Read The Riddle Online

Authors: Alison Croggon

The Riddle

BOOK: The Riddle


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or, if real, are used fictitiously.

Copyright © 2004 by Alison Croggon
Cover illustration copyright © 2006 by Matt Mahurin

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in an information retrieval system in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, taping, and recording, without prior written permission from the publisher.

First U.S. electronic edition 2010

First published by Penguin Books, Australia

The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows:
Croggon, Alison, date.
The Riddle / Alison Croggon — 1st U.S. ed.
p. cm. — (The second book of Pellinor)
Summary: The further translation of a manuscript from the lost civilization of Edil-Amarandh, which chronicles the experiences of sixteen-year-old Maerad, a gifted Bard, as she seeks the answer to the Riddle of the Treesong and continues to battle the Dark forces.
ISBN 978-0-7636-3015-7 (hardcover)
[1. Supernatural — Fiction. 2. Magic — Fiction. 3. Riddles — Fiction.
4. Self-realization — Fiction. 5. Fantasy.] I. Title.
PZ7.C8765Rid 2006
[Fic] — dc22 2005047169

ISBN 978-0-7636-3414-8 (paperback)
ISBN 978-0-7636-5252-4 (electronic)

Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street
Somerville, Massachusetts 02144

visit us at

THE Riddle
continues the translation of the
Naraudh Lar-Chanë (The Riddle of the Treesong),
which I began with the first two books of this classic romance, published as
The Naming.
The response to
The Naming
has been most encouraging, and confirms my feeling that this major work of Annaren literature deserves a broader public. It speaks to a modern audience as much as it did to those nameless Annarens, now lost in the mists of time, for whom it was originally written.

The Naming
we are introduced to Maerad of Pellinor and Cadvan of Lirigon, and learn of Maerad’s destiny as the Fated One and her unique Elemental heritage as she comes into her Gift as a Bard.
The Riddle
picks up from the events at the end of
The Naming
and, against the darkening background of the coming War of the Treesong, takes us on the second stage of Maerad’s quest: that for the Riddle of the Treesong itself.

The Riddle
the quest moves outside Annar for the first time, and we encounter some of the broad cultural diversity of Edil-Amarandh. For the purposes of this translation, I have taken Annaren, the original language of the text, to be the equivalent of English. For the most part, I translate all Annaren into English, but otherwise have left other languages untranslated, although I hope the context makes their meanings clear.

The Riddle
consists of Books III and V of the
Naraudh Lar-Chanë.
I have preserved the general structure of the narrative, although I have found it necessary, in transposing this text from Annaren to modern English, to take some liberties: in particular, the divisions of books in the translation do not correspond to the divisions in the original text, and some sections have been rearranged or slightly extended. In my defense I will say that I have excised nothing and added little, making only such changes I deemed necessary, within my limited judgment, to give the narrative the immediacy it would have possessed in its own time. I hope the result does not displease. For those who are curious about the complex structures and tropes of the original story, I understand that Mexico’s University of Querétaro Press, one of the leading patrons of this exciting field of study, has begun the massive task of preparing a fully annotated Annaren publication of the
Naraudh Lar-Chanë.
Sadly, we will have to wait some time until this major project reaches completion, but such an investment of time and scholarship indicates the deep interest this field is now attracting.

As a convention, throughout
The Riddle,
I have used the Speech word
to refer to Named Bards with the Gift who have not been trained in the Schools of Annar, retaining the word
to refer specifically to Bards of the Schools. As those familiar with Annaren mores will be aware, people born with the Speech who did not gain their true or secret Bardic Name were unable to come into their full Gift and were considered unfortunate and, in some cases, dangerous individuals. However, there were many
in cultures outside Annar who did gain their true Names by other means, and were therefore able to access their full powers. Their mores and cultural assumptions were often very different from those taught in the Annaren Bardic traditions of the Balance and the Three Arts, and so it seemed useful to make a distinction between the different
in this way.

As before, I have included appendices with further information on the cultures of Edil-Amarandh, drawn from the ongoing translation of the Annaren Scripts after their spectacular discovery in Morocco in 1991. Annaren studies have grown exponentially since then, and now exist in almost every academic discipline. It is a full-time job simply to keep abreast of the latest discoveries in the field, and while I have attempted to the best of my ability to ensure that the information contained in the appendices is from the most recent scholarship available, I apologize in advance for any inaccuracies that may have resulted from my inadvertently overlooking an important new development. For the amateur reader, however, the definitive studies for those interested in the background of the
Naraudh Lar-Chanë
Uncategorical Knowledge: The Three Arts of the Starpeople
by Claudia J. Armstrong and Christiane Armongath’s authoritative
L’Histoire de l’Arbre-chant d’Annar.

As always, a work such as this translation owes much to the contributions of others, many of whom I am unable to name here. Above all, I need to thank my husband, Daniel Keene, who contributed his proofreading skills yet again and bore with patient good humor the myriad inconveniences of living with a translator obsessed with such a long-term project. My children, Joshua, Zoë, and Ben, demonstrated a similar grace. I also owe thanks to Richard, Jan, Nicholas, and Veryan Croggon, who read the rough drafts with attention and enthusiasm and whose encouragement has meant a great deal. My thanks are also due to Suzanne Wilson and Chris Kloet for their excellent counsel on all aspects of the text. Last, I wish to record my gratitude to Professor Patrick Insole of the Department of Ancient Languages at the University of Leeds, who has been unfailingly generous with his expertise on the Treesong and most kindly permitted me to publish parts of his monograph on the subject in the appendices.

Alison Croggon
Melbourne, Australia

MOST Annaren proper nouns derive from the Speech, and generally share its pronunciation. In words of three or more syllables, the stress is usually laid on the second syllable: in words of two syllables (such as
lembel, invisible
) stress is always on the first. There are some exceptions in proper names; the names
for example, are pronounced with the stress on the first syllable.

Spellings are mainly phonetic.

— as in
flat; ar
rhymes with

— a long
sound, as in
ice. Maerad
is pronounced

— two syllables pronounced separately, to sound
eye-ee. Maninaë
is pronounced

— rhymes with
hay. Innail
rhymes with


ow. Raur
rhymes with

— as in
Always pronounced at the end of a word: for example,
remane, to walk,
has three syllables. Sometimes this is indicated with
which also indicates that the stress of the word lies on the
(for example,
ilë, we,
is sometimes pronounced almost with the
sound lost).

— the two vowel sounds are pronounced separately, to make the sound
ay-uh. Inasfrea, to walk,
thus sounds:


sound, as in

— as in

— two vowels pronounced separately, as in the name


sound, as in

— always a hard
as in
not as in

— soft, as in the German
not as in

15.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

A Better Reason to Fall in Love by Marcia Lynn McClure
Sarah's Sin by Tami Hoag
Odd Jobs by Ben Lieberman
The Dreamer's Curse (Book 2) by Honor Raconteur
Billionaire's Retreat by Eddie Johnson
Heart of the Matter by Marta Perry
Sisters' Fate by Jessica Spotswood
Tarzán el indómito by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Dragon's Kin by Anne McCaffrey