Arithon's request to Sethvir

originally posted by Neil


I'd like to ask if it does not spoil the story…

Sethvir chose to grant most of Arithon's request (i.e. old maps, navigation equipment?)

What sort of things would Sethvir have not approved of?

Neil - You Asked -

Quite a bit, actually. Most of the realm of this question is not really relevant to the story at this stage. Much is back history - a curiosity that might bear examining for future (related) short works.

These stories have scarcely scratched the surface of Althain Tower's many and multifaceted mysteries, quite a few beyond Arithon's depth to handle.

Access to Althain Tower's fifth floor, comes to mind instantly.

Certain other of the Paravian artifacts in storage and safekeeping. Certain records and archives, at THAT point of Arithon's development. And as you saw, Rathain's crown jewels, without any masking spells to conceal their true purpose.

The old maps and navigational equipment served two purposes: permitted Arithon access to blue water sailing, which allowed him to escape the immediate effects of the curse AND - reviving the old arts of navigation would restore deep water shipping. This effectively took pressure OFF expanding coastal ports for galley havens, and took further pressure off the land based trade routes - sail is faster.

Therefore, by default, it lessened the pressure for townborn trade to develop and encroach upon the free wilds.

Canny guy, Sethvir.

originally posted by Neil

Thank you.

Looking forward to Stormed Fortress :slight_smile:

originally posted by HJ

Bloody hell.

Excuse me, but I'd never thought of that, Janny.


(A staggered HJ)

originally posted by Bec

Just goes to show how much we can't think of and how in detail Janny's world is worked out for her!

originally posted by R’is’n

That's mindblowing.

originally posted by skeoke

How many other simple, obvious things are we missing.

I'm afraid to imagine!

originally posted by Jo

When it is suggested that Arithon gives his oath in blood to stay alive the F7 say until the threat of the world is over (something like that) does that mean that he could then be scarificed afterwards. Or am i reading far too much into the phrasing. Think I am a bit of a pessimist that Arithon will not be leaving this story alive.

Also re-reading these books I am finding that I am not now judging Lysaer too harshly (still don't like him much though since the incident on the briane when arithon wanted to end his life) as some things that went on such as the 25 survivors of Vastmark being killed was not his fault and further in the other books like

spoiler spoiler spoiler
Talith's downfall was not entirely his fault. Well actually it was but the ending wasn't. Ok in two minds about it cause he was going to execute her anyway was that the curse or was that because he is a well can't think of anything polite to say. I'll stop rambling now.

originally posted by Auna

Lysaer was never going to execute Talith. That was done without his knowledge or permission.

originally posted by Jo

Lysaer says in FP that Talith is to stand trial for treason against the crown of tysan and would be put to death under pain of death by sword due to her pregnancy. If the child was dark it was to be killed any other was to be turned over to the Koriani. Which I take it to mean he was going to have her executed, unless I miss understood.

originally posted by Paul Hammond

The way I read it, Lysaer would never have had Talith shot for "political convenience" - but after a full trial which exposed his cuckolding, and with sincere tears in his eyes, he *would* have executed her once "justice" had been seen to be done…

(note that spoils TK-

this is an early sign of the people behind Lysaer's throne doing things to further their *own* agendas, and not, as with Diegan's summary executions, out of a misguided sense of devotion to Lysaer's better interests)

originally posted by Auna

Oops, I meant execute in secret. If he did any executing it would be done by the laws to show justice is done no matter how it wounds him personally. In fact, he'd use that as a public way to show his self sacrifice to the cause of justice.

originally posted by Paul Hammond

Of course, Lysaer could never be clear sighted enough to see that whatever Talith did was a direct result of his decision to lock her away in a tower so that she didn't say anything inconvenient about the reason why she wasn't getting pregnant…

originally posted by Annette

A few more questions for Janny, that would fit in here.

How did Arithon know to ask Sethvir for Leinthal Anithael's charts and instruments? Or did he just ask for charts and navigational instruments and that was what Sethvir sent?

Arithon got no chance to inspect what was at Althain tower on his brief trip up those stairs to the library. So it seems strange he would know some of the things that were kept in the store rooms there. In a later book Arithon also mentions something we never saw at Althain tower, so it seems there might have been a later visit. Or Arithon can see through walls and doors to catalog everything, when he has his mage sight.

There is also those emeralds, in CotM apart from the few Arithon was wearing and gave away, I thought the royal jewels were to be on the regalia Arithon never put on. Or did Arithon pick them up later from Althain tower while traveling with Halliron, or did Sethvir send them in the satchel along with the other things? How did Arithon come to have them?

If it is not the right time to answer that is OK, but they have been bugging me for a while so thought I would ask. Thanks :smiley:

Annette - you asked. These are confounding questions - because - as it happens, Curse of the Mistwraith's first draft was begun in 1972. Over the period between that very early draft and the 1990s when the book was released, I reworked and even, massively rewrote, the opening something like 17 times. All in an effort to consolidate the layers that needed to be there for later, AND make the story and the suspense work - I still feel, today, that the opening half of the book is the weakest part of the series, but honestly, could have spent another lifetime reworking in an effort to make it better.

What you may be encountering is 'artifact' bits that made sense in one draft or another, but got overlooked in the final passes and the copy edit (my current copy editors were not on the job, then, it was some unknown stranger - and - given the first drafts were ALL in typescript - no computers!!! - no internet - there were no beta readers, either. And while I did have an editor, actively, then - plunging them into this huge work (I sent in a finished manuscript, the entire book) - could be it was too much to take in all at once.

Soooo - very likely such little bits were missed out - because the coronation sequence and the Althain Tower sequence in earlier versions were extended - whole scenes got eliminated to tighten the tension, and bits of continuity like this happened in the mangle. All I can say is, (I have not CHECKED to see if this is the case, but it's likely) if that's ALL you found, whew, I am damned lucky, because the shifts in how those chapters were presented - even - where the book BEGAN - were immense - sweeping, massive shifts - in how the same information could be presented, compressed, and with at least the best shot at ratcheting the suspense.

I've got BOXES of early draft, for story up to the bloody ending of Peril's Gate - years and years worth. I put a LOT of work into these books for decades before I dared release Vol I. Precisely so that I would have it all distilled and compacted and wouldn't mess up with the later volumes, having set something in motion that would fail to hold up under pressure, as it were.

IDEALLY one would have written the entire series THEN published - but with a lifetime work of this nature, this was not possible. I had to earn a living with it along the way. Every effort's been made to keep things lined up, but, surely slips can happen.

The good news is, that the number of confirmed inconsistencies encountered by readers is VERY small, can be numbered on ONE HAND. Yay. Did my job pretty well. Not like some series, where the list goes to sheets.

Other things happened as well - when I had an editor - SOME lines or fragments of lines or even a phrase may have been cut. SOMETIMES a vital bit goes with what looked (to them) like a nothing detail - and it turned out necessary later. I KNOW I had, for instance, a reference to Necromancy in every single volume…carefully laid, carefully stalking the later unveiling - and I KNOW it got edited out once, at least, because the editor thought it an exterraneous detail. Sometimes the time I had to go over the edits was extremely compressed - I know once I had to do a page proof on a book tour, and I was going over pages under high pressure (had 5 days to finish ALL of it) very late at night, after a whole day of appearances, and often a 5 or 6 am flight to another city, next morning. In short, too damned tired to see. (Why Ships hardbound has typos - ugh!)

If this series was huge in the numbers - I could FIX such things on reprints. Right now, the publisher will not allow anything that causes a format change. I've wanted to ADD the dates at the chapter heads in Mistwraith for YEARS, and cut a little inconsistency out of Peril's Gate (a short paragraph) for as many years, and it's been a flat NO from on high…bleeds me, no end, it's such little stuff. So – I hang on for the day when the numbers take high enough to get a 'preferred edition' and I thank you profoundly for your help and efforts, here and everywhere, keeping the series visible. You're doing a superb job and it's an immense help, THANK YOU.

I will cross check both of these points and put them on the official LIST if they check out - my recall says they may well, so bingo for you.

What people can't see - as I write in the ending pages of the draft for Destiny's Conflict - the amount of material tried and discarded because it is "TOO LOOSE" and the tension is ramping so severely at this stage - EVERY scene has to rip to the heart, and every scene has to carry ALL of the layers - backwards and forwards - because, as I near the start of the FINAL volume, there won't be any room to make adjustments if I get it wrong.

And I've just 'reverse ordered' two major events to give this book and the next the best 'travel' for the reader - making no ugly stopping points or cliffhangers requires such care. When I hit that stage of the game plan, it was obvious I couldn't do the original order without PAGES more material OR a crap pause point. Reversing order made the puzzle fit a whole lot better, but it meant reknitting the material surrounding to be SURE I wasn't caught out later.

The book's coverage is bang on target, bang on the original plan…but like Vol I and II (ALL of Ships was in full draft when I reworked it for final publication) - like the early stages, the finishing stages are requiring me to keep working over the angle of presentation, so it's tight as possible.

The planning stages for the scenes that came earlier were SO well sanded, and the ending scenes, likewise, but getting the connecting material taut enough to sing all the way (You will note the suspense does NOT lag, after the tipping point of Peril's Gate, but in fact picks up pace, and once Sword of the Canon gets rolling, it increases - well that 'increase in tension' at this stage of the draft is EXPONENTIALLY HOTTER and will only boil on.

I'd like not to have to make apologies for little stuff - so time is all going into making this book watertight as I can.

Thanks meantime for your enthusiasm and your sharp eye, I appreciate the commentary.

originally posted by Annette

Thanks Janny for all the info and insight into the writing, always an interesting read to see how the books were created. I think I will just have to go with what my imagination came up with to explain it.

You ever want to give us some further insight into fleeing princes, secretive satchels and how Arithon seems to know everything I am sure the rapt audience will still be waiting. I do actually have a lot of little questions, but will wait for Destiny's Conflict to be handed in before distracting you too much.