|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]
by Scott McGough and Cory J. Herndon
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 into swamp and perishes after eating 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 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 seeks the revenge for his brothers, beats the fae and treefolk, only to be squished by a wayward giant to pulp 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 kind of 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 a bit overzealous in this thing by his fellow cinder. He is an optimist, a thing rarely seen among 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 someday somewhat figures 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 prophesized 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 till that time, they will not expel him. The birthday comes and Joram offers that he leaves by his own will. He witnesses an attack of black poplar army onto 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, 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 observe 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. In 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 tell 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 others' boggart children 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 do 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 some general taste of the world. She is poised 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 boggart mother. When in comes to 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 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 some of the Shadowmoor darkness and 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 behave against his nature, helping the elf instead of eating her. They ultimately find her, and the banshee wails to Valya. Her life flashes before her eyes and she loses consciousness. The banshee then talks to Yasgo and reveals that he is no more than a tacharan, a ghost appearing as a living creature, and that he is a pawn of hers. She found him slain by the druai's spell, and awakens her 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. In meantime, druai is called to Oona, but he refuses, for he thinks that he discovered the reason for his spell failing - he cannot drain the darkness because it is a 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 second plotline, Valya unexpectedly awakens, saved by a small bunch of herbs that she wore as a 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 the spirit. 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 will repeat, all in accord with some scheme of Oona's, that, however, 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 at a 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 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 the cinder flame rekindled, like all his fellows - 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, wood burns - but Virkole takes the words from different angle and goes fighting the treefolk of 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, collect Virkole's cold skull and takes in back to add it to other skulls of the cinder who failed. Giggling and muttering "Almost there, not long now..." he retreats to his hiding place.
The Cloudbreaker[edit | edit source]
The story talks about a Dusklight safehold, Elvish settlement in Shadowmoor. It used to be not so bad, but with floods, the area around 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 of a seer. The elves are searching for a "Cloudbreaker",a mystical artifact that should save the elves and by bringing a magical mighty creature known only as "the Ally", it will help to restore beauty in the world. Upon 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 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 again and turn to leave, Ehroe shoots him in the back, then he orders Ballygol to be searched through and then burned down, along with its citizens.
When Ehroe returns back, Eily is terrified by what happened in Ballygol, and she demands 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 nearby the safehold, is again building his stone towers, and mumbling for himself. She sits down and starts writing the words down.
When the plant sprouts, it becomes apparent that it is no 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 the poison. Eily begs her for telling 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 merrows' lake - and that Ehroe knows that as well - and that he is no seer, but a typist and an interpreter of Callem the giant's words. He is the seer, not her. Cavan listens to her and then they part their 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 is reported the casualties and losses. He and Cavan sets 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 from 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 its 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 tell her about the 'breaker, and shows it to her. However, he says that the elves has fallen from grace, that their pure intentions of preserving the beauty were manipulated, that they did many bad things, like killing 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. Eily asks what to do - if they cast the cloudbreaker back to water, they could resume Ehroe's game, living in a lie further. 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, coming for him.
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