Sneak Preview #5 - retort to the lousy blurb

OK - here is your preview - Actually the opening scene to chapter I…and my retort to the crappy blurb posted - read THIS! And when I get the book done, perhaps, I'll add to it…please: respect my copyright. KINDLY DO NOT post or e mail this excerpt elsewhere - though you may post the direct link anywhere you please and let all comers read it HERE.

I. Imprisoned

All of his days began the same way. He awoke without any memory. Nameless, he knew nothing at all of his past. Grope though he might, his thoughts churning in circles, he encountered no sense of self purpose. Nothing beyond the fact, I exist, that might endow him with a future.

Eyes opened, he surveyed his featureless surroundings. The place did not appear to have walls. Which illusion deceived: perhaps the prompt was his first recollection. He understood that the silvery, reflective enclosure was a prison, woven of impenetrable spells. Colorless, textureless, the working enfolded him in a confining state of neutrality. Neither hot or cold, the barrier wrapped him round without ceiling or floor, sealed seamlessly as a bubble. Bland, like the clothing he was given to wear: a white shirt and dark breeches stitched from a nondescript fabric, fitted comfortably to his slight frame. His diligent keepers, whoever they were, did not wish him to suffer indignity or undue discomfort.

Without any mirror to view his reflection, and with no outside window to relieve the monotony with a view, he began by regarding his hands. Their structure at least offered the insight that he was individual, with some claim to a history and a character. His fingers were refined, almost delicate, the bones sculpted beneath his lean flesh. The left ones were tipped with distinct little calluses, speaking to him of the repeated wear caused by deft pressure to stop off taut strings. First epiphany, he recalled the joyful making of music. But not how he acquired the scars.

Tentative, uneasy, though he knew not why, he traced the whitened whorl of healed tissue gouged across his right palm. His forefinger ran on, exploring the welt, which snaked in a half twist that scored his right forearm up to the elbow. The slight shudder raised by his touch roused the unpleasant recall of searing fire. That burn scar crossed others, much older. A disturbing encounter, he found that both of his wrists, and his ankles, wore the chafe marks ingrained by steel shackles.

Rage stirred in him, then, a formless awakening that whispered of genuine origins. Someone else had taken him captive before this. The trauma stayed with him, burning deep inside, an echoed remembrance of freedom denied, and the resurgent spark of rebellious anger shuddered up from his viscera. Still nameless, he knew he had broken that chain and those manacles.

Why was he here? Who held him caged, now?

But the gauze layers occluding his memory would not unveil the face of his enemy. The living marked into his empty hands could not account for the cause of his current straits. He remembered no crime, no offense enacted against humanity, to have earned him such flagrant abuse to body or mind.

His questions chased themselves into holes, stubbornly uninformative. At that point, the burgeoning surge of his fury lashed him onto his feet. He paced. Every day, like the trapped tiger, that explosion of untamed emotion goaded his frantic steps. The blank, silver prison swallowed up his dire restlessness. Its forces encapsulated his person and absorbed even such towering aggression without a ripple. His ire blazed deeper, an unstoppable torrent that stripped his nerves livid. How he hated the fact he was helpless! He was given no target to savage. No captor appeared, on which to salve his devouring grief for the loss of his being. He had no means to wreak vengeance for the outright theft of the person he had been, and rightfully should be, since he was still living.

When the edge on his temper reached a peak intensity, the old woman always appeared. She came, swathed head to foot in a violet mantle, sewn with nine scarlet bands upon her full sleeves. He never observed her arrival, had no way to detect the means or the moment that permitted her soundless entry. The primal urge to close his grip on her throat always died when he saw that she offered him the lyranthe.

The instrument consumed his total attention. Beloved snare, its promise bewitched him. Fourteen silver wound strings and polished wood woke an ache, unrequited, that spoke of a love beyond hatred, and freedoms untouched by captivity. Music, he knew. The structure of melody, cadence, and song framed a power instinctive as breathing survival. That magnet to liberty broke his resistance. He succumbed, every time. Accepted the gift, although, beyond question, it came from the hand that imprisoned him. Though such acquiescence should seal his downfall, his inner desire stayed absolute. No other choice existed, for him, in the unending horror of his isolation, except to die lacking the bright courage of song, bereft of his last, human grace.

Imperative instinct silenced his questions as he took the instrument into his arms. His trembling hands caressed lacquered wood. Craving beyond words, he stroked shining strings with the desperation of the addicted. Sound and melody promised him solace. Music endowed him with the channel for healing, and lent his last foothold on sanity. Or perhaps the cold stir of true memory served warning: if he failed to ply his art without flaw, he could fall to mortal danger.

Sweet longing transformed into shocking need. Now hurried, he tuned the strings quickly. Shivered, all but undone by foreboding, he felt springing sweat prickle the hair at his nape. Then a ranging, unpleasant chill chased his spine.

He remembered, now: thousands upon thousands of days just like this, each one filled by terrors that flitted, unseen, and challenged his very survival.

The struck notes had engendered sound, and caused change. As though a tossed stone had crashed through a pool, the ripple unleashed a break in stilled tension. His prison was no longer seamless, or safe. An uncanny rift opened up underfoot, letting in an inchoate void that now stirred with purposeful movement. Dread lurked in its shadow. Though the eye could discern neither form, nor shape, an unseen invader was present, and stalking him.

He recoiled a step. Fingers flying, he struck a spray of harmonics, then leaned on those clear tones and cranked the drone strings into stinging, true pitch.

His sight still showed him nothing. Innately set on his guard, he trusted his inner panic as warning that he was not secure, or alone.

Something uncanny had been let inside, though it lived beyond range of his senses. He knew the intrusion as a flicked breath of cold. Then a jab of pure malice tested his stance, prying to thrust its way into him. The first tingle of etheric assault laced his skin, sharp as the teeth of a predator, and whetted by relentless starvation. Anything that possessed life force was prey, and in this place, he offered the only available source. The old woman had gone the same way she had entered, leaving him to the lyranthe, and his own devices.

Sometime, somewhere, he had gained a master's initiate discipline. Those trained faculties responded by reflex, hurling him into a bristled defense.

The natural drive to recover his memory drowned, whelmed under by primal fear. He needed no trappings of lost personality to recognize the throes of a fatal conflict.

A free wraith battled him for possession. Countless millions of others had done the same, prior to his encounter with this one. He knew what to expect, as the whirlwind of its ungoverned hatred sought to excite him to terror. The bleeding essence of his own fear would drain him, and grant the entity his own strength and vitality to sate its craving for sustenance. It would seek to wring him to a drained husk. When he became too exhausted to withstand its invasion, then its ravening hunger would sap his will, and move to supplant his awareness. Against the threat of an imprisonment beyond hope, the only weapon he had was the lyranthe, and the empowered expression of music.

Peerless talent, he plied his command over fret and string, and unleashed a blazing cascade of harmony…

originally posted by Laneth Sffarlenn

Oh, holy crap. That is just … wow.
I demand an immediate jump in time so we all have this in our hands now :smiley:

Janny, your mastery only improves with time - I simply cannot wait till I get to devour this, the next volume in what I still consider my favourite read of all time.

originally posted by starstorm

Whoa… and that's just how it *begins*? Yikes! So, so cool. Worth the wait, that's for sure, just from that little bit :smiley:
Thank you!


originally posted by Maggie

Fantastic as usual, Janny! I want to read the rest of it NOW! :smiley:

Although this raises soooo many new questions that need answering. Now if you will excuse me, I need to go re-examine the other books for hints…

Wow, so many questions!

originally posted by Theresa

Wow… just wow. This creates so many questions!

Thank you so much, Janny, for such a wonderful treat. :smiley:

originally posted by Walt

*thunk* [jaw hits the floor]

How can I exist until the publication??? You are a most wonderfully-deliciously-evil-and-did-I-mention-most-wonderful author??


How can I stand the wait?

originally posted by Konran

*SCREAM!* I saw your tweet and ran straight here… and… D: I have no words, except I NEED this book.

originally posted by Sue

excitement…enjoyment…leading to frustration. Thanks Janny for the the snippet! My patience has momentarily deserted me. I can't wait!!!

Please, oh please, let me get my hands on this book before Xmas! :smiley:

originally posted by Wendy Collett


Just a small scream of appreciation and frustration that I don't have the rest in my hot little hands yet… :stuck_out_tongue:

originally posted by Hellcat

Adds screams to the ones above!

Why do I get the feeling Arithon's imprisonment was started voluntarily? That this is somehow the only way to sensibly allow him to battle the free wraiths.

Arithon is too cunning, understands the Major Balance too well and is too valuable to the F5.5 to allow thais without some sort of voluntary agreement

originally posted by Pablo Krause

I'm speechless. Wonderful intro :smiley: Many thanks, Janny!

originally posted by Konran

Hellcat - it's been stated that the free wraiths getting access to the kinds of things Arithon knows would be a disaster. Maybe this is how they're getting around it… after all, if you don't remember something, how is a wraith going to pull it out of your head? What I want to know is where his memories have gone, who has the keeping of them, and why he's being babysat by the Koriani of all people.

originally posted by Hellcat

I like that suggestion Trys.

Are his memories stored in a crystal? One outside the compact /not of Athera and therefore Korani?

Who is the Prime Matriarch who comes to give him the Lyranthe?

originally posted by Hunter

I'm not assuming it is the Prime Matriach. It does appear to be a Koriani - Lirenda perhaps? Morriel's hands may not yet be fixed and the first sneak preview showed that Morriel was "Perfect with youth" so it's not her.

The Fellowship debt from the first sneak preview may be the handing over of Arithon's daughter to the Koriani?

originally posted by Laneth Sffarlenn


Wouldn't this be a clue:
She came, swathed head to foot in a violet mantle, sewn with nine scarlet bands upon her full sleeves.

And from the Paravia wiki:
Morriel, as the Prime Enchantress, wears a lavender-and-purple mantle. Her robe of office has nine red bands of rank at the sleeves…

While I would not dare assume that Morriel / Selidie is the one shown here, perhaps it's a Fetch employed by the sorcerers to further engender the mistrust in Arithon against the Koriani, esp. if he's to find out about his daughter?

Perhaps, if she truly is Koriani, Morriel / Selidie has had her hands healed?

Perhaps, even more scandalous, the Koriani order has had to work "with" the Fellowship insofar as the Wraiths are a true threat to mankind and the Order stands to serve and protect mankind (read, averting natural disasters, etc.)

Either way, the Violet robe with Nine Scarlet ranking bands is the mark of the Prime Matriarch, at least as far as I'm aware.

originally posted by plutoplex

Wow! Talk about raising more questions!

Could he be trapped (mentally, not physically) in the Great Waystone? The Waystone is supposed to try to overpower those who use it, and contains the memories/spirits of all those who failed. And that would explain the (probable) Koriani (who have yet to show any desire to stop the Mistwraith).

Also, could the old woman be Morriel? In her true form (with him seeing the person within, not Selidie's stolen body if it's a mental prison)?

I'm itching to know more! What happens next?

originally posted by Gary

My take… (been a long time since I weighed in…) This is Arithorn (obviously) going through the long, slow, painful process of freeing the imprisoned wraithes. He'd have to have entered this voluntarily and I can only imagine the conflicted agony gone through in making the decision to give up his memories and Atherean granted right to free will. The woman certainly appears to be Koriani - 9 scarlet bands upon the sleeves - wasn't 9th the highest rank of the Koriani? But it says she's old, which potentially rules out Seldie, as well as Lirenda. Morriel seems a possibility, especially if she entered into this to seal a bargain with the Seven, which may have included the demand that they heal her hands.

Absolutely awesome, Janny. I can't describe the anticipated pleasure that will certainly accompany the actual release!

originally posted by Laneth Sffarlenn

*** Potential Spoiler… ***

Remember, It's Selidie's hands that are scarred and this happened after Morriel possessed her… So if the hands are healed, and the person is young, it still could be the physically perceived body but Morriel still controlling the young initiate's body…

originally posted by Alexis

I have been a lurker for years now but the snippet has persuaded me to join the fun of conjecturing in response.

My guess: The fellowship turn over Arithon's daughter to fulfill their debt. Morriel sees the girl's potential and seizes on her ties to Fellowship and Arithon, the girl makes it through the Initiate's Trial and becomes the next Prime Matriarch. This would take hundreds of years perhaps. In the meantime, Arithon loses his memories perhaps willingly in order to deal with the wraiths. His daughter becomes the compassionate matriarch of the likes the koriani order was founded by, OR she deals more cooperatively for whatever reason with the Fellowship who convince her to intercede on Arithons's behalf. She does, and in that memory-less void, her and Arithon recognize a common thread of music in their souls, realize their familial connection. Maybe that interaction turns her into a better matriarch or something and she helps with the drakes etc. I can only imagine Arithon getting really pissed at everyone who kept the revelation from him. I wonder what has been happening to Elaira though. I always thought she would become the next matriarch, finally ask the Right Question of the Fellowship, and end up happily ever after with Arithon.

Too much fun. Can't wait for the novel. Btw, I want to thank you all for your book recomendations to get me through rereadings of WOLAS.