Arithon - Role in the Story (Ships of Merior)

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Spoiler warning: Contains plot elements from Ships of Merior.

Third Age 5644: Arithon spends the next six years disguised as Medlir, travelling across Rathain as Halliron's apprentice. In late autumn, he encounters Dakar in a backwater tavern in the Skyshiels, along the coast between Highscarp and Jaelot. On the way to Innish, he encounters a mercenary captain and discusses the recent deeding of Avenor to Lysaer. Arithon points out the illegality of the charter, but no one takes umbrage.

Third Age 5645: Arithon travels south to Jaelot with Halliron and Dakar. After Dakar is arrested, Arithon accompanies Halliron to the Jaelot City Court, and then decides to stay on until midsummer solstice. He tells Halliron that the powers he lost after the unbinding in Deshir can occasionally be felt while playing his lyranthe. The next morning, Arithon sends a request to Sethvir via the earth link. The contents of this request are not revealed until later in the story. In mid-spring, Arithon (as Medlir) is refining his archery skills against the Jaelot guardsmen. He learns that Dakar has been released from his stint of hard labor and sent to stay with Halliron at their inn. In the months leading up to the solstice, Halliron composes a satire of Jaelot's society, based on gossip gathered by Dakar. On Summer Solstice, Arithon escorts the Masterbard to the Mayor's palace. Halliron is struck following his satire and Arithon is forced to perform in exchange for a healer. His bardic intuition inadvertently raises the Paravian mysteries, bringing destruction to the town of Jaelot. During the escape from Jaelot, Halliron passes the position of Masterbard onto him. Asandir intercepts the group outside the town and leads them to safety. Asandir addresses Arithon's guilt about the Battle of Strakewood and passes on Sethvir's parcel containing navigational equipment and a letter from Maenalle.

Arithon awakens to discover that Asandir has departed, leaving behind his black stud and a gold coin riddled with wards. Dakar states that the wards will keep the black stud protected, well-fed, and wherever she is needed next. The two part ways, but Arithon rediscovers Dakar left in a ditch. Once Dakar strikes out on his own again, Arithon travels towards Shipsport. After learning from a soothsayer that Halliron has passed away, Arithon travels to a shrine to Ath Creator. Dakar meets him here, and the pair travel to the Kittiwake Inn in Shipsport. Arithon attempts to bargain with Captain Dhirken for her ship's service, in spite of Dakar's sabotaging antics. In the end, he enspells the patrons of the tavern in a Masterbard's sleep spell, and returns the sleeping Dhirken to her ship. When Dhirken awakens, her ship is in the middle of the bay and Arithon bargains for her service. In exchange for steering her ship to Farsee by using the lost arts of navigation, he bids for her ship's service. After successfully reaching Farsee, Arithon leaves Leinthal Anithael's dividers and cross-staff as a gift to Dhirken.

He travels overland with Dakar to assist with Fellowship business in Alestron. He has Dakar disguise himself as a gem merchant to gain entry to the s'Brydion keep, secretly aware that the spellbinder might attempt to double cross him. It is Dakar's predictable double cross that allows Arithon to enter the armory and take an inventory for the Fellowship. Afterwards, Arithon starts a fire as a diversion, and frees Dakar from s'Brydion custody before escaping (although Dakar is soon recaptured). Dakar rejoins Arithon in an oak grove outside of Alestron, and the pair flees to Kalesh.

The pair travels to Merior where Arithon intends to found a temporary shipyard to build a pleasure sloop and sail to Innish. He recruits ship builders from farther south and befriends two twin children, Fiark and Feylind. Arithon gives their mother, Jinesse, a formal promise of protection for the twins, backed by the gift of his royal signet. Later, Elaira moves into Merior. Arithon is unbalanced by her arrival, but does not ask her to leave. When the Talliarthe is complete, Arithon takes Jinesse and the twins on a trip to Innish, easing her fears of the ocean in exchange for companionship when he visits Halliron's family. He stops in Southshire to arrange for shipyard supplies and fresh provisions.

Third Age 5646: He arrives in Innish just after winter solstice, where he performs Halliron's last bequest for Dame Deartha and Hettia, his abandoned family. At Deartha's request, he agrees to stay until the end of the season. On the Spring Equinox, Dhirken's men locate Arithon in the taverns and return him to the Black Drake. Onboard, he gives an oath of fealty to Jieret and provides Jieret with strategic ideas to harass Lysaer's army in Rathain, based on his travels as the Masterbard's apprentice. He also hires the Black Drake to run messages and haul timber for his shipyard. He takes the tribute treasure offered by Maenalle and uses it to fund his shipyard and hire skilled labor.

Once the shipyard's master in Merior has learned how to handle affairs, Arithon visits Elaira and asks for training in herbals and remedies. "Hounded by a curse that might demand bloodshed on a field of unbridled violence, straight principle would drive him to seek a surgeon's knowledge to bind wounds and set bones and heal".[1] Through his meetings with Elaira, she discovers his preknowledge concerning the events around the Battle of Strakewood. As the season passes, Arithon spends less time with Elaira and more managing his shipwrights. Towards the end of the summer, he performs at the wedding of a cobbler's daughter and the youngest son of an abalone cutter. After an accident involving the son, Elaira inadvertently forces Arithon to reveal his blinded magesight. The pair heal the fisherman through a combination of Koriani arts and Arithon's Masterbard gifts, resulting in a lingering empathic bond between them. Arithon discovers that Elaira's love is real, but leaves with the belief that he might lead her to break her vows of obedience.

When word comes from Rathain that city garrisons are mustering in Etarra, Arithon requests a meeting with Lord Erlien s'Taleyn in Selkwood. He sails there on the Talliarthe with Dakar around the Autumn Equinox. Arithon is baited into combat to first blood by Erlien s'Taleyn. It quickly becomes apparent that the fight offers no quarter, but Arithon disarms him and learns that the fight had two purposes: a test to see if Arithon would use his powers to save himself, and a response to the s'Brydion call for justice, related to their armory explosion. After satisfying Erlien, he is granted the right to speak with the clan elders. Despite his explanation of the Curse and his attempts to shoo them into hiding, the clans of Shand decide to join the conflict, specializing in cattle raids.

From Selkwood, Arithon travels north to Werpoint, joining up with Jieret and a crew of common criminals. They overpower a brig, the Savrid, and use it as a staging area for their attack. By casting shadow across the harbor and crafting shadowy ships, Arithon baits Lysaer into burning the Werpoint fleet with his powers of Light. Arithon is lost to the curse and does not regain his sanity until Jieret slices his shoulder with Alithiel. Jieret then forces Arithon to complete his strategy at knifepoint -- the few ships that survive are picked off by clan fire arrows from the Savrid's crosstrees. The Savrid is abandoned off of Crescent Isle and Arithon resolves not to endanger Jieret to the curse again. He orders him to marry and get an heir.

References

  1. © Janny Wurts, Ships of Merior, p. 384 (US-Hardback)