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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

3.2.13.5. The Stolen Helmet – Part 3





Adler and Eidos are being surrounded by more monsters. A giant serpent even bites Adler's armor, lifting the Viscount up high to swallow him whole. Chris rushes to the rescue, swiping his sword to ward monsters off, jumps on the back of a giant rat and leaps! He stabs the serpent's head and lets gravity pull him down. His sword also cuts down, ripping the serpent from head to tail. The monster falls with Adler still on its mouth and crashes on the ground, dead.

    Adler also crashes and injures himself, but it's better than being digested by a snake. The three champions surround Adler and protect him from monsters until he recovers. Their action touch his feelings a bit, but his ego still prevents him from showing any hint of gratitude. He recovers quickly and swings his Kraal'shazar again to chop the next monster.

    The four champions continue to press on forward and fight non-stop for another half hour until suddenly, the monster flee, scattering away! The fighters are puzzled to see this, and as Iris looks up, she shouts, 'WATCH OUT!'

    A freaky, huge monster is crawling on the walls of Griffin Cliff, and it dives! Thanks to Iris' warning, the fighters move away quick enough to avoid being flattened by that freak. And now it's surrounded by Chris and Eidos on its front, Adler and Iris on its back.

    The monster looks like a giant scorpion with serpent head and spider legs – a rare variant with no name. If Chris is his playful mood, he'll make up a name for it: Scornader, the scorpion-snake-spider, a modification to Scornak, the scorpion-snake. However, it's not a time to play. Judging from the monsters' behavior, this Scornader is the king of this colony, meaning there's no monster more dangerous than it for this time being around here.

     Scornader attacks the fighters at once with its scorpion tail and pincers, moving around with its snake head flailing on top to monitor. Iris' Hurricane has no effect on the Scornader's ultra-hard crust. Eidos, however, manages to slow it down about twenty percent with his Chronomancy.

     The close combatants Cristophe and Adler don't find an opening or anywhere not to hard to hit with their swords, even with the dragon-slaying Kraal'shazar.

    The fighters then resort to hit-and-runs, attacking randomly from different angles and run around the Scornader to confuse it. In addition, Eidos hastens up the fighters, making them easier to avoid the pincers, tail and occasional bites by the snake head.

    The snake head! Suddenly Iris realizes something and shots with her bow! The arrow vanishes from sight due to hyper-speed effect and reappears inside the snake's eye! The Scornader thrashes in pain.

    Its left pincer sweeps towards the elf who lost it an eye to snap her in two. Iris' face changes in terror! The pincer comes just as she is refilling her mana, so it's too fast for her to avoid. Suddenly, a hand pushes Iris aside and the pincer sweeps past. Iris is relieved.

    But, where does that pincer go? Ah, there it is, just up ahead. But what is it holding? It's Chris! Agh! He sacrificed himself to save me! Chris, you fool!

    Chris' sturdy iron armor and Shield of Faith prevents him from being cut in two by the pincer, but the armor begins to crack and the pressure begins to hurt him.

    'GYAAARGH!!'

    The pain is killing him. His shield hand tries to push the pincer open, and his free hand holds his sword tightly as his life depends on it.

    Focus, Chris, focus! Aim for the head!

    Darn! The serpent head keeps thrashing here and there upon the loss of its eye. Chris can't seem to hit it. It goes in range a few times, but it's too quick for Chris' short range attacks.

    Meanwhile, Adler just escapes from Scornader's tail by rolling aside. The tail sweeps again and sends him flying and hitting the cliff, though parried with Deathblade.

    Adler spits blood from internal wounds and sees Iris moving here and there, avoiding attacks and trying to get a clear shot on the ever-thrashing head. Of course! The snake head is covered with scales. Maybe it's not as hard as the scorpion crust. And he remembers one more thing his teacher told him about slaying a dragon:

    "From where the fire comes out, there the sword comes in."

    Adler's wit flies fast, and he moves fast towards Iris, shouting, 'Iris! Lure the snake head to me with your magic! I'll handle the rest!'

    'But, Chris...,' Iris hesitates.

    'No buts! Do as I say! Don't be lenient to your ex! If he dies by your magic, he's a loser, not a champion! Do it now! Or it will kill us all!'

    With tears in her eyes, Iris gathers her aura. She's about to attack the man who loves her, who saved her life just now. Wind swirls around her, and she casts, 'Eshmyr!'

    The razor-sharp gust of wind hits the serpent head and follows it wherever it goes. Scornader is annoyed and moves its pincers to block the spell. Chris is now tortured by two forces, and he barely blocks the spell with his hand and sword covering his face and head. His aura also protects him.

    And then, Iris stops casting, thinking that it's enough. Scornader moves its pincers aside. The serpent head shoots forward to devour the spellcaster who annoyed it.

    'Animal instinct. So unpredictable.' Saying that, Adler positions himself in front of Iris and launches his skill, Singular Voice of Truth. The Deathblade shines brightly red and shots forward to the target, and Adler's leap reinforces it. Together, the man and sword look like a giant arrow.

    Scornader's head darts on, quicker, with its jaws open to the fullest, preparing for another unpredictable move: sliding aside and biting Adler from the side. Suddenly, a pointy red light shoots right into its mouth, piercing its brain and out from the back, killing it instantly.

    'We humans can be unpredictable as well!'

    As though he's not satisfied yet, Adler thrusts on with the second blow of his single-directional skill. He stabs Scornader's lower jaw and slashes downwards, ripping the body of the snake, namely the neck, all the way down to the ground.

    Blood, venom and fat rain down, and Adler shoots on forward to avoid it. The snake head flails to the side and drops lifeless on the ground.

    As the snake head is an integral part of the scorpion-snake-spider monster, the whole body collapses and dies as well. Chris also falls with Scornader's pincer. He is free from pressure now, but he uses the last drops of his strength to open the heavy, gigantic pincer and frees himself.

    The fact remains: Adler killed the Scornader with one blow (plus one for overkill). He stands tall and proud, watching at his masterpiece. He looks around, trying to get some recognition from his rivals. To his disgust, Iris is tending to Chris who is heavily wounded from all those blows and pressures.

    Only Eidos comes towards him, and showers him with butt-licking praises as usual. Adler's ears have turned deaf to that, so in order to forget his disgust, he shouts to the ungrateful rivals.

    'Come on! We move now. There's no time to waste, and this is a race, remember? Move it, kids, or I'll get the helmet before you do.'

    Adler walks forward, followed by Eidos who is mouthing something about resting his old bones for a while behind the Viscount. Chris is recovering from his wounds, thanks to Iris' nature healing magic, and he trails on quite a distance from Adler and Eidos with Iris supporting him.

    No more monsters come out and attack them, because their 'king' is dead and the griffin sanctuary is now near. Adler hears nothing but Chris' faint shout far behind him.

    'Thank you, Lord Adler. You saved my life.'

    Adler looks back, puts a smile on his face then turns again and moves on forward.

3.2.13.5. The Stolen Helmet – Part 2


Caption: This pic looks like Dejan is kickin' Eidos' head from the back...

The Griffin Cliff in Halethia Kingdom is located south of Mount Hvalgarr and east of the capital city, Lu Vazr. A Griffin is a proud, majestic creature of the light side, with head and wings of an eagle and limbs and body of a lion. It’s the embodiment of perfection: strong, agile and intelligent. No wonder the Archangel Avariel placed the Helmet of Truth under their protection for ages.

The airship Aurora enters this vicinity with extreme caution, with guidance from the Yvaisi angels. It floats just above the cliff and takes off again after the champions go down inside the cliff to pick up the second team in Edel.

Lavennia Iris the elf archer walks ahead of the group as usual to avoid conversations with Cristophe, but her ex-boyfriend catches up with her anyway.

‘Ah, here you are, Iris. I couldn’t find you anywhere in the ship. It’s rather boring and lonely without someone to talk to back there.’

Iris replies curtly, ‘I just need to be alone, Chris. Back there and now.’

‘Well, the situation here doesn’t allow us to act individually. Before we reach the griffins, we must face the other inhabitants of this cliff. It looks like a big crack from the airship, but it’s actually a vast chasm. So, I think we’ll have a long walk before we find the sanctuary.

Look, whatever is your feeling right now, we are still friends and team mates, right? And we must convince Adler and Eidos to work together with us despite of our competition.’

Iris is silent for a while, and then she nods, saying,

‘Okay. I agree with the “friends” part. But convincing those two will be difficult as you’re the one who got that,’ pointing at the Shield of Faith on Chris’ hand.

‘I have a way, and we’ll try it when the time is right...,’ says Chris. As he and Iris talks on about it, suddenly Eidos shrieks, ‘MONSTERS!’

The three other champions become alert as they see around them. Coming out from caves and cavities of the cliff are monsters in large numbers: Giant snakes, giant spiders, giant scorpions, even giant rats and giant bats. The whole populations of the chasm are surrounding the champions: no way out and no escape.

Cristophe shouts, ‘Let’s do this like Hvalgarr and Wyrmspine! I take the front, Adler the rear, Iris and Eidos take the sides and support us with magic attacks!’

Chris moves to take his position, but Adler pulls and pushes him to the back, saying, ‘I take no order from you! You guard the back, I’m front!’ To this, Chris only shrugs and plunges his trusty sword Wyrthal into a giant rat.

‘Megalon Zathr!’

Eidos casts Meteor Shower, showering a group of monsters in front of Adler into sitting ducks and roast ducks. The Viscount also sends five razor-sharp energy lines – Fingers of the Blade – to split the disabled monsters and those coming after.

At the back, a giant rat bites Chris’ shoulder, and Iris pokes it with her blow-glaive, killing it. This gives Chris time to concentrate his aura. He chops three monsters off with his Ten Point Chain Slash combo. Iris also attacks with Wind Shear spell to cover Chris’ back.

Suddenly, they hear Adler scream! A giant bat sneaked and perched on his shoulders, ready to bite his head off. He’s too slow and burdened to swing his great sword, but an arrow already goes into the bat’s mouth! The bat stumbles and falls dead. Iris, who shot faster than lightning, quickly turns to face her next opponents.

And they fight on, supporting each other in turns. The monsters begin to dwindle and some even flee at the display of the champions’ awesome powers and skill.

Seeing that, Adler shouts, ‘Now’s the time! Push forward!’

‘W-WAIT!’ Chris protests. ‘They’re still too many! Stay in formation!’

But Adler and Eidos already charge forward. No way will they listen to Chris though they’re in the same team. Chris only shakes his head and charges forward, with Iris following silently, repelling monsters’ attacks from behind. Chris thinks.

Looks like I must be more patient to gain their cooperation. Or I better let him lead, no matter how unwise his instructions are. Ah, now I can say ‘I told you so’.

3.2.13.5. The Stolen Helmet – Part 1

It's still night on the great Ovalna Lake. Cristophe, Adler, Eidos and Iris board the Airship Aurora anchored in place after collecting their things and drying themselves.

Still thinking that Res'marth has been unjust by not giving him a chance to negotiate and lending the Shield of Faith to Chris without effort, Viscount Adler keeps on staring at his ally's rival with a mixture of envy hand hatred.

Eidos wastes no time to explain that Adler could've said 'borrow' anytime, even in the fight. He thinks he'd better off saying nothing than advising Adler and getting scolded every time. The strife between Adler and Chris can be beneficial for him, anyway.

Cristophe, on the other hand, is more concerned about his personal situation. If Iris didn't dump him, he would probably abandon this mission and wasted his talent by living in quiet. And now, the awkwardness between him and his ex-girlfriend can probably jeopardize the mission.

Ach, I better put those thoughts away and help Iris, Adler and Eidos like a good team-mate should. Next stop, the Helmet of Truth. Acavela, son of Avracense, my forefathers' faithful steed and partner, the majestic griffin, guarding Vadis' treasure in his sanctuary. I'm so eager to meet him, and stand in awe of his greatness.

'Alone with your thoughts, Prince Cristophe?' A voice comes.

Cristophe turns his head and sees Quazar the centaur, captain of the Aurora walking towards him on the deck. Cristophe realizes at once that he has been off-guard that moment, but at least he's still alert. He answers the centaur politely.

'I think I am, Captain Quazar. I'm planning the actions and steps I must make for the next task, the enemies I might find and estimate their power.'

'Also how to deal with your odd team and your own ego,' Quazar adds, to Chris' surprise. 'Yes, Your Highness. We centaurs can't read minds, but we are well-versed with divination by observing the stars. And I've been observing yours for quite some time.'

'Ah, really, Captain?' exclaims Chris with a greater surprise. 'Pray tell me, what do you see from my star? Please?'

Quazar raises his hand and points to the sky. 'Your star lies on the west, glowing red and looks like a hexagram. It looks larger than other stars around it, but it's dim and twinkling. That means you are destined for greatness beyond measure, but you are now in a condition of uncertainty – even danger. The green star on the south has ceased to invoke and block your star from shining brighter, but you need another star, a true helper for you to reach your destiny.

I'm not allowed to reveal which star – that's the answer you must seek for yourself. Maybe by completing your quest, the stars will reveal more of your path.'

Cristophe is thoughtful. 'So, this quest is the key. Even the stars won't reveal the answer yet. Vadis' Arsenal is all that matters for me now. But I can tell you one thing: I'll fight evil and injustice anywhere, anytime, with or without Vadis' Arsenal. That's my calling, my life aspiration. Vadis help me.'

'Now that's a good spirit. You understand that your fate isn't determined by divination or the stars, but by your own choices. The stars only show your present situation and your potential and will change according to your actions. Just do your best and fulfill your destiny.'

Fulfill my destiny. Yes. I'll do my best and my destiny will be revealed with the outcome.

With that thought Chris stares at the stars glimmering on the West, surrounding his red star.

'Captain,' he asks. 'There's another red star on the west, not far from mine. Is that... My brother's?'

'Yes, Your Highness. However, I'm forbidden to reveal its condition except for myself as the reader and the person represented by it. I hope you understand.'

Chris responds with a sigh. 'Oh well, I won't push you about it. I just hope he'll be alive and well until the end.'

And he stares back into the starry sky.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

BRISINGR: On sale now!

ON SALE NOW!

At long last, BRISINGR is now available wherever books are sold.


> Buy BRISINGR in Hardcover
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> Order a Limited Signed First Edition
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COVERAGE

Watch the live Webcast of the BRISINGR Launch Party in New York City!
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See Christopher Paolini's appearance on the TODAY show, September 19th.
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For more of this weekend's BRISINGR coverage check out Suvudu.com
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TALK ABOUT IT
Check out Shurtugal.com for an all-new BRISINGR guide that will give you everything you need to know before you read the book. Participate in some prediction polls and weigh in on what you think is going to happen. Plus, Shurtugal.com will be in New York City covering the release event and interviewing Christopher.
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Friday, September 19, 2008

BRISINGR is almost here! Read a note from Christopher

THE DRAGON RIDER RETURNS!
BRISINGR BOOK RELEASE PARTIES

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It's almost here . . . catch BRISINGR fever! - Get caught up in the excitement with close to 2,500 release parties happening across the country. Come in medieval costume for entertainment, refreshments, and prizes! Find a party near you

Can't wait? Check out Shurtugal.com (http://info.randomhouse.com/cgi-bin21/DM/y/e17u0MifC80B5X0UsQ0E6 ) for an all-new BRISINGR guide that will give you everything you need to know before you read the book. Participate in some prediction polls and weigh in on what you think is going to happen. Plus, Shurtugal.com will be in New York City covering the release event and interviewing Christopher.

For more of this weekend's BRISINGR coverage check out Suvudu.com
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A note from Christopher Paolini -

Kvetha Fricaya! Greetings Friends!

In just a few days—September 20th—Brisingr will be released! I can hardly wait for you to read it.

Right now I'm preparing for the upcoming book tour, which involves lots of running around, frantic calls of "Have you seen my red notebook!" and last-minute trips into town to pick up supplies. Tours are a huge change from my everyday life; one week I'm sitting at home at my desk, the next standing in front of a group of people talking to them about my writing. It's fun and rewarding to meet some of the readers and booksellers who have made this incredible experience possible for my family and me.

An interesting piece of news: The Japanese translation of Brisingr is so large that the publisher is going to split it into two volumes, as they did with Eldest. Since they don't want the same cover on the two volumes, they have commissioned John Jude Palencar—the artist for the US covers—to paint one of the Lethrblaka for the second volume. The Lethrblaka, you'll remember, are the Ra'zac's steeds and parents. I think this is fantastic. John has always excelled at painting dark, scary things (he's famous for his H. P. Lovecraft art), so I'm sure he'll do a wonderful job. I can't wait to see what he comes up with.

In Eldest, I implied that Saphira and Thorn were the first two dragons Jeod had ever seen. However, when I was in the middle of writing Brisingr, I realized that I had made a slight mistake with my timeline, confusing two different dates with similar numbers. Jeod traveled with Brom after Saphira's egg was stolen from Galbatorix's treasury, and the two of them certainly would have seen Morzan's dragon, as well as dragons of the other Forsworn who were still alive. Oh well. I do my best to make sure that the Inheritance cycle is internally consistent, but the story has become so large and complicated, it's easy to forget a detail here or there. I try to correct such mistakes whenever I find them or whenever they're brought to my attention. In this case, I have changed Jeod's dialogue on pg. 664, eighth paragraph of the hardcover edition of Eldest to read:

Then Jeod moved on to Saphira and bowed to her. "My entire life, I cherished the hope that, one day, I might see the rise of a new generation of dragons. I am indeed fortunate that my wish has come true. However, you are the dragon that I wanted to meet."

The new lines will appear in the future printings of Eldest.

For those who are curious, I've made numerous small changes to the first two books since they were released: mainly fixing the occasional typo, but also smoothing a description here or there, repositioning an accent mark on a word in the ancient language, and even . . . well, I'll leave the other changes for you to discover.

I spent so long writing Brisingr, I'm looking forward to getting out of the house for a while, giving some presentations, signing lots of books, and meeting some of you in person. And, of course, I can't wait for you to finally find out what happens to Eragon and Saphira.

May your swords stay sharp!

Christopher Paolini


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For more information and news about
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How To Write An Epic Fantasy Novel

How To Write An Epic Fantasy Novel – A No Nonsense Guide To Getting The Job Done

The key to writing a real epic fantasy novel lies in the word "epic". But this doesn't just mean big in scale, scope, and size. An epic fantasy novel doesn't have to be a thousand page doorstop. It has to be epic in its ambitious reach for finding answers to the big questions in life. This is the true and hidden goal of epic fantasy. It is a vehicle for understanding what life is about. And even though the story may have dragons, and take place on an unbelievable world that doesn't really exist it needs to be applicable to the human condition.

So this is the first thing you have to do when writing an epic fantasy novel. Decide what you want to say about life or what important topic you want to explore. Write this down and keep it in mind throughout your whole novel writing experience. And remember that you don't have to come right out and explain your theme. It is usually better, and more rewarding for the reader, if you reveal the theme slowly and allow him or her to discover it.

Some common themes you may want to explore in epic fantasy include the examination of the nature of good and evil, the ultimate meaning of life, the quest to understand oneself, or the challenge of making the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Writing a book can be joyous, yet hard work, and you may need some motivation to get you through the whole task and here is all the motivation you will need. Write your theme down on a big piece of paper and pin it to the wall near your computer. Start it out like this: "My novel is all about: ". Then put in your theme or themes. Here is an example: "My novel is all about how adversity is the most important thing in life. It is through adversity that we each become a better person. Gold comes out of the ground dirty and ugly. It is by going through the fire that it is purified and made beautiful. And I am going to put my main character through the fire!" Whenever writing becomes difficult for you this will be a source of inspiration because you have something to say and your novel is how you are going to say it. The world truly deserves to hear your perspective on the big questions in life.

When doing the actual writing of the prose of the novel I recommend you set yourself a very distinct goal. This is imperative and the goal I recommend you set is that you will write part of the story every single day until it is done. It is even ok if you just write one sentence or even if you write a whole passage that you know you are going to delete tomorrow. The important thing is that you write every day.

I don't recommend you set goals that are pinned to dates or word counts. Dates can be tricky because a novel is a fluid thing. Your novel could end up being fifty thousand words or two hundred thousand words. This is because you are exploring a theme and more ideas and angles are going to come to you as progress. And I don't recommend pinning a daily or weekly word count to your writing because writing is a creative process and you could end up with just a lot of filler. Simply set yourself the goal of sitting down and writing every day. This will keep the writing going, keep the story moving, and insure your improvement. At some point in the middle of the novel you are going to look back and realize that you are in a routine and everything is flowing quite smoothly.

I have two final bits of advice for you when it comes to writing your epic fantasy novel. First off I recommend you keep a spiral bound notebook for ancillary information and notes. This is where you keep ideas, plot lines, character names, places and all your ancillary information organized. As your novel, and the world it portrays grows, you will need to manage a lot of information and over the course of months or even a year or more of writing you are going to forget things. But a reader could potentially go through your novel in just a few hours. He or she is going to see logical flaws. Write down the details in a spiral bound notebook and refer to it often.

The last bit of advice I have for you is that you should never rely on the fantasy aspect of your world as an escape route. What I mean is that there is nothing worse than watching the main character of a novel getting out of a tricky spot by whipping out a super-duper magical spell that the reader never even knew about. Make sure there are rules in your world and make sure your characters follow them. You are drawing parallels to real life and in real life there are tangible rules to everything. So create rules in your world and follow them.

An epic fantasy novel is an exploration of the big questions in life. You have a very valuable point of view about these big questions and there is an audience out there that is very willing to listen. Write yourself a clear statement of what you want to say and then write toward that goal every day. Before long you will have a written work that you will be proud of and that will enrich other peoples lives by shedding light on the human condition.

(Retrieved from several sources)

Friday, September 12, 2008

The First FireHeart Book is Released!

fhbook1cover-350x503 Pictures, Images and Photos




Hi, fellow readers,

I just want to inform you that the first FireHeart - Legend of the Paladins novel, the Bounty Hunters is now available in print (good quality paper book)!

Well, the catch is, it was published in Indonesian Language under the title: "FireHeart - Legenda Paladin (Buku Satu) Sang Pemburu". I guess the term "think globally, act locally" has something to do with this, but hey! It's a start.

I thank God for His bountiful blessing, considering it has been three years since I began this project back in January 2005, finished the first of the trilogy in April 2006, submitting it to several (if not a few) publishers who would consider unsolicited manuscripts, got rejected every time. An Indonesian publisher got interested in my blog and I translated it in Indonesian. It took me another year or so until its release.

Thus, the journey didn't end here. As I said, it's a start, so there is plenty of work to do ahead. Among them: promoting the first novel, submitting the english version and finalizing the final book of the Paladins Trilogy: The Lion, the Eagle and the Serpent (title may vary).

Well, I thank you all for visiting, reading and following FireHeart NovelBlog.
If there's any other way to express my gratitude, I'll do it.

Fulfill your destiny, and see you... on the other side.

Andry Chang (BJ Vadis)

(hehehe, this is the blog post i've been waiting 4 so long 2 write...)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Can't wait for BRISINGR? Read The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

Can't wait for BRISINGR? Check out the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel!

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Read the review of THE MAGICIAN and THE ALCHEMYST on Shurtugal.com!
http://info.randomhouse.com/cgi-bin21/DM/y/e1rE0MifC80B5n0UsQ0Ee

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SNEAK PREVIEW!

Read a chapter from THE SORCERESS, Book Three, Coming May 2009
http://www.randomhouse.com/teens/alchemyst/excerpts/sorceress_excerpt_ch1.pdf

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Meet author Michael Scott on tour in a city near you!
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Now available - Book Two of the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series


THE MAGICIAN
http://info.randomhouse.com/cgi-bin21/DM/y/e1rE0MifC80B5n03BB0E1

After fleeing Ojai, Nicholas, Sophie, Josh, and Scatty emerge in Paris, the City of Lights, home for Nicholas Flamel. Perenell is still locked up back in Alcatraz and Paris is teeming with enemies. Nicollo Machiavelli, immortal author and celebrated art collector, is working for Dee. He's after them, and time is running out for Nicholas and Perenell. For every day spent without the Book of Abraham the Mage, they age one year—their magic becoming weaker and their bodies more frail.

It's time for Sophie to learn the second elemental magic: Fire Magic. And there's only one man who can teach it to her: Flamel's old student, the Comte de Saint-Germain—alchemist, magician, and rock star.


Read the first chapter
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THE ALCHEMYST
Book One - Now available in paperback!
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The truth: Nicholas Flamel is the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life.

The records show that he died in 1418.

But his tomb is empty.

The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects—the Book of Abraham the Mage. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. That's exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it.

If the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it. They are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

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FireHeart in Andry's Scrapbook

September 2008

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FireHeart Illustration Update March 2008

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FireHeart Illustration Update January 2008

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FireHeart Illustration Update July 2007

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Please view these galleries for reference only: An anthology to Vadis' Cartoon Creations

By Andry Chang



Saturday, September 06, 2008

Nazgûl

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In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, the Nazgûl (from Black Speech nazg, "ring", and gûl, "wraith, spirit"; also called Ringwraiths, Ring-wraiths, Black Riders, Dark Riders, the Nine Riders, or simply the Nine) are nine undead human kings who have succumbed through greed to Sauron's power and attained immortality as wraiths bound to the power of the One Ring as servants of The Enemy. They are first mentioned in his book The Lord of the Rings, originally published in 19541955. The book refers to the Nazgûl as Sauron's "most terrible servants." As an interesting note, Nazgûl are always known as Nazgûl, regardless of their choice of mounts.

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Appearances

[edit] Literature

According to Tolkien's legendarium, the nine Nazgûl arose as Sauron's most powerful servants in the Second Age of Middle-earth. They were once powerful mortal Men, three of which being "great lords" of Númenor. Sauron gave each of them one of the nine Rings of Power. Sauron also gave seven Rings of Power to the Dwarves, and Celebrimbor forged three for the Elves, untainted by Sauron's evil. It was Sauron's design to control the Nine, Seven, and Three Rings through the power of his One Ring, forged in secret for this purpose, but it was only the Nine who succumbed completely to its power:

"Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing. They had, as it seemed, unending life, yet life became unendurable to them. They could walk, if they would, unseen by all eyes in this world beneath the sun, and they could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring that they bore and of the domination of the One which was Sauron's. And they became forever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgûl were they, the Ringwraiths, the Enemy's most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death" (The Silmarillion: "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age", 346).

The corrupting effect of the Rings extended their earthly lives far beyond their mortal lifespans, while their bodily forms faded over time until they had become entirely invisible to mortal eyes. They assumed visible form only under their outward black attire. The red reflection in their eyes could be plainly distinguished even in daylight, and in a rage they appeared in a hellish fire. They had many weapons; in The Fellowship of the Ring they were armed with steel swords while their leader, the Witch-king of Angmar, wielded a knife with insidious magical properties. Later, during the Battle of Pelennor Fields, he bore a "long pale sword" that struck fear into the hearts of Minas Tirith's defenders, and after the arrival of the Rohirrim he wielded a mace in a duel against Éowyn.

Their arsenal of deadly armaments was not confined to physical weapons: they were perpetually surrounded by an aura of terror, which affected all but the most powerful living creatures. Their breath (called the Black Breath) was poisonous. The effects of the Black Breath, also known as the Black Shadow, were contracted by exposure to them. Victims could suffer deep despair, unconsciousness, nightmares and even death. However, the herb athelas could be used to counter the effects. The most well-known victims to the Black Breath were Faramir, Éowyn, and Merry, who were healed by Aragorn during the War of the Ring.

In addition, their terrible cries caused terror, loss of bodily control and despair. The Lord of the Nazgûl was notorious for practicing black sorcery. According to Tolkien, though, it was the fear they inspired that was the chief danger:

They have no great physical power against the fearless," he wrote, "but what they have, and the fear that they inspire, is enormously increased in darkness.[1]

The Nazgûl first appeared around S.A. 2251 and were soon established as Sauron's principal servants, less than three centuries after the rings were forged. The Nazgûl were dispersed after the first overthrow of Sauron in 3441 at the hands of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, but their survival was nonetheless assured since the One Ring survived.

They re-emerged around T.A. 1300, when the Lord of the Nazgûl, also known as the Witch-king of Angmar, the Black Captain and the Morgul-lord, led Sauron's forces against the successor kingdoms of Arnor: Rhudaur, Cardolan and Arthedain. He was eventually defeated in battle in 1975 and returned to Mordor, gathering the other Nazgûl in preparation for the return of Sauron to that realm, having achieved his goal of destroying all of Arnor's successor kingdoms.

In 2000, the Nazgûl besieged Minas Ithil and captured it after two years. The city thereafter became Minas Morgul, the stronghold of the Nazgûl, from where they directed the rebuilding of Sauron's armies, also acquiring a palantír for the Dark Lord. In 2942, Sauron returned to Mordor and declared himself openly in 2951. Two or three of the Nazgûl (the Second of the Nine was put in charge) were sent to his fortress in Mirkwood, named Dol Guldur, to garrison it.

In 3017, near the beginning of the story told in The Lord of the Rings, after hearing news of the One Ring, Sauron commanded the Ringwraiths to recover the One Ring from "Baggins of the Shire". Disguised as riders clad in black, they sought out Bilbo Baggins who, as Gollum had revealed, had the One Ring in his possession. It was around 3018 that the "Nine Walkers" of the Fellowship of the Ring were chosen to mirror the Nazgûl, "Nine Riders".

The Nazgûl rode specially bred black horses that were trained in Mordor to endure the terror. By now, they had learned that the Ring was in the possession of Bilbo's heir, Frodo. They found Frodo and his company at Weathertop, where the Witch-king stabbed Frodo in the arm with a Morgul blade, breaking off a piece of the blade in the hobbit's flesh. When they were swept away by the waters of the river Bruinen, their horses were drowned. The Ringwraiths were forced to return to Mordor to regroup. They reappeared later mounted on fell beasts, at which point they were referred to as Winged Nazgûl.

The Witch-king of Angmar himself was slain by Éowyn and Merry (known as the Magnificent thereafter), during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields: Merry's stab with a powerfully enchanted Barrow-blade drove the Witch-king to his knees, allowing Éowyn, the niece of Théoden, to deliver a strike between his crown and mantle. Which blow actually destroyed him is a matter of debate, since the text specifically mentions that Merry's blade was enchanted and covered with runes meant for the Witch-King, while Éowyn fulfilled a prophecy that he would not be killed by "Man". However, The prophecy is somewhat ambiguous, as Meriadoc was a hobbit, not a member of the race of Man. In both cases, the weapons that struck him were destroyed — a standard fate for weapons that touched his undead flesh. Whether all Nazgûl had this power is unknown.

The remaining eight Ringwraiths attacked the Army of the West on their fell beasts during the last battle at the Black Gate. However, when Frodo put on the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom, Sauron ordered the eight remaining Nazgûl to fly there to intercept him. They arrived too late, with the Ring falling into the fire. At the moment of the One Ring's destruction, the remaining Nazgûl were destroyed.

[edit] Adaptations

The Nazgûl, as portrayed in the  1978 animated film version.
The Nazgûl, as portrayed in the 1978 animated film version.
One of the Nazgûl portrayed in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
One of the Nazgûl portrayed in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
The Witch-king of Angmar in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
The Witch-king of Angmar in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

The Nazgûl are featured in all adaptations of The Lord of the Rings on radio, film, and stage.

In Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated film version of The Lord of the Rings, the Nazgûl hack and slash the hobbits' beds at The Prancing Pony inn themselves. In the book, the attackers are not precisely identified, but Tolkien implies that the attack was carried out by agents of the Nazgûl, possibly including one Bill Ferny, not the Nazgûl themselves (though they were present in the town).[2]

In the 1981 BBC Radio serial of The Lord of the Rings, the Nazgûl can be heard chanting the Ring-inscription. [1]

In the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy (20012003) by Peter Jackson, the Nazgûl also attack the inn themselves. Emphasis is given to their loud shrieks, which are made deafening, and their use of the fell beasts in battle is expanded, notably at the siege of Minas Tirith, when they destroy numerous trebuchets and kill many soldiers. The cries of the Nazgûl as interpreted in Peter Jackson's films are mixed from that of his wife and co-screenwriter, Fran Walsh.

[edit] In other media

The Nazgûl are featured in many products based on Tolkien's writings and more recently, the Jackson films.

Some examples include the real-time strategy computer games The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring, not based on the Jackson films, and The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth and its sequels,The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II and its expansion pack The Rise of the Witch-king, which are based on the films.

In The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring the Witch-king is a hero for the Evil faction, similar to the movie-based games (whose evil factions are realm-specific). In The Rise of the Witch-king there are three named Ringwraiths: the Witch-king, Khamûl, and "Morgomir", Lieutenant of Carn Dûm. The last Ringwraith's name is invented for the game, developed by Electronic Arts.

In the massive multiplayer online role-playing game The Lord of the Rings Online, the Nazgûl, in particular the Witch-king, play a prominent part in the storyline; the premise of the game at release is to fight the armies of the Witch-king in his realm of Angmar.

In the Middle-earth Collectible Card Game produced by Iron Crown Enterprises, most of the Nazgûl had invented names, shared with Middle-earth Role Playing by the same company. Liz Danforth created the art for each of the Nazgûl in the game.

George R. R. Martin's novel The Armageddon Rag is about a fictional rock band named the Nazgûl. The band's manager and promoter is referred to as Sauron, its lead singer is nicknamed Hobbit, and its logo is an Eye of Mordor. Many of its song and album titles make reference to Tolkien's Middle Earth.

The term Ringwraith is used in the song "The Battle of Evermore" by popular classic rock band Led Zeppelin.

[edit] Names, titles and terms

The rarely used Quenya name for Nazgûl is Úlairi; from this it can be conjectured that the Sindarin term is Ulaer.

They are also called the Fell Riders and the Black Wings (when they ride the fell beasts), as well as the Shadows, the Servants of Sauron, and the Nine Servants of the Lord of the Rings. By the Orcs of the Tower of Cirith Ungol they are called the Shriekers.

Only a few of the Nazgûl are named or identified individually in Tolkien's works. Their leader was the Witch-king of Angmar, and his second in command was named Khamûl, the "black Easterling" or the "shadow of the East". Tolkien stated that three of them were great Númenórean lords. Khamûl was a lord of the Easterlings, and is the only Nazgûl whose name is revealed to the reader.

The term "Nazgûl" is frequently mistakenly used to describe the winged steeds the Ringwraiths are given after their horses are drowned in the river Bruinen (even in the commentary tracks for the New Line films on DVD, many cast and crew members make this mistake). Tolkien gives these creatures no real name in the books, though he uses the descriptive term "fell beast" (fell in the archaic sense of "cruel", "evil" or "lethal"). Tolkien himself was known to use the term Nazgûl figuratively. In a 1945 letter to his son (a Royal Air Force pilot), he compared his reaction to the aircraft of World War II to how Frodo might have felt if he had discovered Hobbits "learning to ride Nazgûl-birds."[3]

[edit] Non-canonical

Some fans also speculate that Herumor and Fuinur, renegade Númenóreans who rose to great power among the Haradrim, became Nazgûl. This is not possible since both Black Númenóreans were born well after the Nine Rings of Power were crafted and the Nazgûl appeared. Since there is no record of any original Nazgûl dying, thus being replaced, Herumor and Fuinur could not have become Nazgûl. This theory has become popular on the Internet, but has been directly contradicted by Tolkien's writings of the foundation of the Nazgûl and the birthdates of Herumor and Fuinur.

The early Middle-earth Role Playing games (and material derived from them) name the eight other than Khamûl; Er-Murazor (the Witch-king, of Númenórean race), Dwar of Waw, Ji Indur Dawndeath, Akhorahil (Númenórean), Hoarmurath of Dir, Adûnaphel the Quiet (female Númenórean), Ren the Unclean and Uva the Horseman,[4] but none of these names or details are considered canonical. In the context of the books, it is unlikely that any of the Nazgûl would have been female, due to repeated references to them as of "kings". Nor is it clear who were of Númenórean descent in the books: only Khamûl's origin is given with certainty, and he was an Easterling. While the Witch-king is often assumed to be a Númenórean lord, this is not directly stated in any of Tolkien's books. However, in his notes for translators Tolkien stated that the Witch-king's name and background were not recorded, but that he was probably of Númenórean descent.

In the Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game, chiefly based on the Jackson films, the Nazgûl are called The Witch King, Úlairë Attëa (The Easterling), Úlairë Nelya, Úlairë Cantëa, Úlairë Lemenya, Úlairë Enquëa, Úlairë Otsëa, Úlairë Toldëa and Úlairë Nertëa. The eight new terms are not new names. In Quenya, Úlairë means Ringwraith, and the second name is merely a numeral from two to nine.

For the expansion to its real-time strategy game The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, The Rise of the Witch-king - chiefly based on the Jackson films and building much upon the original writings - Electronic Arts invented a name for one of the Nazgûl, Morgomir. It is clearly derived from the Sindarin title Morgoth, which meant "Dark Enemy" (mor "dark" + goth "enemy") with the element mir, meaning "jewel", added; however the name has no full meaning in any of Tolkien's Elvish languages.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Carpenter, Humphrey, ed. (1981), The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, #210, ISBN 0-395-31555-7
  2. ^ "In dark and loneliness they are strongest; they will not openly attack a house where there are lights and many people — not until they are desperate, not while all the long leagues of Eriador still lie before us. But their power is in terror, and already some in Bree are in their clutch. They will drive these wretches to some evil work: Ferny, and some of the strangers, and, maybe, the gatekeeper too." Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954), The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), "Strider", ISBN 0-395-08254-4
  3. ^ Letters #100
  4. ^ The Encyclopedia of Arda. "What were the names of the nine Nazgûl?"

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