|Author(s)||Cory J. Herndon, Scott McGough et al.|
|First printing||April 2008|
Shadowmoor is the first book of the Shadowmoor Cycle. It is an anthology containing a novella written by Cory J. Herndon and Scott McGough and short stories by different authors. It was published April 2008.
Information about this book first appeared on the site of online shop Amazon.com under the Shadowfall name. Later the name of the book (and respective set) was changed to Shadowmoor.
Blurb[edit | edit source]
When the Great Aurora comes ...
The daylit world of Lorwyn is no more, its beauty forgotten by all but a precious few.
The other souls have descended into a darkness that mirrors the sky above their heads, and unthinkable horrors lurk in the ever-present shadows of a world gone bad.
... an epoch of darkness descends.
Summary[edit | edit source]
Novella[edit | edit source]
Ode to Mistmeadow Jack[edit | edit source]
The kithkin doun of Mistmeadow is endangered by the approach of Rosheen Meanderer. Maralen offers Mistmeadow a protection, but is repelled by Donal Alloway, cenn of the largest and mighties kithkin doun Kinscaer. Folowwing Alloway's plan, Jack Chierdagh is sent to retrieve an item of Rosheen to drive her away. However, this would actually result in Mistmeadow's subordination to Kinscaer. Jack encounters various problems; scarecrows, cinders, and Captain Sygg's merrow gang which is accompanied by a strange non-Shadowmoorish kithkin named Brigid the Brigand. After a battle, Brigid offers help and provides Jack with her magical flying bow. She also vouches to help with Maralen, who in the end sends Veesa and Iliona. The faeries help Jack win the day, and drive Rosheen away by stealing a scroll of hers. He returns to Mistmeadow and assume the position of the Hero of Mistmeadow.
Short stories[edit | edit source]
Five Brothers[edit | edit source]
by Ken Troop
A tale of five kithkin brothers...Wander, Might, Kind, Clever, and Hero. Each one dies a different death, while trying to help the previous one... Wander is tricked by fae to go into a swamp, and perishes after eating a poisonous mushroom; Might is killed and eaten when he challenges a boggart raidleader, but fails to notice another group ambushing him; Kind, a healer, saves a merrow from immediate death by performing a surgery, but dies when his throat is slit by his patient; Clever beats a treefolk at a bridge in a riddle game, only to fall down to his death when he realizes that the whole bridge was an illusion; and Hero, who is seeking revenge for his brothers, beats the fae and treefolk, only to be squished to pulp by a wayward giant when it stomps on him. Their village is later destroyed by cinders, because its five most important members died. The moral... do not leave your doun.
Paths[edit | edit source]
A tale about a cinder sootstoke -- they are the spiritual leaders of the cinder, and some of them believe that there is a way of rekindling their flames. The main character, Ascaeus, heard a tale from elves about a river of burning stone, and is poised to find it and use it to rekindle his own flames. He is believed to be a bit overzealous in this thing by his fellow cinder. He is an optimist, a thing rarely seen among the cinder, and he likes to laugh. They wander, they find and fight some treefolk (apparently the treefolk are in a war with pretty much everyone.) In the end, he finds the river, but in his joy, he laughs -- and brings the cave to collapse and cut him off from a way back to surface. He embraces the molten river, hoping that it would rekindle him...and that he would someday somehow figure his way back to pass the flame to others.
Mark of the Raven[edit | edit source]
by Jess Lebow
In an elvish safehold, Tekla Ironleaf, one of the five leaders of the safehold, delivers a child -- a boy named Joram. He has a mark of the Raven on his cheek, but no horns. The mark is prophesied to bring salvation to the elves, but in the same time, a law states that a hornless elf has to be expelled from the society. Thanks to this conflict, the council agrees that they will wait until Joram's 14th birthday, and if he grows horns by that time, they will not expel him. The birthday comes and the hornless Joram offers to leave voluntarily. He witnesses the black poplar army attack the safehold. Later, he is found by Amur, a treefolk canker witch. After some philosophical talk, he offers Joram an artifact that "would make his dreams come true." Joram wants to repay him, but the witch states that for now he has nothing to offer him, and the time will came later. Joram uses the copper sphere (the artifact) to grow horns. He returns to the safehold, and by simply wishing, he repairs the damaged structure. When a council member, a druid named Mullenix, wants to touch and examine the sphere, the result is devastating. Black tendrils sprout from it, and the councilors, including Tekla, Joram's mother, are consumed by the merciless canker disease. At the same time, Amur leads the black poplar army to attack the safehold. It is destroyed and all elves present are slain by the poplars, save for Joram. He tries to run away from the sphere, but a sudden weakness brings him down. Amur later finds and confronts him -- and tells him that this was a half of the payment for the sphere. The second half is to keep the sphere, burdened by what he has done forever -- for he cannot leave it.
Meme's Tale[edit | edit source]
Meme's a "strange boggart." She was always a target of other boggart children's pranks and jokes, because she was lithe and smooth-faced. She remembers her mother, who died fighting a gang brute who wanted (most probably) to eat her. She runs from the lackeys of Gog, a boggart soul-eating shaman, who does not hesitate to slay his own progeny to gain his regular sustenance of lifepower. Again, like in the previous cases, she meets some other races (e.g. she douses an attacking cinder in a pool of water,) giving us a general taste of the world. She wants to find the dreadful creatures from boggart tales, called "elves," though she does not know why. In the end, it becomes apparent -- Meme is an orphaned elf girl who was adopted and brought up by a boggart mother. When it comes to the final showdown of Meme vs. Geg's sons, the boggarts are suddenly stricken down by elves from the wood. For a short time, Meme and her savior look at each other, and then the woman turns and vanishes. Meme assumes that though she is not a boggart, she is not ready to become a part of the elvish society, and that it will need some time. She sets out to find some place to hide, deciding to contact the elves later.
Pawn of the Banshee[edit | edit source]
by Doug Beyer
Yasgo, a boggart, and his two pals are on a raid. Yasgo hears a terrifying shriek and later finds his mates dead. A banshee slew them with her howl. He encounters Valya, an elvish warrior, who seeks to avenge the death of her parents. In the "backstage" intermezzos, two faeries are talking -- Druai (a title, not a name,) and Scion. The Druai explains to the Scion about the Shadowmoor darkness and the purpose of other races, and mentions his effort to help the world out of the darkness -- a spell of his that tried to drain out some darkness from the world and send it to another. A black geyser of mana that erupted from the ground, but failed to leave the world and fell back, slaying some boggarts in a warren, and attracting a banshee. Meanwhile, Yasgo and Valya search for the banshee. The boggart is confused, because he seems to be behaving against his nature, helping the elf instead of eating her. They ultimately find the banshee, but before they can strike it down, it wails to Valya. Her life flashes before her eyes and she loses consciousness.
The banshee then talks to Yasgo and reveals that the boggart is no more than a tacharan, a ghost appearing as a living creature, and that he is a pawn belonging to her. She found him slain by the Druai's spell, and awakened him for the purpose of bringing her more victims. The boggarts were worthless, but killing a defender of light like Valya pleases the banshee -- and she tells Yasgo that he will bring her more victims. In the meantime, Druai is called to Oona, but he refuses to go, for he thinks that he has discovered the reason for his spell failing -- he cannot drain the darkness because it is the nature of the world. The Scion urges him again to come to the Queen, but he decides to cast another spell, easing the suffering of all in the dark world...or so he says. He has no chance to finish the incantation, though, for he is slain by the Scion upon Oona's order for failing and defying her orders.
In the other plotline, Valya unexpectedly awakens, saved by a small bunch of herbs that she wore in memory of her parents. It protected her from the effects of the banshee's call. She witnesses the banshee's talk to Yasgo, stands up, and kills the banshee by ramming her sword through it. She says her farewell to Yasgo, who slowly fades out of existence, no more held by the banshee's spell. Valya returns to her home. The Scion reports to Oona about taking care of the Druai, and about naming a new one. It is hinted that this cycle will repeat, all in accord with some scheme of Oona's, that she does not share with her Scion.
Expedition[edit | edit source]
by Matt Cavotta
An in-depth look into the minds of the Shadowmoor kithkin. The tale is built around a father-son relationship. Wyb and Gwyb Cenniks are kithkin from the Graymeadow doun, a heavily fortified village with four walls. Gwyb, the youngster, is about to begin his service keeping watch. They met Dagub, an old one-eyed kithkin that tells them about a failed expedition to the river, when they climbed a hill that come to life and slew all the kithkin save for Dagub, who just lost an eye and most of one ear. The beast was a tentacled thing -- the Isleback Spawn. During his first watch, the young Gwyb sees a dark shape in the water, and he cannot refrain from thinking about the Isleback Spawn. His connection to the mindweft inadvertently causes horror and panic to spread among all the kithkin of the doun, breaking the formation of the kithkin watch troops, and causing them to fire their weapons blindly into the mist. When the mist vanishes, there's nothing. The cenn and the elders stabilize the mindweft and decide to build one more wall. In the river, a huge school of dark-scaled razormouth fish moves slowly away...
Sootstoke[edit | edit source]
by John Delaney
A tale of two cinders...Lishe, an almost extinguished sootstoke, who wants his cinder flame rekindled, like all his fellows -- but with the exception that this one is indeed quite insane. Virkole, another cinder, comes to him, and Lishe tells him that the fire is "in the wood" -- obviously, because wood burns -- but Virkole takes the words from a different angle and goes off to fight the treefolk of a nearby grove, who he thinks hold the fire captive. Of course, he set some of them on fire, and feels rekindled himself...but in the end, he is overwhelmed and shattered by the treefolk crowd. Lishe then walks to the site, collects Virkole's cold skull, and takes it to add it to his collection of skulls from other cinders. Giggling and muttering "Almost there, not long now..." he retreats to his hiding place.
The Cloudbreaker[edit | edit source]
A story about Dusklight safehold, an Elvish settlement in Shadowmoor. It used to be not so bad, but with floods, the area around it was turned into swamp, and the elves are under attack from merfolk. The safewrights are an elite order of elven soldiers, protectors of the beauty. Their leader is Ehroe, whose late wife, Reika, was a leader of the 'hold before him. Cavan is his deputy, and Eily is an elf healer with a reputation for being a seer. The elves are searching for a "Cloudbreaker," a mystical artifact that could save the elves by summoning a mighty magical creature known only as "the Ally." It will help to restore beauty in the world. Following Eily's messages, the elves are making expeditions into various places, always to bring back a "hallowheld" -- an item of lost beauty. One of them is a Wellspring Lyre, an artifact located in the kithkin village of Ballygol. Ehroe makes a speech to his fellow safewrights, saying that they are going to retrieve the Lyre and also the Cloudbreaker, that he says is in the kithkins' hands. When they arrive in Ballygol, Ehroe makes a trade with cenn Tyack of Ballygol, a lyre for bags of seed to grow food, then he demands the Cloudbreaker. Tyack laughs and dismisses his requests as unreasonable, for they have nothing of that sort. Ehroe repeats his demands, threatening the kithkin, and when Tyack rejects the offer again and turns to leave, Ehroe shoots him in the back. He then orders Ballygol to be searched thoroughly and then burned down, along with its citizens.
When Ehroe returns, Eily is terrified by what happened in Ballygol, and she demands an explanation. It is apparent that Eily knows that the Cloudbreaker was not in Ballygol, and that Ehroe knew it as well. He presents her with a bag of dawnglove seeds, a plant that can be distilled into potent healing potion crucial to the elves. As Eily walks to her small garden, she sees that Callem the Builder, a giant living near the safehold, is again building his stone towers, and mumbling to himself. She takes a seat and starts writing his words down.
When the plant sprouts, it becomes apparent that it is not dawnglove, but a different sort of flower, one of fable -- cramoisy, a killing flower, whose poison is extra deadly (obviously moonglove.) Ehroe wants Eily to prepare it into poison. Eily begs him to tell elves the truth about the Cloudbreaker, but Ehroe refuses, for it is not the right time, he says.
Eily, troubled, approaches Cavan and shares two precious secrets that trouble her -- that the Cloudbreaker was not in Ballygol, but it is in the merrow's lake -- and that Ehroe knows that as well -- and that she is no seer, but a scribe and an interpreter of Callem the giant's words. He is the seer, not her. Cavan listens to her and then they part ways.
In the night, a merrow attack comes. The fishmen toss a fear elemental in the middle of the safehold, and twelve elves are killed by the fear until Cavan, guided by Eily, shoots the beast down. Eily herself has a vision during the attack, one of meeting Ehroe on the top of one of Callem's towers, in which she sees that there is no light behind the world, no mysterious Ally that could be summoned by the Cloudbreaker, and that the journey to get the Cloudbreaker was what gave the elves hope, rather than the artifact itself. During it, she sleepwalks and she almost falls down from the safehold, but she's saved by Cavan.
Ehroe returns and receives the report of casualties and losses. He and Cavan set out to retrieve the Cloudbreaker from the lake. Ehroe pours the cramoisy extract into the lake, and soon it is full of bloated, dead merrow. When the water clears, the elves swim and retrieve a rag-wrapped object from a chest in a submerged house. Callem arrives, enraged about the poisoned river. The elves run, leaving the empty chest behind. When Callem realizes that the chest is empty, he howls with frustration. Then he turns to the elves and somberly notes that "dark things of the world are coming." Cavan confronts Ehroe about knowing about the Cloudbreaker all the time. Ehroe explains that the hope was what kept the elves going out and trying to save as much as possible. With the Cloudbreaker in his arms, the hope is suddenly more real...or not. Cavan, however, says that Ehroe went too far in this mystification, and strangles him with a leather strap.
When the dawnglow is spent, Eily leaves the safehold, and a while after, the safehold is attacked by treefolk, scath, and spriggan. Eily sees Cavan approaching, and he tells her about the 'breaker, and shows it to her. However, he says that the elves have fallen from grace, that their pure intentions of preserving the beauty were manipulated, that they did many bad things, like killing a whole lake of merrow with cramoisy. Ehroe, by his actions, made the elves a true part of the dark, corrupted Shadowmoor. Cavan cannot stand it anymore. He refuses to use the breaker, saying that they are not worthy anymore of its help. He expresses his love to Eily. She asks what to do. If they cast the Cloudbreaker back into the water, they could resume Ehroe's game, continuing to live in a lie. Looking at the burning safehold, Cavan kisses Eily, and then drives his dagger into her belly. Then he mounts his cervin and rides to embrace the dark things of the world, that are coming.
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