Q: While Arithon was training under Halliron, was the only instrument he studied the lyranthe? There's been mention in the series of fiddles and I think flutes and I was wondering has Arithon ever played these? Or are they not considered as part of a Masterbard's art?

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.

Q: With regards to Arithon receiving absolution in Davien's maze by the centaur... Does the Paravian have the ability to give absolution to overtake the guilt/compassion imbedded with Arithon? Can a Paravian absolve anyone of any guilt by deciding to do so? How does this correlate with Ath's forgiveness?

"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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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 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.

Q: What happened when Arithon drew his sword against the Khadrim?
A: 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...

Q: 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?
A: 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.
Q: What year did Lysaer and Arithon arrive on Athera?
A: If I recall properly (without running to get my timeline which is in the other office) the arrival time for Lysaer and Arithon to Athera was Third Age 5637.
Q: Who is your real-life Arithon s'Ffalenn?
A: There is no existing live model for Arithon - he's "all in my head."
Q: What are the relative heights of Dakar, Arithon and Halliron?
A: Arithon is shorter than Dakar, Dakar is taller than Arithon, but shorter than Halliron, who would be considered tall.
Q: Why didn't Arithon s'Ffalenn encounter Caolle in Kewar Tunnel?
A: 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.
Q: Can you summarize what we know about the Mistwraith's curse and how it influences both half-brothers?
A: 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.