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

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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!

XII. Conquest

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

Months have passed and the Mistwraith's bane is nearly accomplished. But Asandir is worried. His deepest scrying can only half-sense the sick entities Arithon encountered within the mist. But he knows they are there. Luhaine and Kharadmon have set wards over Ithamon to forestall Desh-thiere's escape through an alternate time or dimension, and they are also concerned the spirits might somehow slip through them.

The moment the princes drive the last remnant of mist inside the Paravian protections of Ithamon, the wraiths could escape the fog that confines them and, as separate entities, continue their existence as free wraiths. They might then possess Athera's creatures with dire consequences. The methuri from Mirthlvain Swamp had similar origins. To counter the risk, the brothers must concentrate the infested mist and drive it intact into the containment set by the two sorcerers.

Atop the battlements of Kieling Tower, as the party gathers for the final stand, note the observation Kharadmon makes regarding Arithon's lyranthe when he is about to summon the prince to the battle: "A formidable weapon, Elshian's lyranthe." And Asandir's reply: "In Arithon's hands not just yet."Important! Especially if you connect this to the first memory of Arithon learning magic "just like music".

While the brothers engage against Desh-thiere, Lysaer is attacked by the wraiths. They seize on his power and press the mist into collapse toward annihilation. Note how the wraiths bend Lysaer's mind and feed him the illusion of winning to make him overspend his gift to their purpose. Asandir stops Lysaer just in time, but the fog is left dangerously diminished. The entities were aware enough to bid for escape by forcing Lysaer to annihilate the mist outside the Paravian wards. Or perhaps they might lure the princes into an attack and then make them a target.

Asandir suggests a new plan: have the princes drive Desh-thiere within the wards of Kieling Tower, as the Paravian working is strong enough to absolutely fence the wraiths even if they shed their containment of mist. Asandir will open the tower's wards, the princes will drive Desh-thiere inside, to be resealed as soon as the last bit of fog is within their boundaries. Then both sorcerers and princes will act in concert to drive the wraiths into a final containment of wardspells created from those of the tower itself.

As Asandir will be engaged with reshaping tower's wards for this purpose, the two remaining sorcerers must partner with the princes to assist and assure their safety. Free will consent is required Lysaer grants permission to be bonded by Kharadmon and allows the sorcerer access to his mind and body. The same is agreed between Arithon and Luhaine. Then battle is joined. Desh-thiere is driven within the wards of Kieling Tower, to be resealed by Asandir, but as the brothers pressure the wraiths into their final, spelled captivity, and Lysaer falters. Kharadmon takes full charge, and holds his will firm until the last minute. As the wraiths are almost contained, a breach pierces the wards. Lysaer notices the disaster as it forms, and Kharadmon releases his hold.

Left to his own free will, Lysaer draws on his last resources, uses his gift and covers the breach with his bare hands at the last moment. And the wraiths seize that access. They get inside him and wreak havoc throughout his mind. His memories are ripped through by the hostile spirits. They rifle his memory and note their focus: of Arithon standing above him in the desert is combined with pain and another memory "of an enemy who was wholly and unforgivably a s'Ffalenn, ever and always Amroth's enemy, and the righteous s'Ilessid fury is shared and fanned hotter" by the ravening horde of wraiths. – Important point to follow up!

The sorcerers successfully push the horde of demonic spirits out of Lysaer and into the containment vessel that is permanently sealed seamless. After five centuries without sunlight, Desh-thiere is at last secured in captivity.

Legacy

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

The evening after Desh-thiere's imprisonment, Asandir and his colleagues head south to secure the containment vessel, leaving the princes behind at Kieling Tower with Dakar.

Enjoying a quiet night and a sky brilliant with stars over a rare flask of brandy gifted by Asandir, the brothers discuss their future. Lysaer sits at rest, while Arithon paces as though caged. He dreads his coming presentation in Etarra, surprising Lysaer with his observation that he suspects the sorcerers have no choice but to crown him.

A bit tipsy from celebration brandy, Lysaer pursues a clear answer: why doesn't Arithon resent the Fellowship for his imposed fate. And why exactly would they be obligated to crown a s'Ffalenn descendent. Dakar, belatedly making an appearance to seize his share of the brandy, is cornered to explain.

Arithon has a theory that someone had meddled with both the s'Ffalenn and s'Ilessid family history. Dakar confirms, and further assures that "Consent was given, on behalf of the s'Ffalenn line, sealed in blood by Torbrand s'Ffalenn on the day Rathain's charter was drawn up by Ciladis of the Fellowship."

Now we know precisely why the royal lines of Athera are irreplaceable, and get deeper insight into the heritage of the two princes. "The Fellowship selected three men and two women to found Athera's royal lines. They were hand picked for a dominant trait that would resist corruption and the pressures that power brings to bear on human nature. It is a grave thing to alter or to influence unborn life. Yet, that is what the sorcerers did, to ensure fair rule throughout generations of dynastic succession. They set a geas ward that would fix those chosen virtues intact, in the line of inheritance." And for that they were given consent.

For a better understanding, read about the Royal Gifts.

What does this mean for our two princes?

First and foremost that –"they can never escape their nature!"

Arithon will forgive the knife that kills him. He cannot do otherwise. To understand and to sympathize with the needs of every living thing is his inborn nature, the forced gift of the s'Ffalenn lineas bequeathed by the Fellowship of Seven.

Lysaer in his turn, will always seek justice even where none can be found.

One more thing to note within this subchapter – Dakar is aggrieved because Lysaer had been the one to stop the Mistwraith barehanded!

Lysaer had been Kharadmon's selection for the sacrifice. Of both half brothers, Lysaer was the least trained to the mysteries. Contact with the flesh allowed Desh-thiere's wraiths to access the mind, but to let such beings touch knowledge of true power, such as Arithon possessed, might have led to a danger far worse. Lysaer's exposure posed the lesser risk.

Insurrection

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

The city of Etarra is in uproar. True sunlight is hailed as a catastrophe by the merchant guilds. Trade has stalled, terror stricken citizens huddle indoors waiting to die under influence of the bad omen. The townspeople blame everything on sorcery and fear the old rumours and legends from the time before the uprising. Already corrupt, Etarra grows dangerous in unrest.

Morfett, Lord Supreme Governor of Etarra is forced to call in Lord Commander Diegan to muster the city guard and enforce order. With equilibrium nearly restored, Sethvir materializes on the city's inner battlement and requests the governor's guest suite aired for state visitors, and for the town to prepare to feast royalty. And of course the mayor is incensed, his impulse to evict the unwanted visitor; becomes thwarted in force: Sethvir's presence is joined by Luhaine and Kharadmon, who corner him with the news that Etarra must give over authority and swear fealty to the new High King within a fortnight.

Note the Governor's reaction: "Over my dead body." And Kharadmon's unblinking reply: "If need be." – There's only one way to have Arithon crowned here – by sheer force!

Morfett does his utmost to undermine the procedures but finds himself beset from all sides. His wife and daughters are eager with curiosity, the hired assassins fail to take down their targets, and to top this all, the farmers become obsessed by the concept that guild overlords no longer hold rights to their lands. They are backing their petitions with threat of strikes, in anticipation of the change in governance. Traithe has been busy, sowing insurrection among the country folk. We are gaining, here, the very first hint that town rule as it stands is nothing at all like the Charter Law, that presided of old. Take careful note, because these differences are significant; you will be shown how deep and how wide they are as the series progresses.

Overviews

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

Lirenda reports to the Prime Matriarch that Desh-thiere's remains have been sealed under ward and imprisoned temporarily in the caves at Skelseng's Gate. After Arithon is crowned in Etarra, the Fellowship intends to transfer the Mistwraith to a permanent place of captivity. They wish to learn then why the sorcerers faltered in the end and preserved the creature alive.

In Strakewood, in the northern reaches of Rathain, the clan gathering celebrates the new sunlight for a fortnight and a pair of barbarian boys bored with the feasting sneak away from the festivities to play at raids on Etarra's merchants.

On her way to Etarra, Elaira is warned that provisions are scarce in the markets. Farmers won't sell to the townsmen and talk of sorcerers and monarchy has the trade-guilds in uproar.