Curse of the Mistwraith - Summary with Highlights - Chapter Set III

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"Summary with Highlights" pages combine an in-depth plot summary with additional commentary about key details and language subtleties a reader might overlook. They are designed for readers who need a bit more direction in this challenging story, and have been reprinted here with the author's permission and Janny Wurts's blessing.

Spoiler warning: These pages are based on one person's reading experience and are not intended to be a purely impartial plot synopsis. Please be aware that the extra highlights might foreshadow events that happen later in the story or pull your eye towards a detail you'd prefer to discover on your own. Proceed with caution if you would rather have a completely unguided reading experience!

III. Exile

Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Curse of the Mistwraith.

Lysaer, crown prince of Amroth is kidnapped by order of the High Mage of Rauven and hurled head-first through the Worldsend Gate. He wakes up in the middle of the Red Desert, under the sting of unbearable heat to discover that he has no way to return back home and is stuck in exile with only Arithon for companion.

Stabbed by grief that his royal father didn't care enough for him and disregarded Rauven's warning to satisfy his vengeance, shaken because he had suddenly lost everyone that bound his pride and ambition and terrified of an unknown future away from everything he's ever known, Lysaer looks for a scapegoat to blame and assigns the role to Arithon ("the only living human who remained to take the blame")

Arithon tries to convince him he is blameless but the way he had baited the King during the trial prevents Lysaer from believing him. So he chooses to dismiss Arithon's offer of setting differences aside and working together to survive and attacks. "Seven generations of unforgiven atrocities stand between them" and that is reason enough for Lysaer to want to hate and kill. Humiliated, defeated for the moment by Arithon and agonized by wounds and envy, Lysaer wants to set off by himself but Arithon refuses to allow it.

A prince knows nothing of hardship, while the pirate son has already endured a fair share of it. But Lysaer refuses to acknowledge it and, when faced with the need to trust his "enemy", he turns bitter angry and full of hatred and attacks again. He'd rather die than depend on his "hated bastard-brother"! But Arithon will not allow it. Determined to keep "his brother" alive at any cost, he uses sorcery to drive Lysaer to his feet and manipulates his hate to keep him walking. They both set out for Mearth, where the ancient scrolls at Rauven mentioned the Gate that might get them out of the Red Desert.

After 5 days of traveling through the scorching heat of the Red Desert, Arithon's strength fails and he falls asleep. Throughout the entire journey till now he had drawn on the resources of his mage training to stay awake and keep Lysaer going, but after the ordeal in Amroth and the divided rations, he succumbs to exhaustion. Lysaer pounces on the chance and lets his hate and anger loose, almost killing Arithon. Before he gets to deliver the final blow, Arithon urges him to head on to Mearth and beware the curse mentioned by the Rauven records. "You've a chance at life. Don't waste it."

Arithon's behaviour makes Lysaer falter and let go of his fury. With a clear head he realises that his brother had used sorcery against him to inflame his hatred and keep him going. Torn between hatred of s'Ffalenn and distrust of his own motives, he decides to let fate and the desert be the judge of Arithon and hurls the sword away with the intent of collecting his share of the supplies and set off on his own. Unfortunately, the thrown sword had pierced the last waterflask. The prospect of being left with no water horrifies Lysaer and drives home the guilt of leaving a half-brother badly wounded under the pitiless sun "with the marks of injustice on his throat".

It may be easy to pass over all these emotional stages Lysaer goes through now, but they are important comparison measures for what will come next. How Lysaer develops as a character, how much of that development is due to innate characteristics or outside influence, these stages Lysaer goes through now should help you get a clearer idea.

Arithon wakes up later, after Lysaer had left. He is weak and dying, but relieved that his brother has a chance at survival and that he doesn't have to bear the burden of responsibility for his life anymore. But then he realises the waterflask had been cut and believes Lysaer had rejected the chance to live. So he succumbs to torment and delirium.

The past decision of taking up the mantle of his father and leaving his hopes and dreams behind at Rauven, only to fail and leave just death behind comes back to haunt him.

The lyranthe abandoned at Rauven along with a bright future in magecraft. – His hopes had gone silent just as his music. Another piece of the puzzle to add to the the foundation of Arithon's character. Renouncing something that he loved deeply, only to fail in the purpose he chose above it.

An image of Lysaer dead – because he "failed to save him!" An image of his dead father, shot by an arrow and licked in a rising rush of flame. – this one accompanied by agony because Arithon may have been able to save his father if he had used sorcery to destroy the Amroth fleet! Instead of doing that he had just used shadow and blinded them so that they turned on each other until 7 were destroyed.

And here is where we get to the core of Arithon's inner torment. "How could I twist the deep mysteries? Was I wrong not to fabricate wholesale murder for the sake of just one life?"This question is what will drive him and we'll come back to it at the end of the book.

Lysaer returns just when Arithon's torment is at its peak, and drags his half-dead brother to a fountain he had discovered in the desert. "Your life is your own affair but I refuse responsibility for your death."Is it guilt that drove him back? Or something else?

The fountain Lysaer discovered is the one mentioned in the chapter intro: The Five Centuries Fountain built by the sorcerer Davien. The brothers are healed and refreshed as soon as they drink from the fountain's water but now they are destined to cease to age for 500 years as well as to suffer those lengthened 500 years with tears and through grief.

Transgression

Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Curse of the Mistwraith.

Meet Lirenda, First Enchantress to the Prime Matriarch of the Koriathain, and Elaira, junior initiate of the same Order. After being ordered to keep watch over the Second Lane, Elaira defies protocol by retorting and breaching two of the most unmentionable subjects known to the Prime Circle of the Koriani: the Fellowship of the Seven and the lost Waystone.

Elaira states that "the second lane requires no watch duty". But Why? We'll come back to it.

First:- The Koriani and the Lanes

There are 12 energy lanes throughout Athera, channels of electro-magnetic force that array Athera's world. They span the circumference of the planet, intersecting at the north and south poles, and standing waves formed into bands of energy flow/current.

The Koriani are an ancient Order of Enchantresses whose interests on Athera will be revealed later in the series. They are ruled by the Prime Matriarch or Prime Enchantress who is assisted by the First Enchantress and the Prime Circle, a circle of the oldest and most experienced/powerful enchantresses. They have the ability to manipulate the elements: water, fire, earth and air (one element being predominant for each of them) and are well known for their healing skills.

By tuning their consciousness into harmony with one of Athera's lanes, the Koriani can build a connection between their mind and the lane, using their predominant element as a bridge. As a result, they can literally ‘see' what happens within the entire area covered by the lane.

Ex.: Elaira used water, her predominant element, and a picture of Asandir and Dakar traveling towards the West Gate formed onto a pool's surface. She noticed it, recorded it and moved on. There was a lot of ground to cover on the whole Second Lane.

Second: – The Waystone and The Fellowship of the Seven

The Waystone is a spherical crystal that can encompass the power of 180 Koriani enchantresses and bind them into a single force. It was "misplaced" during the chaos of the Mistwraith's conquest. If recovered, it would allow the Prime Enchantress to KNOW what actually happens on Athera, instead of trying to guess based on what the lane watch reveals.

Sethvir of the Fellowship may know or find out where the location of the Great Waystone is, but the Koriani would never even consider asking him for help. The sisterhood regarded the Fellowship with deep and bitter resentment and despite their need, they'd rather suffer through it than make that particular appeal. – That should tell us quite a bit about the relationship between the 2 factions.

Curse of Mearth

Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Curse of the Mistwraith.

The 2 half-brothers head for the gate in Mearth, after having their strength restored by the Five Centuries Fountain.

Note how Lysaer's personality is revealed even more here. You'll be needing to form a good image of his character to be able to understand his decisions later; to be able to see how he changes and realize why.

He resents his half-brother because Arithon was given a training he, as a prince never received. He resents the fact that Arithon doesn't mock him for his lack of experience. He struggled for years to learn on his own and that fact again doesn't provoke any reaction from Arithon. Does Lysaer want praise and resents the fact that he's not getting it? Or is Arithon proving to be better than the mean bad pirate sorcerer everyone believes him to be and that nettles Lysaer because his own already formed opinion may be wrong?

Lysaer's entire upbringing has centered upon a crown he would never inherit. He sees no future for himself in another world and is anguished by a gnawing sense of worthlessness. – Important!

He keeps comparing himself to Arithon and grudgingly admits that his half-brother could earn a place of respect anywhere, while his quick mind and enchanter's discipline (forged during years of training that Lysaer was denied!) could be turned to any purpose on any world.

Lysaer sees himself only as having a future as a fencing tutor or a guard captain and "shrank in distaste at the thought of killing for a cause outside his beliefs". – Important. We'll come back to the killing and the beliefs towards the end of the book.

Together, the brothers face theCurse of Mearth, manifested in the form of living darkness that tries to possess them and bars their way to the Gate.

In this display of light and shadow vs darkness, we get a good glimpse at the gifts of both brothers.

Arithon can manipulate shadow; draw it in or dispel it. This way he can wrap a place in shadow turning broad daylight into night. He can either manipulate an existing shadow or create/summon his own.

In turn, Lysaer can manipulate the light of the sun. He can either draw it from the sun and manipulate it, by turning it into bolts of lightning; or he can create his own light to further turn into a bolt of lightning.

Both brothers' access to power is elemental in nature, and used together, create an opposing force.

Combining their use of powers and relying on each other for strength, the two manage to pass through the Gate together.