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The Illearth War--Chapter 17
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2003 12:42 am    Post subject: The Illearth War--Chapter 17 Reply with quote

Thus begins "Tull's Tale:
Quote:
Troy's heart lurched, and began to labor heavily.


Hile Troy has a bad feeling about this one. Damn right! So do I!
Things have begun to go against Troy ever since Covenant came into the Land, and to believe Tull would be bringing good news was too much to hope for.
Yeah, damn right his heart lurched, because he was about to hear a tale of horror and loss so intense that
Spoiler:
it would cause raw pain 3 thousand years later

How keen must have been Troys' pain! Knowing what an army of Giants can do! And feeling that they wouldn't be coming.
Troy knew in his heart that the Giants weren't showing up to help in this war, but his brain simply denied it.
Quote:
"How far behind are they?"
"They?" said the bloodguard.
"The Giants! How far behind are they?"
"Lord- they- we could not- the Giants-" Suddenly the habitual flatness of Tull's voice was gone. "Lord!"


My God! A tale so horrible a Bloodguard is overcome with grief, unable to articulate himself.
Loss of life has always been felt keenly in the Land-- But this is a story far worse, this is about a loss of hope.
Tull's tale picks up where Runnik's leaves off, The mission to Seareach mired down in the Sarangrave. Lord Hyrim is feverish from swallowing the water,and thus the company enters Lifeswallower, the great Swamp.
Quote:
And without him- without the power of his staff- the mission could not escape Lifeswallower.

Quote:
Even in the center of the channel, their progress was threatened by the peculiar trees of Lifeswallower. These trees the Giants named Marshwaders, Despite their height, and the wide stretch of their limbs,their roots were not anchored in solid ground. Rather they held themselves erect in the mud, and they seemed to move with the submerged, subtle currents of the swamp

The trees were interesting to me for to reasons. 1, simply to read about the unusual flora of the swamp, and 2--
Quote:
The Bloodguard could find no escape. Lifeswallower allowed them no opportunity to work their way northward to solid ground.

It's hard to imagine the Bloodguard unable to go about their task with anything but their characteristic ease! But such is the aptly named Lifeswallower, That even Giants skirted to the north as much as possible in their travels. They had a healthy respect for it.
And here in the great swamp,with all speed needed to get to Seareach,
Quote:
...the current eddied,turned back on itself, formed a slow whirlpool just broad enough to catch all four sides of the raft and start sucking it down.
And the Bloodguard could do nothing.Here all strength and fidelity lost their worth;here no vow had meaning. The mission was in Lord Hyrim's hands, and he was weak.



Hyrim is one cool dude. It's a little hard to imagine him as a Lord sometimes, he is such a lover of the simple pleasures of life. Laughter and food and wine and song.
Korik was unsure what to make of him in GF, but figured hey, the Rahynyn selected him. Good enough.
And lord Hyrim, though sick and weak, saw the mission's need and with the help of aliantha and the Bloodguard, lit his staff, and sang a song of power and
Quote:
With a loud sucking noise, the raft pulled free of the eddy,lumbered away. Swinging around the whirlpool, it started northward.
For a long time, Lord hyrim kept the raft moving. Then he reached the marshwaders on the north side of the eddy. There the Bloodguard threw out clingor lines to the trees ahead, used the ropes to pull the raft along. At once Hyrim dropped his power, and slumped forward.

Thus a weakened Lord Hyrim and the Bloodguard escape the great swamp, and approach Seareach.
Ahh, Seareach! The temporary abode of the Unhomed!
Stone and Sea! This is a hard tale to tell! Rockbrothers! Could you see no other way?
To see your greatest hope so easily by Soulcrusher turned into your most profound dread!
'Joy is in the ears that hear'
Quote:
Looking out over the land of the Giants, Lord Hyrim gave a low cry. "Korik! Pray that Hoerkin lied! Pray that his message was a lie! Ah, my heart!" He clutched at his heart with both hands, and started down the soft slope into Seareach at a run.
Korik and Sill caught him swiftly, placed a hand under each of his arms. They bore him up between them so that he could move more easily. Thus the mission began it's journey towards the Grieve.


They came across the vineyards, where the hoes and other implements were just strewn about, as though they were dropped and forgotten, something of great import drawing the Giants toward home.
Food packs dropped and abandoned.
Quote:
Now the mission did not hasten. It moved cautiously toward the Sea, warding against an ambush. Yet the morning passed swiftly. Before noon, the Bloodguard and the Lord reached the high lighthouse of the Grieve.


Quote:
They found blood on the steps of the lighthouse.


Quote:
Then Vale came out of the lighthouse. He spoke directly to Lord Hyrim."One Giant is there. She is dead." After a moment, he said, "She was killed. Her face and the top of her head are gone. Her brain is gone. Consumed."



A Giant? Murdered? Murder? A crime of murder at Seareach is something inconceivable!
What manner of Creature could be possible?

I wish it didn't get worse.

Korik split the Bloodguard at this point. Five he had remain at the lighthouse.
Three he sent northward to explore Coercri from that end.
Korik, Tull, Sill and Lord Hyrim approached the city from the South.
Except for the noise of the sea, the City was still.
Every time I read this part, for the last 20 years--no matter if I'm home alone,or someone else is watching TV,whatever--everything gets utterly quiet. Probably not really, but I sure cease to hear anything.

As they make their way to the center of the City, they come upon horror after horror--murdered Giants. With their heads demolished. All of them. One here, three there, a family here.
But they have not been dead long. If only they had not been so delayed in Lifeswallower!
Quote:
When the searchers entered one round meeting hall, they discovered that it was empty. The stove fires had fallen into ash, but the cooks had not been killed there.
The sight dismayed Lord Hyrim. Groaning, he said,"They went to there homes to die! They knew there danger- and went to their homes to await it. They did not fight or flee, or send for help. Melenkurion abatha! Only the children-- What horror came upon them?"
The Bloodguard had no answer. They knew of no wrong potent enough to commit such a slaughter unresisted.
As he left the hall, Lord Hyrim wept openly.


The Bloodguard had no answer. I love that line.


Spoiler:
They soon would know of the worst wrong imaginable to them. You gotta admit: Foul is One Bad Sumbitch!



As Hyrim and company moved to the Sea, they came upon more and more slaughtered Giants,Killed more and more recently.
They race down to the lowest level, hoping to find life.
They come across a single room. Inside they find a Giant still alive, but in some form of catatonia.
Lord Hyrim Is able to bring him around by caamora
And he tells them of the murderer.
The three Brothers of one birth-Damelon Giantfriend's omen of the end of the Unhomed, had disappeared. And then one returned.
Quote:
Korik asked, "Why did you not fight?"
"We had become the thing we hate. We are better off dead."
"Nevertheless!" Korik said. "Is this the fealty of the Giants? Does all promised faithfulness come to this? By the Vow,Giant! You destroy yourselves and let the evil live! Even Kevin Landwaster was not so weak."
In his emotion, he forgot caution, and all the Bloodguard were taken unaware. The sudden voice behind them was cold with contempt; it cut through them like a gale of winter. Turning, they found that another Giant stood in the doorway. He was much younger than the Giant within, but he resembled the older Giant.


Whew!! You want to hear a Bloodguard get emotional! And Korik knew Kevin personally!

But now back to :
Quote:
I am turiya Herem. But we have new names now, My brothers and I. There is Fleshharrower, and Satansfist. And I am named Kinslaughterer.
At this, the older Giant groaned heavily. The Raver glanced into the back of the cell, and said in a tone of satisfaction, "Ah, there he is. Little Lord, I see that you have been speaking with Sparlimb Keelsetter. Did he tell you that he is my Father? Father, why do you not welcome your son?"


I can't put into words Sparlimbs pain here.

I wonder how the young Giant that is posessed is doing?
(mega spoiler right here)
Spoiler:
We learn from Triock, Honniscrave and Linden that the raver would like you to mentally 'flee' and let him have complete control. And we learn that doesn't always happen. Is he fighting? Or is the pain literally unbearable?



But back to it.

Sparlimb attacks Kinslaughterer, but dies the same death as the others.
Korik attacks,Lord Hyrim(He really shows his mettle in this chapter) fires a bolt from his staff, which meets the green bolt of ill- and everyone but the Raver is knocked unconscious.

Quote:
Thus even the Vow could not preserve the Bloodguard from the extremity of their need.


WOW!

I'm not quite sure what to make of that quote. I'll leave it to our resident
Haruchai for enlightenment.

Korik awakens first-why they are not dead-I don't Know. Perhaps the Raver thought they were dead.

They gather themselves to witness the Raver at the shore, summoning a tsunami, using the Illearth stone to raise a wall of water as high as the cliffs.
Quote:
He had to shout to make himself heard over the roar of waves and wind and thunder."We must stop him! He violates the Sea! If he succeeds- if he bends the Sea to his will- the Law that preserves it will be broken. It will serve the Despiser like another Raver!"
Korik answered, "Yes!" There was a fury in the Bloodguard. They would have disobeyed any other decision.


I'm really blown away by this! The other Bloodguard were so Furious they would have disobeyed Korik! (Not that he would made a different decision)
But this chapter has the Bloodguard wearing their emotions on their proverbial sleeves!

Quote:
...Kinslaughterer Labored in an ecstasy of power. Though it was still some distance from the piers, the tsunami towered over him, dwarfed his stolen form. Now he was chanting to it, invoking it. His words cut through the tumult of the storm.

Come,Sea!
Obey me!
Raise high!
crash down!
Break rock!
break stone!
crush heart!
Grind soul:
rend flesh:
crack whole!
Eat dead
for bread!
Come Sea!
Obey me!

And the Seas answered, piled still higher. Now the wave's crest frothed and lashed level with the upper ramparts of Coercri.


Hyrim says to the Bloodguard "I must strike the first blow!"
Knowing full well it is the death of him, Hyrim attacks quickly enough To Knock loose the Illearth stone .
Quote:
At once, the three Bloodguard sprang; together they struck the Raver with all their strength. And in that assault their Vow at last found utterance. The Giant-Raver was dead before his form fell into the water.
Yet still for a long moment the Bloodguard hurled blows at him, driven by the excess of their rage and abomination.


With his dying breath, Lord Hyrim tries to warn the Bloodguard not to take the Illearth stone,but the effort bursts his heart.

Quote:
Korik went and took up Kinslaughterer's fragment of the Illearth stone. Without a will to drive it, it was dull; it showed only fitful gleams in its core. But it hurt his hand wiyh a deep and fiery cold. He clenched it in his fist.
"We will take it to the High Lord," he said. "Perhaps the other Ravers have such power. The High Lord may use this power to defeat them."


Why do the Bloodguard do this? Could it be that they couldn't sense its ill?

Tull finishes his tale telling of the Rahynyn Taking the dead Bloodguard home, and Korik Taking the Illearth stone.

And then we are back to Troy--Thinking of the dead Giants, then looking over at Mhoram, his eyes bleeding tears- "Is this what you saw last night? Is it?"

Quote:
"No." Mhorams reply was abrupt. But it was not abrupt with anger; it was abrupt with the exertion of supressing his sobs."I saw Bloodguard fighting in the service of the Despiser."



Tull's Tale Is a heart lurcher, indeed.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2003 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't sweat it Dromond; it'll give me a chance to go and dry my eyes before i read your next installment! Ah!, the Giants... Crying or Very sad
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2003 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're doing a masterful job so far! Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2003 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A wonderful job so far Dromond. Smile The tale of the slaughter of the Gaints, while harrowing, is one which must be retold in such a way as to give them the honour they so richly deserve. Sad
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2003 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Infelice!! The thought of how long the Giants were forgotten by the people of the Land before the 2nd chronicles is almost as horrifying as their end! I doubt there's a more painful tale anywhere, but if the memory of the Giants is to be kept alive, so must this chapter.

Fantastic job, Dromond! You brought out all the pain and rage. The fury of the Bloodguard is a scary thing to contemplate!!

But it's not that the other Bloodguard would have disobeyed Korik, it's that the Bloodguard - including Korik - would have disobeyed any other decision that Hyrim could have made.

As for
Quote:
Thus even the Vow could not preserve the Bloodguard from the extremity of their need.
Different people, and different races of people, can endure different levels of force/pain. At the extreme end of the spectrum is the Haruchai. And they, impossible as it seems, found a way to go even further! The Bloodguard don't even need sleep! You can't guard as completely as they Vowed to if you're unconscious, after all.

Yet here they are, even beyond the extreme edge of endurance, and they meet something that overpowers even the Earthpower that keeps them conscious!! The absolute miracle is that Hyrim survived! Don't ask anybody to explain that!!
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hyrim is one of my favourite Lords - you just gotta love a guy who knows the value of good friends, food and drink! Wink

And he's alot stronger than he looks. I think most people underestimate Hyrim, not least Hyrim himself, except perhaps Mhoram...
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2003 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Earthfriend I got the same feeling about Hyrim, he seemed to be the fat lovable lord who was good for a laugh and a good time but far from being a strong leader or physical challenge. In the end he proved to be very strong, even though he was killed by the raver, he put up a good fight and used the knowledge he had to his best ability. Too bad the lords didn't have Mhoram's knowledge of power yet. I bet Hyrim would have been a handful.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2003 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good work Dromond! Very Happy

moderator's note: Dromond has informed me that he will complete chapter 18, Doom's Retreat, by the end of this weekend...
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2003 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't wait! Very Happy

Oh, but why did the bloodguard have to touch the Illearth stone? Sad I remember when i first read that bit, lying on the couch, screaming at the book - NO! Don't touch it!! Surprised

Surely the Haruchai's natural aversion to weapons of any kind should have allowed them to intuit the evil that could befall them if they took the Stone? But protected/blinded by their Vow, they so only their duty... Sad
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since they didn't intend to use it as a weapon, they probably hadn't considered the issue of it turning on them. Also, their ability to ignore pretty much anything, like Ravers, probably made them assume they were immune anyway. They must think they're stronger than the Giants in these ways.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But I would have thought the Bloodguard had learned enough in their service to know that the Lords could not use the Illearth Stone to fight the despiser - They had heard enough of power and such they should have known that ill banes can only be used for ill, though I guess the Stone has an immediate effect - an urge to keep it with them rather than destroy it or throw it away.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite One Ring-ish in that regard maybe? Anyway, the Haruchai are in over their heads where these matters are concerned. They will not use power. Yet they see the good that the Lords do with it, and so swear their Vow. Knowing what the Lords can do, they occasionally actually help them acquire and use power. But that's a long way from understanding power and being able to think these things through. They have a very difficult time understanding powers that ARE evil, and can only be used FOR evil. They only consider the intent of the user.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great job Dromond!

The Bloodguard are "power blind" so to speak. They have no real conceptions of the uses of the power of the Lords and Foul. To them it's one and the same.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that Korik and co. were also desperate at that point to produce something good out of their mission -- at that point the mission had lost two Lords, seen the genocide of an entire race -- and they wanted to accomplish something -- anything -- to help the Lords and salvage something -- anything -- worthwhile from the whole nightmare. Sad
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent point, duchess!! I'll bet that helped Foul into their minds!
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point, duchess! I also think, well, what else were they going to do with it - leave it there?!

They must have figured an artifact as powerful as the Stone would have drawn Foul's minions toward it, to retreive it, and it was their duty to transport it to safety. Surely, they could rely on the incorruptability of thier Vow to protect them... Sad
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They started thinking like heroes. "We can return this to the lords and they can find a way to destroy it." Besides after all they had been through you can't expect them to go home empty handed.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2003 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting comment, Kinslaughterer...do you think the Bloodguard capable of 'thinking like heroes'? I'd always sort of assumed they were above any self-centred thoughts, that they acted purely for the protection of the Lords and by the strictures of thier Vow. Maybe, i am being a bit naive... Question
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2003 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I doubt they had any delusions of grandeur. But they probably felt they needed to take the stone or otherwise the mission was a complete failure.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2003 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think its a simple human urge to try to salvage something positive out of a disaster. And the Haruchai are still human, though they are so gifted it can be hard to remember that sometimes.
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