Skirmish: Spoiler discussion thread

People who post here are going to be discussing evens in the book itself, so if you hate spoilers, this is not the thread for you :).

105 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leia
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 04:40:11

    One of my favourite things about the Sun Sword books were the political machinations of the various characters. The jockeying of the kialli, the reluctance of Valedan to wholeheartedly follow the ways of the Dominion and how he was learning to balance his northern and southern heritages, Diora’s plans, etc. I also really enjoyed all the maneuvering the Den and The Terafin did while Jewel was away. I actually found that much more interesting than Jewel’s travels with Avandar and the Voyani.

    With that in mind, I have to say that I did not care for this book as much as I expected to. Maybe because it focused much more on Jewel and her fantastical stuff rather than the rest of the Den. I honestly wanted to delve into Daine and Adam’s perspectives of what was going on at House Terafin, as well as the other Den members. Also maybe get some background on Jester. Instead, I had to read through Celleriant’s issues, the three cats, more about the Hidden Ways, etc. While I did not hate reading it, I felt the emphasis on Jewel and not House Terafin to be disappointing. Hopefully, War will much more focused on the actual Succession War and not Jewel’s specialness.

    That may seem that I didn’t enjoy the book, but I did enjoy many aspects of it. Jewel negotiating with the man she wants to be her spymaster, Devon’s involvement with the house and Jewel, and finding out more about the sleeping sickness was great. That the focus kept being brought back to why the House and guests were gathering was also heartfelt. Learning a bit more about Gabriel and Marrick was also interesting as well as delving more into the Spirit of the First Terafin.

    So, well done to Ms West in finishing such a long book within a year of the previous book (that is twice in a row for the House War books, from 2 to 3, and now 3 to 4). I greatly look forward to War. I am also looking forward to Silence and Cast in Peril, both due out later this year. Crack on!

    Thank you for having a thread on your website that readers may discuss your books. This is very welcoming and gracious of you.

    Reply

  2. Michael
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 08:22:45

    I loved it. I’ve always been a fan of the Hidden Ways, and the moment Avandar called her “sen Jewel” was a small highlight for me. I’ve wanted Jewel to walk the Oracle’s path since Hunter’s Death.
    I wanted it desperately in The Shining Court, and I thought I might even see it happen by the end of the Sun sword series.
    I hoped that she would walk the path before fighting the House War, to wield her vision as a weapon and take the Seat.
    I have long been a fan of the resurgence of the Old Ways, of the power last seen during the Cities of Man: Jewel, Kallandras (though I suppose the argument could be made for Diora, here), Adam, Anya, and the other too-powerful talent-born.
    And the rings.
    And Stephen of Maubreche and his singular Huntbrother.
    As much as I love the political machinations — and I do! — I yearn for the epic and the fantastical. For the Evayne’s path to come to an end.
    I am *so* looking forward to when the Sleeper Wake.

    Reply

    • Hilda
      Jan 13, 2012 @ 14:15:43

      Michael, I’m so much with you here. There’s so much still to be said, finalize. All those characters and their style of life, mostly in he Sun Sword, are still alive, ready for more adventures, days of life. Michelle mentioned some of them that will be back. It has to be an epic, but in one book…. I’m not sure.

      Reply

  3. Estara
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 14:08:20

    I love both the fantastical side and the personal side, and since this book had a time frame of only a few days it made sense that the larger culmination of various developments that had started way earlier took centre stage. I look forward to more of both macro and micro vision.

    As I was reading my way through the discussion in the last three posts here I was thinking – if Tolkien hadn’t just worked in his study alone with occasional feedback from family and Inklings, and had kept publishing the hightlights of various threads of his timeline to the public, it would have probably been very similar to what we get with the Essalieyan/Dominion books: a major epic world in development.

    How nice that we have the luxury to get the bits from the author herself and don’t have to wait for people years later to wade through unfinished threads and try to order them in a fashion that makes sense.

    That’s how I see it anyway

    Reply

  4. Alan
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 03:47:10

    I really enjoyed skirmish, but I still have a second reread before I can say more about it.

    My favorite scene was Jewel’s walk to Cel, although there’s a couple of other scenes that I like nearly as much. My least favorite scene is the spirit scene at/near the end. For whatever reason it didn’t sit quite right, ce la vie.

    Reply

  5. Genna Warner
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 08:54:24

    I loved the humor that the cats provided in this book. But Avandar’s actions/personality seemed changed to me. I am assuming it is because of what happened towards the end of the Sun Sword series but it still felt odd to me. I tried to read this one slowly but I am going to have to do a another read to make sure I got everything.

    And based on the last few paragraphs, does this mean War is only going to cover a few days as well?

    Reply

  6. Edward
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 09:01:04

    It’ll be interesting to see just how much of Avandar’s history will come to light as things progress. After all, the God’s recognised him during their meeting, but the Exalted didn’t… so I’m curious as to whether their parents will fill them in. And since Sigurne was stuck in “watcher-mode”, she’ll have heard the Gods call him by name… and now she has an understanding for just how powerful he is. That could provide some interesting knock-on effects as the story moves along..

    Jewel having to rein in Cel’s response of “if you need to take power here, I can just go through the building and kill everyone who is your enemy” was amusing as well..

    I did enjoy how well it balanced into the timeline, and the careful references of what was happening in the South. I imagine with the slow return of the Armies, and The Flight at some point, there will be some fine opportunities for Jewel to show off some of how she’s changed.

    Although the sudden reveal (or apparent reveal) that Harval had previously been the person who held Duvari’s position.. that was certainly a surprise. Adding to the tension and background byplay in a fun manner.

    Reply

    • DG
      Jan 11, 2012 @ 23:23:46

      I was surprised that no one (Haval and Sigurne in particular) didn’t see (or sense) Avandar’s mark on Jewel. I suppose only they can see it (although the people Avandar turned to stone at his home could also see it). Regardless, Teller knows there is a lot more to the story than what Jewel has told them and I’m sure if Angel finds out about the mark he’ll go nuts. Honestly, I’m still not sure how Jewel sees Avandar now. She said he’s “den but not den” (or something along those lines). Avandar is not like Morretz, he won’t do whatever Jewel says 100% and he goes off on his own to do what he feels is necessary. He’s also not her “Killer” either, not in the way Duster was.

      Reply

    • Hilda
      Jan 13, 2012 @ 14:02:47

      Edward, I’m with you here. Avandar no longer seems to care who knows about him. In his fight at the palace, Devon clearly heard the Allasianni demons (they are likable) calling him Viandaran and Warlord. Even more, he was well known by them. Devon is quick and very smart. What will he do?

      Reply

  7. Alan
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 15:09:56

    Yeah, I love Haval.

    “I’m a dressmaker”
    “A maker of dresses and other fine clothing”

    It does make me wonder, slightly, how _Rath_ met him though. Given the response by the patris et al to Duvari and to Haval for that matter, it’s interesting that Rath was apparently as comfortable with Haval as he was.

    Reply

    • DG
      Jan 11, 2012 @ 23:13:29

      I don’t know how many “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” fans are out there, but Haval always reminded me start of Elim Garak from that show (who’s father was the former head of the Obsidian Order (covert ops/spies/etc.), he was a former member, and is also a tailor, lol!). Always loved that character so I immediately liked Haval when he appeared.

      Reply

    • Edward
      Jan 12, 2012 @ 12:15:37

      I remembered something from The Hidden City, during Jay’s introduction to Haval.
      Between Rath and Haval –

      “Wisdom plays a little part in this.” Rath replied.
      “It seldom does. But if you were wise, we would never have met.And I? I would be elsewhere, I think. In the King’s service.”

      And Hannerle mentions that Haval wouldn’t say no to Rath because “he owes him too much.”

      So you do get the feeling that in some way, Rath provided the aid that helped Haval “retire” from whatever life he was in before he became Haval the Tailor.

      Reply

  8. Onon
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 17:13:51

    Really, really enjoyed it and cannot wait for more

    Reply

  9. Amanda
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 10:21:32

    I loved the story of Skirmish, but I really need to do a series re-read – although I greatly appreciate the extra summary scenes, it’s been years since I read the Sun Sword series, so I feel like I’m missing the full richness of the experience by not having those fresh in my memory.

    I have a really hard time picturing Jewel and her den as adults – I know that they are, at this point in the story, but in my mind’s eye they’re all still 17 or so.

    I thought the ending scene of Skirmish, with the spirit of Terafin was really well done – it really felt like an ENDING. It was, of course, for that character, but while there were still so many loose threads and so much of the story to tell, it felt very much like an end-of-series scene. Maybe because the book felt so epic, and so much happened within the few days it took place. The world of Terafin was completely upended, and Jewel’s ascension really does seem inevitable.

    Reply

  10. Jakebutnotheone
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 15:44:16

    I loved Skirmish. I have now read it twice, and I reread the previous 3 books as well. And then I ordered all 6 of the Sun Sword books (I hadn’t gotten them earlier because they are not digital).

    Ms West is on a very short list of my most favorite authors of all time. The Elantra series, the House War series… they are phenomenal storytelling.

    And, I love long, long, long story arcs.

    Jewel in front of the Common tree in Snow’s dress… I can see that as clearly as if I were there. I WANT to be there.

    Reply

  11. Hilda
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 13:51:08

    I’m a fan of readers’ comments following Michelle’s books. There are so many threads, but hard to find the non spoilers. Hopefully, this is one. I think Skirmish is a great book, probably the one I like best although I say the same thing every time I read one. After reading the few threads for Skirmish, it seems to me that I have a different perception than most or all of you regarding the last 2 books in the series (Skirmish and War). Readers expect War to be for the House.
    My idea was that Skirmish would cover the complete House War and Jewel would be confirmed as Terafin. War, therefore, will be the final epic battle against Allasakar, where the fighter characters from the Sun sword will join those of House War and bring about a new system of power, for the Empire, the Dominion, the Gods and the humans. I expect to see a new status for the Allasianni, a new life for Avandar/Viandaran with Jewel combining Terafin and Voyani.
    Some books ago, during the Sun Sword, I reached the conclusion that Jewel was the matriarch of the lost Voyani; they kept mentioning five, and she loved to slap even Avandar (who has known it all along). Not just matriarch (which Adam likes to call her), but Sen!!! Wow, Avandar, you really are way ahead. But after reading so many comments, it seems to me readers expect War to end with Jewel as Terafin..
    Michelle has already said in earlier threds that we will see again so many of the Sun Swords characters; they can only come in War, and the only reason would be to fight Allasakar. What I can not believe is that Michelle can manage all of this in one book. I’m for one in favor of two long books: Part One and Two. Before these great series end, and so many fabulous characters go the way of older books.
    Gena, you are right: there is something different with Avandar. I thought we will clarify here what happen after his display of affection in the bridge at the Terrean of Mancorvo.He has one personality in the Sun Sword and another in the House series

    Reply

    • Auraya
      Jan 13, 2012 @ 14:28:25

      House War isn’t the final series. Michelle wrote these books so finalize Jewel’s plot tread from Sun Sword. You have to remember that the Skirmish and probably War take place before/during the final bgattle in Sun Sword. That’s the reason we haven’t yet seen much of the other characters.

      There will be another series, called “The End of Days”. The first book will be called “Black Gauntlet”.

      Reply

      • Hilda
        Jan 13, 2012 @ 18:03:56

        Auraya, thanks for the information, which is great news to me (probably only to me). I was not aware that these other books with some of the same characters are in our future. I know Michelle is planning a series placed in modern times. I try to keep up with her messages but missed that one explaining the rest of these series. I couldn’t figure out how she was going to deal with so many open matters in one book. I’ll be happily looking forward to all those other books in the future.

        Reply

    • Jim
      Jan 15, 2012 @ 15:23:21

      If Jewel belongs to the fifth Voyani clan, does that mean that the giant jewel she got from Snow is actually the Heart of… whatever the city was called?

      Anyway, I liked the book. The story finally started moving again. The prequels were good, but I wanted to know what happened to Jewel after she teleported away from the battlefield.

      Also, the writing in Skirmish is much better – or at least more consistent – than in the two previous books. There were segments in City of Night and House Name I’m absolutely sure were cut from Hunter’s Death; for instance the scene in which the den reached House Terafin for the first time and the one in which Bredan was summoned. Michelle West has grown as an author in the years between Hunter’s Death and City of Night, and the difference in writing is really noticeable.

      Reply

  12. Auraya
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 14:34:25

    I loved Skirmish. The scenes with Haval and in the forest with the Tree were my favorites. Something Michael asked on twitter had me wondering what was going to happen with Warden of Dreams and the Sleepers. Those two are connected somehow, but…

    Avandar felt just a little off, but I thought that might be because he isn’t glued to Jewel’s side in this book. For most of it he’s gardening. So I’ll wait till War to see my impression then.

    Reply

  13. David
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 23:57:55

    There is actually TWO more books to complete this series, the second being Peril and the third being war…

    Reply

    • Leia
      Jan 14, 2012 @ 01:27:31

      Peril is Cast In Peril, the next Elantra book. War should be the final House War book (5 books total) then is the next series, End of Days.

      Reply

  14. Tara
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 08:34:35

    I loved this book! Michelle West is my favorite author so its always a big deal when one of her books comes out, but this is the one I’ve so been waiting for:) And it was awesome!!! Hurray for the Winter King, I think his character is just wonderful…at my house I refer to the books as “Jewel and her Magic Stag Books” lol I was thrilled by the winged sassy cats, and all the different reactions to them from other characters! Some things were just unexpectedly great like Sigurne staying with Jewel and the Den, Arann getting to put one of the leaves onto the tree, Angel riding the Winter King and Snow making Jewel’s dress! This has made me want to do a massive reread lol

    Reply

  15. DeDe
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 19:18:28

    LOL – Personally, I’m hoping for War Parts 1 and 2 (at least) :-)

    Reply

    • Leanne Powner
      Jan 23, 2012 @ 14:20:46

      Seconded! war parts 1, 2 and maybe even 3!!

      I noticed the publishers are suspecting the same thing. They stopped numbering the books and just call them “a novel of the House War” LOL

      Reply

  16. Hilda
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 22:32:08

    At my age, I may not have the chance to read all those projected books, so guessing the future is very interesting to me. Jim, once I reached the conclusion that Jewel is Voyanni, I too wondered about the Heart since her Oma had died. The idea of the gift from Snow is a good guess. Then I look far to guess how Jewel will manage with the 2 responsibilities and the conclusion is “twins”, a boy for Terafin, a girl for the Voyanni. Not guessing at the father or further. But I have to read again to understand how Jewel and the stag were able to run up the tree to save Celeriant; how could that happen to him? How come Avandar could not get into the path to follow her when that is his path, but Aran could? And what is Ishavriel doing here; he is way too busy in the South?

    Reply

  17. Kerri Knorr
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 06:44:02

    You know, if Rymark doesn’t end up the source of the demons, I am not sure I will be surprised – he was suspiciously scarce in this book. I know there are explanations, of course: The demons have warned him to stay away from Jewel, for instance. Or he’s more focused on people he considered more of a threat. But that aborted attack on Gabriel makes me go ‘hmmmmmm’. Could Gabriel have orchestrated that? But that would require rather careful planning around a Seer’s rather erratic vision, and that seems dicey to me (and would, in my opinion, be poor writing and that’s not something I expect from Michelle.) I can’t shake the suspicion, though.

    Reply

    • Shawn
      Feb 17, 2012 @ 06:44:35

      I also midway through the book started to wonder if Gabriel was the one dealing with demons. although he has done nothing to create this suspicion really but there was a moment when something happened that made me wonder as well.

      Reply

  18. Vicky K
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 15:07:21

    Will be interesting to see what happens with Jewel’s visions. Will the Gods make her walk the path of the Oracle? Also, isn’t there another ‘God’ who still walks the mortal world – apart from Bredon – I think that that was mentioned as a supposition in one of the other books. Could that one be linked with the seerborn, after all Evayne has said that she is godborn, but she doesn’t have golden eyes…

    I’m also curious about the Voyani – are all the other cities to be raised?

    There are too many threads to be cleared up in just one book. So that means at least another 4+ years, depending on length of the story arcs *sigh*. I wish Michelle could write faster, but on the other hand, at least I’ll have a good book to look forward to for that long..

    Reply

  19. Alan
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 22:35:06

    The other god is Mystery, Evayne’s parent. (Father?)

    Reply

  20. Hilda
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 21:01:47

    Vicky, see one of Auraya’s messages above. She explains well the future books. Also, in one of the Sun Sword it was discussed how bad it would be for Jewel to walk the Oracle path. I think all the cities will be raised. They are needed to fight Allasakar.
    Michelle resolves some mysteries and open new ones. Today, I was wondering about the God who is already walking this universe, according to the 3 Avelaraan Gods. Can’t be Allasakar since he was sent back, and based on the books he is still in Hells. This other God is in the paths. But the Allasakar Kiallis are wandering all over the place. How many more Gods are besides the 3 Jewel spoke to?
    Alan, is there really one God named Mystery? Or are you guessing? There is another mistery: the Guildmaster ADelios and the girl who crafted the “Fabril sword and the rod”. V and C know what it means, but Jewel do not.

    Reply

    • Adenike
      Jan 17, 2012 @ 23:03:52

      I believe that previously the god who were present were Neamis (Mystery), Allasakar, and Bredan. I know Bredan is not directly in this world anymore, but he still crosses the divide as the arbiter and holder of oaths. I don’t think, as far as we know that there are any other gods. The only one still directly on the plane is Allasakar, and also Neamis who apparently goes where he will.

      Reply

  21. Kerri Knorr
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 23:09:04

    Hilda, the story of Guildmaster ADelios and the girl is a short story. YOu can find it at Smashwords (and iTunes and a few other places).

    Reply

  22. Fox
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 02:52:04

    I can not help thinking that the cats are somewhat more then just cats.
    They were made by the Winter King and as such, from my understanding, when the Winter King died, they would also have died, since they could not function without their Maker.
    Or I am just reading too much into it.

    One more loose thread is why is Summer overdue.
    The Winter King died and the shift from Winter to Summer would have occurred, it did not happen.

    I would love to see Jewel made the Terafin in the next book and also take the Oracle’s path/test.

    Twelve long months to go, sigh.
    At least Cast in Peril is not so far off!

    Reply

    • Edward
      Jan 18, 2012 @ 10:20:56

      The delay in Summer occuring relates to the “Winter Trees” that were corrupted by the demons in the last of the Sun Sword series. There were a few references that they actually planned it that way.. and a certain Matriarch carefully hid one of the trees because it would be “needed in the future” so I think we can safely say that’s going to make a return. Although probably not in War.

      I didn’t think the cats were actually made by the Winter King. In skirmish you have that conversation between them and Jewel that the Winter King put up with them because he was lonely, and out of spite, since the Winter Queen hates the cats.. However, I’m fairly sure he did do something to them which made them stone… Now that he’s dead and they’re somehow linked to Jewel, they’ve suddenly changed to fur…

      Reply

  23. Hilda
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 22:17:11

    Back again to comments while American Idol is on. In Skirmish the cats say that the Winter King went with Arianne, not that he is dead; also, they said they were ordered to go to Jewel and, I believe obey her and not kill or hurt her; that’s why they are behaving. Which is interesting, because someone in the other world (the path) is somehow controlling what is happenning in Averalaan. The other God of the path? The one the Gods mentioned (which is worse than they feared), “one at least of our number now walks the mortal plane”. And that Viandaran knew it. That, “one at least” leaves a door open for more Gods.Now we have this Neamis and Bredan, Six gods. The cats are still a mystery, but very funny and intriguing.
    Edward, Yollana kept the tree, they are to esure summer or winter comes back; Jewel has way too many trees..

    Reply

  24. DG
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 23:07:42

    Summer hasn’t happened yet. That’s why everyone is in a bit of a bind. It should have happened, but it hasn’t. The Kialli were trying to (and still trying it seems) to subvert Winter for their own purposes in the Sun Sword books. Because they are no longer from this plane, they can no longer use Summer magic (in fact it harms them). How the trees (the one Yollana kept and Jewel’s trees) will play into this, I don’t know. They were using the tree at the Terafin manse as a “conduit”. Stands to reason that another God might succeed where they failed. /shrugs

    I thought the “Warden of Dreams” was one they were talking about. Now I have to go back and re-read, but didn’t Avandar (or someone) say that the Warden was in fact 2 people? Twins? If people were suffering from the “sleeping plague” maybe the Warden had a hand in that in some way because he (or they) are already on the mortal plane. Akin to how the Kialli tried to manipulate the Winter Queen’s hunt in the Sun Sword books. Perhaps they were manipulating the Warden in this case?

    Reply

    • Auraya
      Jan 19, 2012 @ 04:44:22

      The Warden of Dreams could indeed be two people. The Lord of Dreams or the Lord of Nightmare. They aren’t gods, but are Firstborn (like Arianne).

      I believe that what happened with the trees in Sun Sword occurs after the events in Skirmish in the timeline. So I find it logical that the problem with Winter not becoming Summer isn’t solved yet. After all, Yollanna doesn’t have the tree se kept yet. (If all this makes sense :)

      Reply

      • DG
        Jan 20, 2012 @ 00:25:46

        Ok, I went back and re-read. Not that I mind! :) Yes, the Lords of Dream and Nightmare, aka The Warden of Dreams. I still couldn’t quite figure, from how they were discussed, if they were Firstborn or a God(s). But it makes more sense that they are Firstborn.

        Yes, you’re right about the trees. I do get the timelines crossed in my head. I keep forgetting that Jewel “just got back” and a lot of other events in the Sun Sword books currently occurring (or going to occur).

        I do have a rather selfish wish to read about Lord Isladar again. Avandar, Isladar, Jewel, and Haval are my favorite characters in the overall series of books. For those who have read the Sun Sword books you know what has (and will) happen to him in the timeline, so I doubt he’ll show…but wish he would. :)

        Reply

  25. Hilda
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 12:18:35

    Auraya, your timeline makes sense also because Ishavriel (who is described as the Allasiani) was here when he should have been very occupied in the South. I went back to the Sun Sword and tried to find more about those gods.

    In Sea of Sorrows, when Kallandras and Celleriant are fighting the serpent, page 573, K remembered that earlier in life he heard the Lady’s voice, but hears a “God,s voice”. “God’s voice”. Is his Lady and this god’s voice the same? A god?
    Is she also Kalliaris? I’m assuming that Jewel prays to her as a God. During the serpent battle, K again heard a voice, quiet and calm but like thunder, “a god’s voice. A god” (no name), So, K has heard two gods while in this plane.

    There is also the Mother (Kalliaris?), Reymaris and Cormaris.I still have no idea who they are afraid is now walking the mortal plane. They don’t say the name but it seems to be Allasakar, whom they kept underground in the buried city.

    I wonder if Michelle wil add, in the WAR book, to her list of characters all the Gods, the Firstborn, the Demons, the Allasiani demons ( I think they are different, although Ishavriel is hard to like).

    Reply

    • Jamie
      Jan 19, 2012 @ 14:51:53

      The Allasiani are the Kialli, there are just echelons or ranks within the Kialli, basically defined by the perfection of their memories. Isladar is considered to be the most powerful, because he remembers the most. The Allasiani who chose to submit to the mantle and follow Allasakar into the hells are the Kialli. Ishavriel is one of the Lords of the Fist, the ruling, most powerful Kialli. Isladar is arguably the most powerful Kialli, yet he is a paradox because he hasn’t chosen to rule anything that the other Kialli consider worthwhile. Demons and Kialli are, to my understanding, interchangeable terms. All demons are bound to the mantle. They are NOT all intelligent. The ones who didn’t remember their names are still bound by the mantle, but aren’t considered “true” Kialli. They would be your regular garden-variety demons.

      Reply

      • Hilda
        Feb 03, 2012 @ 22:34:18

        Jamie, I don’t know if this will come as response to your comment, but it is. I’m trying to see the differences among the demons because Michelle suddenly inserts particular details of each one when they come up in the story; I’m also trying to see how they can come up later in the story. For example, Ishavriel is a real BAD one, but for the first time, in this book, we see him with the feelings of the Allasiani. When he sees the changes that Jewel made in the forest, he had nostalgic feelings, like he remembers what they use to be. Jewel almost extended a hand to him when she saw it. Michelle once told me that in the old times the Allasiani were Allasakar servants. Telakar was one of them, and he shows the most feelings of the Allasiani; he remembered how they used to heal people, talk to nature, etc. It seems they were the good beings in the old times. Isladar shows it in his behavior with Ariel and Kiriel. He carried them like a father would, and protect them; they trust him. He even impaled himself in Kiriel’s sword to help her own it. He could have easily kill Jewel when he brought Ariel, but didn’t. The swordmaster, Anduvin, is another; they call each other “brother”. However, all of them can have these incredible cruel moments of a demon. I just wonder how many of these demons in the future will come to the human side to fight Allasakar, probably the only way humans and Gods can win. Remember Jewel had a vision of Kiriel and Isladar running together in a war against demons, and laughing at her. It could be they are in the side of Jewel and humans, but Jewel does not yet understand her dreams. Can those demons free themselves from Allasakar with Kiriel help?

        Reply

        • Jamie Lynn Belanger
          Feb 07, 2012 @ 01:32:00

          Well the Allasiani now Kialli are defined by their memories, right? The most powerful are the ones who remember the most, thus they would retain the most human-like emotions. I’m not sure what game Isladar is playing, but it is a very deep, LONG game. While Allasakar holds the mantle, he can COMPEL even the most powerful Kialli to his will. Even those who have sympathies with the humans they care about (in their own sharp, dark and dangerous way). Remember that Telekar wanted to stay as far away from the North as possible so that Allasakar’s ability to manipulate him was weakened. Part of Isladar’s plan seems to be the engineering of a way to get out from under Allasakar’s grip. This would definitely involve Kiriel. She has taken some portion of her father’s mantle. His only hope is trading one master for another, because by their very nature they are bound to the mantle. Not that Michelle can’t put in a twist that allows Kiriel to somehow free them. But I think to Isladar’s mind, being bound to Kiriel would be infinitely preferable to being bound to Allasakar. She’s his greatest gamble, his greatest hope. That’s my take on it, anyhow.

        • Rochelle Inselman
          Feb 07, 2012 @ 02:01:34

          I think Islander is hoping that when Kiriel dies, The Mantle dies with her, thus freeing ALL the kin, himself included. Or that there is some aspect of the Mantle binding, that if undone/reversed/removed, would allow the kin to go back to the world (which is their place of birth). I think we got a hint in Skirmish when we were told that the Firstborn couldn’t leave with their parents, the gods because the firstborn were born in that land. The kin were forced to leave with Allasakar and are considered dead when they are out of the Hells – maybe they aren’t really DEAD dead. However it works out, I still wonder about where the gods came from and most especially, the Hells. Were the Hells always there or were they something created when humanity was created? Were the kin always the custodians of the humans of Those Who Chose? And if so, did the kin have always have the ability to travel to The Hells and back before the gods left the world? If they weren’t the keepers of the dark souled human dead before they were banished, who was?

        • Hilda
          Feb 07, 2012 @ 22:10:39

          Jamie, Rochelle, I see Viandaran and Celleriant fighting those demons in Avantari and find them almost charming, gallant. Like they could not be part of the Hells. At some moment Viandaran tells them that he is not Arianni and he is not Allasiani. Of the two groups some of these demons seem to be better than the Arianni, who are not likable at all. The story does not say, but I wonder if there are still Allasianis who never joined Allasakar. They must be alive somewhere. If there are, I wonder where Jewel will find them. I also wonder about the sword that Master ADelios, the Guldmaster, mentioned that his girl apprentice was making and that needed to be quenched in blood. She is still with the Arianni, but Celleriant stated that maybe Jewel could help find her. Could that sword be similar to the sword Moorelas used to defeat Allasakar? If so, who of Jewel’s friends can use it? She can not. Angel? She can’t leave him behind once she leaves again. He came to Jewel looking for the “just” war to offer Cartanis. I can only imagine Angel or Arran using that sword; maybe Devon. I expect more and better fom him in future books.. Sigurne is afraid the next war will be against the whole Shining Court. If so, Jewel will need Allasiani and Arianni to defeat them. Individually, each Allasiani demon is almost impossible to defeat. There are still many books to come. It’s hard to wait.

        • Rochelle Inselman
          Feb 07, 2012 @ 22:45:04

          Hilda, have you read the short story, The Memory of Stone? (see the short stories here: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mswest and here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=michelle+sagara) The short story Memory of Stone covers the events regarding the sword and the rod, shows a really cool look into the Makers Guild, makes the events of Skirmish ever so much more poignant, and lets us see a different side of the Arianni. I don’t want to talk about it with any more specifics since I hate spoiling others.

          I actually LOVE the Arianni! They are basically The Wild Hunt of the fey and have always been the most interesting sort of fae for me. (sidebar: I really like what Eileen Wilks did with the fey too, and Tad WIlliams for that matter.).

        • Auraya
          Feb 08, 2012 @ 09:13:40

          The Sword that was mentioned isn’t Moorelas’ sword. It is the sword of the justiceborn king, like the rod belongs to the wisdomborn king. There is a mention of Moorelas’ sword in the Sun Sword books, but I don’t remember which one :) I do believe Aidan was born to be its wielder. He is still a young boy and hasn’t yet appeared in the House War novels.

          Jamie, I do like your thoughts on the mantle. It will be interesting to see how that turns out.

        • Rochelle Inselman
          Feb 08, 2012 @ 11:39:17

          I think the sword to be wielded is the one that was given to Aurelis. Ishavriel made a mental comment about not expecting to have created a man who could wield *that* sword.

        • Hilda
          Feb 08, 2012 @ 17:57:29

          This is more and more intriguing. Thanks to all for your smart comments. I haven’t read all the short stories yet, but I will do that next . I read the Warlord; Memory of a Stone will be next. I’m confused about the discussion of the swords. The one I mentioned is the one that the Guildmaster ADelios mentioned to Jewel during the first day of the funeral, done by a girl under his care. Supposedly she and the sword are still with the Arianni and the Winter Queen. Jewel said the Guild Master will go with her when she travels. What I wonder is if anyone in Jewel’s team can wield this particular sword against Allasakar, the same way Moorelas did with his sword. I’m assumming Moorelas sword is in his tomb. So, if anyone with Jewel can use this other guildmaker’s sword, who will it be? You all mentioned a few swords. Auralis sword is also magical; Evayne gave it to him. His will be a good fighting sword if he ever meets with Jewel to fight the demons; but I think he will fight at Kiriel side. Which is the sword of the Justice born King? Do you think this is the same sword the girl did? How many magical/special swords are we talking about?
          The other question I had is- are there Allasianis who never went to Allasakar; if so, where are they? Are they with the Arianni?Do we know or Michelle hasn’t said?

        • Rochelle Inselman
          Feb 08, 2012 @ 20:45:15

          Hilda, reading Memory of Stone will completely clear up things about the sword. If you want more specifics, I’ll say them, but Ms. West’s writing is something to be enjoyed and I’d hate to spoil the surprises for you. :) I *strongly* recommend all her short stories, the ones tied to this series AND all the others. I don’t cry easily, but yiikes! Gifted and Birthnight grabbed my guts and heart. The ones in the Empire series are *excellent* snapshots of the characters. Have you read the Hunter books? If so there is a short story follow-up that gives some really interesting insights as to what may be coming, plot and character-wise. :)

        • Hilda
          Feb 09, 2012 @ 20:53:13

          Rochelle, thanks so much. I read the Memory of Stone last night in my Nook after your suggestion. It’s so amazing; it;s haunting. I finally understand the matter of the sword made by the young girl. Your suggestion to read those stories first is appreciated. I have some of them, not read yet, but I will. They could complete the novels. The Guildmaster Adelios” vision of the future war is really disturbing. I need to read the other stories brfore the War book.. I have the Hunter Brothers books but have not been able to read them yet. I’ll move to them and the other related short stories.

    • Auraya
      Jan 20, 2012 @ 06:07:32

      Avabdar said something to Jewel during the discussionabout the Warden of Dreams like “You met Colliarne and (forgot name), did you think they were the only Firstborn.”
      Followed by something about others waking. That’s why I believe the Lords of Dream and Nigthmare belong to the Firstborn.

      And I agree with you about Isladar. He’s one of my favorites too.

      Reply

      • Auraya
        Feb 08, 2012 @ 09:12:09

        The Sword that was mentioned isn’t Moorelas’ sword. It is the sword of the justiceborn king, like the rod belongs to the wisdomborn king. There is a mention of Moorelas’ sword in the Sun Sword books, but I don’t remember which one :) I do believe Aidan was born to be its wielder. He is still a young boy and hasn’t yet appeared in the House War novels.

        Jamie, I do like your thoughts on the mantle. It will be interesting to see how that turns out.

        Reply

        • Michael
          Feb 12, 2012 @ 21:21:11

          Since this is the spoiler discussion, I don’t feel bad about saying this here, but Michelle confirmed for me a few years ago a supposition I had about Moorel’s sword.

          If anyone is going to ‘wield’ that sword, it will be Stephen of Maubreche.

        • Rochelle Inselman
          Feb 13, 2012 @ 00:48:37

          Interesting! Do you have a link to that answer? I’d love to read it! To sidebar a bit, I was very active in a certain author’s fanclub and was given access to much of the work in progress and special unreleased chapters before the book came out. It was really, really cool to see the process and have a hint of what was to come, but when it came to reading the finished product…well, it totally sucked! I couldn’t keep track of revision to revision to ARC and had no enjoyment of the final product. Since then I’ve sworn that I won’t seek out any spoilers whatsoever and won’t share spoilers (unless someone asks privately, really, REALLY wants to know, I am permitted to share, or the person doesn’t mind spoilers. *shrug*

          Ms. West’s books are the ones I’d most LOVE to discuss, but I seriously can’t figure out the Yahoo format. Maybe someday I will get a hair up my arse and go crazy trying to sort it out. Just in this thread I’ve come across things I hadn’t thought of and these are the books I’ve re-read the most often!

        • Michael
          Feb 13, 2012 @ 08:59:01

          Rochelle, she told me in person a at Confluence in 2008. There is much more to that spoiler (but I thought it was too significant to just drop without preamble). Suffice it to say, I am desperately waiting for the Black Gauntlet.

          As for spoilers, I trust Michelle to hit the salient points of her ideas. After speaking with her at length about her process, I have a fair idea of how she builds a narrative (even if that means entire novellas worth of material have to be discarded because they were the wrong starting point). The only reason I seek spoilers from her, is because I’ve been reading this series for around half my life (since Hunter’s Oath first came out), and knowing *more* makes me happy.

        • Rochelle Inselman
          Feb 13, 2012 @ 12:17:23

          Thanks Michael! I hear you on the reading half my life thing – there are several series I started reading when I was in high school that aren’t finished yet and now my children are in high school. Series like that really become a part of your life, and are cherished. :)

  26. ralphw2548
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 15:09:57

    I think some of you have some great ideas and perceptions about the direction Michelle is going in this series. I would invite, those of you who aren’t already, to join the Michelle West Yahoo group ( michellewest@groups.yahoo.com ).
    Your insights and input would be greatly appreciated. And Michelle pops in there also from time to time :)

    Reply

    • Onon
      Feb 14, 2012 @ 17:37:41

      I would join but I simply cannot follow how the site works. It is so counter intuitive that I simply cannot be bothered with it, I’m afraid

      Reply

  27. Rochelle Inselman
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 20:30:36

    One thing I found very interesting was that Jewel successfully claimed the city in the ‘eyes’ of the wild elements (at least that of Water, Earth, and Air – Fire was not present that I recall.). The city used to be Allasakar’s. I can’t imagine that He will be pleased that He and His minions cannot command the wild elements (again with the perhaps Fire disclaimer) in the city.

    I both like and dislike the idea of Jewel and Avandar in a relationship. On one hand its refreshing that there is a *story* and not just a path to romance; and on the other…well, I think that is a symptom of my book-crush on Avandar. He is the sort of guy I have always dated, but have always been so bad for me.

    About Avandar’s personality change – I think it has to do with him seeking death for millennia and now that he has a good chance of it, re-thinking his desire for it. After all, we want what we want until we get it. Not to mention that all of those years he thought his only recourse to death was via Allasakar, and that belief shaped many of his actions. Now that belief was changed and challenged with Jewel’s knowing/vision/certainty that Allasakar isn’t his only path to death. Avandar is off balance – his certainty about death, his feelings for Jewel, and the possibility that Jewel won’t need him now that she has Cellerant to protect her…Well, Avandar has a lot to think about. I hope we get to see some of that.

    I recently did a re-read, but now I want to do another regarding the possibility of the 5th city. Jewel’s dream of the wagons was extremely interesting. I hope that it doesn’t mean that all the other Voyani will die. Also interesting is that it was the wild element Fire in her dream, the only element that she didn’t ‘negotiate’ with at the end of Skirmish. I ‘forsee’ a use for Devon/Auralis and his ring there.

    Also on the subject of the Voyani – we know Adam is going to rule. That is another sign of danger for Margaret and the other Matriarchs. When they bring their Cities back, perhaps they make themselves redundant.

    Reply

    • Hilda
      Feb 10, 2012 @ 13:48:25

      Rochelle, why did you say that “we know Adam is going to rule”‘ (I’m assuming Arkosa”)? It’s understood (or it’s probably happenning now) that the other 4 cities will rise the next time each matriarch cross the Desert of Sorrows. Jewel needs to go there to rise the lost one. Was there anything in the books that indicates Adam will take over Margaret’s Arkosa?

      Reply

      • Rochelle Inselman
        Feb 10, 2012 @ 18:21:49

        Yes, in the books, when Evayne comes with Levec to get Adam, Evayne tells Levec that Adam will be the ruler and that he needs to learn everything he can from Levec AND the Den since Adam is going to be An Important Person.

        Reply

        • Hilda
          Feb 13, 2012 @ 21:25:06

          I remember something like that. Maybe Adam can become the King’s healer (they may not let him go anywhere), or he can take over the lost Voyani group and the 5th city from Jewel. The War will probably take her there to claim it. She will be Sen Jewel. But she can’t be Terafin in the Empire and Matriarch of a great city in the South at the same time. And I don’t think she will leave Terafin permanently because of her promise to the older Terafin. And her den is there. She doesn’t care much for the Voyanis. She can go to war like the Kalakar and the Berilyia, some times; then return to Averalaan. We still need to see what is going to happen to Margret’s cousin (and Telakar), she is the heir.
          I just finish Huntbrother. Michelle has an incredible talent. She can write these short stories years earlier, and then connects them to her books years later.

        • Rochelle Inselman
          Feb 13, 2012 @ 23:25:23

          If I recall correctly, Evayne straight out says that Adam is going to be the ruler of Arkosa. That stuck with me because I figured it meant Margaret is going to die. Since she doesn’t have The Sight, she can’t become Sen. I have kind of wondered if Jewel is descended form the City that Avandar gave up to Allasakar – that affected her greatly emotionally and would give a full circle thing for Avandar. No matter what happens, I am quite excited to read it!

        • David Y
          Feb 13, 2012 @ 22:46:53

          The reference is the last page of Sea of Sorrows. “He is the future ruler of Tor Arkosa.”

  28. Rochelle Inselman
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 20:31:59

    Ralph – I am a member of the yahoo group, but I simply cannot figure out how to read the posts in any sort of order that makes sense. Maybe I just need to go all the way to the beginning and move forward. :/

    Reply

    • Leanne Powner
      Jan 23, 2012 @ 14:25:39

      Rochelle, there *is* no way to read them that makes sense. The group members are HORRIBLE about deleting unneeded ‘replied-to’ text and/or changing their subject headings as appropriate and/or taking irrelevant emails offline. I stopped reading because while the discussions were interesting, even using ‘threading’ options still left it unintelligible.

      Reply

  29. ralphw2548
    Jan 21, 2012 @ 18:13:33

    Rochelle,
    As of today, the group is at post #8692. I think if you use the advanced search feature; go back to post say #8600 and then go forward; you should be up to speed with the current. If you have questions about previous topics, again use the advanced search feature. By entering a character name or topic, the search engine will bring you to the area where it (they) were most recently discussed. No need to read over 8000 posts. Say hi when you go to the group next :)

    Reply

  30. Hilda
    Jan 21, 2012 @ 18:56:31

    I wrote something before but has no idea where it went in cyberspace after “I post comment”. I thas happened before. About all the Gods, I remember Cartanis as a God Angel used to pray to. So, that could be another in this growing group of Gods..

    Avandar role now is confusing, maybe it has become a minor one in the story. It’s not just that there are more people now around Jewel. He seems to have lost some of his intense power which was so prevalent in the South. It seems greatly diminished. He used to eat demons like pancakes. Now, although like Jewel we don’t know what he is doing gardening, he appears to be injured afterwards. He also needed rest after bringing Hannerle to the house, but he could destroy cities in one move. Maybe he is getting older and, like all of us, it shows.
    The story also seems to put him in a minor role. He is now pushed aside and further away from Jewel by two cats (even if special ones), Celleriant, the Winter King, and even by Angel and Arann. Haval is a different kind of power in Jewel’s side. It’s clear one or another gets Jewel’s side to protect her. Avandar could not even follow her in the path to the trees, but Araan could. Then, Angel came to protect her. Ellerson is almost her domicis. The battle in the King’s palace seems to have left him weak. Avandar is having a humble pie. Maybe Michelle will raise his level of appreciation in War..

    Reply

    • Edward
      Jan 23, 2012 @ 12:08:12

      Ah, I think what we have here is the cumulative effect of Avandar doing a whole lot. So far everyone has made some mention that a mage teleporting/translocating themself takes a lot of power, and is exceptionally rare.

      The single journey from the city to the south used so much power that it actually killed Morretz. And in response to that, Avandar teleported himself, jewel, Celleriant, Ariel, and the Winter King back to the city. Without falling on his face.

      He has no real time to recover from that expenditure of power before he’s dealing with the Tree’s and hidden paths, doing whatever “gardening” he’s doing. Then adds another teleportation of himself and two others to the Palace, and still fights a pair of demons…. I think we can expect him to not be quite up to par. ;)

      Also for consideration, I think Avandar is still in recovery from having to power down/shut away the full blown “Warlord” that he released in the Sun Sword books at Jewel’s command. So in a sense he’s minimising his power output to help keep that locked down and serve as domicis, rather then return to full charismatic-command-armies-and-destroy-cities-build-empires that he might otherwise fall into.

      Reply

      • Hilda
        Jan 23, 2012 @ 16:22:17

        Thanks, Edward. You are right, of course; you missed teleporting Hannerle. Seems reasonable. I read most of the Sun Sword series just before Skirmish, and Avandar seemed invincible. I just remember that Jewel said after he drew his sword, defeated demons and built the bridge in the Terrean of Mancorvo, that now He or They would know where Avandar was and what he has done. Like that “someone” will look for him to defeat him. What a good description of when Avandar becomes Viandaran. He is toning it down, Maybe Avandar is also looking into the problem in the ground that Adam of Arkosa described. Jewel had no time for it.

        Reply

  31. ralphw2548
    Jan 23, 2012 @ 13:42:05

    I agree with you Edward. The mage power being expended by Avandar is staggering. I question if Meralonne could be expended this kind of power without collapsing. If you remember, in Hunter’s Death, after fighting the demons and the wild Air, Meralonne suffered from mage fevers. Avandar, however, after all the things he has done and is continuing to do, merely tells Jewel about mage fevers and states that all he needs is some rest.
    I believe that the “gardening” he and Celleriant are doing is more on the line of “clearing away” dangerous things in the grove of Trees and the Hidden path on and around the Terafin grounds. They are not helping the gardeners lay mulch. As we saw with the wild Fire Jewel calmed, there are a number of dangers inherent with the Hidden Ways. Anyone who thinks Avandar’s powers seem diminished has not been paying attention.

    Reply

  32. Courtenay Footman
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 18:39:22

    Jewel should be more careful.

    “Jewel had very little experience with the profoundly wild or magical” (p.281).
    The error she made at this point got her a Dress. This was not an overtly bad result, but she has not learned from this, as is evident from what she said when she first saw the dress: “It needs an entirely different woman.”

    One should not say such a thing to “the profoundly wild of magical”; the odds are far too good that one will find oneself an entirely different woman. Any number of stories have used this theme. (Eager’s _Half-Magic_ comes to mind.)

    I do not know if anything will come of this, but if Jewel doesn’t learn to not make such comments, something ought to.

    Reply

  33. Christina
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 21:17:21

    About the cats…I think, in their way, they are (mostly) accepting of Jewel’s quirks. Jewel will always be Jewel, but I believe that at this point of the story, she has not quite accepted herself as a Power. But over the course of the book, we see her growing to accept her future role as the ruler of House Terafin; and with that growing acceptance, she has grown as a person.

    She has, in essence, grown into the kind of woman who can wear that dress and pull it off.

    Yes, the cats are “profoundly wild and magical” but they are also intelligent enough not just to act on pure instinct. Thus, Jewel’s saying that the dress “needs an entirely different woman” did not have such a catastrophic outcome as it admittedly could have.

    Jewel is still learning, still growing. I can’t wait to see more of her growth in the next book, and I can’t wait to see how she takes the Seat.

    Reply

  34. Elvet
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 17:03:09

    I just finished the book on the weekend and was so happy to revisit familiar characters from the Sunsword books. The only negative was that I thought Jewel was becoming more ‘flippant’ , more like Kaykin from the Elantra books. I missed the gravitas of another POV like Diora or Teresa.
    When I was done the book, I finally got the 6 short stories from Smashwords. I just wasn’t ready to leave the Empire yet. I thought The Memory of Stone was exeptional.

    Reply

  35. ElizabethN
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 12:56:50

    FYI, Hunter’s Oath & Hunter’s Death are available on kindle.

    Reply

  36. Tickle
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 02:47:31

    I loved this book and have read it about 3 times since I purchased it. I enjoy reading all of the comments on here, but it seems as a lot of people need to go back and re-read the last few chapters of Sea of Sorrows. Adam is the next ruler of Arkosa. Margaret sees 2 children when she goes on her little “vision” journey after she raises Arkosa and I think the little boy she sees (there was also a little girl and it seems like they were in Westeros, maybe one of the Hunters offspring.mm…..) will be the one who wields Moorelas’s sword (if it isn’t Aiden, who is born in the North, and will be trained in the South by the best) or maybe those 2 children will wield Fabril’s Rod & Sword. As for Fabril’s Rod & Sword, ADelios is who the Artisan girl left the sword and the rod (?) with. He wants to see the girl again, which is what Jewel will assist him with when the time is right. As for Ishavriel being on the hidden path seems right. He would have had to been there to steal the winter trees he needed to create the path he needed in The Sun Sword. After Jewel & Cel send him away, that is when he goes back to the South and has to find Anya. The tree that Yollana saved and gave to Evayne is what will allow Summer to come (once it is planted). I think the cats are the fates or representations of past, present, and future, I think this because when Jewel has the interview w/the Gods, the Mother asks one of the cats if they are tired, as if she knows them (this makes sense to me as they can see/eat dreams, which is what they did for the Winter King (they pissed him off and is why he turned them to stone, lol) and what Shadow is doing for Jewel now. I also think they will play a part in removing the sleeping sickness that is plaguing the city. Jewel will walk the Oracles path, but she won’t end up like Evayne, she will have more control and won’t have to wander or jump through time. The diamond that Snow gave her, I believe will be Jewel’s soul crystal and/or could be the Heart of (whatever Voyani clan Jewel is decended from Carralon (sp?) maybe). I can’t wait to see what Kiriel makes of the new Jewel and what her new companions (especially Celleriant) will make of Kiriel being darkness born and all (I think that is why Jewel asked one of her newly Chosen if he will trust her Trust of some people). I think Kiriel and possibly Aurelias will be one of the few people who will actually play w/the cats, lol (and I mean fight/spar) I also can’t wait to see how her demon dog and the cats will interact. I will be happy if the next book War has a prologue that shows Jewel in council taking The Terafin Seat (just as Amararis did, since Marrick told her that), although the ending inferred that she will be The Terafin, I want to see that and her meeting w/the Kings & Duvari to show just how far her words extended. Then I hope War picks up after the armies return and we get to see what progresses and other allies gathered that will result in the next End of Days series. I see a lot of major players for the “End of Days”, Kiriel, Jewel, All the Voyani (especially Arkosa and whatever Jewel’s line is), Aurelius, Kallandras, the 2 children from Margaret’s Vision, Aiden, Diora & Valedan (although not sure why yet), and also I think Angel will play some role or might get one of the rings that Evayne drops for certain people (since there are 5 rings total and I think only 3 have them so far, Kiriel, Kallandras, & Aurelius). Evayne, Merallone, Sigurne. I think that Avandar is starting to realize that he loves Jewel or she is someone he has the potential to fall for and Jewel is starting to realize that despite all the bad stuff Avandar has done in his past, he will be the Match for her w/regards to power and she won’t have to worry about him dying on her either (even though he wants to, I don’t think he will until Jewel is dead). I also don’t think he is more in the background, I think that since she has so many ancient beings to help him protect her, he can do other things he feels are necessary to assist her and he needed to recuperate from all of the magic he has been doing. I also am wondering about the intelligence of everyone about Avander’s past. Devon and Sigurne both heard the Gods call him Viandarian or Warlord. I’m hoping that once Merallone comes back, Sigurn or Devon will mention it (when Merallone comments that Avandar dispearred from the battle field w/everyone and Sigurne fills him in on everything that happened, since he will notice the trees immediately). I think Avandar is more comfortable with it now that Jewel knows and hasn’t gotten rid of him, since she is starting to make comments about it (well his dreams at least).

    Reply

  37. Tickle
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 13:27:35

    I have an update to my above statements or maybe it is a revison, lol. After reading the short stories (The Memory Stone and Huntbrother) I now know who the 2 kids Margaret saw are, Stephen of Breodan and his Huntbrother (even though she is a girl) Nenyane. Both will be one of the major players in War or the End of Days series. After reading the Memory Stone, I know that only the Twin Kings will wield Fabril’s Rod and Sword and Cessaly will also be important to the end story (which is why Jewel told ADelios that the time isn’t right yet). I can’t wait for War and the new series.

    Reply

  38. Tickle
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 13:35:23

    Oh, yeah as for the major players, I forgot Anya (who I hope Kiriel can turn to the good guys side).

    Reply

  39. Hilda,
    Feb 16, 2012 @ 16:14:05

    Going back to the swords, I remembered a relevant comment in the Sun Sword series, but it took me a while to find it. It’s in the Sea of Sorrows, pages 252 and 253 by Lord Anduvin, the Kialli Swordmaker. He told Kiriel that “there are only a handful of named blades that exist in this world, and they slumber now, unware of their Maker’s intent.”. As I mentioned, Michelle’s like to seed her books with little things about the future. The only reason to do this one is to open the doors for the comeback of those swords. Now. have fun guessing who will wield them. I still think that Angel, and maybe Devon, should get one, and like some of you, Daine.

    Reply

  40. Alyssa
    Feb 18, 2012 @ 01:42:02

    @Rochelle Re: Adam and Margaret

    I think it’s worth noting that even if Margaret had the Sight and could become Sen, she still wouldn’t be the ruler of Tor Arkosa. The Sen didn’t rule in the days before the Cities were buried, after all. They rule while they’re on the Voyanne because it was the Sen who founded the initial groups and because they can use the Hearts to remember the past. It was their visions that showed them what to do, but they never ruled the Cities, even if they were greatly powerful within them. I’m not sure if I recall much being said of the actual rulers, if the were male or female or if it was inherited through a bloodline.. But I do recall some very powerful device that Sen Margaret couldn’t wield that the rulers or their immediate underlings could, I think.

    Reply

    • Hilda,
      Feb 22, 2012 @ 19:31:42

      Wasn’t in the tradition of all these Voyanni women that it was the men’s fault when they governed the cities, that the cities were destroyed? And when Margret and Diora went into Arkosa, it was the men who had entered into deals with Allasakar?

      Reply

      • Rochelle Inselman
        Feb 22, 2012 @ 21:35:16

        Hilda,
        I just can’t remember. I can’t remember if the belief that women should be in charge is due to all the rulers who screwed things up being men or if it was just part of their oral history that got screwed up. After all, Sen Margaret and the other Matriarchs for that matter, had done some really horrible stuff too, even to the point of personal worship of, and sacrifice to, Allasakar. Or perhaps the Voyanni became matriarchal because of the importance, the absolute importance, of preserving their bloodline in order to work the magic and be able to raise the Cities when the time came. You can never be sure about the father, but the mother is a different story.

        A bit off that topic, I wonder about the Sen seers and the companions they were assigned. Mostly in the sense of Jewel being Sen and Teller being her companion. He transcribes her visions and does his best to keep her mentally whole. I also wonder if the Oracle, the first firstborn, did something to give the Sen & their sisters (& and brothers??) a sort of bond as a gift to each other – or at least to the seers. From what Avandar has said, it sounds like those who’ve walked the Oracle’s path aren’t always sane.

        And on Merrollone (sp?) I’ll eat my favorite boot if he isn’t Arianni. His appearance, strength, immortality, demonic knowledge, weapons, hell even his NAME points to his being Arrianni. I also wonder if their appearance changes when the Seasons do. After all, a hunter hunts best in camouflage so white and silver and diamond for winter and what? red and gold and ruby? for Summer?

        And back to the man/woman thing of Sen & Seers & attendants…Are all the Arianni male but for her? ****

        SPOILERS FOR THE SHORT STORIES!!!!!! (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/72637)

        Stephen, Bredan’s son’s Huntbrother is actually a Huntsister. Does her appearance mean that Arianne is going to die? A sort of queen bee hatches her replacement?

        And this is exactly why I love reading Ms West’s books so much – I’ve been reading this series since 1995 and its still as interesting, if not more so! than it was then.

        Reply

      • Shawn
        Mar 06, 2012 @ 21:31:48

        The matriarchs rule because it was the sens through their vision tied the hearts to the female bloodline. really when it comes down it and the only purpose of the Matriarchs was to lead the Voyanni home. so if there is no more voyanne then no need really for a matriarch. We learn this through the Sea of Sorrows. Sen Maragret could have easily tied the heart to that of the male bloodline if she had sacrificed herself instead of her son.(assuming that her son wasn’t a power hungry idiot). Sen Margaret mentions at one point that she could’ve tied it to her Sen sister but needed the bloodline to continue…

        Sen Margaret was Allasakar’s lover. she wanted him yearned for him and for her it was really hard to turn away from him, even though she knew what he was. and Margaret gives her no props for that which I was a little annoyed with her for but she is who she, is quick to anger slow to apology.

        Did anyone read Michelle’s lady of mercy series? they were before the hunter duology. The sen Sisters storyline sort of reminds me of that world, they did blood sacrifices to the gods, the way the hierarchy is set up etc. it would be curious if anything from that storyline makes it into this one

        Reply

  41. Mary
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 07:28:07

    Does anyone else think Meralonne is kin to the Sleepers, but unlike them, he responded when Moorelas called? There keep being hints that Meralonne never ages and several times when he’s met members of the Lord’s Fist, they have addressed him in ways that make it clear he’s also not a mortal…

    Reply

    • Hilda,
      Feb 22, 2012 @ 19:26:51

      I think Michelle has made clear, not by saying it, that Meralonne is inmortal. It comes through in his metings with Sigurne. Once she thought that the other mages would be upset if they discover she has known Something (inmortality?) about Meralonne she has never told them. At another time there was a comment about his sword that apparently only inmortals could have. If not inmortal, he is like Viandaran or a Firsborn. There must be plenty of Firsborn, but the books don’t say.

      Reply

    • DG
      Feb 22, 2012 @ 22:06:30

      Ever since his conversations with Sigurne I’ve thought he was the only one that responded to Moorelas and therefore didn’t become a Sleeper like the rest. It always seemed like he’s hanging around to fulfill some kind of obligation. At first I thought it was just loyalty to the Kings and the mages, but now I think it’s way more than that. He also seems to be “bound” to whoever the guildmaster of the mages is. It’s implied that Sigurne only knows his whole story because she managed to become guildmaster and that the guildmasters before her knew his background. She was able to “call” him to her, and also hinted that she could command him (but that probably wouldn’t go over so well!)

      The way his appearance changes, the sword he wields, the incredible depth of power he has (crossing long distances like it’s no big deal), and the automatic recognition the Kialli give him whenever he arrives makes me believe he’s an immortal. He also has practically no patience, much like a lot of the other immortals, lol.

      Reply

      • Jamie Lynn Belanger
        Feb 23, 2012 @ 10:48:38

        Meralonne is most definitely immortal. Probably from the Winter Court. He’s not bound to Sigurne other than having known her since, well, way back (when she was enslaved by that mage that had bound a kialli). That’s how she learned all her demon-lore. It was during that time that she and Meralonne met.

        Rochelle, agreed on your point about the Sen. They were NOT blameless in the dealings with Allasakar. They loved him just as much as anyone in those times. Remember Sen Margret in Sea of Sorrows? She barely made it out of Tor Arkosa because her feelings for Allasakar were so strong. And they seemed mutual. Allasakar, when he sensed her spirit through modern-Margret up on the northern wastes, exclaimed that he was happy to “sense” her, that it had been far too long in diminished times. He remembered her.

        Reply

  42. Phxhawk
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 20:36:25

    “Skirmish” was wonderful. Please tell us you are writing a sequel! The Sun Sword series, The Hunter duology , and the House series are fantastic. I first became acquainted with your writing through the Sun Sword series. Your prose is pure poetry. Thank you so much for making this person’s life more enjoyable.

    Reply

  43. Jennifer Bankier
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 03:12:24

    I seem to remember a reference to Meralonne being similar to the angelae, tho I’m not sure what the angelae are … I got a sense he is somehow connected to a god, tho I’m not sure which one.

    Reply

  44. Hilda,
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 19:14:36

    So many great comments when I was out of town. I don’t think Meralonne is like the Sleepers; everyone, even the Kings are so afraid of them. Inmortal, yes. Which kind? Rochelle, I don’t want you to eat your favorite book; it will be one from Michelle. I think you are close to it. Instead of the Arianni, I think Meralonne is Allasianni or a Firstborn (don’t know which God, we never finish with them). However, I admit this is a very long shot. I once asked whether all the Allasianni became demons; I will not believe it until Michelle makes it very clear. Jewel will need all those who did not become demons. . What we have so far can’t defeat all the KIallis; only other Allasiannis. However, I ask the same question as Rochelle’s, but of a different group. Are there no female Allasianni; the only female demon was in the early Jewel book, that female demon that invaded one of the Houses. Does anyone remember whether Meralonne’s sword looks like the demons’ or the Ariannis’? I think that it will be Angel who goes with Jewel; it’s clear he will not be left behind the next time; Teller will be an excellent Council Member, or like Gabriel for Jewel as Terafin. Jennifer, in Skirmish there is a statement that the Kialli are the angelae of Allasakar. I hope there is an angelae, for some other God too.

    Reply

    • Jelaza
      Mar 03, 2012 @ 22:36:48

      The main reason people are afraid of the Sleepers is that they swore to help kill a god and when they Wake they will keep their oath bringing the End of Days and possibly killing other gods than Allasakar. They’re probably ranked somewhere inbetween Celleriant and Arianne powerwise. Hunter’s Death made it clear that Meralonne had a very similar background to Kallandras including serving a Lady presumably Arianne, breaking an oath, starting a new life, and missing his brothers. He is powerful for a human even after his broken shield reduced his power. I’m almost certain that he was an Arianni.
      I suspect the godborn, mages, Voyani, element users, and Firstborn that we’ve already seen are capable of defeating the Kialli if they all work together, especially since Kiriel can wear her fathers Mantel. Mystery seems to have maneuvered for a long time to defeat Allasakar, and Breodan will help if needed.
      That makes me wonder where Mystery currently is. Isladar thinks Mystery is too intelligent to trap himself the way Breodan did. However if he were in the Heavens he’d probably need just as much effort to get to Earth as Allaskar did. My guess is that he’s been sticking to the wild ways and using no more power than one of the Firstborn.

      Reply

  45. Hilda,
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 13:58:35

    Jelaza, I discovered Michelle 2 years ago, and have been rereading only her books since them; they are so complex. Where can I find the background of the Sleepers; in the Hunters Death? I have both books, but haven’t read them yet. Or any story related to the times “the Gods walk”, which terrifies Jewel so much.
    About Meralonne, Skirmish p.136…winter and summer magics were used by Gods, Meralonne and Celleriant can use the Summer.
    New: Michelle once said that Jewel will talk to Rath one more time, I wanted to read more about the Handerness after Amarais and Rath left; an important family. Is it gone? Now, we may have finality on this if Adam is kidnapped by Rath godfather..

    Reply

  46. Susan Shields
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 15:01:39

    I have enjoyed reading all of your comments. I have done nothing but read and re-read the Sun Sword and House War series since I discovered them. I picked them up in desperation after re-reading Michelle’s Cast Series about 6 times. I think
    Avandar will wield one of the sleeping swords eventually. It makes a certain sense for him to wield one of them. I also hope he and Jewel end up together. Cannot wait for War and the next series as well as Cast In Peril. I look forward to reading all the short stories and thank the posters for the links.

    Sue

    Reply

  47. Susan Shields
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 16:16:42

    Forgive me if I’m stating the obvious, but a couple speculations: Angel has obviously fulfilled his father’s charge to find a worthy leader in Jewel. This should bring Werydon into play at some point. If Duvari doesn’t have enough to cause constant heartburn, imagine his reaction when the worthy leader is not the twin kings but Jewel.

    The cats – some of my favorite parts of Skirmish. Aren’t they the gift the Winter King promised Jewel when she fulfilled his charge to inform the Winter Queen he was waiting for her?

    Reply

  48. Shawn
    Mar 06, 2012 @ 22:58:58

    let me start here by saing a big thank you to michelle west for allowing us to talk about her books on her web page. I love your work your writing style you create such amazing imagery with your words. I can see the movie play in my head.

    With that being said. I did not like Skirmish. while part of the reason I didn’t like it was because I have waited through the end of Sun Sword and 3 prequels for house war to begin. This ended up being a tease for me it was a 500 page book that took place over 3 days I felt that what occurred, could have been done in 200 pages and been part of house war. or packaged as a short story. I am not saying that this story was unnecessary I’m just saying that it didn’t have to be that long.

    I had expected that at the end of Sun Sword we would find Jewel an adult she has gone through some rough journeys. gone up against Arianne not to mention some other children of gods. journeyed to the south accepted her roles as part of the house council accepted that she would lead Terafin. And throughout the Sun Sword(SS) we see this growing into adulthood but with skirmish i found that she was written with the voice of a child. there are times i wanted to slap her and tell her to grow up and stop whining. For me it was a bit of a devolution of character. Finch and Teller were more mature and more grown up than she was. I also think younger Jewel was more grown up than Skirmish Jewel.

    I found the sending off of Cellerient and Avandar to save the Princes storyline sort of I need to (a) get rid of these characters so that Jewel is the one that tames the elements because if both of them are there then Jewel speaking to the earth and water are sort of unnecessary it’s something that they can do.( b) find a way to make the kings not to mention the queens indebted to Jewel so they will be unlikely to want to kill her. I bring this up because i found this part of the story quite Jarring. it was almost out of left field (you can argue the point that it’s a vision so it is out of left field ;) but every other vision of Jewels flowed with the story.

    I LOVED the cats. They are my favourite characters in the skirmish. Even though they are other worldly and magical in nature, I found them to be the most human element in the story. The more “Fantastical” Jewel became the more the cats were used to keep her grounded, we have barely touched the surface of their abilities. I was really happy to “hear” their voices come out of the dark.

    I eagerly await and look forward to house War I wouldn’t mind if it was two books but what I also enjoy about Michelle west is That she knows when to end her stories.

    Reply

  49. Edward
    Apr 05, 2012 @ 16:22:18

    One thought that did pass across me when I reread Skirmish the other day… That short sequence with Andrei and Hectore of Araven – Their interest in Adam and that he’s living in the Terafin manse. The question hit me on whether they realised that Jewel ATerafin is the girl that Rath was guiding all those years ago.

    I mean, Andrei did encounter her briefly, at night, when Rath was fighting off a pair of demons… And both Hectore and Andrei certainly knew who he was and that his sister was Terafin. Hell, Hectore was Rath’s godfather if I recall… And Rath had used him for certain information during his activities against the demons during that Henden…

    Of course, now Jewel has taken to wearing a certain ring and is in possession of Rath’s sword, so I’m hazarding that will also have some impact when Hectore seeks out that information of who Adam’s “friends” are…..

    Reply

  50. shauntel
    Apr 05, 2012 @ 18:11:07

    I noticed that interaction between the house of healing with Adam and the Rath’s godfather in the book also. I want to see more on this if possible in the new book. It was a teaser in this one. Since this is a spoiler, didn’t they destroy the possessed tree on the terrifin grounds that was causing people to fall asleep, why aren’t the sleepers awake?

    Reply

    • Edward
      Apr 05, 2012 @ 19:28:58

      The tree on the terafin grounds wasn’t the reason that people were falling asleep. It just related to it. From what I gather, the Lords of Dream and Nightmare (two who are one) are the principle cause for the sleeping sickness – something they’ve done is causing people to fall asleep, and their dreams are being used as a “power source” of sorts for them… However, the Tree being situated at a point that joins the hidden path to the real world also allows it to intersect with the dreaming, and thus, the heavy enchantment using ancient magics, was also part of whatever the Lords of Dream and Nightmare are doing… So to use a metaphor, destroying the tree’s enchantment was more akin to pulling out one tent peg, rather then toppling the entire tent…

      At least, that’s how it seemed to read to me.. ;)

      Reply

  51. shauntel
    Apr 06, 2012 @ 17:45:18

    Thanks, It’s clearer. I’ll have to reread that part.

    Reply

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