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The Wounded Land, Chapter 26: Coercri
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 3:49 am    Post subject: The Wounded Land, Chapter 26: Coercri Reply with quote

The Wounded Land, Chapter 26: Coercri

Quote:
”These hills—“ He gestured eastward, moving his half-hand like a man plucking the only words he could find. “They’re the boundary of Seareach. Where the Giants I knew used to live. They had a city on the Sea. Coercri: The Grieve. I want to go there.”


Ah, my Watch brothers and sisters, take hold of your handkerchiefs, get a fresh box of tissues, for we are about to enter Coercri, the ancient city of the Unhomed. I have recently learned that Coercri may mean “Crying Heart”, an appropriate name considering what came to pass there. And, oh how it must cry, for a ceaseless abomination continues to play out within the ancient walls of The Grieve. It cries for the souls of the Unhomed, Foamfollower’s people.

We begin five days after the attack of skest. Covenant, Linden, the Stonedowners, the Haruchai, and the Giants emerge from the Sarangrave and bid farewell to the sur-jheherrin. But before we say goodbye to them, we are given their history…

Quote:
For a time which must have been measured in centuries after the fall of Foul's Creche, the jheherrin had huddled fearfully in their homes, not daring to trust their redemption, trust that they had been found worthy. But at last they had received proof strong enough for their timorous hearts. Freed from the Despiser's power and from the corruptive might of the Illearth Stone, the jheherrin had regained the capacity to bring forth children. That was redemption, indeed. Their children they named the sur-jheherrin, to mark their new freedom. In the age which followed, the soft ones began the long migration which took them from the place of their former horror.

From cave to mud pit, quagmire to swamp, underground spring to riverbed, they moved northward across the years, seeking terrain in which they could flourish. And they found what they needed in the Sarangrave. For them, it was a place of safety: their clay flesh and mobility, their ability to live in the bottoms of quicksands and streams, suited them perfectly to the Flat. And in safety they healed their old terror, became creatures who could face pain and risk, if need arose.

Thus their gratitude toward the Pure One grew rather than diminished through the generations. When they saw Giants in peril, their decision of aid was made without hesitation for all the sur-jheherrin throughout the Sarangrave.


They camp that night between the Sarangrave and Seareach. Covenant frets over whether or not the Giants will continue to help him in his quest for the One Tree. He knows they want to hear the tale of the Unhomed, but he is not ready, he can’t bring himself to utter the words of their slaughter. Brinn offers to do it for him, for the Haruchai also know the tale. But Covenant refuses to let Brinn take up that burden…

Quote:
"No," Covenant almost moaned. He faced Brinn, gave the only answer he had. You don't have to do that. It's past. It wasn't their fault.

"'Corruption wears many faces.'" He was quoting Bannor. "'Blame is a more enticing face than others, but it is none the less a mask for the Despiser.'" Do you know that Foul maimed those three Bloodguard? Made them into half-hands? "I'll tell it." It's on my head. "When I'm ready." A pang of augury told him that the Haruchai were going to die because of him.

The First insists that the Search’s path lies to the West, toward the Sunbane. She trusts Seadreamer’s Earth Sight. She needs more than just the fact that Covenant knew Giants in the past to commit to his need.

Quote:
"Giantfriend," the First said slowly, "such tales must be shared to be borne. An untold tale withers the heart. But I do not ask that you ease your heart. I ask for myself. Your tale concerns my kindred. And I am the First of the Search. You have spoken of the Sunbane which so appalls the Earth. My duty lies there. In the west. Seadreamer's Earth-Sight is clear. We must seek out this evil and oppose it. Yet you desire our aid. You ask for our proud dromond Starfare's Gem. You assert that your path is the true path of the Search. And you refuse to speak to us concerning our people.

"Thomas Covenant, I ask for your tale because I must choose. Only in stories may the truth to guide me be found. Lacking the knowledge which moves your heart, I lack means to judge your path and your desires. You must speak."


To this, Covenant responds with the only answer compelling enough to move the First to follow him. He gestures with his half hand and tells the Giants that beyond the hills in front of them lies The Grieve, the ancient city of the Unhomed, where the people of his friend, Saltheart Foamfollower, were murdered.

The Giants’ reactions are the answer to Covenant’s immediate need. The First sends Honninscrave back to Starfare’s Gem, tells him to steer the great dromond to the ancient quays of Coercri. They will meet there. And there, she insists that Covenant must tell his tale and after its hearing, she will decide whether or not to entrust the Search into Covenant’s hands.

After Honninscrave’s departure, Covenant has a chance to talk to Linden about everything that has transpired since they entered the Sarangrave. Linden tells him that she now understands how Lena felt…

Quote:
She acknowledged him with a nod, but did not speak. As he sat beside her, she went on staring into the embers.

He did not know how to approach her; he was ignorant of any names which might unlock her. Tentatively, he asked, "How's your leg?"

Her whisper came out of the dark, like a voice from another world. "Now I know how Lena must have felt"

Lena? Surprise and shame held him mute. He had told her about that crime when she had not wanted to hear. What did it mean to her now?

"You raped her. But she believed in you and she let you go. It's like that for me."

She fell silent. He waited for a long moment, then said in a stiff murmur, "Tell me."

"Almost everything I see is a rape." She spoke so softly that he had to strain to hear her. "The Sunbane. The Sarangrave. When that Raver touched me, I felt as if I had the Sunbane inside me. I don't know how you live with that venom. Sometimes I can't even stand to look at you. That touch denied everything about me. I've spent half my life fighting to be a doctor. But when I saw Joan, I was so horrified- I couldn't bear it. It made me into a lie. That's why I followed you.

"That Raver- It was like with Joan, but a thousand times worse. Before that, I could at least survive what I was seeing-the Sunbane, what it did to the Land-because I thought it was a disease. But when he touched me, he made everything evil. My whole life. Lena must have felt like that."


And then here, we get a glimpse of the Linden’s future, that subtle foreshadow that SRD gives us so often…

Quote:
"Covenant." Her tone pleaded for his understanding. "I need to heal things. I need it. That's why I became a doctor, and why I can't stand all this evil. It isn't something I can heal. I can't cure souls. I can't cure myself."


Ah, Linden…Are you not well chosen?

Covenant nods his understanding to this and tells her that is why he wishes to go to the One Tree, so he can make a new Staff of Law and heal the Land. She tells him that Seadreamer doesn’t want to go, and worries that the Giants won’t help them. But Covenant is sure he can persuade them. Linden then tells him that she can’t go back to the Sunbane.

Quote:
Hearing her, Covenant wanted to say, You won't have to. But that was a promise he feared to make. In Andelain, Mhoram had said, The thing you seek is not what it appears to be. In the end, you must return to the Land. Not what it appears -- ? Not the One Tree? The Staff of Law?

That thought took him from Linden's side; he could not face it. He went like a craven back to his blankets and lay there hugging his apprehension until his weariness pulled him back to sleep.


And so, the next morning, the company begins its journey through the hills of Seareach. A glorious landscape free of the Sunbane. The company’s reactions to it are mixed, however. Covenant feels detached from its splendor, the burden of what he must do weighs heavily on him, his self-doubt pulls at him, his thoughts stray to Revelstone where people are dying daily to feed the Bane Fire. Sunder and Hollian gaze at its beauty as though it were some cruel lie, like Andelain, they fear madness.

Quote:
But the others were keenly gladdened by the view. Appreciation softened the First's stern countenance; Pitchwife chuckled gently under his breath, as if he could not contain his happiness; Sea-dreamer's misery melted somewhat, allowing him to smile. The Haruchai stiffened slightly, as if in their thoughts they stood to attention out of respect for the fealty and sorrow which had once inhabited Seareach. And Linden gazed into the sunrise as if the autumn offered her palliation for her personal distress. Only Vain showed no reaction. The Demondim-spawn seemed to care for nothing under any sun.


The grandeur of the Seareach hills so fills Pitchwife that he begins to sing. I love the songs of the Giants!!! So, let’s listen in…

Quote:
”Let breakers crash against the shore-
let rocks be rimed with sea and weed,
cliffs carven by the storm-
let calm becalm the deeps,
or wind appall the waves, and sting--
and sting--
nothing overweighs the poise of Sea and Stone.
The rocks and water-battery of Home endure.
We are the Giants,
born to live,
and bold for going where the dreaming goes.

"Let world be wide beyond belief,
the ocean be as vast as time-
let journeys end or fail,
seaquests fall in ice or blast,
and wandering be forever. Roam-
and roam-
nothing tarnishes the poise of Sea and Stone.
The hearth and harborage of Home endure.
We are the Giants,
born to sail,
and bold to go wherever dreaming goes.”


Ah, my heart!! To hear a Giant sing again!!

Onward Pitchwife’s song carries them, over the lush hills and wild vineyards..

Quote:
It carried the quest forward, lightened Seadreamer's gaze; it eased the discomfort of the Stonedownors like an affirmation against the unknown, gave a spring to the dispassionate strides of the Haruchai, Echoing in Covenant's mind like the thronged glory of the trees, it solaced his unambergrised heart for a time, so that he could walk the land which had been Foamfollower's home without faltering.


(I quoted that just for Fist..he loves that word!!)

To pass the time, Pitchwife tells Covenant how the Search came to be formed. How the onslaught and horror of Seadreamer’s Earth Sight left him mute. How the Giantclave came to decide that the Wound that plagued the Earth should be found and fought. How the members of the Search were chosen, Honninscrave because of his great seamanship and being Seadreamer’s brother. The First because she trained to be a warrior and bested every other Swordmain to become the head of the Search. And Pitchwife, because every dromond is in need of good wiving, and because he was husband to Gossamer Glowlimn, the First.

On the third day from the Sarangrave, Linden cuts away her splint and tells them her ankle is healed. That night a storm hits and they spend the fourth day’s march under a heavy downpour. Then as the rain clears away, they begin to hear waves crashing. The clouds break over the proud Lighthouse, standing forlornly against the horizon.

Quote:
it defied weather and desuetude as if it were the last gravestone of the Unhomed.


Quote:
He advanced until he could see the dead city.

Its back was toward him; Coercri faced the Sea. The Unhomed had honeycombed the sheer cliff above the breakers so that their city confronted the east and hope. Only three entrances marked the rear of The Grieve, three tunnels opening the rock like gullets, forever gaping in granite sorrow over the blow which had reft them of habitation and meaning.

"Thomas Covenant." The First was at his side, with Pitchwife and Seadreamer behind her. "Giantfriend." She held her voice like a broadsword at rest, unthreatening, but ready for combat. "You have spoken of Giants and jheherrin; and in our haste, we did not question that which we did not understand. And we have waited in patience for the other tale of which you gave promise. But now we must ask. This place is clearly Giant-wrought-clearly the handiwork of our people. Such craft is the blood and bone of Home to us. About it we could not be mistaken."

Her tone tightened. "But this place which you name The Grieve has been empty for many centuries. And the jheherrin of which you spoke are also a tale many centuries old. Yet you are human-more short-lived than any other people of the Earth. How is it possible that you have known Giants?"

Covenant grimaced; he had no room in his heart for that question. "Where I come from," he muttered, "time moves differently. I've never been here before. But I knew Saltheart Foamfollower. Maybe better than I knew myself. Three and a half thousand years ago." Then abruptly the wrench of pain in his chest made him gasp. Three and a half -- ! It was too much-a gulf so deep it might have no bottom. How could he hope to make restitution across so many years?

Clenching himself to keep from panting, he started down the slope toward the central tunnel, the main entrance to Coercri.


Oh, sigh, now my friends, come with me, we will now enter The Grieve. We will follow Thomas Covenant as he leads us down into the first levels of the great Giant city. Can you feel it? Even without any Land Sense at all we can feel the sorrow, the profound grief, we can hear the “crying heart” of Coercri weep. Yet, our feet descend into The Grieve, down the Giant wrought stairways of stone, down into the Unhomed’s dwellings, where they lived in song and laughter; told their giantish tales that went on for days. We follow Ur-Lord Thomas Covenant in silence as he leads us into the ancient halls and rooms, down long Giantish corridors, we follow him, our eyes searching the wondrous and glorious heartwork of the Unhomed: we follow him to a closed door. Our hearts begin to pound, our eyes tear, we watch as Seadreamer and Brinn wrench that door open and what we see sends spasms of horror and grief through us. We weep.

Quote:
Air, which had been tombed for so long that it no longer held any taint of must or corruption, spilled through the opening.

Within was a private living chamber. For a moment, dimness obscured it. But as Covenant's eyes adjusted, he made out a dark form sitting upright and rigid in a chair beside the hearth.

Mummified by dead air and time and subtle salt, a Giant.

His hands crushed the arms of the chair, perpetuating forever his final agony. Splinters of old stone still jutted between his fingers.

His forehead above his vacant eyesockets was gone. The top of his head was gone. His skull was empty, as if his brain had exploded, tearing away half his cranium.

Hellfire!

"It was as the old tellers have said." Brinn sounded like the dead air. "Thus they were slain by the Giant-Raver. Unresisting in their homes."

Hell and blood!


We weep, gulping and gasping, our hearts rising up as we cry out our pain. We weep like the “crying heart” of the ancient stone as we watch Seadreamer move toward the dead Giant. We weep as the Giant’s hand turns to dust. We weep as Seadreamer loses all control and surges toward Covenant, seeking the tale of this atrocity. Weeping, we watch as the First restrains Seadreamer, we hear her tell Covenant that the wait for the tale is over, we must all hear it. And here it we shall. And so, we follow the Ur-Lord once more, weeping, our hearts aching as we descend into the depths of Coercri.

We come to a levee as the sun sets, the sea crashes against the empty quay. We hear Thomas Covenant tell his companions to build up a fire, a big fire, and we all know the reason of his request, for his tale will be full of grief. Once the fire is built we all gather around, our eyes leaking. The night becomes still as he begins. He tells us of how the Unhomed came to Seareach, lost. He tells us how they were befriended by Damelon, and how he had told them that the bereavement of their lost Home would come to an end with the birth of three sons. He tells us how the Giants had built Revelstone for the Council of Lords, tells us how Kevin warned them of the Ritual of Desecration and entrusted them with the First Ward of his lore. He tells us how the Giants returned that First Ward to the new Council. He tells us how he met Saltheart Foamfollower along the Soulease, traveling to Revelstone with glad news of the three sons birth. He tells us what a joyous time it was for the Giants, as their hope for Home seemed to be coming to fruition. He tells us how Foamfollower accompanied them on the Quest for the Staff of Law and returned to Seareach afterwards. He tells us of the silence after 40 years of communication back and forth between Revelstone and Seareach. He tells us of Korik’s mission, accompanied by Lords Shetra and Hyrim, sent to seek the aid of the Giants in the war against the Despiser, or to give aid if required. He tells us how the mission met doom.

We listen as the Ur-Lord speaks, his voice is thick with grief, our souls and hearts weeping silently as we learn the fate of the three brothers. We listen as Thomas Covenant tells us of three Giant Ravers. We listen as the words of Saltheart Foamfollower channel from him…

Quote:
"Fidelity," the Giant had said. "Fidelity was our only reply to our extinction. We could not have borne our decline if we had not taken pride.

"So my people were filled with horror when they saw their pride riven-torn from them like rotten sails in the wind. They saw the portent of their hope of Home-the three brothers-changed from fidelity to the most potent ill by one small stroke of the Despiser's evil. Who in the Land could hope to stand against a Giant-Raver? Thus the Unhomed became the means to destroy that to which they had held themselves true. And in horror at the naught of their fidelity, their folly practiced through long centuries of pride, they were transfixed. Their revulsion left no room in them for thought or resistance or choice. Rather than behold the cost of their failure-rather than risk the chance that more of them would be made Soulcrusher's servants-they elected to be slain."


We listen…

Quote:
"They put away their tools."


A change seems to be coming over the night…

Quote:
"And banked their fires."


Shadows are rousing, the air is growing taut, the sea waves are muffled. We listen on…

Quote:
"And made ready their homes."


We see the shadows begin to take form, all along the ramparts and ways of Coecri there is movement. In the rooms we see tall figures glowing in pale light…

Quote:
"As if in preparation for departure."


We see them clearly now. The Dead of The Grieve have come. They move along the passages and we resume our weeping. We watch them, but then something else catches our eyes and we look to the southern rampart. High up we see him, shining green in the light of the Illearth Stone, we see the Giant Raver. And, in horror, we watch as the Dead allow themselves to be butchered all over again at his hand. We watch and weep as one by one they die again their horrific deaths. We see the living Giants break, we see them surge forward and thrust their arms into the fire, we see Seadreamer leap into the flames full-bodied. And then we see the Ur-Lord himself, we see him move toward the fire as the Giant Raver continues his slaughter. We see the Haruchai step in front of him, then move aside. We hear Linden call out his name. But he doesn’t stop, he doesn’t stop. And we watch as Ur-Lord Thomas Covenant enters the blaze…

Quote:
At once, he became wild magic and grief, burning with an intense white flame that no other blaze could touch. Shining like the gem of the krill, he strode among the logs and embers to Sea-dreamer's side. The Giant did not see him, was too far gone in agony to see him. Remembering Foamfollower's pain, Covenant thrust at Seadreamer. Wild magic blasted the Giant from the fire, sent him sprawling across the cold stone.

Slowly, Covenant looked around at his companions. They were distorted by the flames, gazing at him as if he were a ghoul. Linden's appalled stare hurt him. Because he could not reply to her in any other way, he turned to his purpose.

He took hold of the wild magic, shaped it according to his will, so that it became his own ritual, an articulation of compassion and rage for all torment, all loss.

Burning, he opened himself to the surrounding flames.

They rushed to incinerate him; but he was ready. He mastered the bonfire with argence, bent it to his command. Flame and power were projected outward together, so that the blaze lashed tremendously into the night.

He spread his arms to the city, stretched himself as if he yearned to embrace the whole of The Grieve.

In wild magic, white puissance without sound, he shouted:

Come! This is the caamora! Come and be healed!

And they came. His might and his will interrupted the masque, broke the geas which locked the Dead in their weird damnation. Hearing him, they turned as if they had been waiting through all the long ages of their anguish for his call. In throngs and eagerness, they began flowing down the passages of Coercri.

Like a river, they swept out onto the headrock of the piers.

Toward the fire.

The Giant-Raver tried to pursue them. But the breaking of their eternal round seemed to break also his hold over them, break the spell of his maleficent glee. His form frayed as he moved, blurred until he was only a tingling green smear of memory across The Grieve-until he faded into the night, and was lost.

And the Dead continued toward the fire.

The Haruchai drew back, taking Linden and the Stonedownors with them. Pitchwife and the First went with aching bones to tend Seadreamer.

Vain did not move. He stood in the path of the Dead and watched Covenant's immolation with gaiety in his eyes.

But the Dead passed around him, streamed forward. Need and hope shone through their pearl faces.

Reaching out to them as if they were all one, as if they were only Foamfollower in multiform guise, Covenant took them into his embrace, and wept white fire.

The wild magic struck pain into them, seared them the way a physical conflagration would have seared their bodies. Their forms went rigid, jaws stretched, eyes stared-specters screaming in soul-anguish. But the screaming was also laughter.

And the laughter prevailed.

Covenant could not hold them. They came into his arms, but they had no bodies that he could hug. Nothing filled his embrace; no contact or benison restored him to himself. He might have been alone in the fire.

Yet the laughter stayed with him. It was glad mirth, joy and restitution which Foamfollower would have known how to share. It ran in his ears like the Sea and sustained him until everything else was gone-until his power was spent against the heavens, and the night closed over him like all the waters of the world.


We watch, we weep, we have no words...

Peace has come to the Dead of The Grieve at last…
_________________
And I believe in you
altho you never asked me too
I will remember you
and what life put you thru.


~fly fly little wing, fly where only angels sing~

~this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you~

...for then I could fly away and be at rest. Sweet rest, Mom. We all love and miss you.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am reverent, at one of the most moving passages of the Chronicles.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would feel the deepest pity for anyone who can read Coercri with dry eyes. Although I doubt it's possible. I don't care how many times you've read it. Seeing the slaughter again - then the reactions of the living Giants - and, finally, the caamora. There can't possibly be a chapter of any book ever written that takes the reader through more, a rollercoaster from the very depths of horror and sorrow to the very heights of relief and gratitude and healing.

Quote:
"Now, Thomas Covenant. The time has come. At your behest, we have beheld The Grieve. Now we must have the story of our lost kinfolk. There can be neither joy nor decision for us until we have heard the tale."
After seeing the mummified Giant, I don't know how the First managed to restrain herself like this. I'm surprised she didn't grab Covenant by the arms, lift him so that they were eye-to-eye, and scream for the story!

Quote:
"Start a fire. A big one."
Six little words, filled with such power! The promise of pain - in the body, and, much worse, in the soul. I want to scream "DON'T START A FIRE!!" because without it, he can't tell this tale. He couldn't possibly tell this tale to Giants without a fire.

Quote:
Pitchwife led the way. With a sharp wail of aggrievement, he rushed to the bonfire and plunged his arms to the shoulders in among the blazing firewood. Flames slapped his face, bent his head back in a mute howl against the angle of his crippled chest.

Linden cried out. But the Haruchai understood, and did not move.

The First joined Pitchwife. Kneeling on the stone, she clamped her hands around a raging log and held it.

Seadreamer did not stop at the edge of the flames. Surging as if the Earth-Sight had deprived him of all restraint, he hurled his whole body into the fire, stood there with the blaze writhing about him like the utterance of his agony.
Dear God

But nothing less than we would have predicted. (If we had cared to try.)

The Haruchai are going through quite a bit here too, though we don't get to see it. They have loved their long-gone Rockbrothers - still, after millennia, fiercely. They know the story. Better than Covenant, in fact. They stood in mute witness to this reenactment. In their heads, and to each other telepathically, they must have been crying for joy when Pitchwife started his caamora. Haruchai are not proof against fire, so they cannot physically join the Giants, but they share in the caamora emotionally. (We're lucky they didn't start beating the hell out of each other!)

Quote:
The wild magic struck pain into them, seared them the way a physical conflagration would have seared their bodies. Their forms went rigid, jaws stretched, eyes stared-specters screaming in soul-anguish. But the screaming was also laughter.

And the laughter prevailed.
Thank you, SRD. For this more than anything, thank you more than I can say.

And thank you Furls Fire. The depth of your feeling for this is every bit as obvious as I knew it would be.

(And thanks for "unambergrised" too. Very Happy)

*bows to Coercri*
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We are not required to save the world. We are required to stand up as truly as we can for what we love. -SRD

All lies and jest
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Thank you, SRD. For this more than anything, thank you more than I can say.

And thank you Furls Fire. The depth of your feeling for this is every bit as obvious as I knew it would be.


ai.

I've seen just enough of your conversation in other fora, Furls and Fist, to know that neither of you are strangers to caamora by total immersion.

. . . .
This is going to be even less linear than Haruchai English usually is...my left brain isn't working very well right now.

After reading the discussion and the chapter, I listened to a song Judy Collins recorded--I don't recall whether she or Leonard Cohen wrote the words. Here are some of them.

Quote:
The flames, they followed Joan of Arc
As she came riding through the dark—
No moon to keep her armor bright,
No man to get her through the smoky night.

……..

“Fire, make your body cold
When I give you mine to hold.”
And saying this she stepped inside
To be his one, to be his only bride.

Deep into his fiery heart
He took the dust of Joan of Arc,
And high above the wedding guests
He hung the ashes of her wedding dress.

Deep into his fiery heart
He took the dust of Joan of Arc,
Then she clearly understood
If he was fire, then she must be wood.

I saw her wince, I saw her cry,
Saw the glory in her eye.
Myself, I long for love and light—
But must it come so cruel, must it be so bright?


Furls Fire wrote:

Quote:
Brinn offers to do it for him, for the Haruchai also know the tale. But Covenant refuses to let Brinn take up that burden…


Quote:
"No," Covenant almost moaned. He faced Brinn, gave the only answer he had. You don't have to do that. It's past. It wasn't their fault.

"'Corruption wears many faces.'" He was quoting Bannor. "'Blame is a more enticing face than others, but it is none the less a mask for the Despiser.'" Do you know that Foul maimed those three Bloodguard? Made them into half-hands? "I'll tell it." It's on my head. "When I'm ready." A pang of augury told him that the Haruchai were going to die because of him.


And Fist & Faith wrote:

Quote:
The Haruchai are going through quite a bit here too, though we don't get to see it. They have loved their long-gone Rockbrothers - still, after millennia, fiercely. They know the story. Better than Covenant, in fact. They stood in mute witness to this reenactment. In their heads, and to each other telepathically, they must have been crying for joy when Pitchwife started his caamora.


Not yet for joy, perhaps; not until they saw the Dead Giants flowing toward Covenant and glimpsed the need and hope shining in their eyes.

Quote:
Haruchai are not proof against fire, so they cannot physically join the Giants, but they share in the caamora emotionally. (We're lucky they didn't start beating the hell out of each other!)

Tears were too dilute for their anguish; their flesh was too combustible for the caamora; and they forbore ritual combat lest they distract the Giant-shades from their unhoped-for redemption.

The mere frustration of having no other release must have made their fused telepathic outcry nothing short of seismic.

In TPTP Bannor says to Foamfollower and Covenant, "I have made the journey to behold--that work of Ravers." Did he too watch the Dead Giants being slain again before his eyes--scant weeks after their demise, just as we and his descendants are now doing 3500 years later?

The ending of the Unhomed and the ending of the Vow are inseparable. The Haruchai, no less than the Giants, have been reenacting their mutual doom ever since it happened. Not in an endless circle of revenant spirits but in endless attempts at atonement from generation to generation.

Quote:
Surely Brinn would describe such things as if they were not a great grief to his people, not the reason why group after group of Haruchai had returned to the Land, falling prey to the butchery of the Clave. This Covenant could not bear. The Bloodguard had always judged themselves by standards which no mortal could meet.


(When SRD says "as if they were not," get your fire started before reading on...)

Both here and in the previous chapter, Covenant and the Haruchai seem to be contesting which of them has the greater need and better "right" (that is, worse debt) to make reparations. First in who gets to perform first aid on Linden:

Quote:
Curses jumped through Covenant's teeth; but Cail responded without inflection, "This I will do for her."
Covenant's vitals trembled. His hands had held power enough to maim the lurker and had suffered no harm. "I said I'll do it."
"No." Cail's denial was absolute. "You have not the strength of the Haruchai. And the blame for this injury is mine."


Then en route to The Grieve:

Quote:
In his Haruchai honesty, Brinn would certainly revewal parts of the story which Covenant would never choose to tell.
The Giants of the Search don't know the history of the Vow; and they have seen in this generation of Haruchai nothing but honor. Brinn is ready to forfeit that to spare Covenant. Spoiler:
And also perhaps from the same self-judgment that will lead Cail to say "It is agreed that such unworth as mine has its uses."


yikes.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That Judy Collins song sounds pretty cool!!

Durris wrote:
Fist and Faith wrote:
The Haruchai are going through quite a bit here too, though we don't get to see it. They have loved their long-gone Rockbrothers - still, after millennia, fiercely. They know the story. Better than Covenant, in fact. They stood in mute witness to this reenactment. In their heads, and to each other telepathically, they must have been crying for joy when Pitchwife started his caamora.
Not yet for joy, perhaps; not until they saw the Dead Giants flowing toward Covenant and glimpsed the need and hope shining in their eyes.
Smile You're probably right. Only great relief when Pitchwife started his caamora


Durris wrote:
Tears were too dilute for their anguish; their flesh was too combustible for the caamora; and they forbore ritual combat lest they distract the Giant-shades from their unhoped-for redemption.

The mere frustration of having no other release must have made their fused telepathic outcry nothing short of seismic.
Amen!

Durris wrote:
In TPTP Bannor says to Foamfollower and Covenant, "I have made the journey to behold--that work of Ravers." Did he too watch the Dead Giants being slain again before his eyes--scant weeks after their demise, just as we and his descendants are now doing 3500 years later?
Interesting point!!! In light of the interview at the Official Website, when SRD was done with the 1st Chrons, the answer would have been No. But after he conceived of the 2nd & Last (in reaction to the horrible suggestions of his publisher! Laughing ), the answer would have to be Yes. Good thing Bannor didn't tell Foamfollower that he could watch the whole thing, or FF might have gone, hoping to find a way to stop it. And Covenant might have been walking to Foul's Creche by himself.

Durris wrote:
The ending of the Unhomed and the ending of the Vow are inseparable. The Haruchai, no less than the Giants, have been reenacting their mutual doom ever since it happened. Not in an endless circle of revenant spirits but in endless attempts at atonement from generation to generation.
And both endings were, at least to a large degree, because the pride that had allowed both races to endure for millennia in the face of their situations was ripped from them.


Durris wrote:
Both here and in the previous chapter, Covenant and the Haruchai seem to be contesting which of them has the greater need and better "right" (that is, worse debt) to make reparations.
Ah, guilt. What a wonderful thing! Smile

Durris wrote:
Quote:
In his Haruchai honesty, Brinn would certainly revewal parts of the story which Covenant would never choose to tell.
The Giants of the Search don't know the history of the Vow; and they have seen in this generation of Haruchai nothing but honor. Brinn is ready to forfeit that to spare Covenant.
I don't think the Haruchai would lose any honor because of that.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:04 am    Post subject: Re: The Wounded Land, Chapter 26: Coercri Reply with quote

Furls Fire wrote:
Ah, Linden…Are you not well chosen?


Damn straight! Very Happy

I think I need to start a new topic in celebration of Giants. They are just too cool. Very Happy

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He knew only that they had never striven to reject the boundaries of themselves.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now we are Unhomed,
bereft of root and kith and kin.
From other mysteries of delight,
we set our sails to resail our track;
but the winds of life blew not the way we chose,
and the land beyond the Sea was lost.




We are the Giants
born to sail,
and bold to go wherever dreaming goes.

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...for then I could fly away and be at rest. Sweet rest, Mom. We all love and miss you.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vs, I just bumped the Giants thread for you. Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:

Quote:
Ah, guilt. What a wonderful thing!

Durris wrote:

Quote:
Quote:
In his Haruchai honesty, Brinn would certainly revewal parts of the story which Covenant would never choose to tell.

The Giants of the Search don't know the history of the Vow; and they have seen in this generation of Haruchai nothing but honor. Brinn is ready to forfeit that to spare Covenant.
I don't think the Haruchai would lose any honor because of that.


That is the tragedy of it. They would lose no honor in the Giants' eyes, or Covenant's, or Linden's, or the Stonedownors'. Only their own.

But Brinn could not know the difference, and he made the offer anyway.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Durris wrote:
That is the tragedy of it. They would lose no honor in the Giants' eyes, or Covenant's, or Linden's, or the Stonedownors'. Only their own.
Ya think? I can't help but thinkSpoiler:
"Any being who cannot bear the truth is indeed unworthy."
I think the Haruchai trust the strength of Giants to bear the truth.

Of course, the Unhomed ultimately fell into despair, but still...
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Furls Fire, that was wonderful - absolutely wonderful. There is no one on this message board with whom I am familiar that I would want to do this chapter other than you.

This is the greatest chapter in both chronicles, IMO.

3500 years of the same damning ritual, replayed in horror for anyone to see, healed by TC. No wonder the First would come to say
Quote:
I would gladly follow a man who can so give peace to the damned.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:

Quote:
I think the Haruchai trust the strength of Giants to bear the truth.


You mean, Brinn would have told the story not as an act of forfeiture, but just because it needs to be told, and in trust that the Giants will still respect the Haruchai in the morning, lost Vow and all?

That motive on Brinn's part had never occurred to me before you mentioned it, because it would be so revolutionary. No Haruchai before this time could have imagined being on the receiving end of such a Tan-Haruchail.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahh, my heart. Were I a (true) giant I too would caamora to assauge the pain I feel with each reading. I've read the entire series once a year for the past 11-12 years and each time I read this chapter I cry, tears. For those long years I've no-one but myself to cry with.
Stone and Sea! Tis good that I am now able via the Watch able to share my grief over beings that never (but should've) have been.

My thoughts always go to the Giants who witnessed Covenant's caamora for their dead kindred. How their hearts must've been lifted at the sight of his white fire cleansing the dead of the agony of re-enactment over several millenia. Though he denied them the fullness of their own personal caamora, Seadreamer, The First and Pitchwife must've felt joy at seeing Covenant's fire releasing the damned. How else could they have repaid such a gift so freely and selfishlessly given?

I still cannot help but wonder if ... Spoiler:
the remaining giants on the dromond didn't perform personal caamoras when the tale of Covenant's deed reached their glad ears on a night of story telling... perhaps of his deed that they found the joy in the tale and no need for caamora's...


Though I hasten through the first chronicles I cannot wait to finish them and get started on the script for this book... particularly upon this chapter. If all goes well and that I am involved enough I'd make damn sure that it all translates gloriously on the screen. I can't imagine a dry eye in the theater when the lights go up. If there are... then you'd know the readers from the non-readers at a glance. Laughing

Thank you Furls for your apt and wonderful dissection of this all-important chapter.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, Durris, I wasn't thinking about the Vow at all. The Giants were demanding to hear this story, and I think they had a right to hear it. There was certainly no way they were going to let the matter drop. And it looked like Covenant might have been having trouble telling it, so Brinn volunteered. I don't think he would have bothered with how it affected the Vow, since he would also have had to explain, at least, the Haruchai coming to the Land and taking the Vow, the Ritual of Desecration, and telling Elena the name of the Power of Command, before telling of the slaughter, then moving on to Korik marching off to Foul's Creche. If it was me telling the story, I would have understood that this wasn't the time for all that. It was a time for the Giants to learn of the Unhomed, and to grieve. And all the stuff Covenant told them, as Furls Fire listed, was a telling worthy of Giants as it was.

Seafoam, I know how you feel. I think most of us here felt so alone, in regards to our love for TCTC, before finding the Watch. Oh what a glorious place it is!! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
And thank you Furls Fire. The depth of your feeling for this is every bit as obvious as I knew it would be.


dlbpharmd wrote:
Furls Fire, that was wonderful - absolutely wonderful. There is no one on this message board with whom I am familiar that I would want to do this chapter other than you.



Seafoam Understone wrote:
Thank you Furls for your apt and wonderful dissection of this all-important chapter.


Oh thank guys. Embarassed I was hoping I did it justice. Smile No other chapter in the Chrons touches me the way this one does... It has my heart.

Come! This is the caamora! come and be healed!

Sweet mercy, nothing compares... absolutely nothing...
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are all poets! Your rendering and telling of Coercri was beautiful Furls! Thank you! So passionate! Where I lack words you put them before me, Furls...and F&F, Durris and everybody else, and this is a chapter where words still aren't enough...and thank you SRD! No other writer has made me feel like this. It's almost transcendent the way it makes me forget time and space...takes me over an abyss of emotion, I also cry every time I read it...

Truly, a work of genious to let the telling of the story end with the healing of the Dead, and so ending that part of the story...

Maybe not the proper thread to say it but this chapter(as many others) is one reason why SRD is so much more a different writer than Tolkien...and every other that I know of...

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, beautifully done, Furls. A great climax to the whole book.

With the caamora, Covenant uses the wild magic in a way different from before. Previously, he had used it to heal his own wounds, and as a destructive force. But at the Grieve, Covenant exerts the wild magic as a communicative and sharing force, calling out to the souls of the Dead Giants through his power. Back in TPTP, Saltheart Foamfollower had felt power flow to him from Covenant's ring at Hotash Slay, helping him to endure the pain of the crossing. Here at Coercri, in memory of Foamfollower, Covenant gives himself over to fire to help the Seareach Giants purge their soul pain; his is a spiritual fire, beyond a mere physical one.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought nothing could top the ending of TPTP, when Covenant just held his power back and LF was reduced to his bare minimum by laughter.

But then, Mr Donaldson gave us Coercri. And to this day, I still don't have the adequate words to express how this one chapter, these few pages, affect me. My heart breaks everytime. Thomas Covenant is and will always remain, my hero. If for no other reason than that of giving peace to the damned of The Grieve....

And he did more...so much more...
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being a first time reader of the Chronicles myself, I was just as crushed by what happened to the Land as my mother was in this book. I almost stopped reading it, almost. But I didn't, because I remembered how while she was reading this book, in all those many readings she did, this one part would always reduce her to tears. And it did the same thing to me. The sheer majesty of what Thomas Covenant does for the dead of the Grieve is astounding!! Now, I understand the extreme emotion my mother feels and what my Uncle felt. I now know why Stephen R Donaldson is their favorite author, and why they would go off together and just talk these books to death for hours. This one chapter alone transcends all the others. Even the best ones from the First Chronicles.

In this one line...

Come! This is the caamora! Come and be healed!

All the emotion and heartache of The Wounded Land just crashes down on you like a tidal wave...and as you watch the Giants flow into Covenant's wild magic caamora the grief is washed away by all the tears that fall like a flood. The triumph and the majesty of that one moment.... Oh my lord....I have never read anything so powerful, it literally made my chest cave in.

It's moments like this that make me love reading.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK Tracie, who's the 30 YO ghost writer you hired for Brooke!!

Very Happy

I hope you hang around here a lot, FD! Yes, for me too, this is the single most extraordinary moment in both Chrons, and as good as anything in ANY literature.

Quote:
Come! This is the caamora! Come and be healed!


Ah, my heart!
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