Background Assignment

Posted: June 27th, 2013 under Crown of Renewal, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: ,

As I go through Editor’s revision letter, I realize that she’s right…without the background in the Gird/Luap books,  even readers of the Deed may be adrift in places.    (And the post I wrote about this, this morning before I headed to the city for the sports medicine doc, apparently went poof–I thought I’d posted it but it’s not here.)   Anyway, I do recommend, for those who haven’t bothered with Surrender None and Liar’s Oath…or the omnibus version (The Legacy of Gird in the US,  A Legacy of Honour in the UK)  that you find a copy.  They’re for sale (the US versions of the e-books via Baen Books’ website: here’s my author page) in both hardcopy and e-book formats.

Here’s why I can’t just insert the exact background you need from those books into the new ones…there’s too much info for the space available.   I can put some more–and will be doing that–but I can’t possibly include all that Editor wants or people might need.    In part because of the magelords found enchanted in Kolobia, and in part because everything really is connected to everything else,  Crown circles back to issues that have their roots then…what happens in Crown started a long time ago.    Who Gird was, who Luap was, who the  Rosemage was,  who the first Girdish paladins were, why an alcoholic, hot tempered, ignorant peasant was a better person to follow than a sober, calmer,  literate royal bastard,  how corruption works in the well-intentioned, how easy it is for good people not to see evil coming…all that and more that just won’t boil down into a few sentences I can slide in without infodumping everyone to a stupor.

I hate the thought that I’m having to tell people to buy more books (no, wait, that’s not true.   I want people to buy more books…but I don’t want to make faithful fans go without dessert or, worse, dinner.    Conflict of interest here.)  You have almost a year.  If you haven’t read them, find a copy somehow.   If you have read them, add them to the re-read.    Yes, I know, Liar’s Oath, Luap’s book, is not an upbeat read.  It wouldn’t have been anyway, given Luap himself, but writing it too soon after my mother’s death blinded me to  flaws that make it more difficult.  It may help to think of it in terms of a Greek tragedy; the structure’s there.

I should also mention a temporal overlap.   Because the book insisted that something happening before the end of the previous book had to be included in this book, rather than lumped in as hearsay later,  the last event in Limits is a ways into Crown.    It threw Editor.   I will try to figure out how to signal that without being too intrusive (maybe a dateline sort of thing will help)  so it doesn’t throw you, but here’s the advance warning.

Crown was a particularly gnarly book to write  in terms of temporal continuity and discontinuity,  and apparently the book itself wanted to demonstrate as many aspects of that as it could.  I kept trying for simple, straight-line chronology, and Crown kept fighting back with “Yes, but meanwhile back at the castle/palace/battlefield/other place…and really, you need to put C before A, and R before M, and then insert B between R and M…”

I’d say it’s no wonder my neck hurts, if not for the X-rays today that suggest it was the accumulation of multiple injuries (thank you, horses whose names I don’t remember from the 1970s,   another horse whose name I don’t remember from the 1980s,  Macho, Jezz, and Illusion, [whose names I do] for your contributions to my current cervical problems.)   Apparently hitting the ground from a fast-moving horse is not good for your neck.   But since only the actual broken bones sent me to a doctor (what’s a stiff neck for a few days, eh?)  and not always then, most of  these were never seen.   I knew multiple concussions weren’t a good idea (I’ve had two, both horse-related)  but didn’t realize (though looking now, why not?) that hitting the ground from the top of a horse moving fast (or, even better, going over a jump) is also likely to cause problems later.  Oh, well.  It was fun.  Not the hard landings, but the riding.

And now, back to work (I keep saying that and you may wonder if I’m getting anything done.  Yes.)





  • Comment by elizabeth — July 4, 2013 @ 10:15 pm


    Problem is, I don’t know all their stories and the ones I do know about, they weren’t all around at the same time. Now as shorter pieces interspersed with other shorter pieces, maybe. I’d still like to know what happened with the guy in “Gifts,” who had walked away from being Falk’s paladin and then began the process of coming back to it.

  • Comment by Sharidann — July 5, 2013 @ 12:59 am


    OK, I began my reread of Liar’s oath and it is not as bad (I do NOT mean that the book is bad, I mean that I dreaded the reread due to my antipathy towards Luap) as I feared. I had kept in mind only the Luap’s parts and forgot some huge redeeming features of the book… Namely, in particular, Seri and Aris.
    Also, something which slipped on the first read…
    With Gird’s horse being God gifted, does it make him the first paladin or is he in a class by himself as a Saint (near Falk, Tir and the others)?
    Other thing I liked was the reminiscence of the worship of the Sunlord and the color references, which hint quite strongly at a certain set of jewels…

  • Comment by Richard — July 5, 2013 @ 2:59 am


    There’s something early in Luap’s book that I think will be worth remembering.

    GeekLady #42 – Surrender None told us more about Rosemage’s past than Liar’s Oath added, I think.

    Sharidann: one of those (expletive deleted) mysterious plot hooks? Liar’s Oath chapter 20, ‘Gird’s horse,’ Seri said. ‘These are the same kind.’ Her horse stamped, hard, and shook its head. ‘Or – similar?’. One difference Lyonyans would notice is that Gird’s horse was an air-water horse, the other pair earth-fire – though Gird’s horse totally gives lie to the idea that air-water horses are tempermental!

    It is said in Fin Panir that the first paladins came out of the west, in a storm of llght, riding horses so beautiful they hurt the eyss to see. A man and a woman, it is said, but no one remembers their names.
    I’ve always regarded that ending as a summation, referring back to when the colony in Kolobia was flourishing, and Seri and Aris traveling widely. We’ve heard plenty about how the Girdsmen in Fin Panir record and remember paladins and their deeds, but until there were further paladins long after Aris and Seri stopped coming, nobody knew that was what they were.

    Elizabeth, I’ve said this before, but Gifts is such a lovely story. Otherwise, how about striking out into new territory sometime with a story in the horse-nomad culture?

  • Comment by Sharidann — July 5, 2013 @ 3:09 am


    @Richard, yes I had that exact phrase in mind and the strong suspicion it was about Seri and Aris, yet the bit about Gird’s hors nagged at me, and you are right, of course, should have spotted it… air-water horse, whereas Paks’s horse is a earth-fire, if memory serves.

    Really can’t wait to get my greedy paws on Crown….

  • Comment by KarenH — July 5, 2013 @ 12:14 pm


    I just started to reread the Legacy of Gird and found it really hard to get started.

    I remember not liking Luap and doing a lot of skimming, but the first eight chapters, when everything goes from bad to worse over and over again, I just can’t read. I did come across one bit that might add continuity for the story, Once when the taxes go up, the steward tells the village that trade has suffered because they can no longer trade across the sea. Does that mean that the fall of Aare happened during Gird’s time?

    Is there anything more in the first part than the shaping of Gird’s character and establishing that Kelaive was as bad a master as the pre-Dorrin Verrakais?

    For anyone who else has this problem with the opening of Surrender None: when I start at part 2, I can keep reading and enjoy the read from then on.

  • Comment by Cameron Wesson — July 5, 2013 @ 2:52 pm


    Hoo-ah! for Siger! I know if I were Kieri that I would want no other person training mine! And thank you for both the compliment and the confirmation…

    I agree with your comment above when you state; “Oh, I don’t explain it, and wouldn’t try. Either people feel the pull of Gird or they don’t. Readers end up explaining things like that to themselves, anyway.”

    I think the open story behind the Gods… and especially the Saints helps add a bit of intrigue… and the reader to fill in gaps.. right or wrong… hey.. its a story! and a great one at that.

    I must be a sick man… as I actually found Luap fairly interesting… and as I have seen him in at least a dozen manifestations through my life… a picture of administrative competence and intelligence… that still cannot see that these don not equal leadership/managership and able to command! He shows by what I will incorrectly term “negative reinforcement” what real leadership is not! Making mistake after mistake… and not learning.

    On another note, I have inject… I knew from book 2 that his injection into the “Deed” that Arvid was going to be more than just a “wandering rogue”! A buddy had read book three first… and when Paks surrender herself to the Liartians in Verella I said, “Dude… Arvid going to get her out” then he accused me of reading ahead… which I hadn’t… and then was happily surprised! With all that said….

    I’m intrigued by Arvid (wonder why???) and by the line in the book… as Gird is speaking to him, “You are not so bad as you think… nor as good as you will be!” That is a significant emotional experience… on top of what had already happened. Just for fun… fun for me not for you writing it… I would love to see a book titled… or closely resembling… “The Crimes and Salvation of Arvid Semminson” as that is a story! Its easy going from good to better… but going from “Bad to Gird” (I know… bad pun) should be awesome! Hey… maybe that’s it…. “From Bad to Gird!” LOL

  • Comment by GinnyW — July 5, 2013 @ 5:12 pm


    Cam: “From Bad to Gird” has a definite ring to it. Although I suspect we will hear more of Arvid in Crown, even see some of what Gird has made, is making, will make of him. And thanks for joining us!

    Much as I would like to hear the stories of some of the other saints, Falk, Camwyn, Torre et al. It is kind of fun to learn about them through the asides and comments that they interject into the stories.

    Elizabeth: I would kind of like to learn more about that paladin in Gifts too. He did a tantalizing walk-on in someone else’s story there, but his own story was never really told.

    My problem with Liar’s Oath is that every few pages I run into a “YOU-IDIOT” action on Luap’s part, and it is hard to read through. I had forgotten Dorihanya (sp??) though, and I enjoyed her.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 5, 2013 @ 10:36 pm


    Karen: The iynisin who curses Gird and his progeny the morning the dun cow calves is significant. So is the dun cow, but not until much later. As in…realsoonnow. Also–it helps know the amount of hell that was Gird’s early life, so that both his bad escape (alcohol, which comes back to bite him later) and the magnitude of his achievement make sense. From the time he leaves his home vill more things gradually connect all along the story arc…to the Deed, and to this group.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 5, 2013 @ 10:54 pm


    Cameron: To me, Luap really is a tragic figure, in the classic sense, because of his self-blindness. And yet, as someone else said about reading his story, he’s so frustrating to those around him, especially Gird. At this point Gird has lost his own older sons…and his youngest doesn’t survive the war either. He feels a warmth for Luap, feels fatherly toward him–keeps hoping he’ll turn out OK–and knows Luap isn’t getting it and may never get it. Dorhaniya ends up feeling much the same way. She pities Luap, she wants to help him…but he can’t take the advice (and it’s good advice) she offers. And she realizes she’s failed. Although it’s actually Luap who’s failed. When he is seduced into an even deeper belief in his own destiny, his natural kingship, and begins extending his own life while stealing life-force from others, he is, as you say, the exact opposite of a true leader.

  • Comment by Susan — July 5, 2013 @ 11:20 pm


    I feel like I should remember this, but where can I find “Gifts”?

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 5, 2013 @ 11:36 pm


    Susan: “Gifts” was in Masters of Fantasy (ed. Bill Fawcett & Brian Thomsen, 2004) For future reference, I think everything’s listed on the websites–all of them on the main website, and the Paks-specific stories on the Paksworld website.

  • Comment by iphinome — July 6, 2013 @ 12:50 am


    @Susan _Moon Flights_ Gifts starts on page 13 of my trade hardcover copy.

    Baenebooks also has it even though it was published by Nightshade

  • Comment by Richard — July 6, 2013 @ 4:12 am


    Elizabeth, #58: what, is the stuffed cow THAT cow (or the heifer)? You mean my joke answer was nearly right?

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 6, 2013 @ 7:55 am


    Well…not exactly…but your answer certainly was a bit too close for my comfort when you posted it before Limits was even out. Wait for it. It will do better seen in its real context. It…grows on you…

  • Comment by Karen H — July 6, 2013 @ 8:52 am


    Elizabeth: thank you for the reply. I will work my way through the opening.

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 6, 2013 @ 9:57 am


    Karen, if you find it too painful, all you have to know is in what I said…he’s cursed, he loses his wife, nearly all his family, to the hard life, sees his daughter nearly killed (and rendered infertile after losing the baby) and so on. He’s told that for the crime of trying to save his daughter from the attack, he’s been condemned to a choice between death and permanent serfdom for himself and his surviving children (all this, by the way, was stuff that happened to people in historical times)–he’s to be thrown out of his cottage with nothing. The barren kindness the steward offers is the promise that if he leaves immediately, the steward will give him a lead before sending pursuit to kill him. He’ll be outlawed, but he might survive.

    Start at Chapter 9, when he leaves. It’s still hard–he has to leave his daughters in a vill over the border in someone else’s domain, where his wife’s family lived, and take to the forest with his youngest son.

    That’s when he begins to show himself as other than the beaten-down peasant under a bad lord…before that he had listened to men from the Stone Circle movement, even (before it became impossible) contributed small gifts of food. But it’s after he’s lost everything and becomes officially an outlaw that his innate sense and leadership ability emerge. The outlaws in the forest are just barely surviving, depending on the collusion of a lord’s foresters and handouts from relatives. Gird turns that first little group into an organized, disciplined, almost self-sufficient little band.

  • Comment by Linda — July 6, 2013 @ 3:44 pm


    I was at the library on Wednesday stocking up for another five days of miserable heat and humidity, given that by mid afternoon the only option seems a book, a fan, and a pitcher of water. It seemed time to revisit the Vatta books.

    In the “E. Moon section” I encountered a young woman who was trying to figure out how to cope with the books in the current series, when the first one was missing. She was obviously ready to read them all, but reluctant to do so without the first.

    I wish I wasn’t feeling a bit cranky that the out of town library card fee has gone up to $58 this year. I’d otherwise be donating a copy of the first without even thinking about it. Maybe the paperback? What would Paks do? In any case in was fun to talk about books I adore to someone who would obviously love them too.

  • Comment by Susan — July 6, 2013 @ 7:52 pm


    Thank you both!

  • Comment by Karen H — July 7, 2013 @ 4:50 pm


    Elizabeth, thank you for the reply. I started at chapter 9 and it worked for me.

  • Comment by Mollie Marshall — July 8, 2013 @ 5:54 am


    #49 (Sorry to go back so far: I’ve missed a few days’ posts.) As far as I remember, the quote is usually ‘Praise from Sir Hubert is praise indeed’, a simplification of ‘Approbation from Sir Hubert Spencer is praise indeed’. The Oxford dictionary of quotations gives this as being from Thomas Morton’s ‘A cure for the heartache’ – never heard of him or it!
    The Kipling Stalky connection is ‘Let us now praise famous men’ which is the prefatory poem.
    Looking forward to the explanation of the stuffed cow.

  • Comment by Genko — July 9, 2013 @ 1:57 pm


    Annabel, yes there are definitely parts of Divided Allegiance and much of the torture scenes in OoG that I skip or skim over as well. Yes, they are important, but they are painful, and having read them once or more, I don’t necessarily want to go back there.

    OTOH, I’ve also had the experience of re-reading the earlier Gird books and found them not as difficult on a second reading, maybe because I found a lot of clues there, things I had forgotten.

  • Comment by Sharidann — July 10, 2013 @ 12:20 am


    OK, finished my reread of Liar’s Oath and it was less painful than I feared.

    There are a lot of background infos I find really interesting, particularly reading them after Limits of Power.

    At Paks’s time, we hear of the elves of the Ladysforest and the apparition of the elves of the Lordsforest comes as a surprise for lots of people.
    In Liar’s Oath it is more or less the other way around. The elves of the Lordsforest are clearly mentioned but in the last Chapter, as Kieri speaks with Luap and mentions he comes from Lyonya and meets incomprehension.

    We also get to understand that the elves of the Lordsforest seem more warlike than those of the Ladysforest, as they come to the rescue of Seri and Aris in full battle array. And we also know where the first paladin mounts appeared. It would be interesting to know whether all horses appear in this place, which is more or less the place where the first paladins “miracles” happened.
    Also interesting is the fact that the 50 or so magelords sleeping in Kolobia are trained militia and have some magelord powers but are in no way very experienced soldiers. Of course, with Paks and Kieri leading, they would come in shape fast.

    Small discrepancies with the timeline during Paladin’s legacy…
    1) Kieri states he has an heir, several in fact. Doesn’t several include more than 2 ?
    2) He mentions a trusted Regent, i.e. Paks, whereas we know that Paks, as a paladin, can’t really settle down as she has to answer the call of the Gods.

    I really liked the way you handled the Iynisin but also have a question in that regard ( I know you are busy at the moment, but perhaps someone else can answer): It seems to me that Paks activating the pattern freed the Iynisin and allowed them to use the patterns and spread their evil.

    Besides that, the stories seem to tangle together rather well but I still think a prologue would be wise, or perhaps a short version of Luap’s tale and of the exile of the magelords after Gird’s time.

    Many thanks for Seri and Aris, really liked those two.

  • Comment by Mollie Marshall — July 10, 2013 @ 11:06 am


    I agree that some sort of prologue might not come amiss. Even (especially?) those who have read the Legacy of Honour books are having trouble reconciling the commingled events. If there are discrepancies which have been tweaked for Crown, the revised version needs to be made clear.
    As things stand, the Paks-Kieri-Luap conversation must take place considerably further ahead in time than after Paks’s arrival at the end of Limits. Apart from the number of heirs (and several means more than two, to me as well) Paks has grey/white/silver hair in Limits, certainly, but here her face is described as ‘weathered’. She is old ‘but not that old!’ The talk between her and Kieri has the relaxed tone of a much longer and closer relationship than we are currently aware of in Paladin’s Legacy. ‘An old quarrel … worn comfortable with time.’
    It sounds as though Kieri is preparing to return to Aarenis (‘a place where I made grave errors’) and Paks is named Regent unless or until Gird calls her away (‘you know my limitations’). It’s a short-term appointment only.
    Surely Paks’s use of the mage patterns in her day would not have woken the iynisin in Luap’s time. The elves implied that Luap had done that for himself. Assuming that you meant the patterns in Kolobia?
    Kieri’s ‘They close the pattern’ pre-figures the Lordsforest elves’ demands in Limits. Or is it something more general and philosophical?

  • Comment by Karen H — July 10, 2013 @ 3:16 pm


    Mollie, when I read the part of Liar’s Oath, I got the impression that Luap caused the problem because he did not remember the warnings and the terms of the contract with the elves, dwarves, and gnomes. The dwarf warned him that humans could not smell the difference between drossin and nedrossin stone. My guess is that Luap unintentionally by Luap being such a know-it-all that he didn’t try to understand the contract and didn’t ask the necessary questions. He also forgot forgot the warnings and at least some of the terms of the contract by the time he got back to Finyatha/Fin Panir. When they got to the stronghold, they used magic to change the interior, add exits, and sculpt the terraces. I think that may be what broke the magical chains on the iynisin and freed them from the rock.

  • Comment by GinnyW — July 10, 2013 @ 10:12 pm


    I have to say I am enjoying Liar’s Oath more than expected. Predictably, knowing ahead of time that Luap is not going to turn out well allows me to appreciate some of the other elements in the story. On my first read, my frustration with Luap colored the whole story. The second read is much better, since I can focus on other characters.

    The difference in perspective between Surrender None and Liar’s Oath as to Gird’s death was worth reading twice. Very, very masterful handling of a key story element.

  • Comment by Sharidann — July 11, 2013 @ 12:12 am


    @ Mollie Marshall : what I meant (and sorry that I wasn’t clear enough) is that activating the patterns in Paks’s time enabled the Inyisin to use them in Pakss’s time, as it lifted the Lord’s restriction. That led to the Lady of the Ladysforest untimely demise and probably to some other mischief as well.
    @Karen H: Thinking of Luap and the deal with both Elven and Dwarven King… I had that line in mind “Assumptions are the mothers of all Fxck-ups”… Luap is assuming he understands what the elves and dwarves mean, the elves assume their warning is clear, the dwarves as well. The shame of the elves concerning the Inyisin leads them to refusing to mention them except if specifically asked… Lots of cultural misunderstandings compounded by Luaps stupidity in not wanting to ask questions.

    @ GinnyW : agreed, it was less painful, wayy less painful than I expected. Knowing Luap would behave like an idiot beforehand let me enjoy other protagonists more.

    Oh well, still – what – 8 to 10 monthes till we get our hands on Crown of Renewal… Really, really can’t wait, but I wonder if a reread of both the Deed and the Paladin’s legacy are not in order. 🙂

  • Comment by Richard — July 11, 2013 @ 3:21 am


    Here am I always willing to have a go at questions.

    The iynisin who cursed Gird, and the ones who attacked Seri and Aris, weren’t imprisoned in Kolobia. They either couldn’t or wouldn’t release the ones who were imprisoned.

    The magery Luap and his people did somehow let more iynisin out into the world at large (but we don’t know precisely how). What those iynisin then tried but ultimately failed to do, by infiltrating Luap’s mind, was to “switch off the forcefield” keeping them out of the elf/dwarf Hall itself, where the travel pattern is.

    We don’t know which group of iynisin the one who killed the Lady comes from, nor if he used the pattern in Kolobia, in particular, to travel to the one in Kieri’s office.

    It wasn’t Paks who reactivated the Kolobian travel pattern, but the elves themselves. One elf rather – Ardhiel, and he did so despite knowing that Paks could be carrying iynisin infection. Was he just making the best of a bad job?

    Elizabeth has already said there’s so much wrong – compared to the new series, no mention of Alured for instance – with those first three pages of Liar’s Oath that it will be best to ignore them completely. That’s what I’m going to do, taking the four books we already have and the first bit of Crown as their replacement. As for the mention at the end, where Kieri thinks Paks could be Regent because she is too old to go off on Quest (past her athletic peak that is, into her forties it sounded like): Arian could govern, so I’m happy to see what Elizabeth comes up with as the new version.

  • Comment by Stephen — July 11, 2013 @ 11:28 am


    First off…..Thanks to Elizabeth for this entire series. 🙂

    I thoroughly enjoyed the initial “Deed” trilogy back in the 90’s and have been re-reading that trilogy every other year since. The torture pages were nearly impossible to read through the first few times…but after the 5th or 6th re-read years later, I began to see “patterns” in those descriptions that kept reminding me of the varied “patterns” that the elves see in their histories….of how everything is truly intricately connected with everything else.

    Upon my next re-read of “Deed”, I began to see some similarities between Arvid & Paks and began to wonder how many more similarities were to come…..then I learned of the current series (especially “Echoes” and “Limits” and my jaw dropped).

    I just finished “Limits” a few hours ago and I’m dying to go back and re-read all books so far to make sure I have a firm grasp of relevant histories prior to the upcoming release of “Crown”

    “Surrender None” and “Liar’s Oath” seem to be two important reads…..are there any others that might help fill-in some of the history I’ve not discovered yet (such as how the elf lord that Paks freed near Brewersbridge got in that predicament in the first place…or even what other adventures Paks had that led to her return as described in “Limits” to include streaks of gray hair)?

    Thanks again for an awesome series!

    *smiles & waves to the other fans of this series on this thread*

  • Comment by Wickersham's Conscience — July 11, 2013 @ 11:39 am


    @Richard –

    IThat’s a good set of answers and summaries. I’d put it this way: Elizabeth needs Luap’s time-locked magelord militia that she stashed in Kolobia at the end of Liar’s Oath for the events to come in Crown. Or at least Kieri needs them. But the prologue and the last chapter of Liar’s Oath are extremely difficult/impossible to reconcile with events in Paladin’s Legacy.

    She needs the magelord militia, but the baggage in Liar’s Oath is quite a serious problem. She could ignore it but, as her editor says, it may confusticate and bebother readers who haven’t read Liar’s Oath. She could retcon it, but that soaks up available word space. I thought for a while she might invert waking them up and putting them to sleep, but my re-read of Liar’s Oath shows that wouldn’t work any better, and might be even more confusing.

    Which is what led me and a couple of others here to suggest a prologue that summarizes and re-cons the inconsistent events in Liar’s Oath. After all, Luap was an unreliable character…

    Overall, I think Elizabeth was amazingly good at leaving the proper plot threads from Liar’s Oath and building Paladin’s Legacy from them, but the missing notebooks and her decision to use a tight time frame in Paladin’s Legacy tripped her up a bit.

  • Comment by GinnyW — July 11, 2013 @ 6:59 pm


    As Elizabeth told us in an earlier post, the time frame in Liar’s Oath just had to be scrapped. Perhaps, an omnibus edition of Paladin’s Legacy could contain an appendix, with some sort of “official” time-line. Just now, I think there is too much pressure on Elizabeth’s time with finishing Crown and health issues and whatnot to have the kind of perspective that putting an appendix like that together demands.

    I know Tolkien did it, but he was a Professor of Anglo-Saxon literature. He undoubtably had some tendencies toward that sort of work anyhow. Others may have to work harder to psyche themselves into it.

  • Comment by Richard — July 16, 2013 @ 2:22 am


    Stephen (#78), hello, come on in.

    The torture scene in Deed III was what I was only third most reluctant to re-read. It was a close call between her miserable wanderings at the end of part II (second) and the way she was bullied at Fin Panir into becoming Girdish (the business with the axe). I think what helped her through the torture was having decided from experience that nothing the Liartians could do would be as bad as the fear and shame of the mental illness.

    You are right about Arvid and Paks, though it has taken me until Limits to see it. She has an aptitude for fitting in (which paradoxically kept getting her into trouble, because people didn’t realise where her sticking points are until stepping on a mine, bang!) whereas he enjoyed standing apart, even from the women he seduced and walked away from; but otherwise, yes, they are in many ways alike.

    Your question about the elf lord is answered in a blink-and-you’ve-missed-it mention in Limits of Power: the original explanation (mainly from the elf who took her to join the rangers later) was a propaganda cover-up.

    Other reads:
    – “Gifts” (in the Moon Flights collection) is a lovely short story in Paksworld, but a stand-alone one;

    – “Judgment” (there too) does connect loosely – there is a dragon in it, I think a different one from Dragon, but sharing the same draconic traits (see the “Dragon Colors” blog from the Legends mini-series);

    – the Legends blogs , March 2011, are useful background;

    – also here in the blogs is a short side story, Sergeant Vardan’s (the 12 days of Christmas 2011); is a side story about how the torture scene affected a young witness/fellow victim; is something different;

    – Elizabeth’s Lytherus interview (get to it from the June 14th blog) is an excellent summary of much she discusses here.

    The site’s short fiction page lists two other short stories (early ones) I’ve never read – “Bargains” and “Dream’s Quarry” – can anyone say what they are about?

  • Comment by elizabeth — July 16, 2013 @ 7:19 am


    Richard: “Bargains” is the first fiction I ever sold, written after finishing Oath of Gold, well before the books were sold and published. I had written other side stories as I went along, and submitted four of them to Marion Zimmer Bradley for Sword & Sorceress III. She rejected them all, but in the last rejection said she had room in the anthology for only one more story, of 1500 words and humorous. I dithered about whether that meant I could try one more time, came down on the side of “Yes, you ninny!” and wrote “Bargains.” Initially it was 2300 words. I whittled it down to 1497 (losing a subplot along the way) and shipped it off and she bought it. My next sale was “ABCs in Zero G” to Stan Schmidt at Analog, so I had a foot in both ends of the genre from the start. “Bargains” is about an ex-mercenary adventurer who travels with a wizard (both women) and what happens when they find bargains in a city market.

    I had written several stories about the same pair, but my agent (when I got one a couple of years later) said he understood why Bradley had rejected four of them and didn’t think they were strong enough to market. Printouts are in the lost notebook. Several are humorous, including the one about the music festival with a division for “martial songs” and what happens when a mercenary sings a real martial song (as sung by actual soldiers) instead of what was expected. I still like that one, in memory, but I can’t reproduce it. It’s one of those “You had to be there” things and I’m not “there” anymore.

    “Dream’s Quarry” is a story set in the horse nomad culture, about a young girl’s rite of passage, and is loosely based (very loosely!) on what’s known about one of the several horse-nomad cultures of Central Asia, in which both sexes had to kill someone in combat before being considered full adults. Mixed with other relevant bits of anthropology from other nomadic peoples, whether with horses or not. It was first published in Horsefantastic. (In a way, its closest relative is “Gravesite Revisited” which was an Analog story about a team of archaeologists who had a time-traveling device, and the “primitive” people they were studying who thought they were being attacked by grave-robbing witches. The archaeologists’ theories about why grave contents changes in a short period….inaccurate.)

    “Dream’s Quarry” wasn’t in Moon Flights because the editor didn’t like its opening sentence and said he wouldn’t include it unless I changed it. The same editor completely misread another horse-related story (“Horse of Her Dreams” in Sisters in Fantasy is not “just another girl and her horse story” but the story of a father who cannot accept that the daughter he has could be happy since she’s not beautiful. The editor of Sisters got it, and so did other women readers, but a male editor…said it was “just another girl and her horse story.” And wanted me to change the opening sentence of “Dream’s Quarry” to something that was completely wrong in its rhythm. I got mad and pulled both stories and he was mad and wouldn’t include any of the horse-related stories. For the record, I think men who see every story with a horse in it written by a woman as “a girl and her horse” and therefore covered with girl cooties are…as wrong as women who see every story with a motorcycle/boat/gun in it written by a man as “a boy and his toys” and soaked in testosterone dreams. Also for the record, I think when a writer has accumulated a body of published work such that a publisher asks to publish a collection, what goes in that collection, and whether previously published stories should be changed at all, should be the author’s choice.

  • Comment by Stephen — July 17, 2013 @ 6:38 am


    Thank you for responding & helping to make me feel right at home! 🙂

    I vaguely remember the brief section of “Limits” you’re referring to and I’ll have to go back and re-read it a few times…but I look forward to the additional insight I’ll gain from it. Between that and your suggested “Other reads”, I’ll surely get the background I’m seeking. 🙂

    I also reflected upon your mention of Paks’ wanderings and agree with you about how difficult it was to read the first time; however, my questions about that period of Paks’ “Pre-Paladin” days were answered by Master Oakhallow during his lecture to Paks on courage. That whole “lecture” opened my eyes quite a bit and helped me solidify what a true “Paladin” is….not the “Good but stupid” type that Elizabeth accurately summarized from Dungeons & Dragons days.

    Now I”ve got some re-reading to do…and some background to enjoy. Thanks!!!

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — August 4, 2013 @ 3:37 pm


    Have reread yet again Surrender None. Have gotten through the overlap in time between Liar’s Oath and SN. Reading it as “background” now with the four most recent volumes under my belt there IS a lot of interesting information just in that small section of LO. So, yes, if you haven’t yet read it. I highly recommend to do so.

  • Comment by Hawkman — August 9, 2013 @ 11:44 pm


    Stephen, you asked about the elf Lord Paks freed from the banast taig? He stayed behind to protect and allow the retreat/escape of all other elves of the Ladysforest. Forget where that was explained.

  • Comment by Richard — August 17, 2013 @ 3:44 am


    I disagree. In Oath of Gold, after Oakhallow healed her, an elf called Haleron led Paks to join the Lyonyan Rangers. It was he, on that occasion, who gave that explanation, but it was a story and not true.

    The truth is what Amrothlin admits to Kieri in chapter nine of Limits: the elflord was the Lady’s first heir who chose the Severance over her obedience to the Singer.
    In other words, he turned iynisin. Which I think means it was he who created the banast taig, from his own elvenhome gift, and he who was the danger the others fled from. Flessinathlin cut away and expended some of her own power (the elfane taig) to imprison him there, because morally, and perhaps physically, she could do no more against him.

  • Comment by Hawkman — August 28, 2013 @ 4:09 am


    Richard: OK.
    For those who want to read the Haleron story, it’s page 710 of DoP, or the last 2 pages of Chapter 3 Book 3.

  • Comment by Richard — August 29, 2013 @ 5:48 am


    One of the things I like about the new explanation is that it turns the old one into a story that it is so in character for elves to tell.

    We still haven’t had all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed as to everything Paks encountered in the banast taig underground halls – what was the glow that seeped out around doors then started condensing into a shape? what was the glob she had to grab at the end? – but the bits of the story we’ve been given since do all hang together for me.

    One of my guesses: if the banast taig was elvenhome power put to evil use, it should have protected the iynisin against enemies – but he saw Paks and Macenion as no threat, only prey to be lured in. So Kieri be careful – your new protection isn’t perfect.

  • Comment by Hawkman — September 2, 2013 @ 12:40 am


    From earlier in this thread: Seli and Aris arrived at Fin Panit in a storm of light. With others here talking about temporal distortions, could time (or distance) manipulation be a gift of true paladins like these 2 plus Paks? Elves do it, but graduate of paladin training wouldn’t nor be able to teach it.

  • Comment by Hawkman — September 2, 2013 @ 12:48 am


    Instead of Author’s foreword, perhaps use the device of newbie, noob, FNG or student in the class when the history is revised – the scrolls have been reviewed and newly incorporated. The current understanding of events could be reviewed juxtaposed with how things were taught before.

  • Comment by Hawkman — September 2, 2013 @ 1:09 am


    Horngard remains a mystery to me. After Arcolin’s showdown, I’ve paid a little more attention. With all their much feared mighty Pikes, how has so much trouble gone on there? Two paladins killed in a year? I suspect the eldest race will be displeased with how the place has fared after he left it to the stewards.

  • Comment by GinnyW — September 5, 2013 @ 6:03 am


    Richard (#86), I thought the two stories about the banast taig complemented each other. The elf-lord that Paks freed was containing the evil that entered somehow when the Lady’s heir (Amrothlin’s brother) became iynisin. Certainly the elfane taig was damaged, but it was never “unsung”.

    Hawkman, Horngard remains a mystery to me, too. I suspect that evil has been at work there. Arcolin’s story suggests that the royal family was eroded from within by jealousy and selfishness. (Does this sound like the work of Achrya to you?) Perhaps Arcolin has been a target of the Webmistress, as well as Kieri.

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