Monday, December 10, 2012

Books Series I Recommend

I thought I would go ahead and recommend a few series I like.  Not that this is much of a recommendation, I tend to like any fantasy series I read.

Books Series I Recommend 
  • Belgariad & Malloreon, Elenium & Tamuli - By David Eddings
  • Demon Cycle - By Peter V. Brett
  • The Demon War Saga and Saga of the First King - R.A. Salvatore
  • Fortress Series - By C.J. Cherryh
  • The Kingkiller Chronicle - Patrick Rothfuss
  • Memory, Sorrow, & Thorn - By Tad Williams
  • The Realm of the Elderlings - by Robin Hobb
  • Riddle of Stars - Patricia McKillip
  • Riftwar Series - by Raymond E. Feist
  • The Runelords - By David Farland
  • Shannara - By Terry Brooks
  • A Song of Ice and Fire - By George R.R. Martin
  • Spellwright - By Blake Charlton
  • Sword of Shadows - J.V. Jones
  • The Sword of Truth - By Terry Goodkind
  • The Symphony of Ages - By Elizabeth Haydon
  • The War of Light and Shadow - By Janny Wurts
  • The Wheel of Time - By Robert Jordan
  • The Windrose Chronicles - By Barbara Hambly
Others Authors I Recommend
Guy Gavriel Kay

Monday, October 17, 2011

Danan Isig & Har, Ancient Kings

Danan Isig and Har are land-rulers who have ruled their respective lands since the Years of Settlement, which occurred at least a millennium before the start of Riddle of the Stars.  Danan Isig is the land-ruler of his namesake land, and Har is the land-ruler of Osterland.

Danan Isig 

He is big, thewed like a tree; with hair and beard grey-gold. His eyes are gentle, mild and green, the color of pine. 
Danan Isig has been the land-ruler of Isig since the Years of Settlement.  This would make him at least a millennium old.  He is said to have been as ancient as a tree at the founding of Lungold, a thousand years before Morgon of Hed becomes High One.  He, like his counterpart Har, is known for his shape-changing abilites; however, unlike Har, he turns into a tree, most often a pine tree, instead of a wolf.  This is a skill he has passed on to his children.

In addition to being a talented shape-changer, Danan Isig is also a master craftsmen.  Over the course of his life, he has built his nation into the finest and principle producer of weaponry and fine stones.  People from every corner of the Realm of the High One come to train with Isig and his sons.

Many swords are made for the lords and kings of An and Ymris.  It is likely that he and his men also produce ceremonial swords for the lords of Herun.

Isig was married to Grania, who died sometime before the start of the series.  He and Grania had at least three children; two sons, Ash and Sol, and a daughter, Vert.  He also has at least a dozen grandchildren.  Three of these grandchildren are Bere, Kes, and Suny.

After seeing the vesta scars on Morgon's hands, Danan Isig taught Morgon to change into a tree.


He was tall, lithe, white-haired...His eyes in his lean, lined face were ice-blue; his hands..were scarred with the white imprint of vesta-horns.

Har has been the land-ruler of Osterland since the Years of Settlement.  He is married to Aia, who in her youth was golden-haired.  He was friends with the great wizard Suth, during his wildest years, and he taught him how to change shape.  As a mark of this teaching, Suth gave him bone-white scars of vesta horns on his hands.  His favorite shape to change into is a wolf.  He often prowls the length of his kingdom in this form earning him the title of wolf-king.  

Har is also a master of mind-work, the ability to guard one's thoughts and invade the thoughts of others.  Throughout his long years of life, many men have begged Har to teach them the mind-work and shape-changing; very, very few of them have ever left with vesta-scars on their hands.  Morgon is one of these select few.

Har is also renowned for his temper and his tendency to take revenge on those he feels have wronged him.  More than a few riddles have resulted from this.  Ilon of Yrye offended Har with a song so greatly he fled for  his life.  Ingris of Osterland angered Har when he appeared at Ingris' door in the form of an old man and was turned away.  Har placed a curse on him which, in the end, resulted in his death.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chapter 3 of The Riddle-Master of Hed, Read-Through

He woke, flung like a rag amid a harvest on dry kelp, his face in the sand, his mouth full of sand.
Morgon wakes up on a beach with one eye blind.  He feels someone touching his blind side.  He is rolled over by an unknown man with a wild white cat.  The man calls the cat Xel.  Morgon attempts to speak but all that comes out is a harsh noise.  The man asks him who he is and what happened to him.  He again tries to answer but can't.  He soon lapses into unconsciousness.

Morgon wakes in a small cottage with a young man with lank white hair and white eyes giving him water.  Morgon again attempts to speak but can't remember how.  Soon the white-eyed man sees Morgon's three stars.  Finally the man introduces him:

"I am Astrin Ymris.  I am the brother and land-heir of Heureu, King of Ymris."
Morgon once again falls asleep.  He awakes at dusk, finding the cabin empty.  Looking around, he finds the cabin cluttered with an assortment of odd objects.  This includes a pick, a hammer, a chisel, and a brush all caked with dirt.  Walking outside, he finds that the cabin is situated on a great, windblown plain.

Returning back inside, he sees, on a table, various artifacts.  One of these artifacts is a cut jewel that seems to contain all the colors of the sea.

Looking up, he sees Astrin and Xel returning.  He explains that he found that jewel at the foot of Wind Tower.  No trader he could find could give him a name for the stone.  He even journeyed to Isig, to Danan Isig.  Danan told him nowhere in his mountain had he seen such a stone and that he knew of no one beside himself and his son who could have cut it so flawlessly.  In exchange for this mystery, Danan gave Astrin Xel as a gift of friendship.

Astrin asks Morgon if he can remember anything about himself.  Morgon, however, does not.

Over dinner, Astrin tells Morgon a little bit about himself.  He has been in exile from Caerweddin for five years.  He has only spoken to Xel, an old man he buys fish from in Loor, to occasional traders, and to Rork, High Lord of Umber, who visits him every few months.  By day, he goes digging in the great ruined city of the Earth-Masters on Wind Plain.  By night, he, among other things, studies books of wizardry.  He ends by saying that he and Xel sometimes go the sea and watch something building on the shores of Ymris under night cover, something for which there is name.  However, due to a storm, he and Xel can't go out tonight.

In his restlessness, Astrin attempts to use one of Aloil's books to allow Morgon to talk.  The spell, which Aloil used to make a stone on King's Mouth Plain talk, does not work.  Astrin comments that it is as though he, Morgon, has no name.

The next day, they go to the ruined Earth-Masters city to excavate.  At the eastern edge of the city, a great tower arose, the Wind Tower.  Astrin says that no man, or wizard, has ever climbed to the top of it. This leads him to wonder who the Earth-Masters were and what destroyed them and their cities.

Astrin further elaborates upon his origins while digging with Morgon.  He grew up in Caerweddin, with Heureu, and the sons of his father's High Lords, in Galil's house made of Earth-Master's stone.  He and his brother were so close they were like shadows of each other.  He says he will never go back to Caerweddin and that Heureu will never come to him.  They return to the cottage.

Astrin appears at the door injured.  He received a wound on his right side.
"He saw me first, but I killed him.  Then he fell in the sea, and I had to dive for him among the rocks and tide, or they would have found him.  I buried him in the sand.  They won't find him there.  He was shaped out of seaweed and foam and wet peral, and the sword was of darkness and silver water.  It bit me and flew away like a bird.  If Xel hadn't warned me, I would be dead."
The next day, he says little of the incident.  Near sunset, he finally ponders telling Heureu about it but decides to let him see for himself.

On another dig, Morgon finds a cache of red and purple glass.  He, once back at the cottage, begins to piece it together.  Astrin in the meanwhile is attempting to open one of Yrth's spell-books.  In frustration, he tells Xel to be quiet.  Morgon writes on the table that he needs Yrth's harp.  Astrin, not at first realizing that Morgon had revealed a clue about his identity, says that perhaps he is right, perhaps Yrth lock the book with a series of notes or even the low-note said to be able to shatter weapons.

Astrin then realizes that Morgon must have attended the College of Caithnard.  He decides that tomorrow, they would journey to the College and see if they can puzzle out who Morgon is.  On the way to the Trader's Road, they encounter two traders.  One of the traders recognizes Astrin Ymris and claims to have a message from Mathom of An concerning the man who won Peven's crown.  After the conversation ends, the traders attempt to kill both Morgon and Astrin.

Morgon is injured in the fight.  Astrin asks him if he can make it back the cottage.  Morgon nods yes.  He only makes it as far as the plain.

He wakes in front of the cottage.  Astrin takes him back into the cottage and is looking at his wound when a knock sounds at the door.  A trader begins to say "Lord..." but is cut off when Astrin rests the tip of the sword against the trader.  Astrin is taking no changes when it comes to traders.  This trader came bearing the same message the traders in the woods claimed to have received.  He sees Morgon lying on a pallet and says "That's what happend to him? He can't talk-."

The trader also says that the High One's harpist is looking for him in Caerweddin.  In response Astrin says "I have just killed two traderrs, and by the High One's name, I swear I will kill a third if you don't get off my doorstep!"  The trader leaves.

Astrin decides to take Morgon to Rork Umber and have him send for Deth.  The next day they piece together the purple and red glass fragments they had collected.  It begins to form a bowl.  Morgon talks Astrin into going and getting the remaining pieces.  The next morning, they finished the bowl.

Knocking again sounds at the door.  The trader form earlier along with Deth, Rork Umber and his men enter.  The trader points to Morgon and says, "There he is.  The Prince of Hed."  The trader had claimed at King Heureu's court that Astrin had gone mad and killed two traders, wounded the Prince of Hed, kept him imprisoned, and through a spell stole his voice.  Umber informs Astrin that a strange rebellion is building in Meremont and Tor.  Morgon has been with Astrin for five weeks.   Morgon to get the attention of the other in the room smashes the bowl they had patiently pieced together.

Astrin tells Rork what happened in the woods with the traders, and Rork sends his men and the trader to go and see if they recognized the traders.  Rork also informs him that he is under the doom of the High One and that he will accompany them and Morgon to Caerweddin.

The trader and the guard return.  The trader says he recognized one of the dead traders; however, he says this with hesitation.  Later, they set off and stay the night in Rork Umber's house.  Afterwards, they leave for Caerweddin.

At the King's Hall in Caerweddin, there Morgon meets King Heureu of Ymris.  Upon a table, Morgon notices a beautiful harp.  On this harp there were three flawless blood-red stars.  Morgon feels drawn to the harp.  He runs his hands across the strings.  He turns and says "Deth."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chapter 2 of The Riddle-Master of Hed, Read-Through

At the beginning of this chapter, Morgon is sitting on the docks of Tol waiting to leave for Caithnard.  He had a pack of clothes, bulging oddly, that Tristan had absent-mindedly packed.  Eliard was just as distressed at Morgon's leaving.  In the first chapter, Morgon had been about to buy Eliard a horse.
He had said, remembering, "I was going to get you a chestnut stallion from An with the crown."
Eliard responds by irrationally saying, "Don't think you can bribe me with a horse."   This makes no sense to either Morgon or Eliard.  This is merely Eliard wishing Morgon not to leave.

Once on the ship, Morgon asks where Deth is from.  Deth responds by saying that he was not from any land but the city-state of Lungold.  Deth also claims that among the people who taught him to harp were Morgol Cron's harpist Tirundeth.  Morgon quickly realizes that Cron ruled Herun six hundred years ago.  Deth, in turn, tells Morgon that he was born not long after the Founding of Lungold, a thousand years ago.

Morgon curiously asks if Deth is the son of a wizard.  According to Deth, he does not know who his father is.  He was born without a name in the back streets of Lungold.  Morgon further speculates on the nature of Deth's fathers.

"It's not important.  The wizards are gone; I owe nothing to any living ruler but the High One.  In his service I have a name, a place, a freedom of movement and judgement.  I am responsible only to him; he values me for my harping and my discretion, both of which are improved by age."
 At the end of the conversation, they are quickly closing in on the port-city of Caithnard.  Morgon comes to the decision that he must tell Rood of his taking of the Crown of Aum and his potential marriage of Rood's sister Raederle.  To this end, he goes to the College.

Here Morgon finds Rood in his newly acquired golden robes, reading a letter, with a half-full glass of wine.  Morgon attempts to tell Rood of the crown; however, Roods tells Morgon he took the gold robes two days ago.  He then rambles on asking Morgon if he had forgotten all he knew of riddlery.  Ironically, this leads to Rood saying that he will never forgive Mathom, his father, or Morgon.  Morgon, he would not forgive because Rood believes he did not keep the promise he had made about going to Peven's Tower.

Morgon soon replies "Do you think Raederle will mind living on a far?"  Rood begins talking but quickly stops and says one word "Why?"  Morgon shows him the Crown of Aum causing Rood to shout a Great Shout in surprise.  From the hall outside of Rood's room cries of outrage arise.  Rood informs Morgon that several lords of An had already offered to abduct Raederle.  Soon Master Tel comes to the door shouting that Rood had broken the locks of Nun's books of wizardry.  Rood responds by saying that though the Great Shout is forbidden, it is a thing of impulse rather than premeditation.

Soon all the clamor dies down when Morgon comes to the door holding the Crown of Aum.  A conversation with the masters of the College ensues.  Rood suggests, rather vehemently, that Morgon should go and see the High One.  Master Ohm concurs to a certain degree.

Later the High One's Harpist comes to the College and says that me must speak to Master Ohm before he leaves.  Afterwards, they board a ship and are told by a red-headed sailor with a weal down his face that they will reach Anuin by the afternoon.

Both Morgon and Deth go to rest.  When they wake up they find the ship completely abandoned, the crew mysteriously gone.  However, before they disappeared, they had put up enough sail to take Deth and Morgon overboard.  The ship suddenly stops in the middle of open sea and tears apart, casting Morgon and the High One's Harpist into the ocean. 

The Riddle-Master of Hed, Read-Throughs

  • Chapter 1, The High One's Harpist
  • Chapter 2, The Deserted Ship
  • Chapter 3, A Name Forgotten
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 8
  • Chapter 9
  • Chapter 10
  • Chapter 11

Chapter 1 of The Riddle-Master of Hed, Read-Through

“Morgon of Hed met the High One's harpist one autumn day when the trade-ships docked at Tol for the season's exchange of goods.”
These are the words that begin the Riddle of Stars series.  One sentence, one event, that shapes the destiny of a young, strange Prince of Hed. 

When a boy spots the ships arriving with the season’s goods, he runs to Akren to inform the Prince of Hed.  Morgon quickly begins to relay orders making the mistake of mentioning that the last time the ships came he nearly traded three plow horses for a harp with no strings.  His brother, Eliard, quickly says that if Morgon is going to get a harp, he wants a horse from An.  Tristen, Morgon’s sister, pipes in that she wants various materials to make herself clothing.  When Morgon objects asking what she thinks grows in their fields, Tristen replys she knows what grows in their fields, but she also knows what she has been sweeping around the last six months.

This soon leads to a discussion of the Crown of Aum.  Morgon gives evasive answers to how he obtained the crown leading to a fight between himself and Eliard.  After the fight, Morgon informs them that he won the crown in a riddle game with the ghost Peven in Aum.  He won this crown by mentioning a riddle Peven of Aum did not know about Kern of Hed.  He had journeyed there soon after the death of their parents.  Soon things are worked out and Morgon travels down to the docks in Tol.  A trader offers him a harp and allows him to keep it for a while to make up his mind.  He soon meets Deth, supposedly the High One’s harpist.  Deth tells Morgon that the High One instructed him to convey his sorrow at the death of Morgon’s parents, but he got delayed by a stubborn winter in Isig, a seige in Caerweddin, and an urgent message from Mathom.

Deth tells Morgon that the harp he is holding was made by Uon of Hel.  Soon, however, Morgon is asking Deth to play something on his own harp.  The High One’s harpist plays him the Ballad of Belu and Bilo.  Afterwards, Morgon tells Deth how his parents died, mentioning at the last that he had journeyed to An.  Deth begins to ask why; however, it soon becomes apparent to him that Morgon must of obtained the Crown of Aum from Peven.  The urgent message from Mathom had been about Peven and the winner of the game against him.  Morgon is confused about why this is so important to Mathom.  It is from Deth that Morgon learns that Mathom made a vow at his daughter Raederle’s birth.
"The King made a vow at her birth to give her only to the man who took the crown of Aum from Peven.”
Morgon, at first unsure, brushes the hair from his face allowing a sea wind to pull it straight back.  This reveals the stars on Morgon’s forehead.  Deth’s face goes suddenly still, our first indication that he knows what these stars mean.  Morgon decides he will go to An and ask Raederle to marry him.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Corrig and Ylon

 Corrig was an Earth-Master and a great harpist.
“He made a harsh, incredulous noise, and saw the harpist finally, beyond the fire, his harp made of strange bones and polished shell, his face lost in shadows. The face seemed to lift a little at Morgon's voice; he caught a flick of fire-scorched gold.”
 “His eyes in the dim light were pale, flecked with gold.”  
“Morgon, still on his knees, watched the figure breaking through the web of shadows, the hair weaving into darkness, the face sparse, shell-colored, the eyes heavy-lidded, blue-green, gleaming with their own light. The body was fluid, blurred, the colors of foam, the colors of the sea; he moved without noise, his strange garments shifting lights the colors of wet seaweed, of set shell.”

During the Earth-Masters’ Civil War, he sided with Eriel and those Earth-Masters seeking to gain more power.  He sired the half Earth-Master Ylon with Oen’s wife as told in the riddle below.
"Oen's land-heir was not his own son, but the son of some strange sea-lord, who came into Oen's bed disguised as the king. Nine months afterward, Oen's wife bore Ylon, with skin like foam and eyes like green seaweed. So Oen in his anger built a tower by the sea for this sea-child, with orders that he should never come out of it.  One night, fifteen years after his birth, Ylon heard a strange harping from the sea, and such was his love of it, and desire to find its source, that he broke the bars on his window with his hands and leaped into the sea and vanished. Ten years later Oen died, and to his other sons' surprise, the land-rule passed to Ylon. Ylon was driven by his own nature back to claim his heritage. He reigned only long enough to marry and beget a son who was as dark and practical as Oen, and then he went back to the tower Oen had built for him and leaped to his death on the rocks below."
Ylon, by his very nature, was driven with longing for power.  Corrig promised to give Ylon this power through his harping.  Ylon followed this call into the sea.  Ten years later One died, and Ylon became the land-ruler of An.  He filled this post only long enough to sire an heir.  Then, realizing that as a land-ruler he would not be able to return to the sea, he commits suicide.  Throughout the six centuries that followed, none possessed the powers of an Earth-Master until Raederle of An.

Corrig, at Herun, played for Morgon the death of Hed while also preventing him from moving.
Withering your voice, as the
roots of your land are withering.
Slow your hearth-blood
slow as the dragging waters,
the rivers of Hed.
Tangling are your thoughts

as the yellow vines are tangling,
drying, snapping underfoot.
Withering the life of you
as the late corn is withering...

Dry, dust dry, the earth
the earth of you, land-ruler
lord of the dying. Parching the fields
of your body, moaning the wind
of your last word
across the waste of them,
the wasteland of Hed.
A struggles ensues between Corrig and Morgon in which Corrig takes various shapes. 
“He held the blade of it, silver-white, half as long as himself; strange whorls of design wound down the blade, delicately etched, snagging the light from the scattered embers. The hilt was of copper and gold. Set in gold, fire sparkling in their cores, were three stars.”
The final form Corrig takes is a Starred Sword.  This shape causes Morgon to loosen his grip.  Morgon flings the sword at Lyra gaining her attention.  She picks it up but drops it when it moves.  Corrig reverts back into his own shape.  She throws a spear missing him but encourages Morgon to grab the spear.  He does and kills Corrig.
“There was a movement in the sea-colored eyes like a distant, faint flick of a smile.”