Stone of Farewell
Second book of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
Simon, the Sitha Jiriki, and soldier Haestan are honored guests in the mountaintop city of the diminutive Qanuc trolls. But Sludig - whose Rimmersgard folk are the Quanuc's ancient enemies - and Simon's troll friend Binabik are not so well treated; Binabik's people hold them both captive, under sentence of death. An audience with the Herder and Huntress, rulers of the Qanuc, reveals that Binabik is being blamed not only for deserting his tribe, but for failing to fulfill his vow of marriage to Sisqi, youngest daughter of the reigning family. Simon begs Jiriki to intercede, but the Sitha has obligations to his own family, and will not in any case interfere with trollish justice. Shortly before the executions, Jiriki departs for this home.
Although Sisqi is bitter about Binabik's seeming fickleness, she cannot stand to see him killed. With Simon and Haestan, she arranges a rescue of the two prisoners but as they seek a scroll from Binabik's master's cave which will give them the information necessary to find a place named the Stone of Farewell - which Simon has learned of in a vision - they are recaptured by the angry Qanuc leaders. But Binabik's master's death-testament confirms the troll's story of his absence, and its warnings finally convince the Herder and the Huntress that there are indeed dangers to all the land which they have not understood. After some discussion, the prisoners are pardoned and Simon and his companions are given permission to leave Yiqanuc and take the powerful sword Thorn to exiled Prince Josua. Sisqi and other trolls will accompany them as far as the base of the mountains.
Meanwhile, Josua and a small band of followers have escaped the destruction of Naglimund and are wandering through the Aldheorte Forest, chased by the Storm King's Norns. They must defend themselves against not only arrows and spears but dark magic, but at last they are met by Geloe, the forest woman, and Leleth, the mute child Simon had rescued from the terrible hounds of Stormspike. The stange pair lead Josua's party through the forest to a place that once belonged to the Sithi, where the Norns dare not pursue them for fear of breaking the ancient Pact between the sundered kin. Geloe then tells them they should travel on to another place even more sacred to the Sithi, the same Stone of Farewell to which she had directed Simon in the vision she sent him.
Miriamele, daughter of High King Elias and niece of Josua, is traveling south in hope of finding allies for Josua among her relatives in the courts of Nabban; she is accompanied by the dissolute monk Cadrach. They are captured by Count Streawe of Perdruin, a cunning and mercenary man, who tells Miriamele he is going to deliver her to an unnamed person to whom he owes a debt. To Miriamele's joy, this mysterious personage turns out to be a friend, the priest Dinivan, who is secretary to Lector Ranessin, the leader of Mother Church. Dinivan is secretly a member of the League of the Scroll, and hopes that Miriamele can convince the lector to denounce Elias and his counselor, the renegade priest Pryrates. Mother Church is under siege, not only from Elias, who demands the church not interfere with him, but from the Fire dancers, religious fanatics who claim the Storm King comes to them in dreams. Ranessin listens to what Miriamele has to say and is very troubled.
Simon and his companions are attacked by snow-giants on their way down from the high mountains, and the soldier Haestan and many trolls are killed. Later, as he broods on the injustice of life and death, Simon inadvertently awakens the Sitha mirror Jiriki had given him as a summoning charm, and travels on the Dream Road to encounter the first the Sitha matriarch Amerasu, then the terrible Norn Queen Utuk'ku. Amerasu is trying to understand the schemes of Utuk'ku and the Storm King, and is traveling the Dream Road in search of both wisdom and allies.
Josua and the remainder of his company at last emerge from the forest onto the grasslands of the High Thrithing, where they are almost immediately captured by the nomadic clan led by March-Thane Fikolmij, who is the father of Josua's lover Vorzheva. Fikolmij begrudges the loss of his daughter, and after beating the prince severly, arranges a duel in which he intends that Josua should be killed; Fikolmij's plan fails and Josua survives. Fikolmij is then forced to pay off a bet by giving the prince's company horses. Josua is strongly affected the shame Vorzheva feels at seeing her people again, marries her in front of Fikolmij and the assembled clan. When Vorzheva's father gleefully announces that soldiers of King Elias are coming across the grasslands to capture them, the prince and his followers ride away east toward the Stone of Farewell.
In far off Hernystir, Maegwin is the last of her line. Her father the king and her brother have both been killed fighting Elias' pawn Skali, and she and her people have taken refuge in caves in the Grianspog Mountains. Maegwin has been troubled by strange dreams, and finds herself drawn into the old mines and caverns beneath the Grianspog. Count Eolair, her father's most trusted liege-man, goes in search of her, and together he and Maegwin enter the great underground city of Mezutu'a. Maegwin is convinced that the Sithi live there, and that they will come to the rescue of the Hernystiri as they did in the old days, but the only inhabitants they discover in the crumbling city are the dwarrows, a strange timid group of delvers distantly related to the immortals. The dwarrows, who are metalwrights as well as stonecrafters, reveal that the sword Minneyar that Josua's people seek is actually the blade known as Bright-Nail, which was buried with Prester John, father of Josua and Elias. This news means little to Maegwin, who is shattered to find that her dreams have brought her people no real assistance. She is also at least as troubled by what she considers her foolish love for Eolair, so she invents an errand for him - taking news of Minneyar and maps of dwarrows' diggings, which include tunnels below Elias' castle, the Hayholt, to Josua and his band of survivors. Eolair is puzzled and angry at being sent away, but goes.
Simon and Binabik and Sludig leave Sisqi and the other trolls at the base of the mountain and continue across the icy vastness of the White Waste. Just at the northern edge of the great forest, they find an old abbey inhabited by children and their caretaker, an older girl named Skodi. They stay the night, glad to be out of the cold, but Skodi proves to be more than she seems: in the darkness she traps three of them by witchcraft, then begins a ceremony in which she intends to invoke the Storm King and show him that she has captured the sword Thorn. One of the undead Red Hand appears because of Skodi's spell, but a child disrupts the ritual and brings up a monstrous swarm of diggers. Skodi and the children are killed, but Simon and the others escape, thanks largely to Binabik's fierce wolf Qantaqa. But Simon is almost mad from the mind-touch of the Red Hand, and rides away from his companions, crashing into a tree at last and striking himself senseless. He falls down a gulley, and Binabi and Sludig are unable to find him. At last, full of remorse, they take the sword Thorn and continue on toward the Stone of Farewell without him.
Several people besides Miriamele and Cadrach have arrived the lector's palace in Nabban. One of them is Josua's ally Duke Isgrimnur, who is searching for Miramele. Another is Pryrates, who has come to bring Lector Ranessin an ultimatum from the king. The lector angrily denounces both Pryrates and Elias; the king's emissary walks out of the banquet, threatening revenge.
That night, Pryarates metamorphoses himself with a spell he has been given by the Storm King's servitors, and becomes a shadowy thing. He kills Dinivan and then brutally murders the lector. Afterward, he sets the halls aflame to cast suspicion on the Fire Dancers. Cadrach, who greatly fears Pryrates and has spent the night urging Miriamele to flee the lector's palace with him, finally knocks her senseless and drags her away. Isgrimnur finds the dying Dinivan, and is given a Scroll League token for the Wrannaman Tiamak and instructions to go the inn named Pelippa's Bowl in Kwantipul, a city of the edge of the marshes south of Nabban.
Tiamak, meanwhile, has received an earlier message from Dinivan and is on his way to Kwantipul, although his journey almost ends when he is attacked by a crocodile. Wounded and feverish, he arrives at Pelippa's Bowl at last and gets an unsympathetic welcome from the new landlady.
Miriamele awakens to find that Cadrach has smuggled her into the hold of a ship. While the monk has lain in drunken sleep, the ship has set sail. They are quickly found by Gan Itai, a Niskie, whose job is to keep the ship safe from the menacing aquatic creatures called kilpa. Although Gan Itai takes a liking to the stowaways, she nevertheless turns them over to the ship's master, Aspitis Preves, a young Nabbanai nobleman.
Far to the north, Simon has awakened from a dream in which he again heard the Sitha-woman Amerasu, and in which he has discovered that Ineluki the Storm King is her son. Simon is now lost and alone in the trackless, snow-covered Aldheorte Forest. He tries to use Jirki's mirror to summon help, but no one answers his plea. At last he sets out in what he hopes is the right direction, although he knows he has little chancce of crossing the scores of leagues of winterbound woods alive. He ekes out a meager living on bugs and grass, but it seems only a question of whether he will first go completely mad or starve to death. He is finally saved by the appearance of Jiriki's sister Aditu, who has come in response to the mirror-summoning. She works a kind of traveling-magic that appears to turn winter into summer, and when it is finished, she and Simon enter the hidden Sithi stringhold of Jao e-Tinukai'i. It is a place of magical beauty and timelessness. When Jiriki welcomes him, Simon's joy is great; moments later, when he is taken to see Likimeya and Shima'onari, parents of Jiriki and Aditu, that joy turns to horror. The leaders of the Sithi say that since no mortal has ever been permitted in secret Jao e-Tinukai'i, Simon must stay there forever.
Josua and his company are pursued into the northern grasslands, but when they turn at last in desperate resistance, it is to find these latest pursuers are not Elias' soldiers, but Thrithings-folk who have deserted Fikolmij's clan to throw in their lot with the prince. Together, and with Geloe leading the way, they at last reach Sesuad'ra, the Stone of Farewell.