that was (hopefully!!) seamless would have been broken to bits, with fill in on what was happening on all the other levels and layers - as it was, the prep work was done in other scenes, in other prior volumes, and HERE the orchestration in that explosive moment of ALL those threads could be set in tight focus, and with minimal ballast...

Fellowship of Seven
Where did your idea of the F7 come from?
I think I was trying to AVOID having a standard classic wizard figure - that's why there were to be 7 of them...

All authors in some way reshape what they perceive. Sometimes those ideas spring from life, and direct exploration. Sometimes from a mythic source (Tolkien. - the Finnish Kalevala). Sometimes from a mix of ideas - and SOME ideas are mythic archetypes, and many stories have them.

The classic "wise old man" wizard, and "wise old grandmother" are archetypical figures, found in every culture. They are a vital part of the human myth, and every author since Time began has drawn from that source of very real inspiration.

To me, it's how those items play that count - and where they take the reader, and what emotions and thoughts are created - and if we're lucky - insights awakened - that's what matters in a piece of work. It's the originality of where it lands you at the end that, for me, is where the value lies.

What was the relationship between the various members of the F7 leading up to the use of the great weapon?
They were co-workers on a monster project... They're not related by blood, or any tie of family relationship.
Reading the series, we see that the Fellowship Sorcerers seem to know each other extremely well. How is this possible?
The F7 know each other intimately well. They've been on Athera for far beyond 10,000 yrs.
Have the Seven always been these seven or have there been other Fellowship sorcerers?
The Fellowship has always been (until now) Seven, and these the original founders: Sethvir, Asandir, Traithe, Kharadmon, Luhaine, Ciladis and Davien. They have a very long backhistory to them; as is hinted at in the scene where Lysaer is freed from possession.
Is it possible for the Fellowship to replace or induct new members, in effect growing beyond Seven?

Why the Fellowship of Seven will never "expand" - one needs to fully understand their origins, what they are, how they came to be, what their purpose of existence IS.

ONE: they were summoned by a Drake's dream - which means, the dragon dreamed what Athera required to underwrite and secure Paravian survival AND the force (read 7 spirits) who PRECISELY matched that template of intent answered, due to what they were in that EXACT pinpoint instant of time - and the original seven, as a direct consequence of who and what they were, AND (don't underestimate this) what they believed themselves to BE - at that split second moment that the dream was cast -- engendered and launched by the power of creation (without love)-- those who became the Sorcerers you know were drawn and became bound to that fate.

Therefore, for reason one, the Seven can never, and as they are now, (after they encountered the Paravians, and so claimed their self-redemption) will never, delegate their bound status, even if they could.

TWO - they bear the magic, bestowed by the Dragons, to secure Paravian survival. This is not something anyone could treat to achieve. Athera's dragons do not bargain. They are not a FORCE that humans could meddle with. The attempt would result in utter annihilation.

Arithon does not hold nearly the power of a Fellowship Sorcerer, by many orders of magnitude - Davien's warning admonishment in Peril's Gate, last scene said so straight out....take note of the frail and perilous stay that restrains their hand, also mentioned there in most unvarnished sincerity.

Spellbinders are those the Seven have trained and led to initiation - they cannot be mistaken for an "apprentice, cum potential Sorcerer, cap S) Arithon's master status derives and descends from the training and initiation given to Dari s'Ahelas by Sethvir to assist her survival.

She, a born rogue talent, is a tale all to herself.

Therefore, at this moment, Arithon's powers as master sorcerer derive from Fellowship teaching ADDED TO his gift, refined by Halliron's guidance to Masterbard's title, ADDED TO a transcendent initiation won through the challenge of Davien's maze. His use of elemental mastery - is a rogue gift, derived from and bestowed by Mak s'Ahelas' independent experimentation, which took place off world and not on Athera, therefore, outside reach of the compact...never EVER doubt the Fellowship do not have the capability to have replicated that step.

For the soundest of reasons, they didn't, and wouldn't, a great deal of which is an emerging part of this story and to unfold in subsequent arcs.

You will, guaranteed, see more of the breadth and depth within the Fellowship's workings in TK...

Which Fellowship Sorcerer is the most powerful?

It may seem odd to a worldview that seems to put everything into a "hierarchy" - strongest, weakest, most powerful, least powerful, richest, poorest....the Fellowship of Seven is not a hierarchy.

The strengths of each of the seven sorcerers is Different in different arenas. Whose skills or talent is strongest, where? At thinking logic, Luhaine, hands down...At crafting matter, Davien, no question. At overview awareness, Sethvir, obviously.... no Sorcerer is more powerful than another - each has their area of "expertise" and without any one of them, all become less.

In any group of people, each one has the capacity for genius - the trick is in discovering Where that genius potential lies...and in developing it. When each person brings their strength to the table, and when each acknowledges the talent in the other, and when each allows that talent to step to the fore when circumstances match that - there is no hierarchy - there is true and balanced power.

When Sethvir and Asandir's "power" was compared in the book, the key line has Always been overlooked: "in a straight contest of force" - if people tend to think "force" is the only power that "rules" - that is earth based thinking...not the paradigm by which the Fellowship Sorcerers relate.

Without Ciladis, all are less. Without Sethvir's overview - the compact could not be held.

"Power without wisdom eventually destroys itself." There is so much, packed into that one line. The ethics of handling an awareness of the scale that the Fellowship possesses, and the responsibility of the power they wield is quite different than the consensus (earth) pattern of handling such things...the consequences are far more wide ranging...and the hair gets split with a great deal more precision. There is a soft footed degree of respect for those who are mortal, and less evolved; and asking becomes an indispensable part of the equation. The impact of a Fellowship Sorcerer's answer is Not going to leave the status quo...it will create change. This requires consent, on the part of the party involved.

So the answer is not simple. There IS no one Sorcerer more powerful than another. Each one has his area of strength; and each, his drawbacks and weaknesses. If you read this story Expecting to find hierarchy - you'll "see" what you want, perhaps - until the facts underlying trip you up, and the boundaries keep blurring despite you.

It is, actually, the case of the paper, the stone, and the scissors....(grin)

The Fellowship of Seven seemed to represent a higher form of justice and the Koriani a debased form of compassion. Is this true?

Yes, and yes - and if you really look, EVERY faction will have its opinions, beliefs, distortions, and "truths" about all of the issues stated -

This story is depicted in its entire spectrum from multiple angles - and reader identification (what YOU believe) determines what you will see -- to what height and to what depth, and with what degree of distortion...

That's right out there in plain view in the prologue....what you already identify with (as reader) will indeed, determine the accuracy or inaccuracy of the "reflection".

That's why, as you change, all of the angles keep shifting - and why, as the characters grow, their angles shift as well.

There is no fixed 'truth' - only angles of awareness, and how conscious they are becoming.

Can you tell us how the Fellowship sorcerers got the names they now use?
The Paravian names the Fellowship Sorcerers currently answer to were given by the Paravians themselves. In effect, they were renamed by the Paravians. This event happened in the course of the first encounter, just following the Fellowship's arrival on Athera.
Could the F7 have children, either before their arrival on Athera or subsequently?
The Fellowship have children in the past. Yes. On Athera, the embodied ones - could. Would they? You figure this one if you can... it's complex.
When the F7 arrived on Athera were they alone or were there other people with them?
The Fellowship were alone on landing. There is NO connection between them, and clan lineage... the human settlement in Third Age Year One was thousands of years past the date of the Fellowship arrival, a Second Age event... Anyone they would have known personally - long since dead.
Can you tell us more about the Great Drakes and the Fellowship's origins?

The Great Drakes dreamed creation - not based in love. They saw a desire/need - they 'dreamed' the Fellowship - and the intersect of that dream resolved on the world of Athera.

They dreamed a template of INTENT - and, it ranged out as a wave of energy; called for a match in DESTINY. There are layers upon layers of definition to destiny - won't do this now...The Fellowship matched - destiny matched - their ship "crashed" on Athera.

Destiny ranges past the etheric; it is an alignment. Its lesser particulars lie within space/time - its greater pattern of thrust extends beyond time and does invoke the True Self.

The Fellowship's binding is within dimension, but it ties outside of death. A paradox at first sight...but no paradox at all in a dimensional octave's complexity.

The Fellowship in physical form and aware consciousness AT THE MOMENT of intersect Matched. The beliefs they held - about themselves, about who they were, what they were, what they were 'responsible' for - MATCHED. A lock occurred. A binding of intent - a consent by means of self-belief. "We think we are, therefore, we ARE..." The limitation (self induced) created a blindness...hook and lock. The drake's dream summoned, they by their steering of belief -- created an intent that precisely answered.

Now, when they arrived on Athera - more happened. They received their magic from the Dragons. They learned redemption from the Paravians...they have evolved....I really don't wish to go much deeper into the particulars because it could spoil for later....more layers are unveiled, each arc...

Since the Drake's magic dreams creation without love (without grace for dimensional expansion) - the "lock" binds to existence within space/time - an anchor. Lose the body - the anchor is still affixed within the pattern....so in effect, the spirit is tethered via the lock in pattern of lesser intent and the greater choice in destiny.

The Fellowship swore no oath at all - they were dreamed into Athera's existence by the dragons for the Sole intent of securing Paravian survival. Since Paravian existence within space/time is inseparably set into electromagnetic frequency - Athera's living matrix MUST not fall below a certain range of vibration. Nor must certain harmonic ranges be 'cancelled' by shifts that would alter the tonal range.

Therefore the Fellowship were 'claimed' by self made choice and destiny, and, their response to the planet is tied to the existence (within space/time) of the Paravians.

Conclusion - you do NOT want to get entangled with a Drake....very powerful side trip...

Why can't the powerful Sorcerers do what the brothers can do with their elemental mastery?
The powerful Sorcerers CAN.
Is it theoretically possible for the F7 to travel anywhere on Athera using the Lanes?

Can Fellowship Sorcerers move anywhere the lanes go...discorporate, they require nothing beyond a thought, the lanes have no bearing. In physicality - Davien does, therefore - in theory - yes. In practice, carrying physical form - it requires IMMENSE effort - far too immense to be worthwhile - the lanes are clearly more efficient. A Sorcerer in the physical who needed to make his presence known would use "another" way to do so, risky, though efficient enough to use in a dire pinch (and they have -- it has been mentioned) Note further: what Davien does now has been tuned for supreme efficiency - you have seen its function already, but it's one of those things you may not have noticed yet for what it is - you WILL see why -- in the course of the forthcoming story.

Why weren't the Fellowship Sorcerer's involved in the battle of Tal Quorin?
At the time of the battle, they were busy securing the Mistwraith itself. Even had they NOT been, given how they work what they work, I doubt the outcome would've changed.
How do the Sorcerers pay for things like inn rooms (when needed) and horse supplies and food, and the like?
There is a reference or two to Fellowship "payment" in the series so far. Here's a few places where you can look -- Grand Conspiracy, when Sethvir arrives back from the grimward and considers staying with a friendly farmwife.

Ask yourself how many times have you seen Fellowship "stay" at an Inn while in town? In Erdane, Curse of the Mistwraith, Asandir's lodging is explained in detail. You can also read what happened when the Fellowship took up residence for the coronation ceremony in Etarra, Curse of the Mistwraith.

The clans grant them hospitality on principle - there are numerous scenes depicting this.
Where fear does not rule, the benefits of a Fellowship visit are more readily recalled. Once, they were granted hospitality anywhere they went.

Even given the current climate of distrust, the occasions where they need actual coin are very few and far between. I have made an issue of Asandir using coin once in Curse of the Mistwraith - There was a reason for that - he didn't want to draw undue attention, and note, it was Dakar who carried the money.

How he got the gold, you'll have to conjecture, as I don't want to spoil the fun by explaining everything in depth. The series will show you well enough.

Can you tell us about the colors worn by the F7?
There is a correlation to the colors worn by the Fellowship Sorcerers. Color is a frequency of energy. This relates to the sorcerers themselves.

They do not correlate with the colors of the kingdoms. These relate more to the frequency of the energy of the LAND. And to the royal lines themselves, whose crowned High Kings related to that land they ruled most closely.

Speculate as you want, on that.

For fun: Traithe's raven is an Aspect called into physical being by Sethvir. The Aspect was born out of the greater whole, who is Raven (she), not a physical entity. [Janny, looking amazed... smile]... did you REALLY believe the Fellowship could not tell the sex of a bird? It was Jieret's viewpoint, raising the question of the mystery. To understand Raven (she) and the physical raven that is her Aspect, and flies as companion to Traithe, you have to look at masculine/feminine energy - then the correlation as to why which is which, becomes evident.

Ciladis, if he were present, would wear lavender and gold. He has two colors because - he changed.

One needs must look at FREQUENCY... each color is a wavelength - sound also runs on wavelength and frequency... one frequency will cause others to resonate on harmonics - therefore, a visible light frequency will "trigger" the higher (beyond sight) harmonics.

Seven visible colors combine to white light. (A simple prism displays this property).

These seven FREQUENCIES in higher range - form the energy field that is endemic in the PHYSICAL body... yes, chakras, and their respective colors have correlation, though the paradigms listed aren't quite precise to the one I am working.

There are twelve chakra centers total - five of which are not in the physical... and the geometry of the earth, and the sacred geometry runs on BASE TWELVE. Not ten, as we humans count fingers.


  • Red - physical security.
  • Orange - pleasure/primal creativity
  • Yellow - full range of emotion
  • Green - the heart, compassion
  • Blue - expression
  • Indigo - intuition
  • Violet - wisdom and spiritual connection.

Luhaine's dusty gray was pale blue when he was corporate - and he's the lecturer... the loquacious one.
Asandir is the indigo.

I'll let you figure the others out for yourselves. It's pretty obvious.

Arithon's kingdom colors, and Lysaer's - and Eldir's reflect their royal gifts.

Therefore, it follows as obvious that Melhalla's banner was violet, in line with s'Ellestrion's gift Shand's device is split - there is an ancient one and a modern one (the chevrons). This involved the unification of Shand/West Shand under one banner. (Davien's ring has NOTHING to do with Shand's older device.. its based on a triskele, or a triaxial design... which has other connotation entirely.)

Athera has "24" lanes, that are, actually Rings, if you were looking at the globe. Therefore, the first lane would "run" around the far side of the planet, and so on.

Low frequency of light is still light - it just has a longer wavelength. So I wouldn't go using frequency as a measure of a sorcerer's access to power. Nor would I tend to overlook the FACT that they all access all of the frequencies - their colors denote characteristic expression, not limits.

Accessing frequency by harmonic octave - this is repeated again and again and again IN THE TEXT - using a range within the senses to delineate intent, and "fire" the upper ranges where the energy is beyond the visible.

Traithe did not wear black before his injury.

Why don't the Fellowship respond unless they are asked? Why did Asandir not warn Sulfin Evend of the peril's of entering the grimward in Fugitive Prince?
The man drowning must be open to be saved, or his terror will, and has, drowned his rescuer along with him. First thing you're taught in a lifeguarding course.

Interesting (and in fact, based on the actuals behind the Fellowship's code, problematically impossible) scenario - Asandir, (and all that he stood for, in the eyes of a rabid pack of townborn guardsmen) appearing before Sulfin Evend's troops, in hot chase of "evil himself" - "hey, don't go in there, boys, 'trust me, your perceived ENEMY,' you'll probably get yourselves killed... and if you ignore this, told straight out, even though I know you don't trust me a whit, here's my unasked for!! Advice, following what you wouldn't hear straight in the first place - "

The sheer inefficiency of that lunatic dance step exchange boggles the mind, given Asandir's straightforward character... never mentioning, it would have been barefaced intervention, given those characters' set of willful convictions and beliefs.

Are the F7 "correct" by not volunteering information unless specifically asked, as Dakar keeps suggesting?
What is "correct?" Answer this for yourself... at whatever level you "want" to see.

As questions I can suggest that you ask: are people ignorant because they are 'forced to be ignorant' and that is their natural state to be ignorant and it's up to somebody Else to correct that - do we defend their Ignorance as Truth (they are locked in it, have no power to remedy it, period, unless we Do It For Them - take their power for our "greater good: 'cause WE Know Better for Them - do we just have the Right to Influence their dumb ignorance the way WE might want because, dang, they just can't defend themselves - they're Not Able Enough on their own - we gotta fix their ignorance FOR THEM and do it OUR WAY??? Hey, this is not arrogant - it's Right. Our Right.

What is a poisoned co-dependent stance? You can't fix your life, I am a victim of your idiot bonehead behavior, so, until you fix your stuff MY WAY, and it's my job to Tell you How, and You just Do it Because I Say It's Wise - my life sucks. YOU are putting my life in the toilet, not me. I gotta protect MY stuff - make my life right by fixing yours. My Way.

How ignorant IS Sulfin Evend - about history - about "unfair times" - what golden age - whose agenda - what script are you overwriting about life in the towns - have you been there, seen it??? - you decide - Sulfin Evend's campfire discussion with Lysaer in Peril's Gate says much - how ignorant IS HE? Look at YOUR VERY FIRST VIEW of him, when he rides into Riverton in company of the Koriathain - how ignorant is he 'forced' to be? Really?

He's a fictional character, what might he say about us?

How ignorant do we choose to be. We have the "right" in the free world, to "get educated" on world events. How deeply do we bother - or do we bother at all? How many times might we settle for "what we're told." - the one point view - because of convenience, because of security, because of "moral right" because of "We're not the bully, they are, and we're victims, and Victims are... noble... "better than" bullies because - it's not ever, noooo, not the self-blinded victim's fault. He didn't have blinkers on because perhaps was too lazy to change, he just was - victimized.

It's Black and White bone simple - the victim had zip to say about it.

Imagination? Other options? Another possibility I didn't think of - hey shut up! It's not there - doesn't exit! Because I can't see it... how could I see in the dark. Don't tell me about asking to step outside, I'll just SHUT MY EYES and decide in the dark

Maybe light a match? Maybe the possibility a victim could have walked away? Asked to see a greater awareness, then looked to see if there was one available? Been wise? Looked again, changed the angle, looked deeper? Examine victimhood in its complexity, jeez, what happens if you encounter - (how embarrassing!!) stupidity - what if what you find (?) is somebody who chose to stay blind, dumb and "in the dark" and just allowed the dynamite the situation they participated in, and hung on to until the thing just (duh!!) exploded in their hand.

How many opportunities were ignored, or tuned out, because the victim wanted to stay being a victim? It was easier, simpler, less work, than trying to address the current state of imbalance?

What if we're just blind scared of being victims - oh, it just "might happen to us" - so we decide it's up to somebody else to take charge and see we're saved. And if we're not, well, hey, THEY fell short? We hung onto this (dumb??) conviction or (narrow???) feeling (let's not look at why the lit fuse might be there in the first place, nooo!) because we downright refuse to "see" another angle - because we're really scared of taking responsibility for our personal choices and impact on the bigger picture. Let's forget about our personal responsibility, even after the explosion happened - let's just not take a closer look at what might really be at play there - just use somebody else's power and forceful control to "make it safe" for the idiots to stay dumb...

NOW - I am exaggerating this point off the scale - I am "discounting" and "simplifying" its complexity, hugely - there are many many many many threads to the concept of "what is right".

Should Asandir have warned Sulfin Evend... this "presumes" Sulfin Evend did not have any access to knowing a grimward was dangerous. He had "no choice" at all but "chase Arithon" come what may?

I light the cigar, I get lung cancer, I sue the tobacco company. Who lit and smoked the cigar? I had to buy it, pay for it, smoke it, because it was there? Nooo, not my fault I had a choice! Not MY fault that choice carried a risk...

Sulfin Evend was Forced to chase Arithon? Oh, if he hadn't - what THEN -

His hatred of clansmen in that moment - what's it's foundation? Why should Hanshire hate clansmen or more accurately, royal power (that sucker was all the way back in Ships...)? They hate with Just Conviction - do they actually? The concept of fair "hate" presumes there was in "injustice" to "right" - what's right? - and from there, the "script overlay" must insist that the conditions that foreran the rebellion against the High Kings was "unfair" - what was it really? Have you been there? Talked to a townborn who was? A clan born who was? A Paravian, for that matter?

A Paravian view - anyway - what HAPPENED in PG when the Centaur came on scene? What Did happen? Actually? Go Look!

What did preserving Athera's mysteries really mean?

Look at those two issues...then decide on Asandir's call.

Will a horse who refuses to believe he can drink from a stream, drink that water he's led up to, when he's so damned domesticated narrow he only imagines water in a bucket?

"Gimme a bucket, or I'll die, and it's sooooo unfair! It's YOUR bonehead fault, you offered me the stream, and I didn't imagine water in that form, before. Hell, it's moving! It's THREATENING STUFF. Drink that? Risk That? Expand my concept of safety, and water BOTH AT ONCE? Nope? Can't? You unfair turkey bonehead, you KILLED me! Your Fault! The water just wasn't water because it wasn't in a container sitting still, the way I understood water HAS TO BE!"

Who's the real bonehead?

You were a kid, you sensed the heat on the stove, if you put your hand in, and got burned, it's MY fault? Now you sue me for "the stove being hot" and "I got burned?" Did I warn you; (probably) Hey DID you listen - if you didn't or if I didn't, were you WILLING to listen, in the First Place? Who put their hand in the fire??? Me? I MADE you? Then I made you KEEP IT THERE until you got more than a harmless, warning, non-life-threatening blister?

How EQUIPPED to make the grimward choice WAS Sulfin Evend in the moment he committed his armed company... read into his chat with Lysaer in PG and you decide if he was "self-blinded" and bone headed stubborn in his pursuit, or...if he was a meek, brainless babe in the woods who "required" Asandir's Protection not to step in the shiest in the first place... .you decide.

How did the Curse of Mearth get loose? Is it at all similar to how the Maze at Kewar operates?

The shadows and the fountain are no longer connected. Once, the shadows GUARDED the fountain. The warding that held them dissolved (due to specific reason) - now they are "loose" and anyone who disturbs them gets got.

Since they replay the event that hurts most, well, it would follow that mastery of Kewar's maze would LEAVE NO RECONCILED LOOSE END for that geas to "grab" - so, yes, by extrapolation - the master of the maze AT the point the maze was mastered - no "hold" to grab. But life goes on - time passes - unreconciled events could still occur as the master of the maze moves on from that moment.

The AWARENESS of the master of the maze would carry forward - but choice would rule how that got handled.

Did the F7 realize when they rendered Davien discorporate that it would unleash the Curse of Mearth? And why was the Five Centuries Fountain protected in the first place?

Concerning Davien's being rendered discorporate: not much has been said about this. Many of you have "jumped to conclusions" as to the why and the wherefore of what happened. Davien WAS rendered discorporate by his colleagues...this was not done as "punishment" as many of you have supposed. Alot (ALOT!!) more was at play, and, at stake at the time....and it will unfold in due course. It's too wrapped up in what you see as the enigma behind Davien himself....and beware what you suppose in this case. Every speculation I have ever seen from readers, in Davien's case, has been wrong...colored by what you "suppose" the reasons to have been.

To explain why the Five Centuries' Fountain was guarded would give away too much - suffice to say this: the Fountain was a test of sorts.

The escape of the shadows happened at the time of Davien's being rendered discorporate. The six Sorcerers did not know it would happen.

More I cannot say - it will unfold in due time. You will see more of Davien, and will BEGIN to unwind the very first strand of his motivations in Traitor's Knot.

There will be MORE....I don't expect this subject to quiet down until said is done, and Arc 5 is fully complete.

Is there a link between the Five Centuries Fountain and the Maze at Kewar? Were they built specifically to ward of the threat of Desh-thiere?

The building of the Maze at Kewar - and the construction of the Five Centuries Fountain - had a connection in purpose, but did not occur at the same time. The fountain's creation followed the maze. Neither one was directly engendered by the creation or the invasion of the Mistwraith. The tapestry that comprised Davien's reasoning, and his intent behind those two masterworks was a whole lot wider than the one sinister thread, that came to transpire on Marak.

Davien's workings seem to dominate the story. Have the other Sorcerers ever built anything on Athera?

Fellowship workings you Have seen, that were not Davien's: first and foremost: the Worldsend Gates -- and there are more....in plain view, except for the possibility that undue attention paid to Davien by most readers has perhaps, at the moment, "eclipsed" them...

Can the Fellowship recreate Paravian artistry should the need arise?

There are a few rather monumental examples of Paravian artistry right in clear sight in the books. By Fellowship admission, they could not be replicated.

Do Asandir and Traithe have beards?

Asandir - no beard. Helluva mess of sticks and leaves, if he had one. That one, take pause for excessive grooming? NOT! (wink!).

Traithe - no beard either - sometimes wears a short, trimmed mustache. (did when I drew him first, in the 70s).

Can you tell us more about Traithe's Raven?
To understand Raven (she) and the physical raven that is her Aspect, and flies as companion to Traithe, you have to look at masculine/feminine energy - then the correlation as to why which is which, becomes evident.
Many fans have wondered why the Mistwraith's attack on Traithe at South Gate was not foreseen by the F7. Can you tell us more about the Mistwraith's arrival and the dangers its poses to humanity?
First Incursion at Southgate was in fact Quite quiet - and Traithe was the "man of the hour" - first to reach the site. The gravity of the problem was not apparent all at once - except to the Paravians - and it would have been in response to THEM that the Seven realized there was Big Trouble - but realize - this was before the Paravians departed the continent, and therefore, the Warden at Althain Tower would have been a Paravian - and therefore, SETHVIR DID NOT HAVE HIS EARTHSENSE THEN - he was granted that and the post at the tower when the last Centaur Guardian departed.

So Traithe, alone, encountered the incursion at South Gate - and alone, realized the first edge of the scope of the problem - not all of it - not all by a long shot. He perceived the danger - as deadly - if the wraiths were not stopped. He acted, knowing he did not know all he needed to know - and tried to close down the worldsend gate.

The worldsend gates are a Fellowship creation. They bend and collapse space/time. Each one was made for a different reason; each one is slightly differently warded. Southgate had defenses on it - an embodied human could pass OUT of Athera, but not back... unless he held initiate mastery... adepts could go both ways, Paravians could (but would not bother) Sorcerers could - the Law of the Major Balance was the determinant factor. A consciousness (embodied) that honored that law - and understood the connections to mystery could pass - one who did not, could not. Technologies of power and control, and focus jewels used that way - could not pass.

Disembodied wraiths were not subject to that filter. They passed without query.

Traithe would have recognized that they were a Threat to Athera's great mysteries (planetary frequency of vibration which allows "magic" to work - meaning that resonant creation of consequence moved manifestation vertically, not cause and effect to consequence in linearity) The Drake's binding would have forced his intervention since the great mysteries permitted Paravian survival and the Fellowship are charged to defend.

He could not grapple Name for the wraiths. Did not recognize their consciousness as human, as Sethvir and Asandir did, much later (and Paravians did AT ONCE. But being as they are, they had no word for what these consciousnesses had become - no shared paradigm - and the ramifications of this are coming later...)

He could only try to shear the gate - and did this - not realizing WHAT he was cutting off. Fellowship Sorcerers are evolved out of human consciousness. As such, they are connected to All human consciousness - so separation, total separation from Desh'thiere's wraiths is not possible at the highest frequencies... those same frequencies REQUIRED to work the time/space shift that occurs in the gate working.

Traithe in working those frequencies, - could not defend "against himself" - and so - the incursion happened. He realized - and saw he could not clear himself of what was happening nor could he succeed in closing the gate - so - he sheared away portions of his beingness to cut the gate - stop the main body of wraiths from Marak - which would have laid waste Athera.

He so lost access to the uppermost frequencies - and so lost bits of his beingness (more complex than identity) - in a sense "burned" the connection - which left that portion of awareness beyond his access, and still with the wraiths.

They did not get "him" or his power of authority and choice. He is crippled because a range of frequency awareness is sheared off - access to the power at that range is sheared off - the wraiths cannot use His power, however, because they did not take his authority. His choice. His awareness of self - personal right to exist in autonomy. He is therefore more "in the body" than his colleagues. The wraiths can't "take" his self possession in the lower frequencies - they have no body. Therefore, to vanquish him further - they'd have to embody and knife him - something like that. Physically kill the body, they can't. If Traithe were murdered - then they'd have no barrier. If he had "died" while the mistwraith was at large - deadly. Now the wraiths are contained - he could "die" and not be taken - but - those sheared frequencies of himself - that would be a continued difficulty for him. He cannot cross fully without.

At the time Traithe closed South Gate, he was "opened" on other levels to access the operant craft that created the vortex that was the gate. Wraiths were "in there" in transit... this led to a point of access for them to gain entry -

The wraiths of themselves can't just "attack" a regularly embodied person, trained or untrained... it takes an extenuating circumstance to "open" them... Lysaer handled them barehanded, in concert with craft worked by Kharadmon - who stepped back, BUT the alteration of s'Ilessid justice lent opening. Arithon did not get attacked until he was aware of them, and attempting to create a defense... dreams, nightmares - Lysaer had these and didn't know why - there are reasons (in Lysaer) why this subliminal access was possible. It's quite worked out, and quite reasoned, but very much too long to go into - just presume, that, Arithon, in his initiate mastery MASTERED his primal fears beyond any level that most people would - Lysaer did not deal with his inner reflection of self - his inner self's nightmare - to anywhere close to that extent. Therefore those "gaps" in his self awareness would have allowed the wraiths to trouble him with nightmares.

NO mortal was overtly attacked by wraiths - until they perceived the wraiths as threat AND also, pressed back at the wraiths - and "woke" that consciousness awareness of them as a threat to the wraiths. Even Kharadmon, disembodied, was fairly secure upon Marak UNTIL he investigated the wraiths on a deeper level - then he triggered the attack that he dragged back to Athera.

Those "sheared" bits of Traithe are not whole knowledge - it's like stopping the rain in a reservoir that is still fed by rivers, and still has seepage into groundwater. The wraiths stopped the rain - the higher frequency connection is burned out - but they do not have clear grasp or entry to Traithe at the other levels.

Arithon - they assimilated an imprint BUT - it's not complete - Asandir intervened.

Now if Marak's wraiths, the (banished!!) wraiths that attacked Kharadmon and Sethvir AND Athera's wraiths in Rockfell were ever to "recombine" knowledge - worry quick! Mind that the Banished ones are done - finished and restored to healing and gone. If you review the aftermath of the banishing scene in Curse of the Mistwraith - you will see right quick HOW worried Asandir was on the subject, and also - Sethvir and Kharadmon... if these guys feel threat... better count it's a biggie.

Also - if the Mistwraith escaped Rockfell now it would be MORE Dangerous than it was when confined - yes - it would. But the wraith that "had" Lysaer - that knew in more depth what was possible re human possession - it was released... so its knowledge is gone... but not the awareness (within the Fellowship) of what the wraiths were capable OF - and what happened once, etc...

When Traithe is able to use his mage talent with Sethvir's help, is he using Sethvir's powers or is Sethvir bridging the gaps to Traithe's own powers that Traithe destroyed and can't access on his own?
The simple, surface answer: Traithe destroyed none of his powers. There lie the "gaps" in his being, which Sethvir bridged over, using his own power, and the deep, inate knowledge of "who" Traithe was, to replicate the pattern of lost consciousness as near as possible.

Such a "fix" as Sethvir did, lending himself, would not entirely replicate the free individuality of Traithe in his healed state.

Was Traithe able to direct the wraiths in which parts they took?
I think if you go back and carefully read the two sections that deal in depth with Traith's affliction (Mistwraith and Fugitive Prince) you will see some of the answers to your questions are already there, or quite strongly implied.

In order to explain 'what' the wraiths 'got' there would need to be an in depth description of the human energy field - there have been a lot of things published, a lot of exploration in this area, but since there is not a concensus opinion that it even exists... (though why, I don't know because when electrical current is present there is ALWAYS a magnetic field, and the human nervous system is electrical in nature...) far less how it functions, and what its constitution might be. Its various functions, also, are an area that enter into "hot religious" beliefs. So, I'd encourage you to explore the ideas for yourself. Eastern thought is far less resistant to the concepts and the knowledge than traditional western thinking.

As the wraiths did with Arithon's abilities, are they able to use the "bits" of Traithe's magic for themselves?
What happened to Traithe and what happened to Arithon was not at all the same thing... extrapolate CAREFULLY from the facts, you can see where this may lead.
After Traithe immolated the connection to those portions of his mind controlled by the wraiths, what kept them from coming after the rest of his knowledge and abilities?
At that time, the wraiths were still embodied in mist. He was under attack by attrition - and the reason for that was, he had to CLOSE DOWN THE GATE. Without going into the workings of gate magic, and what was involved with THAT, he was, at that moment, vulnerable.

He "cleared" the attacking entities as you saw. Crippled as he is, he is not left without knowledge or entirely defenseless... and I haven't gone into the history of what happened after... I could, yes, but instinct says no... storyline will do this far better. If the storyline fails on this point, it Will be in the appendix. There are extenuating story reasons why I don't want to dig into the mechanics of this at this time.

When Sethvir cured Morriel's deaf servant, how was this done within the scope of free will. Did he ask the servant for permission?
On the question of the deaf-mute servant - there is no inconsistencey with 'permissions. The indicator lies in Asandir's comment, subsequent to the event, as Morriel demands "What have you done to my servant?"

Asandir says, "Let him restore the enerves that afflicted his hearing, apparently."

The 'let him' refers to the servant himself - Sethvir's aware presence: the intensity and pleasure of the Sorcerer enjoying the sound of the spoons, allowed the servant to heal HIMSELF. There is a great deal of intricacy involved in this one scene; and here's how I see the act, as playing.

Sethvir's mage-sight would have allowed him to see the energy field of the servant; and know what precisely was out of alignment in the body, re, hearing. Clearly stated elsewhere (Dakar's longevity, and other places, too) is the fact that the body's own awareness carries a template of its own state of optimum health. Sethvir would have seen this too.

Not being a dummy, the servant knew he was "missing something."

Sethvir the instigator, chimed the spoons, and in the servant's close presence, FOCUSED ALL OF HIS ATTENTION on the sound of the notes, their harmonics AND all the tones of those that lie above and below hearing, that the sounded note would waken by resonance. Ride that resonance out of the physical - embrace it in its entirety, one would touch the upper ranges, and the sublime state....the Sorcerer's intense state of joy, channelled into HIS auric field, in close proximity to the servant's, would cause a frequency shift: by the physics of resonance, a higher blended with a lower, will create a third, that is the combination of the two. The servant's auric frequency (or ANYONE) in presence of a Fellowship Sorcerer will rise....to another higher than they are accustomed.

The servant, in this "raised" state - saw the Sorcerer's joy in the sound of the spoons, and LONGED with intensity to share that - Desired it with such complete and utter focus - that the body responded, drew on the available channel to Prime power (Sethvir) and effected a spontaneous healing.

The servant healed himself, by the choice and intensity of his conscious desire, and the body's innate awareness of its own state of optimum balance.

Will we ever find out what happened to Ciladis and why he never returned?
The series will answer the fate of Ciladis...I won't say when....there is definitely more material coming in Stormed Fortress...
With one continent populated, the racial makeup of Paravia seems homogenic. Are there any other races besides Caucasian? Are there any other languages besides human and Paravian?

There are the desert tribes of San Pashir - mentioned as dark, or dusky skinned, and their dialect is mentioned also...more on this coming. (Recall Arithon's cook on Khetienn, and also, many of Ath's adepts....)

Reason for a more homogeneous population: they all came from a refugee fleet....survivors, and not an entire slice of the original cultural variety.

With regard to the mores of the clansmen - they are Different than earth based. "Vice" there would be considered anything NOT DONE BY FREE WILL...therefore, relationships by force would be vice. Sex without consent of both adult parties, same thing. Children, being open to becoming unduly influenced, are categorized differently with regard to free will - they must be in their majority to be considered adult. The boundaries are both tighter - as in what adults may do with a child - and looser - how a child's freedom is not impinged as much as in most Earth based culture - You will see this, gradually. It's already in play, but probably dismissed - not Noticed yet - but will be in hindsight, as you read the newer scenes and actually see with knowing back into the life these people lead. The towns vary according to location - note differences between eastlands and westlands - they are there, and mentioned with some degree of consistency.

Sethvir has books in a language never spoken on Athera, and there have been ref. to this. Fellowship have used language not from Athera. I believe (to positive) it has been mentioned, but it was a rare reference. Rare enough I know it's there, but can't finger it on the instant recall.

There are two basic languages - sub split into dialect: Paravian, ancient paravian/Actualized.

The older version of man's language: spoken by the clans, in the more antique form, devolved into dialect with accent, used in the towns.

Desert tribes' language is not the same, nor is their dialect of the language of man the same...

Janny are their any African reflected nationalities in this universe?
In Wars of Light and Shadow, the desert tribesfolk - they make appearances, primarily as Ath's Adepts - though Arithon's cook on board Khetienne is one of them, also. (Why is that man there? One of the primary mysteries that you'll go back to, one day, with an Ah Ha!! More to that one than appeared at the time.) As to the tribes themselves, they appear in the forthcoming short story in Fantasy Masters - and you'll see more of them, and more deeply into their culture, in Stormed Fortress.
Can you elaborate on what happened when humanity arrived on Athera in Third Age Year One?
When humanity took refuge, they did not just land and settle. Not so simple. They had to apply for permission with the powers that lived on Athera already.

Athera was the Paravian's world.

The Fellowship interceded in mankind's behalf, aware there could be trouble, and agreeing to swear surety for Mankind's behavior - in line with their binding by the Great Drakes, to secure Paravian survival.

The compact was born - which delineated the TERMS ON WHICH MANKIND WAS PERMITTED TO SETTLE - with Fellowship responsibility for violations.

The initial settlement happened on Fellowships terms and auspices - that least damage happen between cultures.

The Koriani, as alluded in Fugitive Prince, Morriel's visit to Althain, were enraged not to have been consulted when the terms of the compact were drawn up by the Fellowship. They were given the choice: Fellowship way, or the highway. To settle, they had to submit. Which meant leaving much of their stored knowledge proscribed. Ticked, in short, in a major way. And by a power too strong for them to overthrow. The struggle continues.

The Kingdom Charters were an offshoot of the compact, but not the compact - they dictated the law under which Mankind governed itself, within the terms of the Compact. Certain freedoms were written in, since to a degree, the charters and the compact would adhere to the PRECEPTS of the Law of the Major Balance.

Lastly, those who could survive Paravian contact were given the job of interaction with the Paravians, where needed - if Man wanted to expand territory, this must be done by negotiation - hunting, foraging, farming, road building - all done through permission grants from the Paravians. The clans were the negotiators. When they brought back the word, it was law. Also, there were other seasonal concerns - where man literally had to "clear the way" for migrations of Paravians, or their celebration of rites. This has been hinted at. Put simply coexistence was not simple. The disparities between man and Paravian were -not- just "tribal" - Paravian cannot be read in the same terms as man's society. There is, literally, a vibrational difference - a frequency difference - between the original Atheran races and Mankind. The frequency has everything to do with the beauty. This is not always lightly or easily compatible. The free wilds of Paravia originally carried a higher vibration than earth does. Lots of reasons for restrictions that WILL be made clear - but are not apparent to townborn, or necessarily, our earth culture at this time. This is why clanborn still guard the free wilds, and why, it's not always safe or comfortable for townborn to go there.

The clanborn WERE NOT EVER RULERS in the strict sense - they were the negotiators between Paravian and Man, concerning use of the free wilds, which were Paravian territory. Town law, under Kingdom Charter, was theirs - they handled complaints, settled disputes, maintained that law - with backing as necessary from the Fellowship, who were Mankind's sponsors.

The clans would have evolved - and the bloodlines evolved - to give man autonomy over himself. Originally those who interceded were Fellowship chosen, based on their chance of survival. No one else at the time had the vision - Koriathain maybe, however, their system and their choices set them in diametric opposition to free will/the Law of the Major Balance - as is apparent in the story as written.

Man's governance on Athera is not an earth system of feudal power - at all. But became warped by political pressure between town desires and interests, and clanborn priorities which were set by Paravian preferences - an order whose necessities were prioritized by things a man might not even SEE, or feel, far less understand - a set of "restrictions" made far worse, by resentment, since the uprising devolved "power" into the usual forms of domination and belief that man tends to structure when balked of doing unwise damage for the short term gain.

Vision is, sadly, not the tool we tend to reach for, at first. We so often look to the "known" and tend to get trapped by the immediate, looking sideways or backward, not forward into an unseen change, never tried. Experimentation can sometimes be so much more scary than the failure we already know. So the planes fly, and the bombs fall, because we forgot to use imagination to look for another way... or we were so wrapped up in our anger and blame, we chose not to reach past the rage for healing... and so it is, on Athera, between townborn and clansmen in the Third Age where this story is placed. More obviously, to come in Stormed Fortress.

Is there a difference between people with names of Paravian origin and people without?
Names that translate from the Paravian are Paravian in origin - you may note, if you're the careful type who reads into the glossary, that quite often townborn names are not from the Paravian - there IS a reason for this, yes.

Clan names always descend from the Paravian.

What would Lord Governor Morfett see as a half-breed?
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.

Can you tell us more about old blood succession, especially for high kings and caithdeins?


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.

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

How do the clans perceive Davien in the years since the uprisings?

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.

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

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...

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

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.

Who might rule Melhalla now the royal line is extinct?
This is a quite cogent point to examine - this answer will NOT be simple! On many counts. An intelligent run through of the logic on all sides of the various systems of "law" could uncode quite a bit of the ACTUAL logic currently overshaded by Everybody's presumptions.
Can the spouses of Caithdeinen wear black?
They can wear whatever pleases them, but not the black of the office, which denotes both the bearer of the title and the oath. There is a hard lot of symbolism to the black they wear - and to the office - you've seen only part. More coming....very soon.
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?
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.
Can you tell us where the Reyaj Seeress came from and what her mystical knowledge entails?
The Reyaj Seeress mentioned was successor to an older one. The apparent "paradox" will be explained in due time.

Note: NOTHING in this series is presented at random.

The seed glimpse in Peril's Gate will unfold in due time.

More than one discipline to mystical knowledge exists on Athera - and the Reyaj tradition is another form of initiate discipline.
Can you tell us why Raiett Raven disappeared from the overall story so fast?
Raiett was a powerful, discerning character. The fact he "fell" so swiftly was, case in point, a shock tactic to demonstrate how DANGEROUSLY INVASIVE and SWIFT the cult's incursive working actually was.

I didn't have a lot of "page length" to waste here, on this one. (reason for many of the scenes, done as "clips" - to Demonstrate a close relationship, or a basis of departure for a MORE powerful scene later on. The later scene would not have had the "kick" or the "depth" to it, without the revealing intimacy of the earlier foundation. So some scenes were close to the bone 'revealing' to get you into that level of emotional intimacy)

WHY was Raiett vulnerable - one must look at what he believed, in close concert with his motivation - WHY he chose to become Lysaer's officer to begin with.
Luhaine once commented that the Koriathain are 'meddlesome' and that they should really be trying to 'help the Fellowship'. How could the Koriathain have helped the Fellowship with the Marak incursion?
The underlying precept to any sort of Koriani cooperation would be a foundational choice to create a union of talent, born of compassion.

What could the Order offer? Disciplined talent. Awareness of the design of will, by focused intent.

A rote knowledge of energetic alignment.

Upon such foundation, raw force could be raised... directed, tempered, there could be a field of common ground... sentinel duty by means of Lane Force is no more than a passive connection, used to observe. I imagine that the same sort of principle might (potentially) be applied toward Kharadmon's vigil and guard on the star wards...

Koriani might provide extra eyes, keen ears - and perhaps (if the tempering invocation released the initiation sigil toward free permission) the capacity to lend the strength of its massive, pooled talent... much as Arithon did, in the scene in book I, when the venomous Methsnakes broke into migration.

Can you tell us more about Morriel Prime's origins?
Morriel Prime was born on Athera, but she also remembers (one or more of) humanity's home worlds. There are clues as to why. And deeper exploration in coming volumes.
Why does the Prime Matriarch seem so short-sighted?

The Koriathain are RESULTS oriented. They don't look at causation, much, and they assuredly don't use much in the way of peripheral thought or vision. Their order is rather rigidly set against change, against independent thought, and against outside influence.

If results and performance and conformity of system are the ultimate goal - and fashioned such that the "system" can be readily passed on and trained, to others of varied talent, enmasse, it seems pretty obvious that virtuoso "hearing" would be a detriment...

As well as, what does it take to "hear" in that range, also - there is going to be a price - recognize individuality to that fine a degree, acknowledge consciousness to that exacting an awareness - it's going to rip down the very central precepts of the Koriani Order, which does not empower from within. Only from without.

What is the ethic of a "distortion" that is not perceived? There lies the question...

The story will unfold this with greater precision.

Why didn't the Koriathain go through South Gate to avoid the compact?
Aside from a restriction placed on the gate itself there IS a reason, a quite significant one, why no Koriathain went through South Gate to evade the compact... It is "indicated" in the series, but one of those "between the lines" sort of statements...
Hint: it would concern the planet itself; Athera: what it IS and what Marak is NOT. Paravians could not live on Marak (man is not the factor)

Athera's mysteries are active - its vibrational frequency is 'tuned' and its aware state is quite evolved.

Marak is not so 'developed' in that direction. Koriathain would have a harder, if not near impossible, time using what they know of power. The available "actualized" energies run much slower. Much. For a bunch of people who want to create physical sciences, no problem. For one who uses a crystal to "amp up" their intent - no easy access to 'juice'

Koriani magic does NOT 'tap' and use lane forces - though it is dependent on the lanes in other ways.

Paravian IS the language that is calibrated for Athera... actualized Paravian is the tonal language of its creation. Goes straight for the keys, as it were.

The electromagnetic frequency of the planet is critical, with Athera - which is a good bit of the "reasons" for the compact's structure.

It would be a misnomer to think mankind could not be 'trusted' to do the right thing for Athera, and that is why the compact restricts - it is a more precisely complex concept than that - a person with those same sensitivities developed would see widely enough, to know - and so, not shift that balance. Not every person sees - or wants to see - beyond the range of the physical senses... therefore, the compact defines what is "safe" to do or not do, with the overall preservation of the planet's mysteries in mind.

In essence: people came to this world, that was already evolved to this degree. The powers in residence on that planet required that frequency of expression to survive. Man wanted to settle. The compact defined terms upon which this could be done without harm to the world itself. What the compact did NOT do - was force every settler to shift perception in order to do so - that would have been a violation. Ones who did not, or could not, shift - they settled in designated areas where the flux was less active... and their activities would have less impact.

Can you comment further on the use of enslaved crystals by the Koriathain?
A crystal consciousness that is enslaved that desires its own freedom will shatter, or depart. With regard to the Waystone's preferences - don't attribute a crystal consciousness to a human one - they're not the same. As in most abuse cases - (human or otherwise) the consciousness involved does not necessarily choose to 'die' to escape the situation. And there is more than meets the eye, here, too.
Is it possible that the Koriathain could 'trap' the free wraiths within the crystal (much the same way she attempted to entrap Davien)?
It is first necessary to take careful note of the steps Selidie used, when she attempted to entrap Davien... first, she raised a field of containment - this was the construct created with wax on the floor - "a massive array of twined sigils" - " an elaborately protected squared circle" with "the eightfold sigils of binding at each corner" - additionally, she held a silk scarf embroidered in copper thread with "ninefold sigils of imprisonment."

The Waystone's might focused these symbols, which stood ground for empowered intent; and also, served as threshold and gateway... a link to enable the crossing.

By this, the story explains that Davien was not actually going to be contained inside of the jewel - he was going to be haltered, then drawn by its force THROUGH his binding promise, made to Elaira who WAS under sway of the order's pact (oath) of domination.

It is not specified in the text how the Sorcerer's essence would have become "permanently" contained. He was to be "pinned under" the power of the Great Waystone - not prisoned inside it.

With this clearly explained, the logic is clarified: the Waystone could never imprison the wraiths... should anyone try, it would ACTUALLY act to amplify the force of their malevolent rage - and with no discriminatory thought toward whether the jewel's matrix could handle that influx.

The reason the "failed" primes are imprisoned is quite another energetic connection.

To master the Waystone, one first must merge into it... all the patterns it holds, all the records, uncleared - every tangle of energy stored up inside - lent focus and intensely turbulent FORCE by the amplifying properties of the matrix -- which have, over time, created a vortex... the jewel, effectively, has been slaved as a tool. Its awareness (actual) is not in accord. As mineral, it has no subjective will, only an innate preference of alignment.

The alignment of its current use is not one of harmony. The stamped imprints it now carries are not to be confused with the (living) matrix that evolved within physical form as an amethyst.

The imposed vortex of cumulative intelligence, left imprinted by prime usage, is NOT the trued nature of stone, but a construct imprinted upon a piezo-electric, (read, reactive) mineral that can: store, amplify, focus, release, and connect.

Selidie accessed those properties to enable an etheric gate - to create an energetic linkage, or tunnel that would empower a binding, and funnel the Sorcerer's captive essence INTO the sealed matrix of the drawn construct.

Therefore, the Waystone was used as power source and a dimensional gateway. (The overlay would be holographic in nature).

For a crystalline matrix to be used to imprison - another train of logic altogether... and nowize would a crystal on Athera, or one imported and in Koriani possession, be large enough, or strong enough, to contain the wraith's entities. Nor the disembodied awareness of a Fellowship Sorcerer, except as flow of energy, passing through - and never for any span that entailed a longterm commitment.

I can't say any more without tearing into the fabric of future arcs... the risk you take when asking - I won't always be forthright with answers.

Why do the Koriathain use quartz?
The Koriathain use quartz because it's piezoelectric. They also use crystals in the Beryl family, notably, mentioned, the Skyron Aquamarine. Not so widely known, tourmalines are in the Beryl family, too. Tourmalines also polarize light.

Note: natural citrines are most often pale gold. The "orange" variety are amethysts that were subjected to heat - and "changed" by man made intervention to citrine. Natural citrine is much harder to get.

I get confused by all the references to copper and silk in Koriani magecraft. Can you simplify it for me?
Copper amplifies. Silk baffles. Effectively...
Can you tell us about the Koriani Oath of Initiation?
Koriani Oath of Initiation as spoken in the Third Age of Athera:

"I (name), declare myself free to bind myself to the Koriani Order. From this breath, this moment, this word, until death, I exist to serve, this I vow. My hands, my mind, and my flesh, are hereby given to enact the will of the Prime Matriarch, whose whole cause is the greater good of humanity, this I vow. All ties of heart, of family, of husband and love to put aside, this I vow. And should I weaken, or falter, and come to forswear my commitment, all that I am shall be forfeit, body and mind. This I vow, no witness beyond the Prime Circle, no arbiter beyond the crystal matrix into which I surrender my Name and my imprint as surety through all my living days."

This oath CHANGED, from its prior form, due to the compact. Before the Koriathain established settlement on Athera, it was different.

Does Elaira have clanblood in her?
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.
Can Elaira have children?
Yes, Koriathain could have children.
Was the bucket important when Caolle cleared the Koriani crystal?
The iron mattered, in that particular scene. So did the salt water. Salt water, and salt proper, will clear a crystal by itself. Dry salt, used long term, can damage a crystal's etheric matrix.
Can you tell us more about Paravians? For example, could a Paravian choose to turn evil?
To know the answer, you'd have to answer (and in 360 degree "WIDTH, DEPTH and HEIGHT") the concept from a viewpoint that is not either/or. The 'idea' of 'evil' and 'enemy' from Paravian viewpoint simply would not play... as you know it. I could say a LOT more - but really, the story will unfold this so much more elegantly.

Paravians do NOT perceive linearly - they do not perceive inside Time/space. Therefore a linear analog - of cause to effect - will not be a straight line.... it will be dimensional. And multi dimensional - beyond space/time.

There are Many clues in the series to date, concerning multidimensional view point... clues: Ath's hostels sacred groves, the movement and translocation of the adepts, Asandir's handling of Morriel's assault, Jieret's journey via the Raven's knowledge, the strands, the entire scene that took place in the sealed fortress at Earle, and the convocation at Methisle. Not to mention the two scenes (three actually) where a Paravian WAS "present" if not fully present. Faith based Angels would not be a good analogue... Paravians are physical beings carrying a certain conscious awareness that is beyond dimensional.

Have Paravians ever been possessed?
No Paravian has ever been victimized by Possession of Any Kind. Now, then, or Forever. Their natural state of conscious awareness would not allow this.
Can you tell us more about the Paravian set of beliefs?

The spark for this subject is a pretty broad spectrum, because on Athera, there are more than one paradigm, more then one set of beliefs at play within the various cultures.

The one I'll open with here is perhaps the least understood - although - it's perhaps the BEST explained within the text of the story itself. Where it tends to get obscured - the 'script overlay' of the prevailing beliefs within OUR society tend to cause coloration of what is actually there.

The paradigm I'll briefly and in surface fashion skim into is the underlying fabric of the Law of the Major Balance - Paravian awareness - which trickles down through Fellowship of Seven, the Compact, and by extension, into Arithon's mastery of magecraft, as taught by the Rauven sorcerers.

It would be a "mistake" to view this from a humancentric point of view - the paradigm is NOT humancentric. However, the paradigm does not belittle the fact that human awareness is an ever evolving process, it is not static. And that humans now are evolved to a more open or less open extent, depending upon their upbringing, and upon the degree that they choose (free will) to question the views of that upbringing. Ath's adepts are the most highly evolved humans on the planet of Athera.

The Fellowship Sorcerers are "up there" with them, but from another "set" - they carry the charge of the dragons, and the magic of the dragons - and you will see more precisely just how this difference meshes in Stormed Fortress. So I won't go into that caveat here.

Just the underlying paradigm.

Paravian awareness encompasses unified consciousness. Where there is matter, energy, light - even chaos and void - there is consciousness. This is NOT to be mistaken for the one sided concept that "consciousness is all the same thing as human consciousness." Way too oversimplified. Humans are a form of consciousness, expressed. They are not "better than" or "more than" nor are they "less than" or the great cosmic dummies.

They are more or less evolved.

Consciousness varies in its state of expression. It is not all endowed with "free choice" as human consciousness is. Non free choice consciousness is NOT less, NOT separate. It is all part of a unified whole, which works in concert with all the other parts. It is one fabric made of many threads. This is repeatedly expressed in the story - over and over. Separation is a false concept! It is illusion. Yet to understand the unified whole, one (who is initiate mage trained) must step outside of the human senses.

Therefore: consciousness in all of its states has mattering and value, no one above the other. The more evolved the consciousness, in ANY state of being or awareness - in any state of expression, the more it will act in BALANCE with the fabric of the unified whole.

What is balance?

It is NOT a humancentric concept! Balance does not admit "competition" or "domination". It is not "human micromanagement for the improvement of nature." It is human coexistence with nature in a way we do not do here on earth. Our earth theory of evolution does NOT encompass the Paravian concept of balance. The simplified "scientific" statement "survival of the fittest" does NOT encompass the Paravian awareness of balance. Nor does it "drive" the Paravian paradigm of evolution.

Evolution, by Paravian awareness, is CONSCIOUS experimentation, conscious change, consciousness seeking to expand itself. It happens by creative design, NOT by "survival of the fittest" Species evolve, achieve a level of efficiency, then evolve into something more - or not; or they finish and end that thread of creativity. The "stresses" on the environment are not at whim and random! There is conscious creation ever at work - and it is NOT human in nature. The elements are dynamic in nature, NOT destructive by intent. There's a pretty detailed look at this in several passages in the book - apt to be discounted or skipped over as "window dressing" but it's not window dressing, as you'll come to find later, when those concepts are built upon and set into "place" as you see into the other layers of viewpoint.

This paradigm does not look on the Predator and the Prey - as killer and non killer. Not one bit. That's too black and white - too linear, too either/or. Paravian paradigm looks on the spiral, not the straight line, it looks on the circle, not the see saw. The switch is not "on" or "off" but instead is viewed as a cycle.

It is not Kill or Be killed. It is balance - each being, each consciousness, each living (stones included) awareness and being working in synergistic bursts of energy to create a dynamism - - that is a living whole - and that whole is Not Static. It moves, it expands, it contracts, it breathes. It is the loom of change which evolves life, not the humancentric idea of "take or be taken" or "freeze frame" existence so that everything stays the same. It does not encompass the concept of a "base line" but springs off a moving state of energetic change. Balance is found in motion, and motion is cyclical, and those cycles are ever expanding - they are not a fixed state track; not a closed circle.

Example: there are predators, there is prey. Prey animals breed prolifically - high mortality rate. If they are NOT culled, they totally disrupt their environment - to their own ruination. If you watch what the hawks eat - you will notice - they eat what breeds fast and is plentiful - rabbits, squirrels, yes, baby birds - who are more numerous than could every survive! Doves - those guys breed in massive numbers each summer - and the hawks survive on them in the fall and winter. The prey animal serves its function. The predator takes only what it needs. Hawks are incredibly efficient. They waste no motion. They kill nothing they don't need. They go for the most efficient target. They eat a LOT of insects! Watch them!

If you watch the predator - say the hawk - take a bird - you will quickly see: they take the sick ones, the slow ones. They see a wider range of the spectrum than human eyes do! They "know" - they are signaled - what animal to strike. They choose by a quantifiable level of vitality, and they go for the ones that are already "less alive" than the ones that are wholly healthy. The sick ones - the slow ones, the less vital ones chosen out - NEVER suffer. See a hawk make a kill? The prey animals die instantly. They are culled. Not like us humans, who keep our pets alive when they're arthritic, stiff, blind, deaf - not like us humans that overcrowd animals to the point where they're living in unsanitary, lousy conditions - and have to be dosed with antibiotics! to grow quick so they can be slaughtered...the Paravian paradigm would not sanction this.

Have you ever "taken" a stunned mouse away from a cat? Did you ever observe this closely - the "mouse" the cat is "playing with" isn't all there. Check this out! If you release that mouse, it takes a moment or more than a few minutes to "reintegrate" itself and run away. Literally, when caught by the cat, a piece of it "switches off". Watch this - observe acutely - see if you don't notice a "shift" in that mouse...lizards, snakes, mice - all of which cats catch. They "stun" when taken, and even though they move, even though they run a bit - they are not "all present" like the mice in the uncaught state are. The level of "alertness" is not the same. If you have a cat - look at this - Let a caught prey loose, watch it reintegrate, you might see something you don't expect IF you drop off your rigidly held preconceptions of how a human would "think" and "react" in the claws of a cat. If you could "see" a higher frequency in the spectrum that is not visible to human eyes - you might see a whole other level of existence at play.

Paravian paradigm would view plants as equal: not better than - not less evolved. Kill a plant - no different than kill an animal. Abuse a plant - no different than abuse an animal...they might not cry out in a way our ears can hear - but there IS a stress reaction in plants. Science has observed this.

Do we abuse our plants? We kill the "unwanted" ones with herbicides. We create monocultures which are detrimental to our soils, our environment, about everything else - soil erosion, wind erosion, viability of the soil itself - then we rigorously deploy pesticide to "keep this monoculture healthy"

In the wild, such a monoculture as our "fields of crops" would not happen - why? - the plants signal each other chemically. (check this out - science has observed it) In the wild, if plants become "overcrowded" with one species - chemically, they call in the Pests! Literally! to thin down their overly prolific numbers and open up room for other plant species - to recreate balance. Plants that are not in monoculture do not suffer as devastating diseases, or pest damage. Why? They are in balance with a wholeness our usage does not recognize.

Animals and plants and minerals work in balance. In Paravian paradigm, all are honored, one is not singled out above the others - all are part of a unified whole, and it's not "OK" to target one expression of consciousness above another for "food." Balance works with all forms. The "environmental footprint" of sustenance is evenly distributed.

Disease and pests are a result of overcrowding. A signal of living consciousness to "clean out an imbalance within a given species" the bacteria - the disease - the bugs - they are not the enemy of that species! They are consciousness evolved to hold the vital balance of the whole synergistic system intact. Each to its own niche. It is human domination that insists or labels this as "desirable" and that as Not desirable. The wax and the natural wane, in human terms, are oversimplified into "let's create a static state."

Well, one only has to look at physics to see, quite fast, there is NO SUCH THING as a static state. All is energy in motion. Positive and negative charge, in a dance of constant change. energy to particle to energy to particle, until the very boundaries blur. Neither one nor the other. Both at once.

Balance - would hold the view that all consciousness supports all consciousness in balance, and the physical form is NOT all there is. Particle and wave form - energy to matter - it's a dynamism, moving, with consciousness itself as the underlying engine - the underlying driver - it is the only "constant' and it is not constant!

It's not what eats, or what is eaten, but the quality of life and the honoring of life as consciousness which is NOT separate from itself - the 'eater" and the 'eatee' are the same fabric, the same cloth.

There's a description of Asandir hunting deer by Dakar in Curse of the Mistwraith. USA hardback page 491, in the subchapter titled Incarceration - that's accurate. Asandir understands balance, Dakar does not. Note this scene down. Balance encompasses an honoring of life, and a permission.

The hawk - the predator in the wild has instinct. Those wild animals honor balance by INSTINCT. Humans do not have the sensory acuity - nor do they have the instincts - they have evolved to a state of choice. It is conscious choice to recognize balance - or not. There is no penalty attached. Only degrees of awareness, that change or shift, only by choice.

Balance does not encompass the CONCEPT of punishment. A crop blight is NOT punishment - it is not "nature's wrath" - it is nature working in harmony with itself to right an imbalance - what constitutes imbalance? Imbalance is when the quality of LIFE for a consciousness is in a state of ebb. The vitality drops. Something more vital reacts. Not in contention, but in balance. Distressed life calls in more life that will relieve its state of distress. There is a dynamic flow.

A sick animal - and old animal - the quality of live is LESS. A monoculture - the quality of life is weakened. Balance honors vitality, knowing the physical form is NOT the spirit of a thing. It is not all there is.

The consciousness of a mountain is not the same as a man - or a plant - or an animal. It is mineral. Yet if it is to be "used" it is worked with the grain of its own nature - with an honoring of what it IS. and what it is NOT.

"Dog eat dog" is a humancentric earth paradigm that is not part of the most evolved state of awareness on Athera - which holds the long term view of balance, not competitiveness.

You would never see a Paravian "grow crops" in the way a townborn would - nor would you see one unilaterally harvest every berry off of every bush. The "Take all, leave none" concept would be against their nature. They would harvest with the awareness of taking what was "in balance" and leaving a portion for the wild, and for the plant itself to reseed.

They would grow plants in cooperative awareness of the consciousness of the plant itself. An asking of permission and a "voluntary" cooperation with the consciousness of the plant itself. At their level of awareness the life energies that sustain that plant would and could respond.

There have been some VERY interesting experiments done on earth in this direction - I will NOT outline them here - for the specific reason, that I am writing a work of fiction!!

Explore where others are looking with invention on your own initiative. Suffice to say, there are very wonderful alternative approaches, fascinating stuff, being done in the here and now that make the "taking" mentality of pesticides and feedlots and herbicides and chemical "fertilizers" and "the insect is your enemy" and turn that sort of concept squarely on its head, in a good way....go exploring. Open your eyes, but only if you want to.

Oversimplifying any belief, or any limit does our human nature a gross injustice. We were born with imagination and the capacity of thought and choice. Too often we don't (in MY opinion) push ourselves to use those gifts. "I can't afford this" is oversimplification, too - can we truly afford to keep bulldozing our environment for convenience? Can we truly afford to keep "quashing" diseases when diseases are evolving faster than we are, faster than we can develop "drugs" - we use our "science" to study the sick to effect a cure - but what if we used our observation to study what was "well" to understand what "wellness" was all about?

Abuse of an animal, abuse of a plant, abuse of the earth, "unilaterally kill the bacteria" to "right" a state of disease - abuse of a mountain to "mine" off the top to get at coal or diamonds - some would say only people matter. That none of the above are "abuses" and that "kill a cow" and "kill a bacteria" are two SEPARATE concepts - one is "OK" and the other "NOT" - a cow is a complex animal, a bacteria is a "simple" one - well, where do you draw the line? It's a human line at that! Who says what "line" in the sand is OK? Kill a cow, NOT! Well, kill a spider, just fine? Kill a poisonous snake? Is that "OK" - the snake just has that venom to EAT! He isn't targeting a human, unless, he perceives that human as threatening. But it's OK to kill a poisonous snake? Why? Because I "fear he'll bite me?" I'm defending against my fear, not that snake, who probably will go his way very calmly, thank you ma'am, if I let him be what he is. Give him space to go. Not react on my "fear" that he will do something unnatural "bite a human who's not threatening his space."

You want to eat only rice, but you won't let a mouse in your pantry? What about an ant? What about a nest of ants...do you reach for the poison? Where do you draw the line? "This is OK to kill - this is not." A weed or a flower. Which is OK to kill, which is an offense? A bug or a blackbird.

FACT: there were massive subsidies paid to POISON blackbirds last year, who were "devastating" the sunflower crops, millions of bucks worth of losses to farmers - who "buys" most of the sunflower crop??? BACKYARD HOMEOWNERS who feed the birds!!! Bird lovers demand for seed causing a mass poisoning of living birds! Is that an oxymoronic event, or what? Do the bird lovers know this happens - do they care???

Take and don't look how you take is one view, and a narrow one at that, since in fact what humanity needs to survive and flourish as a species is ALSO what gives us a thriving environment.

Paravian paradigm examines the issue from conscious awareness honoring balance and the precept of QUALITY of life being more important than a quantified measurement of maintaining existence at any cost.

I will say again: Paravian paradigm is NOT earthcentric or humancentric. It is NOT in its own design intended to "educate" anybody....that's why, on Athera, there were the free wilds, and the towns, with careful, so careful, delineations allowing both to co-exist.

Animals are NOT honored in our earth paradigm. We are not arguing that. Their quality of life, and their spirit, is scarcely recognized...their emotions, which do exist, are "discounted" by science, discounted by the food industry in ALL forms - plants, the same, bacteria, the same. All are boxed into "conceptual" design that fits human priorities.

Paravian paradigm is not to be mistaken for earthbound HUMAN hierarchical priority - read that passage on Asandir and the deer listed - I don't need to repeat it here. Look at Sethvir's interaction with the Koriani Waystone - I don't NEED to put out what's already in plain sight.

Abuse of a physical form - pain and suffering - is JUST ONE LAYER - and the least layer. If human paradigm looks on the form of a thing as "that is all there is" - the whole paradigm mentioned here is utterly beyond them...they will just plain miss the point. Never see past the hand in front of their face, if the hand's form is all there is.

Initiate wisdom SEES PAST.

Paravian paradigm looks on spirit, FIRST! Physical form as a reflection, SECOND and honors BOTH. Not simple. Not "either/or". Not, If I can't SEE it, it's not there - and my presumptions do NOT fill in the blanks of "what I can't see, therefore MUST be labeled something" - my human insistence on finding "order" insists upon "I have to understand it ALL, even though I don't." Let's just not admit I've substituted something else, because I can't see there is a wider view.

A prey animal - it has consciousness. Why did that consciousness CHOOSE to be formed as a prey animal...ah, what, you mean it isn't chance? Nope. THAT would be cruelty! No choice as to what form a consciousness could express? It ain't locked, people. Not in Paravian paradigm - which looks on consciousness as creative and fluid. Balance as spiral. Movement as growth. If there are no prey animals, a great deal of what is alive on earth would starve. Period. There are predatory (yup! meat eating) plants. An animal eats a plant, ok, but hey - if that's a more complex eating a lesser - how come there are plants eating prey ANIMALS? Whose design is that? A bigger one....certainly, than one a human might contrive by a "rule" that says, greater/lesser - which discounts the paradigm of - voluntary cooperation. A creative universe in balance and harmony with itself. Not dog eat dog. Kill first, and you get to live. Kill what you need, and we ALL live with elegance.

Now a prey animal - which one dies? NOT the vital one; NOT the innovative one which is strengthening, advancing, expanding the line of that animal's physical form...which one? PARAVIANS WOULD ASK!!!

Which expressed to serve the food chain, which ones expressed to expand it...which ones expressed to keep it vital. NOT kill all the cows! Take the ones that were there to serve that thread in the grand design.

ASK an animal for permission? Jeez, ask a stone? Are we nuts to think we can? (Has anybody but our (ahem!!) most primitive cultures, who understand this point very well - even TRIED?)

The key is indiscriminate, non cooperative destruction for ANY reason - that is outside the paradigm.

Repeat: I don't want to incite a personal battlefield here....if you want to explore an idea, do it, but keep the issues aside because I do not want this to be about issues...I honor what you all feel. I am not "opposed" to your sensibilities. That you have them has meaning which is to be respected.

If you are "hurt" by the idea that life is born and dies - for whatever "reason" - I am not going to belittle your hurt. Respect how you feel, honor it for what it is. I am not here to argue or justify a thing, or to make you feel you need to defend what you feel - you feel it. It's legit, right there.

Paravian paradigm does not look on form as "all there is" - what else there is, is certainly fertile ground for conjecture...here, or anywhere else. How that "what else" is treated, regarded, disregarded, or discounted - that shades so much or takes away so much meaning to the outcome of how we perceive things "are."

In Paravian paradigm, not all prey animals would be subject to predation, not all food plants would be subject to harvest. Mass consciousness of species AND individual life consciousness of each INDIVIDUAL would be known by Name. (Asandir's crossing of Mainmere to Caithwood - it states PLAINLY - he knew each sand grain on the sea bottom by NAME. That sort of caring, at that depth of intensity and detail, does NOT presume!!!

All the other continents on Athera are barren and destroyed as a result of drake wars. Why didn't the Paravians reinstate the mysteries in those continents to promote a regeneration and growth of those lands?

What happened on Kathtairr was an extreme event - and the "reason" underpinning the first dreaming of the drakes that generated the response of the Paravian 'arrival' as Ath's gift. There are sections of the planet still "wounded" and this area is one of them. There is a REASON why it cannot be healed at this time.

The Paravians who secured the grimwards there paid a terrible price to do so.

The series will unfold more on this subject, past and present, so I can't give you more depth at this time.

Am I right to say that Ath's Adepts have achieved the Paravian standard of consciousness? Or have they just achieved the highest state possible for humans?

The Adepts are closest to the Paravian standard of consciousness, yes - one difference - they are still human - steer by their bodily senses, be swayed by their limited selves - they can oh so easily step out of it. By choice. Paravians are the 'living bridge' - they are 'hardwired' to hold what they are. If circumstances do not permit this, they die. Strong in the mysteries, they are oh so fragile, fused into a bodily awareness.

Consciousness defines, most strictly! the level of magic that can be accessed.

Did the dragons, then, respect free choice? No. Do they subscribe to limitations or strictures? No. They are wild powers. Consciousness without conscience. It happened this way: the Fellowship received their magic from the dragons. Contact with the Paravians - made them what they are today. Their charge of Paravian survival would demand a confluence of harmony - the Law of the Major Balance is that guideline.

Is there on Athera a greatest reality? Is there room in Athera for the idea of form or essence, of things having some kind of idea or core essence of being? Is Ath personal (By this I do not mean anthropomorphic)? Does Ath have a will or purpose for creation? Is Ath merely a concretization of an abstract principle?

Most of what you have asked can be answered within the series itself - and a greater part will reveal in the 4th arc. You won't have to look very far -A HUGE AMOUNT of what you want to know is already in Peril's Gate - material that is right THERE, wide open to be seen.

I have stated straight out that much of the underpinnings lie OUTSIDE THE PHYSICAL SENSES. Therefore, look to those scenes that cross the veil. Jieret's transcendence - THAT will answer most of what you have asked.

The idea of the essence of a thing - very clearly.

The Drakes Dreaming will out in the series itself.

Is Ath in all, all in Ath, or is Ath mirrored - look to the scenes mentioned. It's there.

Arithon's absolution in Kewar - more there; though realize, Arithon's awareness is limited. (he sees but not so far yet)

You'll find more bits in Kevor's healing.

You can talk about any controversial idea you want - that's what this board is FOR. The Fellowship's Strands are based upon geometries - you may not be so far a field as you think.

Is Ath anthropomorphic - no. Ath is a complexity, a simplicity, and a paradox.

Is there a greater "good" on Athera....not as you have phrased your "good, better" analogy. What is good, what is better? You go to a movie. It brings you joy. Maybe it gives you an inspiration, maybe it moves you to create something that inspires thousands. Maybe you come out and smile, and that is the leaf, falling, that changes a balance somewhere. how can you know? If you don't have the guts to admit you need happiness, then don't have the balls to grapple the issue, accept the gift, make the pursuit of that a learning experience, what have you done to grow?

OK, so you deny yourself YOUR joy - you feed a hungry person. Is that "better?" Maybe. In a simplistic manner it may be.

But what if you and the hungry person, at heart, in mind, in your humanity were equally ABLE to reach for happiness....what if you equally, stood on your human dignity, got responsible, and asked in your own right? The hungry person could (in theory) learn to feed himself.

Did you, in giving that food $, actually take his power - enforced the (false) belief he was the less worthy - that he should suffer and gain that way - and you, deny yourself to do for him what he could (in theory) do for himself.

Now, I realize this is highly controversial. Don't think for one second I don't care, and don't feed the hungry!!! But if all people honored the dignity and freedom of all people - what constitutes happiness springs out of empowerment. The simplistic idea "feed the hungry" is too simplistic. "Help the hungry learn to feed himself" - which, he can't do, starving, so - help enough, then set the example...does you living less of your dream help another reach more of his? Is good, better a concept that even applies in this case?

Giving the hungry alcoholic money for food - he'll buy the wine instead. The compassion to understand how he has thrown away his dignity, his freedom, his self esteem, his self empowerment - that will assist with the addiction. hungry people certainly can't start out tackling the big issue, deprived. But after you feed them - then what? When they are not deprived, the belief that put the situation in place (en masse in the case of countries) - what about that?

World Problems - they need so much creative thought - but in my (very personal, mind) experience, a handout is not much good, unless there is a healing of the mess that caused a person's needs to be ignored in the first place - unless that healing is addressed, the handout is not much more than a pat on the back over an open wound. Prolonging a dependency with no hope, and no help, offered to let that hungry person find their way in freedom. Giving food implies the (disempowering notion, just reinforced) that the hungry person is less than, unable to reach and fulfill his life on his own. "Just feeding the hungry" can set them in bondage...and that will no doubt spark lots of controversy - it is a complexity.

I do feed the hungry. I also do my best to learn what joy and happiness IS for me - and share what I have learned so others can see the courage in themselves to seek THEIR dreams. So the movie money is not "less" and the charity is not "more" - necessarily!

This is a very simplistic "exploratory" view to your very complex questions - what is wrong - what is evil...what is good, what is better - if we are talking 'ideals' in the story unfolding on Athera - that issue is not simplistic! It can only be answered - from what point of view? Whose??? Which one do you choose? When you're tired of that one, it sort of pinches, well, step into another - and another - and another - the story has LAYERS. Which one? Is it limited? NO!!! Which layer do you want to access? THEY ARE ALL THERE! The tapestry is huge... pick a thread and follow it.

Does a Paravian have the ability to give absolution to overtake the guilt/compassion embedded with Arithon?

"Give absolution" is somewhat of an erroneous concept, given Athera's paradigms.

Absolution must first be claimed BY the individual, who will first have to arrive at the (self-imposed) limitation: that the Belief that they were flawed was a self-chosen state of mind. The change from that belief - would shift that person into the state called "absolution."

Why is this "tricky?" - because in the state of belief of limitation (flawed self) the actualized reality would show - and Arithon would see, therefore - himself as flawed. His experience would follow the free will choice of his self imposed state of limitation.

In the presence of a Paravian - who stands as the living bridge to the prime vibration (Ath) - it would be "easier" to shatter the limited belief - since the prime vibration (state of whole being) would NOT reinforce that flawed self image.

Therefore: the presence of the centaur allowed Arithon to see more clearly and - by his own choice to reach - to break through the limited belief that a flaw in the self could not be healed or forgiven - or that state of belief that created his "guilt" could ever transit to a state of healed self acceptance.

He claimed his own beingness as whole - in the presence of the living bridge to the prime vibration (Ath) and that confluence of choice and energy arrived at a transformation to healing.

Complex, I realize, but - this IS what you asked, and I prefer to keep the paradigms clear, since all of the books are predicated upon them.

Traitor's Knot will make this fine point clear - though it will not shine through with clarity IF a reader imposes their own rigid belief system upon the story....that projected "set" of predetermined beliefs can twist what you "see" on the page.

When did Cianor die? Who rescued his sister?

Cianor Sunlord lived in First and Second Age. His death is correctly listed in the glossaries as a Second Age event. Alithiel was bestowed upon Kamridian in the Third Age - Therefore this could not have been done by Cianor Sunlord himself.

It would have been his namesake, Cianor Moonlord, whose time was concurrent with Kamridian. It is not common for Paravians to name their young after another predecessor - this was a specific and special case.

Can you tell us anything more about the Twelve Swords of Isaer and their history?
The histories of the Twelve Swords of Isaer wax and wane, depending on what was going on at the time. Each sword has a story. Some emerge into prominence in the hands of a certain individual - then fall into background.
What date did the Paravians leave the continent?
Most of the Paravians were gone from the continent by 5070.
How did you devise the Paravian language?
Paravian has no connection to Earth languages - however, like Sanskrit, it would have sound and tonal connections to Athera's foundational vibration - a close parallel to the language of Ath's creation.

It has been fairly extensively structured, but following no conventional earth language.

How do the Paravian translations work?
First off, before I go further I AM NOT A LINGUIST. That said, Paravian will not necessarily follow any earthbound structure. It doesn't at all, in fact - it's closer related to Athera's magic system than an earth based language as the terminology you've stated would indicate.

This being the case: certain forms of words - cases being one - have far far less significance - since Paravian is closely related to a tonal reflection of creation.

The phrase as example - siel i'an i'anient - is a good one to "dissect"

Paravian works on the basis of root words, further defined by an intricate system of prefixes and suffixes.

siel - breaks into three bits, tonally

s - i - el

s - this appears often, as in front of surnames - it is a specifier - which can be translated as either "the" or "of" but isn't really that simply defined - it is actually a marker that separates, or defines, an individualization of consciousness. Marks an allotment of "entityship" as it were. A division from the whole. It is a state of beingness.

i - can also be translated as "the" but - not the same way as above - it is an identifier of consciousness, individualized. A consciousness aware of itself that is separate by choice, not affiliation.

Therefore s'i is a division or awareness set apart from the consciousness collective, that is aware of itself, or individualized.

s'i'el - the word for individualized consciousness, added to el - which spins the definition out further - meaning a vibration that has tangible existence in creation.

iel - is the Paravian word for Light - i'el - figure it out.

siel - literally, then, is "to be light" - "to be illumined" - the simplistic translation is "to know" - a state of awareness, taken from the conscious collective, individualized, and illuminated.

i'an - well, you know "an" is one. That breaks, too - a'n - "a" the void before creation, and 'n pronounced en) the masculine element that gives the unformed shape - an, one, or first.

i'an, then, is the primal one, given conscious awareness - the self.

an also is a suffix, indicating a state of being greater than its first note.

ient is a suffix indicating a state of being fully evolved, beyond that first note.

i'anient is then the state of self at its fullest evolution - definition unto completion. It can also be translated as infinite light...

Cases, like "I" and "YOU" are not going to have the same sense as English - since the collective consciousness is one, aware, is still one, you and me, still one - just individuated by self awareness, NOT by any actual separation of identity. But the root form is going to still reflect that primal unity.

Last - spoken Paravian is simplified - actualized Paravian, which IS the tonal creational language - will, yes, alter reality.

So the translations are rough approximations of what is actually a very precise system that does not break down the same way words as we know them would.

What is the correct pronounciation of "Siel i'an i'anient"?
see el (as in letter L) - now slur the two together and you get syel, accent on second syllable (siel)

see - ahn (slurred again, accent to second bit) (s'an)

see - ahn-yent (accent on both second two, last syllable clipped.

Effect, combined has a rolling cadence, with the last T sharply cut off.

If you could see the Paravian written in its natural characters, the pronounciation would be obvious - some of the characters are apparent in the paintings of Arithon's sword - go figure them out.

There is one that does NOT correspond to an alphabetical character - in Paravian it is possible to have a word that combines t with th - The two sounds have different characters. Alithiel's name has this th character in it - there is a character name to come where this will happen - t and th side by side. In English, I've resorted to using a hyphen - t-th to make those words manageable.

But Iyat-thos Tarens does not appear, yet, for lo, another story arc. (If you're wondering, his first name translates as "broken nose") And he's - ah, well, guess you'll have to wait this one out.

Can you to match real-life accents onto places on Athera and Dascen Elur so I'm not always fumbling when I read them?
You Asked: accents would not correlate to any found in the USA -- or anyplace else.

To understand languages and accents on Athera, you really have to look at how the world evolved, and how the population settled in sanctuary.

The dragons spoke Drakish, which had no written form, only pictorial symbols.

Paravians brought the language with them, and it has two forms: the Actualized, which carries AND imprints the flow of prime power, and the everyday spoken form, which "reflects" the flow of power from speaker to listener, but does not invoke actualized creation.

The Fellowship Sorcerers use Paravian, among themselves, and have, since their arrival, though they have knowledge of other languages from their prior experience.

When mankind took refuge, they brought language with them. One common tongue, used today among men, has "split" off into accents, through usage. The older form, held by the forest clans, has stayed mostly untouched, due to their isolation and their strong adherence to tradition. The slight shift in accents would be regional, but as a whole, they have a crisper diction.

The accents in the towns carry the most regional variation. These can be quite distinct. Shand, East Halla, Araethura, Carithwyr, and Korias all have regional variations - the lack of connectivity, the dearth of roads, and the movement of trade leaves some areas isolated from rapid change, and these areas would devolve into accents.

There are three 'dialects' alive - these are amalgamations of the language brought in, colored by ethnic roots. These peoples had their own language, and in the dialects, bits still survive. You have seen the Sanpashir desertfolk, and the shepherds of Vastmark already - with dialect mentioned. Those words are not in usage among any other of Athera's population.

The last area where dialect is still spoken is at Ettinmere Settlement, but the story has not yet taken you there. That unfoldment is still to come.

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