Posted: September 13th, 2011 under Contents, snippet.
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At the end of Kings of the North, there’s a war just started between Pargun and Lyonya.  News has arrived in Tsaia, but not everyone’s heard it yet.  Beclan Mahieran, squire to Dorrin Duke Verrakai,  is out on patrol in the SW corner of Verrakai’s domain when Dorrin hears…commanding two tensquads of militia (some of them former Phelani soldiers.  Beclan’s proud of the fact that he is given a longer patrol route and more troops than the other squires.  He has no idea what’s coming.


Beclan brushed off as much snow as he could before stooping through the doorway into darkness.  Out here in the southwest of Verrakai domain, none of the improvements Dorrin had planned and begun nearer the house had taken place, so the hut was not only dark and cramped, but flakes of snow had sifted through the roof and the packed dirt floor stank of sheep droppings.  No one had thought to store dry wood for the next arrivals; only a couple of very dirty rough-tanned fleeces lay in one corner, visible when one of the troops finally got a torch from their baggage mule alight.  For a wonder, there was a crude fireplace in one corner.  Beclan leaned on the wall, as the Phelani soldiers badgered the others into finding wood and starting a fire.

(snippage, then later that evening)

Beclan knew he should not feel sorry for himself–he was too old for that, and a royal besides–but he did feel sorry for himself.  Here he was, in a filthy stinking hut, with only trail rations to eat and nothing to sleep on but dirt and sheep dung, while other people–other squires, even barons’ squires–lounged in houses that didn’t leak, warmed by fires that didn’t smoke, eating real food hot from kitchens, looking forward to sleeping in warm beds and putting on clean clothes in the morning.  His brother Rothlin and the king were probably having a jolly evening with their friends.  When he finally slept, he had bad dreams he did not quite remember when he woke, but their dark mood stayed with him.


Beclan, some will recall, is Duke Mahieran’s son, and fourth in succession to the throne, should anything happen to King Mikeli of Tsaia.  The king’s younger brother Camwyn is first, then Duke Mahieran (the king’s uncle) and Beclan’s older brother Rothlin–the same age as the king and his close friend as well as his cousin.

The Mahierans were chosen to rule Tsaia in the aftermath of the Girdish war specifically because they apparently lost their magery a couple of generations back.   (The Tsaians, for reasons of their own, wanted to keep their monarchy rather than go whole-hog for Gird’s original idea of a peasant-run government.   The nobility in Tsaia had been, on the whole, less vicious than those in Fin-aarenis (which became Fintha) and even the peasantry of Tsaia were unwilling to embrace the stringent austerity and “simplicity” of the early Girdish. )     The Mahierans were not nearly as prominent a family before the Girdish war, and at the time of that war were looked down on by families that still had considerable mage ability.    (The Marrakai, powerful both before and after the Girdish war, had also lost their magery–even earlier–but their very prominence made them unacceptable as a royal family.)

So Beclan, though still a raw youth, is a collateral royal, and he’s very, very aware of that.    Though Dorrin has blunted his earlier arrogance somewhat, he still can’t help thinking that he’s entitled to a little additional deference.


  • Comment by Simon — September 13, 2011 @ 9:23 pm



    I love this snippit! EVery taste of your work is great. Particularly the Paks stuff. I am so excited for the next book! You weave a tangled web! If Akrea where not evil I would say you have a good lot of her in you. Thanks so much and keep this stuff coming! The little taste’s keep us tided over until the book comes out.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 13, 2011 @ 10:00 pm


    Glad you’re enjoying the snippets.

  • Comment by Martin LaBar — September 14, 2011 @ 5:59 am


    This has little to do with your post, but I started a re-read of Sheepfarmer’s Daughter yesterday, after 4 years or so. It’s great! Thanks. God bless you in all the ways you need it.

  • Comment by Jenn — September 14, 2011 @ 6:26 am


    Thank you!

    Considering that this is on Verrakai land and Beclan is at the moment in the right disposition…this snippet reminds me of the scene with Halveric from KoN.

    Can’t wait for Echos!

  • Comment by Kristen B. — September 14, 2011 @ 8:08 am


    Odd question: I’ve been re-reading Oath of Fealty, and Dorrin keeps touching her Falkian ruby for luck and courage. Is it a ring, an earring, a necklace or a jewel in her sword’s pommel? I can never quite picture it.


  • Comment by elizabeth — September 14, 2011 @ 8:14 am


    The ruby is normally worn on the collar or lapel (if there is a lapel) or in the ear. Depending on the clothes being worn or the circumstances, a Knight of Falk may wear it either way. It appears as a cabechon ruby that is simply “there”–the setting, if any (it may be a magical attachment–not sure) isn’t readily visible. It is never combined with other elements into a more elaborate piece of jewelry. It’s supposed to evoke a drop of blood.

  • Comment by Adam Baker — September 14, 2011 @ 11:23 am


    Yipee! haha Snippets mean that release is that much closer, haha.

  • Comment by Jim Elgar — September 14, 2011 @ 6:44 pm


    Do kirgin-1st heirs- get fostered out as squires or are they kept close to the nest, and only the younger siblings go to others for their training. There should be a cadre of Fox Company former squires that Dorrin could draft to train militia up to standards needed for combat troops.

  • Comment by iphinome — September 14, 2011 @ 9:33 pm


    @Jim Elgar wouldn’t they be off at knight training and the older ones starting their careers in politics, managing parts family holdings/buisness, as militia/guard/mercenary captains, or under the banner of Gird Falk or Tir?

    One would think a stint under Phelan is a career booster, people know he wasn’t living the easy life. Almost as good a recommendation as being Lady Moon’s squire. Look how smoothly her trips to cons turn out.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 14, 2011 @ 10:29 pm


    The term “kirgan” for the heir of a noble house is used only in Tsaia now. Yes, a kirgan usually does go to another noble house as a squire for 1-2 years. He may well have been a page somewhere else for 1-2 years (or a page at court.) Following on squire duty, the kirgan will (nearly always, unless physically unable) train with the Knights of the Bells. Aris Marrakai was sent for schooling in Fin Panir (a few of the more western noble families of Tsaia do send their sons to Fin Panir) and is now a page in the palace.

    Kieri did not particularly want heirs as his squires, because he knew he was taking them into serious war and didn’t want the political consequences of someone’s heir being killed under his command. Most of his squires were either barons’ and counts’ younger sons, or yeoman-marshals who wanted to become knights and were recommended by their marshals (early in Kieri’s career–after Tamarrion’s death he took no more of these.) The surviving former squires–except Selfer, who is now a captain but hasn’t yet taken knight’s training–are all busy elsewhere–being a squire was just part of their education. Dorrin is relying on her veterans who stayed with her to train her militia–and they’re doing pretty well, all things considered.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 14, 2011 @ 10:34 pm


    It’s true that Kieri’s former squires (the ones who survived) have done well in their knight’s training and some have gone into the Royal Guard where they are also doing well. Where they had no substantial inheritance at home (and the younger sons mostly didn’t) they could also hire out as captains of other lords’ militias, which some did. Others, especially earlier in Kieri’s career (and thus now older men) had been yeoman-marshals before they were squires and went on to become Marshals. But some of course had had enough of war and “adventure” and moved quite happily into other pursuits.

    Kieri had at most three squires at a time (two first-year and one second-year) and by now his oldest former squires would be in their mid-thirties–almost certainly married, with families.

  • Comment by Karen — September 15, 2011 @ 12:02 am


    As much as I love these snippets (and as crazy as they make me to get my hot little hands on the book), I love the background notes that come in response to comments.

    I hope our beloved authoress is saving copies of her posts for the future “Histories of Paksworld” volume I plan to give my grandchildren!

  • Comment by Jim Elgar — September 15, 2011 @ 11:27 am


    I am sorry, Iwas unclear. I didn’t mean the pacifing of her Verrakai realm. I meant her new royal assignment to asses and standardize the other household and Girdish forces so if they are called up to defend Tasian borders those forces are compatible,on the same page.

  • Comment by Alaska Fan — September 15, 2011 @ 12:53 pm


    More of a “snippetlet” really, but I’m grateful for any crumbs you care to share.

    Have you given further thought to incorporating the background information you sometimes provide with snippets and snippetlets into a published volume? Or an on-line volume. Ursala LeGuin assembled similar pieces into a part of her collection short stories in the Earthsea sequence, and I thought they were useful and insightful for readers. It doesn’t have to be as ambitious as Tolkein.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 15, 2011 @ 10:05 pm


    Um…maybe. I mean, I’m not deleting anything here (and rarely elsewhere–which is why I keep having to buy more external drives!) but as for stopping writing stories to compile…I dunno. Not until this monster’s done, anyway.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 15, 2011 @ 10:06 pm


    Oh–hmmm. You know…that’s a great idea. I hadn’t thought of her contacting squires she might’ve known in years past, who are now in positions of authority here and there. (Writer wrinkles brow, wondering if she can back-insert something of that somewhere in Book IV. Mutter, mutter, mutter…)

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 15, 2011 @ 10:09 pm


    I’ve thought about it but time is the problem. I’m still writing story at such a rate that I can’t do more than toss off the occasional bit of background here. I keep thinking things will ease up, but this year certainly has not headed that way. (And ye gads–I still have to finish the expanded map…when am I going to do THAT????)

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