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Authors: Janny Wurts

Tags: #Speculative Fiction, #Science Fiction, #Fantasy

Stormed Fortress

 

 

 

 

Stormed Fortress

Janny Wurts is the author of numerous successful fantasy novels and the author, with Raymond E. Feist, of the worldwide bestselling Empire series. Her skill as a horsewoman, archer, offshore sailor and musician is reflected in her novels. She is also a talented artist and illustrates many of her own covers. She lives in Florida, USA.

 

Her website may be found at:
www.paravia.com/

 

JannyWurts

Janny Wurts

STORMED FORTRESS

The Wars of Light and Shadow

VOLUME 8

Fifth Book of the Alliance of Light

 

 

 

Harper
Voyager
An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers 77-85 Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, London W6 8JB

First published in Great Britain by HarperCollinsPuMisters 2007

www.voyager-books.co.uk

 

 

This paperback edition 2008 1

Copyright © Janny Wurts 2007

Janny Wurts asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN-13: 978 0 00 721781 6

Typeset in Palatino and Belwe by Palimpsest Book Production Limited, Grangemouth, Stirlingshire

Printed in Great Britain by Clays Ltd, St Ives pic

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted,

in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publishers.

Find out more about HarperCollins and the environment at
www.harpercollins.co.uk/green

 

 

 

 

For three, whose enduring commitment
to the literature of the fantastic
has enriched so many.

Betty Ballantine

Ellen Datlow

Terri Windling

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

The culminating volume of the Alliance of Light could not have been accomplished without the grace of many helping hands, extra sets of eyes, and no end of cheerful encouragement. My heartfelt thanks to the following people who have been unflagging in their assistance:

Jeff Watson
Andrew Ginever
Lynda-Marie Hauptman, Betsy Hosier, Jana Paniccia, Gale Skipworth, Karen Shull and Mark Timmony

Jonathan Matson

Jane Johnson, Sarah Hodgson, Harry Man, Dominic Forbes and the Voyager crew Bob and Sara Schwager

and not least,
My husband, Don Maitz, who never blinked when the wife was dreaming
'
off planet
'
and talking to herself in Paravian.

 

 

 

Contents

Fifth Book

 

Acknowledgements

Story Time-line

I. Binding Ties

II. Recoil

III. Obligations

IV. Feint and Assault

V. Blood Debt

VI. Counterstrokes

VII. Siege

VIII. First Turning

IX. Schism

X. Hammer and Anvil

XI. Second Turning

XII. Third Turning

XIII. Stormed Fortress

XIV. Sortie

XV Athir

XVI. Scarpdale

Glossary

 

 

 

Story Time-line
What Has Gone Before

Third Age Year

5637—The half-brothers Arithon s
'
Ffalenn, Master of Shadow, and Lysaer
s
'
Ilessid
, gifted with Light, exiled through West Gate, are met as they arrive on Athera by the Fellowship Sorcerer Asandir and Dakar, the Mad Prophet, whose West Gate Prophecy forecast the defeat of the Mistwraith, Desh-thiere, and return of the sunlight that had been lost to Athera for five hundred years.

Arithon meets his beloved, Elaira, who is under a life vow of service to the celibate order of the enchantresses of the Koriathain.

5638—The Mistwraith is contained at Ithamon by Lysaer and Arithon and driven into captivity through their combined powers of Light and Shadow.

The Fellowship Sorcerers
'
effort to crown Arithon as High King, and re-instate Rathain
'
s monarchy fails when the Mistwraith places the half-brothers under its curse: they will be enemies, bent upon each other
'
s destruction until one or the other lies dead.

War follows. Lysaer, whose cardinal virtue is the
s
'
Ilessid
gift of justice, leads a war host ten thousand strong from Etarra against Arithon, who is backed by the clansmen in Strakewood Forest. Lysaer and Etarra lose eight thousand men, and the clans suffer the Massacre at Tal Quorin, when Etarran head-hunters destroy their women and children to draw the fighting men into the open. To spare his allies, Arithon is forced to use his mage talent to kill. And in the aftermath of this massive insult to his royal gift of compassion, he loses access to all facets of his trained mastery. Survivors of the debacle made possible
by his sacrifice include fourteen young boys, named as Companions, and Earl Jieret, twelve years of age, who becomes Arithon
'
s
'
shadow behind the throne
'
- or
caithdein.

Lysaer returns to Etarra to begin the alliance of town forces against Arithon and court his beloved, Talith.

Arithon apprentices himself to the Masterbard, Halliron, and takes on the disguised persona of Medlir to deny his half-brother, and the directive of the curse, a fixed target.

5643—The Fellowship Sorcerers reinstate crown rule in Havish, under High King Eldir. In redress for irresponsible conduct, Dakar the Mad Prophet is assigned to Arithon
'
s protection.

5644—Dakar tries to escape his charge and links up with Halliron and
'
Medlir
'
on the eastshore, whereupon his scapegrace behaviour with town authorities in Jaelot leads to Halliron
'
s death and Arithon
'
s breaking his disguise, then achieving the title of Masterbard of Athera.

Arithon relocates down the eastshore en route to the southcoast, with Dakar
'
s escapades earning him the enmity of the powerful clan family of Duke Bransian s
'
Brydion of Alestron.

Elaira receives her longevity from the Koriani Order for the purpose of keeping track of Arithon, since the sisterhood considers him a danger.

Lysaer solidifies his alliance of town interests, rebuilds the ruined citadel at Avenor, marries Talith, and begins his manoeuvres to claim ancestral title to rulership of Tysan.

Against the climate of building war, Arithon founds a shipyard in the fishing village of Merior, where he constructs blue-water sailing vessels with intent to escape to sea. He meets and befriends two fatherless twin children, Fiark and Feylind. He encounters Elaira, under orders from her Prime to involve herself in Arithon
'
s affairs. Their affection deepens when a joint attempt to heal an injured fisherman creates an empathic link between them.

5645—Lysaer leads a war host to Rathain, with intent to sail south and crush Arithon in the fishing village of Merior. But Arithon hears, and uses wiles and Shadow to trigger the Mistwraith
'
s curse beforetime. Inflamed to insane rage, Lysaer burns the fleet he intended to transport his war host, leaving his campaign stranded and delaying his assault through the winter.

Arithon
'
s escape plan suffers a set-back when a rancorous, displaced field-captain from Alestron burns his shipyard at Merior, with only one vessel left fit to be salvaged.

5646—On the run as war builds, Arithon takes refuge in the strategically difficult terrain in Vastmark. Faced by a war host and impossible odds, he takes Lysaer
'
s wife Talith as a captive to stall the onset of open war.

5647—Talith is ransomed by Lysaer, under auspice of the Fellowship Sorcerers and High King Eldir. Although she is safely returned, the experience leaves an irreparable rift in her marriage.

Lysaer masses his war host, thirty-five thousand strong, and marches on Arithon
'
s smaller force in Vastmark. Arithon resorts to desperate measures to turn them, including the Massacre at the Havens, in which five hundred of Lysaer
'
s men are killed outright. The tactic fails, and is followed by the main engagement at Dier Kenton Vale, in which twenty thousand Alliance troops die in one day in a shale slide.

The campaign collapses at the onset of winter, with Duke Bransian s
'
Brydion of Alestron changing sides and forging a covert alliance with Arithon.

Faced with a ruinous defeat, Lysaer decides to create a faith-based following and cast Arithon as evil incarnate.

Arithon escapes to sea to search for the lost Paravian races, who, as Ath
'
s gift to redeem the world, offer hope he might break the Mistwraith
'
s curse. Feylind sails as his navigator, and Fiark is apprenticed with a merchant-factor in the town of Innish.

The Prime Matriarch of the Koriani Order casts an augury showing that Arithon will cause her downfall. Since she is aging and has only one flawed candidate in line for her succession, and her death will cause an irreparable loss of the sisterhood
'
s knowledge, she becomes Arithon
'
s inveterate enemy.

Still in love with Arithon, Elaira saves the life of an infant during childbirth in the grass-lands of Araethura. Named Fionn Areth, he owes her a life debt, and a prophecy entangles him with Arithon
'
s fate.

Back at Avenor to rebuild his following, Lysaer sets the clanborn who refuse to join his alliance to eradicate the Master of Shadow under a decree of slavery. His estrangement with Talith leads to her incarceration.

5648-9—For endorsing slave labour, Lysaer is cast out of the Fellowship
'
s compact, which allows Mankind the right to inhabit Athera.

5649—The Prime Matriarch of the Koriathain confronts the Fellowship Sorcerers to lift restrictions imposed on her sisterhood and the use of their grand focus in their Great Waystone. The petition meets with refusal, sealing her determination to take Arithon captive and use him as leverage to force the Sorcerers to accede to her order
'
s demands.

5652—Arithon fails in his search for the Paravians. He returns to the continent and discovers Lysaer is enslaving the clanborn. This leads him to infiltrate Lysaer
'
s shipyard at Riverton, to steal vessels and assist the clansmen in their effort to escape the persecution of Lysaer
'
s Alliance by fleeing to sanctuary in Havish.

5652-3—The Prime Matriarch of the Koriathain sets a trap to take Arithon by suborning his covert colleagues at the Riverton shipworks, only to have her grand plan undone by ambitious meddling on the part of her sole candidate for succession, Lirenda. The trap springs, but Arithon escapes into a grimward, chased by a company of men allied with Lysaer, under the captaincy of Sulfin Evend.

5653—Lysaer
'
s wife Talith is murdered by a conspiracy in his own council, with her death made to appear as a suicide. Sulfin Evend survives the grimward and is appointed to the rank of Alliance Commander at Arms.

The Koriathain fail to forge an alliance with Lysaer against Arithon, and in disgrace for her meddling, Lirenda decides to claim the life debt owed by Fionn Areth to Elaira. The child is shapechanged to mature as Arithon
'
s double, to be used as bait in a second, more elaborate trap to achieve his capture.

5654—Of their own accord, the s
'
Brydion duke
'
s brothers decide to avenge the mishap at Riverton, against Arithon
'
s better judgement. When an argument with Parrien leads to injury, Arithon is awarded the service of two trusted s
'
Brydion retainers, Vhandon and Talvish.

5654—Lysaer marries Lady Ellaine as a political expedient. On the day of the wedding, the s
'
Brydion vengeance plan destroys Lysaer
'
s fleet and his shipyard at Riverton. Sulfin Evend
'
s uncle, Raiett Raven, joins Alliance service as Lysaer
'
s advisor and is eventually appointed as High Chancellor of Etarra.

5655—Lysaer and Ellaine
'
s child, Prince Kevor, is born.

5667—Ellaine learns that her predecessor, Princess Talith, died as a victim of murder, arranged by Lysaer
'
s council at Avenor.

5669—The Koriani plot to trap Arithon using Fionn Areth sends the boy into the town of Jaelot, where he is taken and condemned, mistaken for the Master of Shadow. Arithon is drawn ashore to prevent the death of an innocent accused in his stead. On winter solstice day, Fionn Areth is snatched from the scaffold. The Koriani conspiracy fails, with Lirenda disgraced and Elaira exonerated.

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