Reader Help Wanted

Posted: February 7th, 2024 under Reader Help.

One of my upcoming shorter stories (short-ER, not necessarily short; I don’t know how long it will be) was up for discussion in the writing group I’m now in.   Discussion got a big confused at some points so I can’t remember who mentioned that I had covered the same incident in the first Paks series, probably in Sheepfarmer’s Daughter.   I have no idea where it is in there; my old mass market paperback of Paks I is yellowing badly and has been chewed on by things that chew on the covers of paperbacks and the binding is ready to crack.   And it was told from a different point of view. So I’m asking people with time to spare to find it for me, in whichever volume it is.   I won’t warp the current story to match it exactly (apparently it was told by someone who wasn’t at the scene (whew–!)  but maybe not.

The incident concerns Kieri’s first independent command and the Pargunese attack on the Tsaian camp, in which the Crown Prince was killed, Duke Marrakai fatally wounded, and Kieri took command and saved the lot of them.  The story I’m writing is the continuation & completion of the story in DEEDS OF YOUTH about Kieri and Selis Marrakai, the young man who was “corrected” by the Prince and told to give his horse to Kieri.


  • Comment by mjs — February 7, 2024 @ 4:05 pm


    Is this it?
    Deeds of Paksennarion: Oath of Gold, chap 11 –
    Stammel speaking to Paks:

    And you’re young. But not as young as all that. Our Duke commanded a cohort at your age—that was all the Company he had then. And Marrakai gave him command—have you heard this?” “No,” said Paks, interested suddenly. She knew very little about the Duke’s past. “You can’t stay long, so I’ll hurry the tale, but it’s worth telling. His first independent contract with the crown of Tsaia was in support of an expedition to Pargun. The crown prince commanded in the field, and the Duke—a captain then—had wangled a direct contract so that he ranked with the other independent commanders, dukes and counts and such. They didn’t like that, so I hear. Ask Siger, some time: he was there. They were at the Pargunese border, east of here, when the prince called a conference one night. All the commanders in one tent—and their bodyguards. A force of Pargunese made it through the lines from the rear, and killed nearly all of them. Our Duke was knocked cold; the prince was killed; Marrakai—the most powerful baron, then—was badly wounded. “Marrakai was widely believed to have ordered the attack—no love lost between him and the crown, so most men thought. The camp fell apart—the prince’s commanders quarreling over command, and the steward threatening to go back to Vérella with his body—and our Duke took command, just by shouting louder than the others, according to Arcolin. Then Marrakai called him in, and gave him command of the Marrakai troops—five fighting cohorts—to attack the Pargunese and avenge the prince. So he did, and routed them, and brought back the head of the Sagon, the Pargunese western commander. That was his first big command, and that’s when he got this grant, and the title. The next year, it was, he began recruiting in the north, and I remember seeing him come through my hometown. I was too young, then, but I didn’t wait about long.” “I had wondered how he got this land,” said Paks.

  • Comment by Jeff Davidson — February 7, 2024 @ 5:39 pm


    It’s in Chapter 11 of Oath of Gold. Stammel relates the story to Paks after the fight with Arvys and Venner, whe she comes to collet her belongs from the barracks.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 7, 2024 @ 11:49 pm


    Thank you! Exactly what I needed. What’s important is that Stammel was not actually there himself. He’s giving details he did not see for himself and as long as the main points of the story match, details can change over time. The battle occured 30 years before Paks heard it from Stammel, and Stammel would have heard it as much as ten years after it happened Paks never asked Siger more (as far as I remember) and trusted Stammel’s story as the real thing. There were other stories going around, among the surviving nobility and their heirs, as well. I found it in my old mass-market paperback copy, page 158…since I thought it might be in Paks 1, it would’ve taken me forever to find it. I had written it as a “side story” of Kieri (in WordStar, on a 5.25 inch floppy, no less) and if I ever printed it out, I haven’t found it yet. The events in “Consequences,” one of the stories in DEEDS OF YOUTH, expanded that side story, and this one, when it’s done and into the next short fiction collection, will complete it. But this is a huge help to me as I work on polishing “Destiny.”

  • Comment by Richard Simpkin — February 8, 2024 @ 3:52 am


    OoG page 158 – that’s 930 in the omnibus (UK edition), if anybody else wants to remind themselves. There are briefer mentions in the chapters round about, confirming bits of the story, but Stammel’s telling is the most elaborate.

  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — February 9, 2024 @ 8:13 am


    Hi – do you not have the e-book’s of all of your works? I am surprised that your publishers have not gifted you with these.

  • Comment by Jace — February 9, 2024 @ 3:03 pm


    I love E-books. Really handy to load up a bunch of stuff and then carry your own library with you in your shirt pocket. Not so handy when I’m trying to locate a particular passage somewhere in the middle third of the story or so that’s what my 77 year old brain thinks it remembers. Much easier to have said book in hand and doing the old hop,skip, and jump through the pages till you can narrow it down.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — February 12, 2024 @ 10:59 am


    The OoG was the main part of it. I recall there being conversations with Siger in Dorrin’s series. But I think that was with Dorrin and only briefly touched on what the elves, et. al. thought of the incident at the time–even briefer than this snippet from my vague memory.

    Daniel Glover

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — February 22, 2024 @ 11:21 am


    OK. I found the line in Oath of Fealty I was remembering. It actually was from Kieri but literally one line.

    Page 278 (hardback, US)
    “I warred with them on the borders of Tsaia; I killed one of their Sagons myself, and only realized much later it was their king’s brother. Moreover–and I found this out only recently–it’s possible their quarrels with us and with Tsaia come from very old wounds. The elves say their ancestors were driven out of their lands by magelords of Old Aare–they came to Pargun and Kostandan looking for refuge and then met what they saw as old enemies across the river.”

    The first line being the most salient to your question. There also may be something in Kings of the North with the whole set of marriage negotiations going on.

  • Comment by Jace — February 28, 2024 @ 4:23 pm


    I seem to remember that you live in south central Texas, well away from the panhandle fires: I hope. Did you get any of last week’s rain. I hope.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — February 29, 2024 @ 10:10 am


    I logged on to ask the same question.
    Daniel Glover

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