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Peril's Gate (Wars of Light and Shadow, #6; Arc 3 - Alliance of Light, #3)
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Wars of Light and Shadow > Peril’s Gate: Davien's Maze/Kewar Tunnel

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Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments Thought maybe it would be good to discuss this here. I have many thoughts about it.

There were many things in his journey through the maze that I did not know before; in particular his childhood, the cold treatment by his Grandfather because he was so gifted; his mother's death.

There was also new information about the strike by Lysaer in Etarra that infected him with the curse that I did not know before. The details about how he perceived the curse and tried to fight it off, how it curled itself around his very being so that it is inseparable, the fact that when he used his gift of shadow, he did not make it the cold force that would kill. That the curse had learned from its battle with Traithe how to evade the spells and wards that Traithe had used and how everything Arithon tried was ineffective to fight it.

That was all new information to me.


message 2: by Sandra (last edited Aug 17, 2010 04:32PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments I have a question here, Janny. One of the things that Arithon has to do is feel what all the victims of the fighting feel. I gather that this is to show him empathy, and true understanding for the magnitude of what happened. And yet, he has this geas of 'compassion' that tortures him constantly so that he already feels a lot of what others feel. Is there a difference here? Is some of the reason he needs this part of the maze experience so that he can 'own' this as his own, rather than having it forced on him by the geas? Or am I getting too convoluted in my thinking?

Psychologically I understand the purpose of this process completely for ordinary mortals, but what puzzles me a little is the impact of it on Prince Arithon with his 'magical' powers - not his mage training or his talent, but the geas of compassion and farsight, and his 'gift' of shadow. All of those things seem to be differentiated in the book, and to my mind, make him and Lysaer a little more than human.


Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments As Arithon is reexperiencing the nightmare of his tienelle intoxication on board the Khietienne after he found out about Dirkhen's death here's a quote:

At next breath, he was an innocent babe, flash-burned by the levin bolt hurled down by Lysaer into the grottos of Tal Quorin.

That single death, in the random deluge of thousands, wakened the sleeping dragon.


Dun da dun dun! Janny does sneak those little snippets in there, doesn't she?


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Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments Sandra - you have it backwards: Arithon suffered those things because he ALREADY owned up to them. The maze is a mirror that reflects the self - so whatever he believed about who he was would come back to 'haunt' him. If he'd had no regrets, (there was a line) he would have walked out, untouched.

Those unrequited regrets - rightly or wrongly held - would be redressed, reconciled, and set to rest in order to pass. Like so many, the failures weighed more heavily on his spirit than the triumphs. If you watch, stage by stage, you will see him stop fighting the old views, and come around to several different stages of understanding - all of which the maze acknowledged, supported, even, and forced him to step ever deeper.

His mage training and his shadows: the adage/saw says: the more power, the greater the responsibility. He was more self aware - therefore, he saw with greater vision, and in this regard, the maze did too.

As to the whys of his gift of compassion - how pernicious that caused the journey to become: one would have to understand DAVIEN's purpose for building the maze - there are clues, and more on that at a later point.

The ONE thing that was a 'first' for his passage: the reaction of the mistwraith's curse - becoming redoubly wakened and pernicious at each of the 'relivings' - this was possibly the ugliest twist of them all.

Note: at the final ending of this sequence WHY Arithon received his requital - and note also that at the last step, he gave his permission to have help. This is significant.


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Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "As Arithon is reexperiencing the nightmare of his tienelle intoxication on board the Khietienne after he found out about Dirkhen's death here's a quote:

At next breath, he was an innocent babe, fl..."


Was that literal, or metaphorical, do you think?


Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments Well, of course, through out the maze, he receives compassion and forgiveness from others, which is the one thing he has always lacked for himself. He is able to accept it, which is a good thing.

And of course, the redoubling of the curse's strength was a nasty twist. But he was also able to observe its influence at critical stages, AND was able to finally visualize and practice a way to loosen its grip with his music.

Well, one does after all have to be willing to ask for and receive help, a universally significant thing in emotional healing. But first one has to believe in one's worthiness for healing. And at the end, Arithon was unable to 'disown his core self,' is what I believe it says. It also says he was 'stripped short by rebuke that shamed his adherence to shortfalls as arrogance.'

And I hadn't thought of the dragon's awakening as symbolic, but it is probably both - literal and metaphorical.


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Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments The build up of the small clues - sometimes they only leap out at you in hindsight, after the unveiling that blows up the landscape. ;)


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John | 136 comments Janny wrote: "As to the whys of his gift of compassion - how pernicious that caused the journey to become: one would have to understand DAVIEN's purpose for building the maze - there are clues, and more on that at a later point."

This was something I was thinking about the whole time I was reading this section. Here's this powerful artifact that Davien has created, which we know drove an earlier s'Ffalenn to his death... so what was the purpose? I trust you, Janny, to have thought beyond "this would be a convenient plot device to save Arithon from his pursuers AND help him work through his issues," so there are ultimately two questions here: why did Davien want Arithon there and why did he build it in the first place. The two answers may or may not be directly related.

The more immediate answer seems easiest, so that's where I'll start. It seems obvious from what Davien says to Luhaine and to Arithon that his purpose is to essentially do what we've already talked about: force Arithon to come to terms with his decisions, with his s'Ffalenn conscience, with the influence of the curse, the whole shebang. Davien will put Arithon under the most extreme pressure and either crush him or turn him into a diamond. Why? Apparently because everything is pretty well screwed up and Athera is going to need all the help it can get to survive. Just because Davien disagrees in some fundamental ways with the F7 doesn't mean that he either wants everything detroyed or, for that matter, doesn't agree with the fundamental purposes of the F7, even if he doesn't pursue those ends the same way. As we've already seen, Arithon is enormously powerful and could be even more so--before his mage sight was blinded, he was a more fluid spellbinder (I hope I'm not misusing terms) than Dakar, who'd studied under Fellowship auspices for hundreds of years. As masterbard, Arithon seems to have what amounts to Mage Hearing (that's what I'm calling this counterpart to Magesight), which we've seen him use to amazing effect on more than one occasion, such as--ho hum--saving the world. Assuming Lysaer doesn't kill him or the wraiths or Koriani or [insert threat here] don't destroy the world, he's got hundreds of years to learn more and further refine both of his arts. Sorry, I'm digressing: point is, when it comes to saving the world, Arithon's the best thing to come along since I don't know when.

Now, what was Davien's purpose for creating it in the first place? Considering that the only other specific name we get associated with it is Arithon's ancestor, it almost seems like it was custom made to force a crisis with the debilitating side of s'Ffalenn compassion. Yet Davien does make reference to others who have successfully navigated the Maze, so maybe I'm putting too much weight on the s'Ffalenn connection (or maybe those others were basically incidental to its purpose?). I don't know, but I was giving the question of purpose some thought while reading.


Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments My assumption as to the reason Davien built it is that he wanted to devise a method of sorting out worthy from unworthy to inherit the throne. We are unsure at this point of his reasons for unraveling the old system, but my thought is that he found it wrong in some way, and maybe this is a method he devised to refine the old system.

And I don't remember him saying anyone had survived the maze before. All I remember is that no one had survived it to date.


message 10: by John (new)

John | 136 comments From the EOS hardcover edition (2001), p. 688 (just pages from the end): "Do you know you are the only man, ever, to master the first trial of the maze who had the hare-brained audacity to challenge me?"

In other words, others made it through the first trial and then presumably chose one of the three doors rather than pushing into the challenge that Arithon eventually unravels and reorders--they got out while the getting was good.

That guess about the purpose seems as good as any: clearly he has an issue with the system of kingship, so perhaps this was an attempt at refining it before he decided to blow it up?


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Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments John, you are asking ALL the right questions.

A clarification: Dakar is a spellbinder. Verrain is a master spellbinder. Arithon is a master. There is a difference. Possibly something that could be defined in the FAQ, I doubt it would spoil. The initiations involved have to do with levels of self-awareness, and the 'system' protects itself.

Why did Davien build the Maze - one must see inside his motive....I will clue you this, at this stage: The Five Centuries' Fountain on the splinter world AND Davien's maze addressed two sides of a serious question. Davien built them and engaged them to PROVE A POINT. Now speculate away, what was that point, and was his theory successful.

WHY did Davien lure Arithon into the maze - there are clues, extremely subtle ones, at this stage - you can start to unravel the reason by looking very carefully for the moment - the ONE INCIDENT - that caused Davien to break his long habit of silent exile - what event caused him to interact with the world again - I will clue you: it occurs in Grand Conspiracy.

Yes, there were survivors of the maze, prior to Arithon.
There was also One Significant Death, which ties to the founding purpose behind the maze's construction.


Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments I think it was Morriel's messing around with the energies in Athera during the equinox that woke Davien up. I completely missed that there were those who survived the maze. Do we know who they were? And I'll have to do research on the one significant death unless it was the guardian centaur over Althain Tower... that is ringing a bell.


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John | 136 comments Sandra, I'm pretty sure you're right. I took perhaps more time than I should have to track it down: it's XII. Dire Portents in Grand Conspiracy when Davien stirs, in the wake of Morriel's meddling.

A significant death beyond Kamridian?


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Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments John wrote: "Sandra, I'm pretty sure you're right. I took perhaps more time than I should have to track it down: it's XII. Dire Portents in Grand Conspiracy when Davien stirs, in the wake of Morrie..."

Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "I think it was Morriel's messing around with the energies in Athera during the equinox that woke Davien up. I completely missed that there were those who survived the maze. Do we know who they we..."

Ah. Yes. That was the TIMING - but - the backdrop commotion was not the event....look more carefully....there was a specific action on someone's part that triggered Davien's break from complete isolation and it is hugely significant. This is meant to be a most subtle point. It is a foreshadow, here, for what will drop your jaw in Traitor's Knot (Sandra, hold your tongue, grin, if you get it.)

The ONE significant death was Kamridian's.

He was not the only death in the maze, just as Arithon was not the first to survive.

What was in common between the two: it will clue you as to the reason the maze was built, to PROVE OUT A THEORY. Kamridian was the proof. Arithon was the exception that broke it.


Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments Oh, I remember what it was -- it was Arithon saving the world from Morriel's dastardly deed with his music! That's what woke Davien up!


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Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "Oh, I remember what it was -- it was Arithon saving the world from Morriel's dastardly deed with his music! That's what woke Davien up!"


Ah - nope. ;)


Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments Janny wrote: "Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "Oh, I remember what it was -- it was Arithon saving the world from Morriel's dastardly deed with his music! That's what woke Davien up!"


Ah - nope. ;)"


Oh phooey!


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Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "Janny wrote: "Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "Oh, I remember what it was -- it was Arithon saving the world from Morriel's dastardly deed with his music! That's what woke Davien up!"


Ah - nope. ;)"

Oh ..."


See the query I posted in the Grand Conspiracy discussion for where you might unearth the elusive clue...


message 19: by John (last edited Oct 17, 2010 02:18PM) (new)

John | 136 comments I've been thinking about the purpose of Davien's Maze, I've been looking through the books (but not pinning much down, so it's mostly just thinking about it).

So. It's evident to most of us in the modern world that monarchy is a poor form of government: to be ruled by the whims of one person chosen for no other reason than because one's ancestor was some combination of nasty, clever, or lucky enough to end up in charge. Ah, but if we could ensure good kings, monarchy might be the BEST form of government. So the F7 tried to ensure that Athera's humans would have enlightened rulers by magically weaving a particular character trait into the genetics of the royal lines to make them good rulers.

Davien, we know, is against even this modified form of monarchy. So what is his theory, that the maze is meant to test? Is it that he believes that the royal lines are inherently flawed? In the case of the s'Ffalenn line, the geas of compassion can break its inheritor (perhaps because kingship is going to impose dilemmas that will impose a cost to any decision). Other lines are presumably flawed as well--not in spite of but BECAUSE OF their geas. We see that in the s'Ilessids, where even before the Mistwraith Lysaer's forebears had been driven by the compulsion to pursue justice into pursuing a vendetta against the s'Ffalenns (notably, it's over a misunderstanding, but even if it had been justified it might be the case that the pursuit of justice is not always worth the price--the dual point here is that human judgment cannot always discern what justice truly is and that the geas of justice seems to allow no moderation in its pursuit).

So could that be it? But then, how is the Five Centuries' Fountain address another side of this? An avenue to keep a truly just ruler in power beyond the normal span of mortals? I admit, I don't know, and that's a weakness in my theory.

As for the trigger to Davien's involvement? That's something else I don't know.


message 20: by Sandra (last edited Oct 17, 2010 06:34PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments In the Grand Conspiracy discussion, Janny suggests that Chapter set VII Dire Portents has the answer. All right, I'm rereading that chapter and Davien is at his scrying pool deep in Kewar Tunnel. First he sees Lysaer with his poopy priest; then he goes to Avenor and watches Ellaine and Kevor deal with the crisis. Then he traces the Koriani spells - the ones surrounding Jaelot and the one where Morriel is messing around with the planet's balance in the mountains, and then a tribal elder in Sanpashir throwing an augury that tells him Arithon's lone brigantine is heading due north across the South sea. The raven flies croaking a call of help. There is no response, but a golden eagle unfurled broad wings and launched into steep, upward flight.

So is it Arithon's return to Athera that makes Davien decide to stir?

Later in that chapter set, Jieret has a vision of Arithon entering the maze.


message 21: by Sandra (last edited Oct 17, 2010 06:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments John wrote: "I've been thinking about the purpose of Davien's Maze, I've been looking through the books (but not pinning much down, so it's mostly just thinking about it).

So. It's evident to most of us in ..."


Janny has said several times that Athera's monarchies are not the traditional kind that we know. The kingship is decided by the F7, not by lineage alone. They have not given it to Lysaer, for instance, in spite of his lineage as s'Ilessid. And each king's line has been given a geas, one of the five that the Paravians built towers to in Ithamon, the ruins where Lysaer and Arithon originally combined their gifts to fight Desh-thierre's curse. There's justice, compassion, wisdom, grace, and endurance or honor. I believe the five geas' kept the land in balance. The kings served to maintain the balance pledged to the Paravians when they granted human presence in their land.

We don't yet know why Davien decided to upset the ruling system, but we do know that the price demanded of the clans who were bred to withstand the presence of the Paravians was entirely too high. They died or went mad in large numbers when in the presence of living Paravians. I suspect the maze was devised by Davien as some sort of test and to withstand it proved something to him.


message 22: by John (new)

John | 136 comments Sandra, I was looking at that same chapter. Arithon is the last thing Davien sees from scrying, so it seems reasonable to suppose that it's Arithon's resolve to return to the continent that brings Davien back, particularly given how interested Davien subsequently is in Arithon.

Of course, then we also see Traithe's raven: "In the far-distant south, above a rimwall of Vastmark shale, a Sorceror's raven soared through an intricate pavane of circles. A brilliance of energy flowed from its feathers, and its croaking call resounded through all four of the elements and begged help to renew Athera's upset stability."

And then we see "a large golden eagle unfurling broad wings and launching into steep upward flight." Is that a response to the raven (albeit indirect, as he doesn't move to engage directly with either the other Fellowship sorcerors or with the upset balance)? Or just a parallel image?


message 23: by John (new)

John | 136 comments And yes, clearly Athera's monarchies are different from those we've seen in our own history, and I guess my point is that they have to be in order to really deserve our sympathy and claim the moral high ground.

I'd still maintain that, while far better than any monarchy ever seen in our world, it's not without flaws (though it did manage to persist for, what, thousands of years? not too shabby!).

And likewise, I do recognize that the succession was more complicated than simply the oldest inherits (we saw that also in the declaration of Jieret's heir), but ultimately they had to work with what they had, right? No guarantee that you'll get a great High King (or Caithdein) in every generation... sometimes they'd have to take the best they could get, right? Anyway, it seems like a lot of the references we've heard to Kamridian have touched on his greatness... but he was still "flawed" by his inability to "withstand" his geas or to integrate it fully (or however you want to describe it).


Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments Well, the golden eagle is of course Davien.

And I agree that the system was flawed. I'm sure the reasons will be revealed to us along the way. I CAN'T WAIT for the next book. I don't entirely trust Davien, though. He's got too much power for his own good, that one.


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Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments John wrote: "I've been thinking about the purpose of Davien's Maze, I've been looking through the books (but not pinning much down, so it's mostly just thinking about it).

So. It's evident to most of us in ..."


John, yes, you are on the right track.

What you need to know (and the dates in the back history would establish this irrefutably) is that the Five Centuries Fountain PRECEEDED the Maze. So the proof established by the one trial (longevity and its result) was followed by the next, established by the Maze.

Your outline of the royal gifts, bound into succession, is quite accurate - there is a lot more on inheritance and the gifts and how succession occurs in the APPENDIX, found in Traitor's Knot USA/HARDBOUND and repeated again in Stormed Fortress (all copies). A quick look there will blow off the assumption that succession is done through direct/oldest son. It's not...there is also as section in the FAQ area of the Paravia site that outlines how the royal gifts descend through the lineage...that's not exactly straightforward, either. DO be careful in those areas, though as you may encounter a little or a big spoiler for other volumes.


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Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "John wrote: "I've been thinking about the purpose of Davien's Maze, I've been looking through the books (but not pinning much down, so it's mostly just thinking about it).

So. It's evident to mos..."


Great summary -- the fourth royal gift was farsight, the fifth royal gift was temperance.


message 27: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments John wrote: "And yes, clearly Athera's monarchies are different from those we've seen in our own history, and I guess my point is that they have to be in order to really deserve our sympathy and claim the moral..."

To fully understand Athera's 'monarchies' you have to realize: they were NOT the 'omnipotent' sovereigns/sole rulers you think of with our tradition on earth.

You need to decipher WHAT those 'monarchies' did, and realize how the charter law functioned - that the law ran DIFFERENTLY in the towns than in the free wilds, and the purpose of the Paravian crowned high king was not as you know it, here.

Speculate away.

I am not being 'obscure' deliberately - only suggesting that the clues as to how all this stuff runs are laid down in sequence, and all will be unveiled in due time. You are not meant to understand it all at once - or the world building would have detracted severely from the characters and the story.

There is a LOT more coming as the series unfolds, and as the story moves forward, you'll get what you need to understand in step, and, in fact, see it in direct action.


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Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "In the Grand Conspiracy discussion, Janny suggests that Chapter set VII Dire Portents has the answer. All right, I'm rereading that chapter and Davien is at his scrying pool deep in Kewar Tunnel. ..."

Sandra: NOTE THE FIRST THING DAVIEN CHOSE TO VIEW. The rest is REACTION to that...and that little small line is actually the ENDING of a scene, started in the chapter prior...put the two together.

Again, not deliberate obfuscation....the string of clues that motivate Davien's action will come to fruition, gain momentum, and you'll see the result as it builds quite clearly. To tip that off too vividly here would have removed a lot of the impetus, later.

But fun to examine what first stirred that spirit from a longterm seclusion. There are actually several things in Peril's Gate that point to Davien's interactive interest.


Sandra  (sleo) | 1059 comments Janny wrote: "Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "John wrote: "I've been thinking about the purpose of Davien's Maze, I've been looking through the books (but not pinning much down, so it's mostly just thinking about it).
..."


Oh yes, I was reading from the appendix in Curse about the towers at Ithamon and thinking that they coincided with the gifts or geas given to the kings.


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Janny (jannywurts) | 414 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "Janny wrote: "Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "John wrote: "I've been thinking about the purpose of Davien's Maze, I've been looking through the books (but not pinning much down, so it's mostly just thinkin..."

The only similarity - the King's Tower fell at Ithamon; the s'Ellestrion line (Wisdom) died out. Make of that what you will.


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