the Author

114 Responses to Skirmish: Spoiler discussion thread

  1. Leia says:

    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.

  2. Michael says:

    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.

  3. Estara says:

    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

  4. Alan says:

    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.

  5. Genna Warner says:

    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?

  6. Edward says:

    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.

  7. Alan says:

    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.

  8. Onon says:

    Really, really enjoyed it and cannot wait for more

  9. DG says:

    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.

  10. DG says:

    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.

  11. Amanda says:

    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.

  12. Edward says:

    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.

  13. Genna Warner says:

    Perhaps Rath intro­duced Havel to Hannerle?

  14. Jakebutnotheone says:

    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.

  15. Hilda says:

    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

  16. Hilda says:

    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?

  17. Hilda says:

    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.

  18. Auraya says:

    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”.

  19. Auraya says:

    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.

  20. Hilda says:

    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.

  21. David says:

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

  22. Leia says:

    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.

  23. Tara says:

    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

  24. Jim says:

    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.

  25. DeDe says:

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

  26. Hilda says:

    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?

  27. Kerri Knorr says:

    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.

  28. Vicky K says:

    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..

  29. Alan says:

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

  30. Hilda says:

    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.

  31. Adenike says:

    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.

  32. Kerri Knorr says:

    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).

  33. Fox says:

    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!

  34. Edward says:

    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…

  35. Hilda says:

    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..

  36. DG says:

    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?

  37. Auraya says:

    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 :)

  38. Hilda says:

    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).

  39. Jamie says:

    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.

  40. ralphw2548 says:

    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 :)

  41. DG says:

    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. :)

  42. Auraya says:

    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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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. :/

  45. ralphw2548 says:

    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 :)

  46. Hilda says:

    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..

  47. Edward says:

    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.

  48. ralphw2548 says:

    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.

  49. 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

  50. 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.

  51. Hilda says:

    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.

  52. Courtenay Footman says:

    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.

  53. Julia Coldren says:

    I had the feeling that Haval had be the Lord of the Compact and had trained current one. Maybe that was how he met Rath before Rath left his family.

  54. Christina says:

    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.

  55. Hilda says:

    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?

  56. Elvet says:

    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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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?

  59. Hilda says:

    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.

  60. Hilda, have you read the short story, The Memory of Stone? (see the short stories here: http://​www​.smash​words​.com/​p​r​o​f​i​l​e​/​v​i​e​w​/​m​s​w​est and here: http://​www​.smash​words​.com/​b​o​o​k​s​/​s​e​a​r​c​h​?​q​u​e​r​y​=​m​i​c​h​e​l​l​e​+​s​a​g​ara) 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.).

  61. Auraya says:

    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.

  62. Auraya says:

    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.

  63. 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.

  64. Hilda says:

    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?

  65. 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. :)

  66. Hilda says:

    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.

  67. ElizabethN says:

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

  68. Hilda says:

    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?

  69. 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.

  70. Michael says:

    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.

  71. 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!

  72. Scorbet says:

    And also on Kobo for ePub-liking people.

  73. Michael says:

    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.

  74. 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. :)

  75. Hilda says:

    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.

  76. David Y says:

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

  77. 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!

  78. Tickle says:

    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).

  79. Tickle says:

    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.

  80. Tickle says:

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

  81. Onon says:

    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

  82. Hilda, says:

    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.

  83. Shawn says:

    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.

  84. Alyssa says:

    @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.

  85. Mary says:

    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…

  86. Hilda, says:

    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.

  87. Hilda, says:

    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?

  88. 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​.smash​words​.com/​b​o​o​k​s​/​v​i​e​w​/​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.

  89. DG says:

    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.

  90. 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.

  91. Phxhawk says:

    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.

  92. 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.

  93. Hilda, says:

    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.

  94. Hilda, says:

    I just real­ized you offer to eat your favorite boot, not book. The book may taste better.

  95. *g* I’d dese­crate a boot before a book.

  96. Jelaza says:

    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.

  97. Hilda, says:

    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..

  98. Susan Shields says:

    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.


  99. Susan Shields says:

    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?

  100. Shawn says:

    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

  101. Shawn says:

    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.

  102. Edward says:

    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.….

  103. shauntel says:

    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?

  104. Edward says:

    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.. ;)

  105. shauntel says:

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

  106. Michelle says:

    There were four Arianni princes that accom­pa­nied Moorelas, but there are only Three Sleepers. Sigurne remem­bers Meralonne in the fight that resulted in her freedom from the Ice Mage. She has notice­ably aged, Meralonne has not. Those reasons, along with the comments above, lead me to believe that Meralonne is immortal and likely the fourth Arriani prince.

  107. mvictorine says:

    I think there is certainly enough evidence to suggest that Illara­phaniel is the fourth prince of the first born, but he isn’t Arriani. He is a servant of the Lady (hence his affinity for, and commis­er­a­tion with, Kallan­dras), not Arrianne. 

    Arri­anne isn’t a goddess, either. Just one of the First­born. That means Illara­phaniel has more in common with the Kialli (nee Allasiani) than with the Arriani.

    It also makes him a baddass.

  108. Michelle says:

    Has anyone noticed the Celle­riant has been upgraded from a n Arianni lord (in the Sun Sword series) to an Arianni Pricne in Skir­mish? I thought Avandar told Jewel in the Stone Deep­ings that that Arianni Princes (the Sleepers & an other­wise uniden­ti­fied fourth Prince) could not be bound to Moorelas, but Celle­riant could be bound, because he was only a lord.

  109. Michelle says:

    Um mvictorine…There’s ample evidence in the book The Shining Court, that the Southern goddess “The Lady” is actu­ally Arianne. It is her gift, the Lake, that is threat­ened on Scarran during the Festival of the Lady. Obvi­ously we know that Arianne is actu­ally one of the first­born, but she is evidently worshipped as a goddess in the South. The Kovaschii are known as the Broth­er­hood of the Lady in the South, which is a strong indi­ca­tion that Kallan­dras’ goddess is also Arianne, hence his affinity with both Celle­riant and Meralonne.

  110. Michelle says:

    In the Riven Shield at the battle for Damar, Avandar as the Warlord wielded a golden sword, similar to the type wielded by Meralonne and Celle­riant. So I think it is unlikely that he will wield one of the sleeping named swords. To him, it would be a lesser weapon.

  111. Michelle says:

    Meralon­ne’s sword is blue like Celle­ri­ant’s, as was his Shield before it was shat­tered. In the Riven Shield, when Meralonne calls his sword in Callesta, it is described as a sword that came to his hand “shim­mering, gath­ering moon­light until that light was sharp and blue, a glit­tering thing of Northern edges.” The Kialli all seem to wield swords and shields that are red. Since Meralonne attacks and defends the popu­lace against the demons and the demons were the Allasianni, it seems unlikely that Meralonne is himself one of the Allasianni who chose not to follow Allasakar to the Hells.

  112. Michelle says:

    I think the battle to save the Princes was neces­sary, not just to move Avandar and Celle­riant out of the way, so Jewel could take command of the wild elements, but also because it was their calling of the Earth and Air during that fight that awoke those elements in the first place. The elements appar­ently take little notice of the bound­aries set by man. For instance, in the Sun Sword, when Meralonne, Telekar and Anduvin talk about having the Wild Earth displacing the seedlings, there is a discus­sion about how that could threaten the village of Russo, although it is miles away from the seedlings planted on the edge of the Terrean. After all, what is a Terrean to the Wild Earth… So the distance between Avan­tari and Terrafin would be nothing to the Wild Elements.

  113. mvictorine says:

    If you compare the scenes featuring Arri­anne and her host with those of the Lady and her court, they are quite different. The speech patterns of the two are different as well.

    Also, and I will let you confirm this your­self, Michelle has stated under direct ques­tioning that they are different entities.

  114. lavanya says:

    i am so incred­ibly jealous of everyone here who’s read the short stories. i’m in india and i can’t buy ’em off smashwords/itunes/etc…i’ll just have to wait for michelle to come out with an anthology.
    i was re-reading guy gavriel kay’s tigana recently and his writing seemed suddenly familiar. now, who else do we know has such beau­tiful writing, where every word is so care­fully placed, each one a jewel?

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