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

From Paravia Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

"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!

VI. Erdane

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

Elaira, Koriani enchantress and message-bearer for the Prime Enchantress, enters Erdane and heads on an errand of her own, without sanction from her superiors. Note that she was the first of her kind to pass the city gates for close to four hundred years. Erdane is a dangerous place for anyone connected to sorcery or the old ways.

"Unlike the commoners and the craftsmen, the mayor of Erdane and the guildmasters had access to archives that detailed a history of conspiracy and murder." – The very same one Grithen recounted. And because they remember, they are afraid!

"They fear that powers from the past might arise out of legend and claim vengeance. To them, the sun was no myth but a harbringer of sorcery and certain doom." Clansmen and people suspected of sorcery, they were all burned at the stake without trial if caught.

Elaira knows the risks but is willing to chance them, because she wants to see for herself if her suspicions are true and if the West Gate Prophecy is on the way to fulfillment.

The mayor's most persistent nightmare was indeed already half-way realized as Asandir and two old-blood princes were already temporarily in residence in a warded house, on a warded street in Erdane: the home of the seeress Enithen Tuer.

Note the warning the seeress gave Elaira when she asked to be allowed entrance: "You may be sorry", followed by: "you don't need a seer to tell your future's just branched into darkness."Important! Does she mean that Elaira will get into trouble for coming there without the Order's permission? Or something else?

Note the contrast between the brothers' appearance and behaviour in this scene.

Lysaer – golden, elegant and handsome, possessing the dignity of a man schooled to listen and a pride unselfconscious as breathing, courteous and smiling, he instantly rises to meet Elaira.

Arithon – black haired and blending into shadow, shocking Elaira with his awareness of one trained power meeting another, he stays back and observes.

Elaira confesses her curiosity to Asandir, trusting that, unlike a Koriani senior, this sorcerer would pass no judgement upon her and no debt would be set on her demands. – Important! The Koriani Order will set a debt upon fulfilling any demand and will judge everything an enchantress of their own Order does. Asandir is satisfying her curiosity but informs her that he expects the information to be treated with a foresight her superiors might hold in contempt. - Another insight into the Order's ways!

And within his explanation we finally get to fully understand the relationship between the Rauven Mages and The Fellowship. "In the times of rebellion when four of the high kings' heirs were sent to safety through West Gate, the Fellowship granted foundational training to the Teir's'Ahelas to increase her line's chances of survival. Her descendants on Dascen Elur continued her tradition but forgot certain of the guidelines. In the course of five centuries of isolation, the mages there achieved what the Seven could not."

If you'd like to know how that came to be, refer to the short story Child of Prophecy.

Note also his observation: "What is possible does not always coincide with what is wise."Elemental mastery is an immense power that might cause a great deal of harm, if entrusted into the wrong hands.

The Order had been dedicated to intolerance according to Asandir and Elaira admits it and justifies with the fact that her seniors hate to admit to incompetence. That should tell us a bit more about the character of the witches!

But Elaira is different and Asandir warns her: "You have a clear eye for truth. Don't replace one mistaken set of principles for others as narrow minded."Why? What is he warning her about, what change of ideals? Is Elaira important somehow? Why would Asandir take a chance on her when the Fellowship and the Order are at odds? – Important to watch out for.

Note also Elaira's worry. Asandir had not used her but he easily could have, which means the Prime Circle fears about the Fellowship were not in the least unfounded. – Here we get the first insight into the Order-Fellowship relationship: The Order fears and is at odds with the Fellowship! Insight reinforced by Elaira's conclusion: "Arrogance did not admit fallibility, and reticence did not offer explanation; about the Fellowship, the Koriani Senior Circle was emphatically mistaken."

Having fulfilled her errand, Elaira is aware that the lane watch enchantress will be turning her attention towards her soon and wants to conceal her meeting with Asandir. If her escapade were to be found out, she would be severely reprimanded and the secrets entrusted by Asandir could not be kept hidden. So she decides to create a diversion and meet up with the Mad Prophet betting on that being worse than meeting a sorcerer of the Fellowship.

The Four Ravens

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

The Inn of Four Ravens was a rough place; the hangout of headhunters, labourers and off-duty garrison soldiers. The last place an enchantress would want to be! But Elaira sits there at a table and plays cards with a half-drunk Dakar, waiting for the initiate on lane-watch to turn her attention towards her. Felirin the Scarlet happens to be the minstrel appointed for the night.

Dakar promptly passes out overcome by drink and excitement, perhaps an avoidance because he sees Arithon entering the Inn all alone. Frustrated because she still hadn't been spotted in Dakar's company by the enchantress on watch, Elaira is trying to literally kick the Mad Prophet awake, when she notices Arithon.

He was standing, as if frozen in mid-gesture, staring at the blazon of the old s'Ilessid sovereign dynasty of Tysan, with a look of shocked confusion on his face. – Why? Was he trying to remember and Asandir's block was getting in his way? Was he recognizing the blazon from his past on Dascen Elur, and if so, the congruency tells him something.

In a daze, he tries to snap out of it and jostles someone at the bar. In the rush of the moment, Arithon apologizes and his accent alone is enough for the whole room to surge into motion and try to land hands on the intruder. Arithon is cornered and fights his attackers with a pot hook, making a stand against the pantry door. Worried that someone may sally from the pantry and skewer the prince, Felirin and Elaira decide to help out.

Felirin causes a distraction and Elaira centers her mind in her focusing jewel, cobbling together a glamour of concealment and disappears. Note that she didn't literally vanish but assumed an aura of sameness, as a chameleon would, to blend in. Praying the she won't be discovered by the enchantress on watch who is still due to check on her, Elaira secures the door behind Arithon's back with a hard rune of binding and rushes through the back door, through the scullery and pantry and opens the door behind Arithon herself. Seeing no other solution to save him from the blood-thirsty mob, Elaira knocks Arithon unconscious with a spell, disguising it with a blow from a pastry-roller to his head. Note Arithon's amusement before he passes out. – Why? We'll come back to it later.

Elaira uses her power to divert the emotions of the crowd, laying a spell of influence and illusion over them and manages to convince them to throw the prince out the back door. Together with Felirin, they take the still unconscious prince to the hayloft next to the Inn.

The enchantress expects the prince to be royally pissed when he awakes, instead, she's the one who starts scolding. How could Arithon be so reckless and come to that particular inn alone!? How is it that he didn't know his speech would turn him into a target!? And in her indignation she reveals to Arithon what Asandir was trying to keep hidden: that he is Teir's'Ffalenn, prince and heir apparent of the crown of Rathain.

The revelation allows Arithon to break through Asandir's memory block and then we see him flying into a blind-sided rage. Because Teir's'Ffalenn – is 'successor to power', because the high king crowned in Rathain had always been a s'Ffalenn, and because, extrapolates the possibility that: "The people of Rathain are subject to misery and strife and Ithamon, his ruling seat, is a ruin in a wasteland." And above all because, once again, he is supposing he may be forced to choose what must be done, instead of what his heart desires, only to possibly fail in the end.

"A bad king revels in his importance. A good one hates his office. He spends himself into infirmity quashing deadly little plots to make power the tool of the greedy…. There's very little beauty in satisfaction and justice rewards nobody with joy."

It is then that Elaira realizes Arithon had not actually been in real peril in the taproom. The pot hook was only a diversion since he had both mage training and shadow mastery carefully held in reserve. He was himself planning on getting out through the pantry when Elaira interfered and knocked him out cold. That's why his amusement before passing out.

Grateful for her interference, Arithon offers to accompany Elaira to her lodgings but she refuses. "I can find my way just fine. The question is can you?"Note that she doesn't refer to the wards concealing the seeress's house.

Amused by the thought she thinks he may need guidance, Arithon promises to hide the whole affair from Asandir, gently pulls Elaira to her feet and starts plucking the loose hay from her hair. At that moment precisely, the junior initiate on lane watch stumbles across Elaira's presence and responds with self-righteous indignation.

Apparently, speaking with princes in haylofts after midnight was an offense considered even worse than visiting sorcerers of the Fellowship or engaging in card games with disreputable apprentice prophets. Elaira will now have to face her personal version of Asandir, an enchantress by far not so understanding.

Guardian of Mirthlvain

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

Mirthlvain Swamp, between the peaks of the Tiriac Mountains and the north shore of Methlas Lake, was a place where even the boldest were reluctant to thread. Its pools spawned horrors that the efforts of two civilizations had failed to contain and it was one of the places that the Fellowship never for an instant left unwatched, despite being grievously shorthanded.

Master spellbinder Verrain is the Swamp's appointed guardian, ensuring that none of the deadly creatures breeding there ever escape. And he is constantly searching for evidence to track the recombinant forms as the methspawn are continuously mutating.

Meth-snakes – cross-bred genetic mutations left over from a First Age creature called a methuri (hatewraith). Related to iyats, these energy creatures possessed live hosts, which they infested and altered to produce mutated offspring to create weakened lines of stock and thereby widen their choice of potential host animals. They come in many forms, ranging from harmless to virulently poisonous. One of the most venomous kind carry a toxin called cierl-ankeshed toxin. In contact with human skin, it causes dissolution of nerve tissue. Paralysis is almost instant, with death following days later. Without a known antidote, the poison is caustic and can be absorbed through the skin.

In his search, Verrain discovers a meth-snake with cierl-ankeshed venom – a threat that the Fellowship had hoped to be eradicated.

If you want to know how Verrain came to be the guardian of Mirthlvain Swamp, you will find his story in the novella The Gallant, published in Secrets & Spells: 6 Fantasy Novels.

Observations

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

A raven alights on the shoulder of a sorcerer dressed all in black and wearing a broad-brimmed hat with a patterned silver band – Take note of him. He is important!

The enchantress on the watch reports to the Prime Matriarch, that Elaira has visited Erdane without permission and had clandestine meetings with a prince in a hayloft.

Sethvir sends a thought warning to Asandir prompting him to hurry across the Camris, because trouble is pending, from a migrant strain of meth-snakes with confirmed cierl-ankeshed venom.