Initiate's Trial: Second Sneak Preview

Here is the second sneak preview for Initiate's Trial - please note: this material contains minor spoilers…it also is DRAFT, and copyright by the author. Please, if you wish to share, use respect and do so by way of direct links to this site.

Thank you - and - don't say I didn't listen to your wishes and provide an explosion - not everything will be as you think, so take warning…

This said, Here's the preview:

The Sorcerer paused in a winter cold lane. Seamed face upturned, his luminous eyes blank with thought, he appeared as innocuous as a maundering grandfather lost on the way home from market. In fact, his honed senses were tightly entrained for one purpose: to sound out every spirit sprung from the outbred, matrilineal branch of s'Gannley, and bearing the blood heritage of Sulfin Evend, a name still reviled by the temple archives as the Light's most nefarious heretic.

The spirit Asandir selected stood out, hot as bright flame, from the pack of siblings and close cousins. She was a pert creature, incorrigible, rebellious, and wild as a sparrowhawk among pecking doves where she stood, surrounded by swank admirers and Etarran dandies. Asandir cornered her amid the crowd in a dimly lit, wainscotted tap room, just after she finished the knife throw that demolished five shouting contenders and won the coin purse their male prowess had wagered. Flushed with laughter, dressed in a stylishly laced velvet bodice, full skirts, and ribbon tied slippers, she crowed like a hoyden and twirled face about in a scintillant sparkle of jewels and flushed victory.

The piroette fetched her, pink nose to chest, against the tall Sorcerer's presence.

Daliana possessed the keen depth of her forefather's instincts: tawny eyes widened, stopped short in her tracks, she tipped her chin upward and gasped. A truth-seer's vision recognized the implacable power, leashed behind the seamed face that confronted her. Fearless, without artifice, she dared to speak first. "Who are you and what do you want of me?"

"Do you not know?" Asandir's smile was lightning against thunderhead, crackling with the pent forces of upheaval and change. "I've come to request service befitting your ancestry. Though I daresay, the matter should be broached in depth, under raised wards, and in privacy."


The cramped room provided to patrons who paid to conduct their close business was furnished with a polished, round table and comfortable, stuffed chairs. A tray of bread, cheese and wine was provided, along with wax candles for the paned lamps that hung from bronze hooks in the ceiling beams. Under that light, Daliana's straight, dark brows looked severe, drawn into a frown as forbidding as any displayed by her distrustful ancestor. "Sulfin Evend was a captain at arms, skilled at weaponry and history says also, a master tactician."

"You are his equal, for tactics, I think." Folded into a chair, the Sorcerer opposite looked more rumpled, but not less imposing. Deep shadow accentuated the sharp planes of a face outdoor weather had chiseled. His leathers were worn, but his silver hair gleamed, spilled over the breadth of squared shoulders. "You have the s'Gannley talent, in full measure. Also an enviously quick set of reflexes. And courage to blister any man pink."

From pale, she had colored. Nerves showed, in the trembling flare of her jewels. Still, she had fiber. She had not interrupted the brutal, succinct explanation of the fated relapse that must come to hound Lysaer's sanity, now that -(the event referenced here has been deleted to avoid Major Spoil - sorry, you'll have to wait on the book.)-

Now quiet, the Sorcerer was content to allow her to weigh her decision: whether or not to stand forward, as her ancestor had, as a tormented ruler's clear voice of conscience. She was not to be pressured, or rushed, or cajoled. Asandir's lean hands stayed busy, and his strong teeth, tucking into the food with an appetite any effete Etarran would have deemed shamelessly ravenous.

As the ragged silence drew out and gained weight, he laid down the chunk of cheese wrapped in bread, poured out a goblet of wine, and pushed the stem between Daliana's delicate, ringed fingers. "You would not, of course, rely on force of arms. Quickness, yes, and a glib turn of phrase, and also, the most artful advantage of all. Your illustrious predecessor could fight, as a male. Never discount the fact you won't have to."

Daliana stared back, arrow straight, while the candle flame rubbed warmer, cinnamon highlights into the walnut dark braid she wore pinned in a circlet above her delicate face. "Lord Lysaer can't stand the sight of me," she said, strippingly frank. "That's been evident since the first day my mother presented me to his court."

Asandir stared back, a bold glint in gray eyes that never stopped measuring. "You remind him of someone," he said. "As you choose, you might press that advantage. Lysaer has never healed that glaring weakness. It threatens him, truly, in places he would rather deny that he's naked and vulnerable."

Daliana met the Sorcerer's cool regard, rapacious with innuendo. "Would you care to elaborate?"

"I would not." Before rebuke for her indecent prying, the Sorcerer attacked his cold meal. If he seemed pleased that she was not afraid of him, his words held a ring that ran beyond cold, as he added, "Sweet lady, you realize the boon I am asking cannot be repaid with any promise of triumph or happiness. I am asking you, of your bravery, to shoulder a peril beyond imagining. The charge, if laid on you, would risk your life! Before, Sulfin Evend appealed to receive his binding oath for the love of a friend, and because, in the breach of a peace that could torch the known world into flames, he was desperate. I come before you as the supplicant, this time. The need that commands me to ask for your service could lead you to bitter defeat, and a destiny cruel beyond all reprieve."

"Sulfin Evend succeeded!" Daliana reminded with a whiplashing snap.

Then she spilled her wine and broke into tears, as the Fellowship Sorcerer bowed to her.

He knew! Before she spoke, at her very heart's core, Asandir already had sensed the shift that framed her commitment. Before he left the room, she would swear his great oath, and take on the spirit mark of his arcane protection: to defend Lord Lysaer from the recurrent threat of the madness roused by Desh-thiere's curse.

(admin corrected quotes and single quotes to show correctly in all browsers)

(Message edited by admin on July 28, 2008)

originally posted by Theresa

Ah, sweet… and very thought provoking, in a multitude of ways. Very much to ponder now! Thanks ever so much, Janny, for posting another preview. :smiley:

originally posted by starstorm

OMG… whoa!!
Okay, then, I would say some time has passed since the end of SF! :smiley:

I like Daliana already.

Very, very, VERY cool… thank you, Janny!


originally posted by Laneth Sffarlenn

OMG - … … omg OMG!

Wow - this is totally awesome!

Thanks for sparking anew my withdrawel symptoms Janny!
*goes off gnawing his own arm which causes less pain than not having the not-yet-book in hand*…

originally posted by Mark Stephen Kominski

*Chuckles at Laneth, recognizing similar personal straits*

But how will you hold the book if you gnaw off your arm? That's the dilemma that keeps mine attached!

Very nice, Janny, and it neatly addresses the apprehension several had over the impending loss of Sulfin Evend as a character (ah, but who does he marry, that he might have offspring?). Can't wait to see how we jump into the future, and am hoping to be able to get a hardback here in the States when this next chronicle is ready…

originally posted by Laneth Sffarlenn

I had suspicions about the jump ahead based on Janny saying that Arc 4 could be read as an individual series, without necessarily having had read the first three arcs.

There's an invetion out there called the book pillow:
and feets can be used for things too :smiley:
(Also, I'm just gnawing on the left arm - it doesn't do much usually…)

originally posted by Greebo

The Light's most nefarious heretic, eh? Interesting, interesting! Thanks for posting this Janny, keeps the appetite whetted…

originally posted by Zorana Lewis

Indeed, I thought such a title would be saved for Arithon - unless of course, they were only counting people who were meant to be supporting the Light. :smiley:

But it is indeed -very- interesting. Let the mulling commence!

And Thank You Janny, for posting this for us. *nods*

originally posted by Laneth Sffarlenn

One couldn't really be called a Heretic unless one was a part of the religion in question, no?

Arithon has never subscribed to any of the tenets within the religion of Light, (nor has he ever been accepted as one of the followers), and so could not necessarily be labelled a heretic.

I would more describe Arithon as a royal pariah - socially outcast and considered in many parts of the Kingdoms as evil and not a simple human like them, even though by birthright he is a sanctioned ruler of Rathain (probably where he is most despised, besides Tyson)

Yes, pariah would be my word of choice for Arithon :smiley:

originally posted by Hunter

Sulfin Evend's direction was clear by the end of SF - he had lost all belief in the cause of the Light even though he was Commander of the Armies of the Light (or something similar) and, as the above says, existed to save Lysaer and Athera along with it. The Light thought any and all of the following corrupt, irredeemably evil and to be exterminated from Athera: The Fellowship, Arithon, the clans, the Compact, Paravians, Ath's Adepts - basically anything of the "old" ways.

As a caithdein, he was bound to serve these "old ways", the most gross heresy of the Light.

The most interesting part of this passage has been deleted but the next most is Daliana's outburst that "Sulfin Evend succeeded". The heretic succeeded. Athera has not gone up in flames, Lysaer (now Lord as per the prologue) is still in power and, it appears, having managed lengthy periods of relative sanity. I wonder if he's spent the past 200+ years trying to repair the damage of the first three arcs?

originally posted by Clansman

Alas, I was wrong. Time has flowed, quite significantly.

Still, looks like there is some wonderful material in the intervening years for flashbacks, a short story, or, dare I say it, even a novella?!?!

Thanks for the appetizer, Janny! Too bad the darn meal is so far off. I might join Laneth, and start gnawing on my left arm.

originally posted by Kirsten Laurelle Wallace

Thanks so much for the excerpt. I will definately be mulling that one for the next two months. I like that you're going to go into other generations. Nifty.

originally posted by Julie

Wow- So the next book takes us generations forward and Sulfen Evand is still mentioned!He was always fairly disgusted by the Light's religion and his fellowhsip oath did not win him any points with them. I would love to speculate on who he had children with. His decendants appear to be well placed in society. I guess Daliana reminds Lysaer of Talith.
And Lord Lysaer- no longer Prince? Has someone else shouldered the kingship?
Thank you Janey- keep writing!

originally posted by Gary

It looks like the meaning behind "Canon" is cleared up. It would probably take a couple of hundred years and a limited role from Lysaer to establish a religion of the light organized and dominated by more mundane folk.

I have serious doubts about Lysaer's ability to be an effective leader of religion or at molding scripture, so I suggest that this role was slowly but surely taken from his control and put in the hands of those who manage it best - bureaucrats and power mongers.

So, does Daliana become the Initiate eventually put on trial for following in the steps of her forefather? Or is her emergence in the story line too early to get herself into deep trouble?

originally posted by Laneth Sffarlenn

If Arithon's daughter was the Initiate, it would be interesting to see if she and Daliana clash :smiley:

originally posted by Gary

Ahh, but over 200 years in the future… Perhaps it is Arithon's great-grand son?

originally posted by Hunter

Lysaer was arguably already the Sword of the Canon where the Canon is the Religion of Light. His bidding to try and rid the world of the old guard and re-establish humanity's freedom was guided and abetted by other cabals and older factions than what he started.

The Alliance of Light was about converting the entirety of Athera to the Light by the sword. As Lysaer himself admitted in a moment of lucidity outside Alestron, even he may not be able to stop what he's created, so perhaps his pursuits in the subsequent centuries were trying to ameliorate and potentially start to heal the town/clan rift to allow peaceful co-existence of the various doctrines.

originally posted by Gary

Hunter, I believe you may be overly generous and overly optimistic in you hopes for Lysaer!

After all, this guy has been coddled, protected, lied for, assasinated for - just about anything you can imagine - to protect his unsullied image as the protector of Light and the defendor against Dark. And he never hesitated to let that happen.

It is only in his role as the only possible defence against Arithorn that he's been able to commandeer the treasuries of the cities and maintain his exalted appearance (and cushy lifestyle) - all in the face of massive blunder after massive blunder, catastrophe after catastrophe.

Those who've used the Alliance of Light to gain power and wealth wouldn't let go of that easily, nor, do I think, Lysaer himself could face the ignomity of being outed as a fraud and losing his privledges. I'm speculating (wildly, of course) that he's licked his wounds for the last couple of centuries and the Canon was developed more or less without his direct involvement (outside of serving as a figurehead).

Which suggests an interesting reason behind Sulfin Evend being labled "most nefarious heratic".

He outed Lysaer!

Probably he only managed to relieve Lysaer of his godhead and possibly left a nasty, unsilencable rumour about Lysaer being afflicted with Desthier's curse that prompted those in future ages to go back and review actual history to find out the truth (giving Janny the perfect opeining to weave this fabulous tale for us all).

This begs the question as to why "Lord" Lysaer. Is this "Lord" as in "Our Lord and Savior" or "Lord" as in one of noble character and/or position?

originally posted by Blue

This begs the question as to why "Lord" Lysaer. Is this "Lord" as in "Our Lord and Savior" or "Lord" as in one of noble character and/or position?

Gary, it might just be that Lysaer rejected the titles of "Prince" and "Your Grace" because they were a reminder that his original power base came from the old ways - Royalty with ties to the Compact, Paravians, the F7, and the Clans.

But, since he is of noble birth, he could easily take the more generic title of "Lord" - remember, Diegan was referred to as "Lord Diegan" or "Lord Commander Diegan" even though the titles were not legal, according to the original kingdom charters. Lysaer could NOT use the noble titles of Duke or Earl, because those are titles held by Clansmen (Duke Bransian, Earl Jieret, Earl Maenol, etc.) and the last thing he would want would be a reminder of his ties to the Clans - political suicide.

Then, too, Lysaer managed to get himself elected Mayor of Etarra, and one possible title there is "Lord" Mayor.

"Lord and Savior" might be inferred by those who still believe him to be the Avatar.

originally posted by Kirsten Laurelle Wallace

I actually agree more with Hunter. I think that Lysaer allowed that stuff to happen (ie. the assassination, the lying) because he has been so ignorant to the corruptness of society and the people that he's unwittingly surrounded himself with. He picked the townsmen because they were his comfort zone, what he knew. The clansmen reminded him of Karthan's pirates and his character was raised to believe that they were evil.

His character is run by the justice that is his birthright, but twisted because of the curse. To allow someone to knowingly assassinate for him makes no sense. If he felt that it was just for them to die then he would just execute them. Assassination implies that the person being offed is someone that he couldn't convince society was guilty of whatever reason they were getting killed.

I think that his eyes have been opened in the last book and I agree with Hunter that he's probably spent the last several centuries trying to clean up his own mess.

Remember, the mistwraith can't be destroyed without Arithon and Lysaer's connection to each other. So, unless Janny plans on the mistwraith winning or throws in another way to kill it then Lysaer has to eventually agree to work with Arithon and overcome the curse as Arithon did. My opinion, which could be completely wrong as I'm not Janny, is that Daliana is going to be the key to that change.