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The Adversary > The Adversary - Chapters 1-3

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message 1: by Chad (new)

Chad Peek (mordrim) | 255 comments Mod
Hi everyone. I am really really sorry. With everything going on I completely forgot that it was Monday and I had to open up a new thread. :(

Without any further delay, let's open the discussions about the first three chapters of The Adversary :)


message 2: by Justin (new)

Justin (berliad) | 106 comments Well, that was a pretty big whoops by Farideh, eh? :)

As someone who is new to the series, I'm enjoying getting to know the characters. I think the only one that I felt like I had a hard time getting my head around was Lorcan...and that was more because everyone isn't revolted by him than anything else. I mean, he's a nasty, manipulative devil, right? I take it that he's done some "good" in the past or something?

I'm intrigued by this idea of devils collecting warlocks descended from this original group or ancestral warlocks. Do we know what they hope to gain from this? Is it a status symbol, or are they anticipating gaining some more direct power by making pacts with representatives from as many of the lineages as they can?


message 3: by Mara (new)

Mara  (marajade84) | 2 comments Berliad wrote: "Well, that was a pretty big whoops by Farideh, eh? :)

As someone who is new to the series, I'm enjoying getting to know the characters. I think the only one that I felt like I had a hard time get..."


Lorcan has been helpful in the past, though it was usually for self-serving reasons. He definitely protects Farideh, since she is his warlock and I guess his servant? He is only a half-devil (his mother was a devil, his father a mortal of some sort) so he is "less evil" than a true devil. Also the books describe him as seductive and sexy. I'm sure that has something to do with it. Another thing is that devils are bound by contracts and such that they cannot really break, so while they are definitely evil they still have to uphold their part of the contract.

From what I understand the warlock groups are a status symbol. Lorcan is pretty low on the chain of devils (since he is a half-breed) so having something rare is a way of gloating and advancing his status in the hierarchy of the Hells. At least what I gathered from the story. However, that isn't to say there is not another ulterior motive to it that hasn't been mentioned yet.


message 4: by Erin (last edited Dec 26, 2013 01:44PM) (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Berliad wrote: "Well, that was a pretty big whoops by Farideh, eh? :)

As someone who is new to the series, I'm enjoying getting to know the characters. I think the only one that I felt like I had a hard time get..."

I typed up a nice long response last night after the guests had gone home and the last of the figgy pudding had been put away. And then I made a mis-stroke and somehow managed to close all the tabs I had open, including my nice long response. And today, it lost the reply a second time (thank goodness I typed it up in another program >:-/)

So, apologies for the delay.

Berliad, I would say Lorcan is a cross between the party member you can’t quite bring yourself to kick out, because he’s useful even though he’s a jerk, and that significant other of your friend’s who you’re all waiting to get the boot, but in the meantime, there’s not enough to draw a line in the sand over. He’s definitely been rotten. He’s definitely brought a measure of trouble to the group. But he’s also saved all of their lives more than once, and arguably been downright heroic a time or two. Without him, Farideh has no pact and potentially has to contend with a lot of collector devils coming after her. (And, as you can see, she’s conflicted about how she feels about him personally). So he’s still useful.

As for collector devils, Ashley’s description is spot-on. The hierarchy of the Hells, in my opinion, would inevitably have lots of dead ends, places where it’s difficult or impossible to advance—yet the baatezu/devils as a whole would be viciously ambitious and status-conscious in order for the premise of the hierarchy to persist. Something like collecting warlocks confers a sort of “micro-status” and provides a channel for that ambition. A devil (for example) that has a Toril Thirteen has shown a level of cunning and initiative which sets it above other collectors. Perhaps it might even make the difference down the line when a question of promotion comes up.

Cambions (half-devils) are interesting to me in particular, since they cannot advance up the hierarchy the way other devils can. For those unfamiliar with the lore of the Nine Hells, devils’ forms change to something more powerful as they’re promoted or demoted. (Lorcan and Sairché’s mother was demoted from an erinyes to a succubus in the first book). Cambions don’t have that ability, and so they have less to gain and more to lose by playing the hierarchy’sgames. If they displease the wrong archdevil, they can’t be demoted into a lesser form: they can only be killed (and then presumably their souls return to the Nine Hells and possibly arise as new devils, so I guess in a sense, they can advance up the hierarchy…just not in a very pleasant way).

There are surely more examples of these sort of “micro-status” actions in the Hells. I’d put them vaguely on par with achievements in video games. You’re not going to win because you find all the tokens, but you can definitely lord it over anyone else who seriously plays that game. And there are definitely other benefits to collecting warlocks, intentional or unintentional.


message 5: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
The Prologue:
The prologue is definitely here to correct a potential issue of tone. Originally, in the outline phase, my editor thought it might be best to just start here and go on to Chapter Two right off. Let everyone be confused together, and they’ll all catch up together, new readers and old. It was a good thought, but to my mind, that would have forced me to either oversimplify characters or jam a lot of details into the scene that didn’t fit. I really felt sure I needed ChapterOne.

Which would have meant that the book starts with two teenaged girls discussing whether one of them is going to have sex with her boyfriend for the first time. And since there would be a lot of new readers coming into this, some of whom definitely have pre-conceived notions of what women write about, and all of whom do not necessarily know that the twins arescreaming badasses, I could not start there. My editor really pushed to have me start with Farideh and Lorcan in Proskur, and just mention the conversation (the first draft was even “girlier” although I think it was a lot funnier—I have it somewhere if you want to see), but again, it seemed too tangled.

The prologue is confusing. But it should instill a sense of dread that hopefully infects any mundaneness of the first chapter. Something very bad happened. When is it coming? How did it go down? What did Farideh do?

My initial readers were pretty split on it. I like being a little confused when I read, but not everyone does. I hope you all liked it all right. :)

Let's see...what else...
* Temerity is the first of Lorcan's other warlocks that shows up "on-screen." I'm inordinately pleased at her "virtue name."
* The Harper agent in the taproom, "Lady Hedare," is Tennora from my first book The God Catcher. Because originally, this book was supposed to be about Tennora--they asked me for a human wizard story. I found I couldn't deliver--I liked the book I was going to write, but not where I'd have to take the series they wanted. So I convinced the Powers That Be to take a chance on a tiefling warlock book. But here is a little glimpse of the Adversary That Wasn't. Tennora is a Harper with a slightly scandalous lover, and she still works for Nazra Mrays.
*Lord Vescaras Ammakyl also would have been in that book, although he didn't come together as a charater until The Adversary. I just had a picture in my mind of a Harper agent who was a half-elf nobleman, looked like Paterson Joseph and acted like a kind of stuffy James Bond. So I went to Ed Greenwood and begged him to help me find a place for him. He offered up the Ammakyls, whose matriarch as of 2E was drawn as an elf. Some rough geneological calculations, and here's Vescaras.
* I would love to write the story of Mira among the Bedine.

Did I forget anything? :D


message 6: by Dashell (new)

Dashell Hammett | 6 comments I enjoyed the prologue. It immediately made me ask the question; How did the Twins get here? Along with; What did the devils do now?? :)

I confess, I was a bit concerned about the time jump that I kind of expected. The Brimstone Angels series had been VERY sequential, practically on the heels of the one that went before, and I felt sure that momentum would continue. You handled the time advance quite well, and twisted it up in the plot in such a way that I am made curious about the interim for all the characters; Dahl, Mehen and Brin in particular. I love Tam, but I figure he was doing the Harper Spymaster job from his desk.

And YES; more Mira.


message 7: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Oh, the time jump!

When I convinced TPTB to give me a chance to pitch a Farideh-Sundering book, that was the one thing I couldn't take off the table. It had to be set around 1486 DR. Skipping seven or eight years wouldn't have worked--they'd be completely different characters. And Mehen wasn't with them at the end of Brimstone Angels: Lesser Evils: A Forgotten Realms Novel, so he couldn't make the jump with them.

Honestly, there were so many time jumps done in the 3E-4E transition that I almost scrapped i. Except the difference between those and here is I only had to deal with 7 or 8 years--there was no need to hit pause. And it was a lot more interesting if I didn't (I think).


message 8: by Jonn (new)

Jonn (sleypy) | 48 comments I guess 10 years is better then losing your soul. So there is that at least... right? It really concerns me that a Sairché just snatched up Havilar without having to make a contract with her. The thought that someone else can give a devil power over you, or a devil can just snatch you up anytime it wants is a pretty scary prospect.

Dahl seems to be a mess. I really wonder what people think causes a paladin to fall. Does the average person assume fallen paladins have done something horrible? I imagine telling people you don't know doesn't help matters.

Its probably because I don't fully understand Dahl and Khochen relationship, but she annoys me. For a lot of the same reason Lorcan annoys me. She is pushing Dahl personal boundaries a little too hard.


message 9: by Dashell (new)

Dashell Hammett | 6 comments Erin wrote: "Oh, the time jump!

When I convinced TPTB to give me a chance to pitch a Farideh-Sundering book, that was the one thing I couldn't take off the table. It had to be set around 1486 DR. Skipping sev..."


May I ask? Well, I'm sure I may ask, but I'm not sure you can answer.

Brin and Mehen, and others, were allowed to "live" that seven (nearly 8) year absence; had you already planned what they would be doing in that time? Either as their own subject, or in the weave of the next book? :)

Also, I thought it was great that Mehen became Brin's bodyguard and surrogate Father figure, which seemed a natural extension of what we had seen so far.


message 10: by Dashell (new)

Dashell Hammett | 6 comments Dahl seems to be a mess. I really wonder what people think causes a paladin to fall. Does the average person assume fallen paladins have done something horrible? I imagine telling people you don't know doesn't help matters.

Its probably because I don't fully understand Dahl and Khochen relationship, but she annoys me. For a lot of the same reason Lorcan annoys me. She is pushing Dahl personal boundaries a little too hard.


I dig Dahl. I'd like to learn more about him. The interesting thing about the Realms is that there are some very specific "Flavors" of holy orders. Dahl was a Paladin of Oghma -- The Lord of Knowledge, Patron of Bards, even Invention. I believe its also mentioned in Dahl's prayers that he should be finding what is lost. Oghma's the answer; what would make Oghman want to teach a Paladin a lesson? A fall isn't necessarily doing evil, but somehow breaking faith or ignoring dogma?

As for Khochen; she pushed everyone it seemed like. She was a fisher of information, what a friend of mine would call a "noodge". I agree she got under the scales a bit, but I think that's just how she works. I believe Vescaras called her a "Viper". :) But really, an excellent Spymaster, and pretty well suited to Westgate. Wasn't Westgate the city overrun by Vampires thanks to the Manshoon Clone?


message 11: by Jonn (new)

Jonn (sleypy) | 48 comments I dig Dahl. I'd like to learn more about him. The interesting thing about the Realms is that there are some very specific "Flavors" of holy orders. Dahl was a Paladin of Oghma -- The Lord of Knowledge, Patron of Bards, even Invention. I believe its also mentioned in Dahl's prayers that he should be finding what is lost. Oghma's the answer; what would make Oghman want to teach a Paladin a lesson? A fall isn't necessarily doing evil, but somehow breaking faith or ignoring dogma?

Oghma is probably my favorite deity, so having a character like Dahl has been really cool. It gives me inspiration for my own character.

I'm not really suggesting that a fall is due to an evil act. I was just pondering what do people in the Realms think are the reason a Paladin falls. I had made the guess that the average person in the Realms might think it does takes an evil act.


message 12: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments I actually was thinking this morning that the little time jump added tension to the story. Here the twins were, two teenage girls. Now, they have the body of women, but they have not caught up mentally/emotionally. And all their loved ones have believed them dead and moved on with their lives, but to the twins, they just saw them yesterday. This has the potential for a lot of added tension to the story and I think it is awesome how it can/might work out.

I know when I read these 3 chapters the first time, I wanted to know there the hells was Lorcan? How did he give up not only his prize warlock, but to his sister? And then, I caught that Farideh was still a warlock, but had not made a pact with Sairche. So, does that mean her pact still stands with Lorcan? Is Sairche lieing to her? And then again, where the F is Lorcan?! The Prologue showed that he valued her more than he wanted to admit.

Ahh, Dahl. I so want to know what happened to him in the past 8 years and why he blames Farideh for his problems now (and that led him to drink). It is terrible when you think so lowly of yourself as he seems to feel at the moment. No matter what anyone else actually thinks, he is creating his own idea of their feelings towards him. It seems that he is catching himself doing it a little though..that his "memory" does not exactly fit all the time other pieces to the story.

Sairche does not "have" Havi yet. She knows about her, I think Havi will put her glaive through Sairche before she even gets a chance to try to talk her into something.:D But it frightening that even with the spell protecting them, how she found them and easily was able to take them/keep them (again..where the F is Lorcan!).
Poor Brin and Mehen, especially Mehen.


message 13: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Jonn wrote: " Does the average person assume fallen paladins have done something horrible? I imagine telling people you don't know doesn't help matters."

I imagine it varies from person to person. If you're aware of the varied forms of transgression, you're probably warily sympathetic. If you haven't really any notion other than hearsay, you might leap to conclusions of vileness. Or if you think paladins are all rule-bound ninnies, you probably see it as a blessing! I imagine it's along the lines of a priest who's been defrocked or a soldier who's been dishonorably discharged--maybe not something you tell everyone.

I would point out that as...pushy as she comes off, I intended for Khochen and Dahl to be friends. While on one layer, she's definitely addicted to people's stories and a huge gossip (as is--let's face it--Dahl), she also manages to get him to talk about things he'd probably just sulk over and let fester. It's definitely not a friendship without its drawbacks, though.


message 14: by Erin (last edited Dec 27, 2013 04:01PM) (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
Dashell wrote:" May I ask? Well, I'm sure I may ask, but I'm not sure you can answer.

Brin and Mehen, and others, were allowed to "live" that seven (nearly 8) year absence; had you already planned what they would be doing in that time? Either as their own subject, or in the weave of the next book? :)

Also, I thought it was great that Mehen became Brin's bodyguard and surrogate Father figure, which seemed a natural extension of what we had seen so far. "


This is not where I was planning to take the characters, except in a very, very broad sense. They were always headed to Cormyr, because that problem had a timer on it, so to speak. If they'd gotten there in a hypothetical book 3, it would have been different even than what book 4 (Fire in the Blood) has turned into. The trickiest aspect was making the characters hold onto various attributes in a believable fashion, despite the roll of years.

Dahl was perhaps the most difficult to readjust, because I really couldn't have him sorting out his own issues in the interim. As you start to see here, I dealt him a rather rough hand to keep him from being able to grow as a character too much. Brin had a major trauma to hamper him in all the ways I needed. Mehen's story growth is largely connected to his daughters at this point, so their absence (and having Brin stand in for them in the critical ways) hits the pause button effectively. But Dahl had to get a message from a god, laughed out of the Domes of Reason, a dead father right after he admitted to being fallen but NOT to being a Harper, and a catastrophically botched mission, among other, more minor setbacks. Poor lamb.


message 15: by Justin (new)

Justin (berliad) | 106 comments Erin, just wanted to say thanks for the great response (all three times?)! That's a great analogy for Lorcan, and I appreciate the insights into the Toril Thirteen.


message 16: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
You're very welcome!

I spend a solid year and a half on these books, obsessing over a zillion decisions and details, and I don't really get to talk to anyone about most of it--and then most people rip through the book in a few days. Book Club is like a guilty pleasure. :p


message 17: by Jon (new)

Jon Crofts | 76 comments Due to Christmas things I have only just managed to finish Chapter 3. I have to admit to being a bit shocked. We did just rather take a turn for the dark, didn't me? My word.

The girls are, at the moment, facing the prospective ruin of everything they have known in their lives (again) and this time they don't even have the steadying influence of Mehen (as they did when they left Arush Vayem) as he is part of the "problem".

Powerful stuff, and as usual superb writing. I almost couldn't bring myself to read Brin's scene with Mehen in the prison.

Let's see what Chapters 4+ will bring us!


message 18: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
That reminds me: did you all stop before the italicized "interlude" or did you read that too?


message 19: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments I read it since it was before chapter 4. :)


message 20: by Jonn (new)

Jonn (sleypy) | 48 comments I read it, and it complete confused me.


message 21: by Jon (new)

Jon Crofts | 76 comments Me too. There wasn't any way of knowing that chapter 4 started just over the "page" (kindle version) so I ended up reading it too.


message 22: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
I figure those parts could go with the section before or after without a lot of trouble, but better to know which is happening (and don't accidentally skip them). I don't love the way they're laid out/indicated in the book--although I don't think I get to complain since its my own fault that there aren't enough pages for anything fancy--and I could see that coming.

Did I mention I like being a little confused? Stick with me, I promise it will make sense soon enough. :p


message 23: by Jon (new)

Jon Crofts | 76 comments Erin wrote: "I figure those parts could go with the section before or after without a lot of trouble, but better to know which is happening (and don't accidentally skip them). I don't love the way they're laid ..."

It wasn't a bad thing for them to appear at that point in the narrative (apart from the discomfort I was feeling on the characters' behalf). I have found such interludes often work well to retain an overall atmosphere in a book when the action at that point in time might not reflect it.

Of course we'll stick with you, Erin! Your Book Clubs do seem to be rather popular after all ;).

As an addendum to my earlier post I have finally identified the tense feeling all of the text so far as been evoking. It is the same that I felt after the Time Jump was announced during the weeks/months leading up to 4E. It is a fear for my favourite characters with regards to their brokenness and longevity (or lack of it). Last time a good 90% of the characters I was fond of died. I am really hoping my worry is misplaced this time!


message 24: by Steve (new)

Steve Mumford | 16 comments Well, I thought the book got off to a great start; the prologue certainly sets the tone well, and although I'm not usually a fan of the TV show pre-credits flashforward gimmick (usually because it ends with a totally artificial cliffhanger that'll be easily dismissed when the time comes), I think here it creates the right amount of confusion and vague dread.

I remember hearing about the required time jump during our reading of Lesser Evils, and wondering how Erin was going to manage it in a satisfying way; I think it works very nicely. Sairché is on top form in this section, and the way she deals with Temerity reinforces the idea that she's exceptionally cunning and dangerous (whereas poor Lorcan has really lost his edge). To have Sairché be the agent of the time jump, appearing to help the sisters whilst at the same time causing them such hurt, whilst splitting the party in time as well as space - well, I think it gives the story a lot of energy. However, even though Sairché looks untouchable, it's interesting to note that not everything runs her way - she's concerned about her status in the heirarchy, and it seems in chapter 2 as if her portal magic might be malfunctioning. (I'll be interested to learn the significance of the falling earthmotes - is this just a sign that the Spellplague's influence is diminishing, or is there more to it?)

Dahl is a bit of a mess, isn't he? At least there are people around who want to look after him; and after the glimmer of hope towards the end of Lesser Evils I was interested to learn that Oghma has spoken to him in the meantime. I can't help wondering whether something significant is going to happen to him in this book.

Finally, I was relieved to read that Brin rescued Mehen and that they've grown closer since; having Mehen elevated to the position of bodyguard was a nice touch - he deserves a bit of a break given what he's been through. I imagine it won't last, though :)

I thought the italicised section before chapter four worked well, even though I was initially uncertain whether it was something that had actually happened, a flash-forward, a vision, or something else. It served the purpose of revealing what had happened between Brin and Mehen whilst maintaining the time-jump sense of confusion. I'm fine with obscurity as atmosphere; it's when obscurity becomes a plot device that things become annoying. So far, The Adversary is pushing all the right buttons - great work, Erin, and thanks!


message 25: by John (new)

John Hayes (jhayes27) | 159 comments I was also wondering about the fallen earth motes. Was that tieing into what happened in The Godborn with Sakkors (I think that was its name) or is it just a coincidence?


message 26: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments Erin had posted elsewhere (I think Candlekeep?) that the falling Earthmotes are a Sundering "thing". :) I don't remember all of what she said off the top of my head (sorry Erin, not enough coffee in me yet to activate that super power). But I think it was one of the "things" that she was asked to touch upon in her book regarding the Sundering. :)

I'm curious if it is because of Mystra's Return and the repairing of The Weave that is causing them to fall.


message 27: by Jonn (last edited Dec 30, 2013 08:49AM) (new)

Jonn (sleypy) | 48 comments John wrote: "I was also wondering about the fallen earth motes. Was that tieing into what happened in The Godborn with Sakkors (I think that was its name) or is it just a coincidence?"

It's on a guess, but I think Sakkors fell for different reasons then the other earth motes. I believe most of the fallen earth motes are due to Toril re-separating from Abeir again.

I did find it a little amusing that techically an archmage didn't bring down one, but a equivalently powerful psionist did help bring one down, making Vascera theory not COMPLETELY inaccurate.


message 28: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
So I haven't gotten to read the final version of The Godborn yet, but I'm mostly sure they're unrelated. During the first story summit, we brainstormed things that would change and laid them out on a general timeline, then divided them between the books as things the author could bring up. Earthmotes falling was one of mine.

But the similarity is exactly why Vescaras is so quick to assume something nefarious.


message 29: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments Sakkor fell because the sentience of the mythallar that powered it died. Mags was there to comfort it and bare witness as it died.


message 30: by Jonn (new)

Jonn (sleypy) | 48 comments Dreaming wrote: "Sakkor fell because the sentience of the mythallar that powered it died. Mags was there to comfort it and bare witness as it died."
Yeah I am stretching the meaning of "help". I was trying to be vague to avoid spoiling anything.


message 31: by Dreaming (new)

Dreaming Isis | 78 comments Gah. See, I need more coffee.


message 32: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
That was an awesome cross-post. :D Consider that question ANSWERED!

And Jonn, I think Vescaras would appreciate the added detail. My hope is that he comes off as very, very good at what he does--he's got a point here, he's just missing a piece of information.


message 33: by John (new)

John Hayes (jhayes27) | 159 comments Thanks for all the answers. Can everyone tell I'm a noob to The Forgotten Realms. lol.


message 34: by David (new)

David Given Schwarm (davidschwarm) | 94 comments Mod
She Killed Temerity !

I had most of this novel mapped out as a mad battle for the heart and soul of lost Lorcan between these two very different characters--it was really starting to come together and then...SNIKT! There goes the entire thing!

I did however, really like Temerity while she lasted & very much hope to meet more of the Angels--the fact that each one carries on some aspect of their ancestor's personality / opinion of the 'deal' is a very interesting twist which I hope gets more development. I had assumed that the original people involved in the deal with Asmodeus were all in...

So far the book is off to a great start--the stuff on Dahl is likely my favorite--the drunken depression & career shame is really fantastic stuff...I am, however, very concerned that Book may be replaced by Flask!


message 35: by Erin (new)

Erin Evans (erinmevans) | 184 comments Mod
David wrote: So far the book is off to a great start--the stuff on Dahl is likely my favorite--the drunken depression & career shame is really fantastic stuff...I am, however, very concerned that Book may be replaced by Flask!

Darn! Such an opportunity for another talking object, missed! :D

For the record, the thing about Margarites/Temerity is meant to be more like, "These heirs know that your ancestor screwed their ancestor over, and if that hadn't happened, collector devils wouldn't have come for them. They blame Bryseis Kakistos for this mess, and since they can't take it out on her, they might take it out on you."

I hope Temerity is a good example of a more "standard" warlock. Her path was about improving her own situation by degrees--a little power, a better way of life, less trouble from the watch, more gold. And inch by inch she came around to valuing that comfort over her soul. I find this way more interesting than a straight "soul for power" exchange.

At some point--and it might be in another book, I don't remember--that he doesn't like the Pact Certain, because once you go there, it's hard to really get much else out of a person. If you were a devil--and particularly if your master (Asmodeus) now gets power from living souls who worship him AND dead ones who are claimed, why wouldn't you squeeze everything you could get out of a person?


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