The Wandering Fire (The Fionavar Tapestry, Book 2)

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9780877957850: The Wandering Fire (The Fionavar Tapestry, Book 2)

The Wandering Fire is the second novel of Guy Gavriel Kay’s critically acclaimed fantasy trilogy, The Fionavar Tapestry. A mage’s power has brought five university students from our world into a realm where an ancient evil has freed itself from captivity to wreak revenge on its enemies...

The ice of eternal winter has reached out to enshroud Fionavar, the first of all worlds. For the Unraveller has broken free after millennia enchained—and now his terrible vengeance has begun to take its toll on mortals and immortals, mages and warriors, dwarves and the lios alfar, the Children of Light.

Only five men and women of our own world, brought by magic across the Tapestry of worlds to the very heart of the Weaver’s pattern, can hope to wake the allies they so desperately need. Yet none can foretell whether even these beings out of legend have the power to shatter the Unraveller’s icy grip of death upon the land...

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About the Author:

Guy Gavriel Kay is an internationally bestselling author. He has been awarded the International Goliardos Prize for his work in the literature of the fantastic, is a two-time winner of the Aurora Award, and won the 2008 World Fantasy Award for Ysabel. His works have been translated into twenty-five languages.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Wandering Fire

The ice of eternal winter has reached out to enshroud Fionavar, the first of all worlds. For the Unraveller has broken free after millennia enchained—and now his terrible vengeance has begun to take its toll on mortals and immortals, mages and warriors, dwarves and the lios alfar, the Children of Light.

Only five men and women of our own world, brought by magic across the Tapestry of worlds to the very heart of the Weaver’s pattern, can hope to wake the allies they so desperately need. Yet none can foretell whether even these beings out of legend have the power to shatter the Unraveller’s icy grip of death upon the land. . . .

Praise for The Fionavar Tapestry

“This is the only fantasy work I know which does not suffer by comparison to Lord of the Rings.” —Interzone

“Satisfying . . . a highly literate, lovingly detailed work of fantasy.” —Fantasy Reviews

“A grand galloping narrative . . . reverberates with centuries of mythic and incantory implications—with a little Prince Hal and Falstaff on the side.” —Christian Science Monitor

“As fine a piece of fantasy as has been published for some time.” —Winnipeg Free Press

“Kay has an acrobatic imagination . . . one ingenious plot after another . . . well-staged and presented.” —Montreal Gazette

“Excellent fantasy reading . . . The Fionavar Tapestry will deserve a place among the best of fantasy.” —Regina Leader Post

Look for the first volume of
The Fionavar Tapestry: The Summer Tree

The
Wandering
Fire

The Fionavar Tapestry:
Book Two

Guy Gavriel Kay

The Wandering Fire is dedicated to my wife,

LAURA,

who came with me to find it.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This second book of the Tapestry was written on the farm of our friends, Marge and Antonios Katsipis, near the town of Whakatane, New Zealand. The shaping of my own world was immeasurably aided by the warmth with which the two of them, and their son, Iakomi, welcomed us to theirs.

What Has Gone Before

In THE SUMMER TREE it was told how Loren Silvercloak and Matt Sören, a mage and his magical source from the High Kingdom of Brennin in the world of Fionavar, induced five people from our own world to “cross” with them to Fionavar. Their ostensible purpose was to have the five participate in the festivities attendant on the celebration of the fiftieth year of the reign of Ailell, the High King. In fact, there were darker premonitions underlying the mage’s actions.

In Brennin, a brutal drought was afflicting the Kingdom. Ailell’s older son, Aileron, had already been exiled for cursing his father’s refusal to allow him to sacrifice himself on the Summer Tree in an attempt to end the drought.

In Fionavar, the five strangers quickly found themselves drawn into the complex tapestry of events. Kim Ford was recognized by the ancient Seer, Ysanne, as the successor she had prophetically dreamt. Kim was initiated into the knowledge of the Seers by the water spirit, Eilathen, and presented with the Baelrath, the “Warstone” that Ysanne had been guarding. As a gesture of ultimate sacrifice, Ysanne used Lokdal, the magic dagger of the Dwarves, to kill herself—but not before tracing a symbol on the brow of the sleeping Kim, which action enabled her to make of her own soul a gift for Kimberly.

Meanwhile, Paul Schafer and Kevin Laine were initiated in quite a different way. Paul played—and lost—a night game of chess with the High King, during which an unexpected bond of sympathy was forged between the two. The next morning he and Kevin joined the band of the reckless prince Diarmuid, Ailell’s younger son, in a raid across the River Saeren to Cathal, the Garden Country. There, Diarmuid achieved his intended seduction of Sharra, the Princess of Cathal. After the company’s return to Brennin, they passed a wild night in the Black Boar tavern. Late at night a song Kevin sang reminded Paul too acutely of the death in a car accident of Rachel Kincaid, the woman he had loved. Paul, blaming himself for the accident, which had occurred moments after Rachel had announced she was going to marry someone else, took a drastic step: he approached the High King and received Ailell’s sanction to sacrifice himself in the King’s stead on the Summer Tree.

The next night, the glade of the Summer Tree in the Godwood saw an epic battle. As Paul, bound on the Tree, watched helplessly, Galadan the Wolflord, who had come to claim Paul’s life, was opposed and driven back by a mysterious grey dog. The following night—Paul’s third on the Tree—a red full moon shone in the sky on a new moon night, as Dana, the Mother Goddess, granted Paul release from his guilt, by showing that he had not, in fact, subconsciously willed the accident that had killed Rachel. As Paul wept, rain finally fell over Brennin. Paul, though, did not die. He was taken down from the Tree alive by Jaelle, the High Priestess of Dana.

By now it was clear that an epochal confrontation was at hand; Rakoth Maugrim, the Unraveller, defeated a thousand years before and bound under the great mountain, Rangar, had freed himself and had caused the mountain to explode with a hand of fire to proclaim the fact.

His freedom was to have immediate consequences for Jennifer Lowell, the fourth of the strangers. In Paras Derval she had witnessed an unsettling incident during a children’s counting game. A young girl, Leila, had “called” a boy named Finn to “take the Longest Road” for the third time that summer. No one, not even Jaelle, who had also been watching, knew exactly what that meant. The next day, riding outside the town walls, Jennifer met Brendel of the lios alfar—the Children of Light—and a party of his people. She spent the night in the woods with them, and in the darkness they were attacked. Concerned about the arrival of the five strangers, Rakoth Maugrim had Galadan and Metran—the traitorous First Mage of Brennin—abduct Jennifer. She was bound to the back of the black swan, Avaia, and borne north toward Rakoth’s fortress of Starkadh.

Meanwhile, the explosion of the mountain had caused the death of the aged High King. This led to a tense confrontation between Diarmuid and his brother, Aileron—who had been disguised as Ysanne’s servant since his exile. The potentially violent situation was ended by Diarmuid’s voluntarily relinquishing his claim to the throne, but not before he had received a knife in the shoulder, courtesy of Sharra of Cathal.

In the meantime, Dave Martyniuk, the last of the five strangers, had been separated from the others in the crossing to Fionavar. He ended up far north among the Dalrei, the “Riders” on the Plain, and found himself drawn into the life of the third tribe, led by Ivor, their Chieftain.

Ivor’s young son Tabor, fasting in the forest for a vision of his totem animal, dreamt a seemingly impossible creature: a winged, chestnut unicorn. The next night, at the edge of the Great Wood, Pendaran, he met and flew up upon this creature of his fast, Imraith-Nimphais—a double-edged gift of the Goddess, born of the red full moon.

The following day Dave was escorted toward Brennin by a party of Dalrei led by Ivor’s older son, Levon. The company was ambushed by a great number of the evil svart alfar, and only Dave, Levon, and a third Dalrei, Torc, survived, by riding into the darkness of Pendaran Wood. The trees and spirits of Pendaran, hating all men since the loss of the beautiful Lisen of the Wood a thousand years before, plotted the death of the three men. They were saved by the intervention of Flidais, a diminutive forest power, who claimed, among other things, to know the answers to all the riddles in all the worlds, save one: the name by which the “Warrior” could be summoned. As it happened, the search for this name was one of the tasks Ysanne had left with Kimberly.

Flidais sent word to Ceinwen, the capricious, green-clad goddess of the Hunt, who had taken a special liking to Dave. The goddess arranged for the three friends to awaken safely on the southern edge of the Great Wood in the morning.

She did more. She also caused Dave to find a long lost object of power: Owein’s Horn. Levon, who had been taught by wise old Gereint, the blind shaman of his tribe, then found the Cave of the Sleepers nearby: a cave wherein Owein and the Kings of the Wild Hunt lay asleep.

The three friends rode south with this knowledge to Paras Derval, in time to arrive for the first council of Aileron’s reign. The council was interrupted twice. The first time, by the arrival of Brock, a Dwarf from Banir Tal who knelt before Matt Sören—once King of the Dwarves—and proferred the terrible tidings that the Dwarves, under the leadership of two brothers, Kaen and Blöd, had helped the Unraveller to free himself by treacherously breaking the Wardstone of Eridu, thus preventing any warning of Rakoth’s stirring under the mountain. They had also found and delivered to Rakoth the Cauldron of Khath Meigol, which had the power to raise the newly dead.

In the midst of this terrible recitation, Kimberly suddenly saw—in a vision shaped by the Baelrath—Jennifer being raped and tortured by Rakoth in his fortress. She gathered Dave, Paul, and Kevin to her, reached out for Jennifer with the wild power of her ring, and drew the five of them out of Fionavar back to their own world.

And so ended THE SUMMER TREE.

THE CHARACTERS

The Five:

KIMBERLY FORD, Seer of Brennin

KEVIN LAINE

JENNIFER LOWELL

DAVE MARTYNIUK (‘Davor’)

PAUL SCHAFER, Lord of the Summer Tree (‘Pwyll Twiceborn’)

In Brennin:

AILERON, High King of Brennin

DIARMUID, his brother

LOREN SILVERCLOAK, First Mage of Brennin

MATT SÖREN, his source, once King of the Dwarves

TEYRNON, a mage

BARAK, his source

JAELLE, High Priestess of the Goddess

AUDIART, her second in command, in the province of Gwen Ystrat

LEILA, a young priestess

COLL, lieutenant to Diarmuid

GORLAES, the Chancellor of Brennin

MABON, Duke of Rhoden

NIAVIN, Duke of Seresh

CEREDUR, Warden of the North Marches

VAE, a woman in Paras Derval

FINN, her son

SHAHAR, her husband

BRENDEL, a lord of the lios alfar, from Daniloth

BROCK, a Dwarf, from Banir Tal

In Cathal:

SHALHASSAN, Supreme Lord of Cathal

SHARRA, his daughter and heir (‘the Dark Rose’)

BASHRAI, Captain of the Honor Guard (eidolath)

On the Plain:

IVOR, Chieftain of the third tribe of the Dalrei

LEITH, his wife

TORC, a Rider of the third tribe

GEREINT, shaman of the third tribe

In Daniloth:

RA-TENNIEL, King of the lios alfar

The Powers:

THE WEAVER at the Loom

MÖRNIR of the Thunder

DANA, the Mother

CERNAN of the Beasts

CEINWEN of the Bow, the HUNTRESS

OWEIN, Leader of the Wild Hunt

The Dark:

RAKOTH MAUGRIM the UNRAVELLER

GALADAN, Wolflord of the andain, his lieutenant

METRAN, once First Mage of Brennin, now allied with the Dark

AVAIA, the Black Swan

BLÖD, a Dwarf, servant to Rakoth

KAEN, brother to Blöd, ruling the Dwarves in Banir Lök

From the Past:

IORWETH FOUNDER, first High King of Brennin

CONARY, High King during the Bael Rangat

COLAN, his son, High King after him (‘the Beloved’)

AMAIRGEN WHITEBRANCH, first of the mages

LISEN of the Wood, a deiena, source and wife to Amairgen

REVOR, ancestral hero of the Dalrei, first Lord (Aven) of the Plain

PART I

The Warrior

Chapter 1

Winter was coming. Last night’s snow hadn’t melted and the bare trees were laced with it. Toronto woke that morning to see itself cloaked and made over in white, and it was only November.

Cutting across Nathan Philips Square in front of the twin curves of the City Hall, Dave Martyniuk walked as carefully as he could and wished he’d worn boots. As he maneuvered toward the restaurant entrance on the far side, he saw with some surprise that the other three were already waiting.

“Dave,” said sharp-eyed Kevin Laine. “A new suit! When did this happen?”

“Hi, everyone,” Dave said. “I got it last week. Can’t wear the same corduroy jackets all year, can I?”

“A deep truth,” said Kevin, grinning. He was wearing jeans and a sheepskin jacket. And boots. Having finished the obligatory apprenticeship with a law firm that Dave had just begun, Kevin was now immersed in the equally tedious if less formal six-month Bar Admission course. “If that is a three-piece suit,” he added, “my image of you is going to be irrevocably shattered.”

Wordlessly, Dave unbuttoned his overcoat to reveal the shattering navy vest beneath.

“Angels and ministers of grace defend us!” Kevin exclaimed, crossing himself with the wrong hand while making the sign against evil with the other. Paul Schafer laughed. “Actually,” Kevin said, “it looks very nice. Why didn’t you buy it in your size?”

“Oh, Kev, give him a break!” Kim Ford said. “It is nice, Dave, and it fits perfectly. Kevin’s feeling scruffy and jealous.”

“I am not,” Kevin protested. “I am simply giving my buddy a hard time. If I can’t tease Dave, who can I tease?”

“It’s okay,” said Dave. “I’m tough, I can take it.” But what he was remembering in that moment was the face of Kevin Laine the spring before, in a room in the Park Plaza Hotel. The face, and the flat, harshly mastered voice in which he’d spoken, looking down at the wreckage of a woman on the floor:

“To this I will make reply although he be a god and it mean my death.”

You gave some latitude, Dave was thinking, to someone who’d sworn an oath like that, even if his style was more than occasionally jarring. You gave latitude because what Kevin had done that evening was give voice, and not for the only time, to the mute rage in one’s own heart.

“All right,” said Kim Ford softly, and Dave knew that she was responding to his thought and not his flippant words. Which would have been unsettling, were she not who she was, with her white hair, the green bracelet on her wrist, and the red ring on her finger that had blazed to bring them home. “Let’s go in,” Kim said. “We’ve things to talk about.”

Paul Schafer, the Twiceborn, had already turned to lead them through the door.

*  *  *

How many shadings, Kevin was thinking, are there to helplessness? He remembered the feeling from the year before, watching Paul twist inward on himself in the months after Rachel Kincaid had died. A bad time, that was. But Paul had come out of it, had gone so far in three nights on the Summer Tree in Fionavar that he was beyond understanding in the most important ways. He was healed, though, and Kevin held to that as a gift from Fionavar, some recompense for what had been done to Jennifer by the god named Rakoth Maugrim, the Unraveller. Though recompense was hardly the word; there was no true compensation to be found in this or any other world, only the hope of retribution, a flame so faint, despite what he had sworn, it scarcely burned. What were any of them against a god? Even Kim, with her Sight, even Paul, even Dave, who had changed among the Dalrei on the Plain and had found ...

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