The Tides of Kregen
The cover art by Michael Whelan is among the best in the series, with Dray confronting a giant flying scorpion type beast (an xi), in a one-man voller. This takes place in a valley among the Stratemsk (page 88). Then the illustration opposite the title page shows Prescot fighting two risslaca (page179). An incredible drawing!
"Tides" opens with an argument between Evold Scavender and Khe-Hi-Bjanching on a terrace in Esser Rarioch, overlooking Valkanium. It concerned a visit by Phu-Si-Yantong there, in lupu. Evold being referred to as a wizard bothered me. I know there are differences (which I can't relate) between wizards, warlocks, mages, and sorcerers. But all involve some sort of magic or the supernatural. Evold is a savant or scientist, fully entitled to being referred to as "san," but definitely not a wizard. True, some of his knowledge could be construed as magical to the ignorant, but that is as far as that goes.
For perhaps the only time, Turko the Shield is referred to as Unca Turko (by Segnik and Velia - ah Velia!). This is on page 10 as he gently carries the twins away from the arguing sans. I like the way Dray observes this without being noticed. It shows how close he and the Khamorro are.
Now Seg is called uncle several times, as the saga continues.
There are references to events related in "Wizard of Scorpio" (pages 12 & 21) but no accompanying footnotes to show this. No wonder I always felt that missing cassette that wasn't!
Seg is with Thelda (and children) visiting his homeland in Erthyrdrin while Inch is in his Kovnate of the Black Mountains. So those two don't figure in this tale.
On page 14 Delia and Dray talk of the planned education of the two sets of twins. The boys will naturally be sent to Zy while the girls will be trained by the SoR, though that is not specified.
Prescot is given a courtesy warning by the Gdoinye that his services will be needed soon. Dray is less than kind when the raptor tells him he forgets why he was brought to Kregen at all and responds with " I never knew, you get-onker!" The Gdoinye rejoins with "You were never meant to know." Following this, on page 17 the scarlet bird furthers with "You are not a swod, nor yet are you the master of your fate. Think on, Dray Prescot, think on these things." I find it curious that first Prescot is openly mocked and then almost admitted to a higher level in the Star Lords eyes. And this early in his Kregan career!
Drak sees the Gdoinye but Balass the Hawk does not. Worse, Dray denies it to Drak (page 18).
Dray informs Delia that he will be leaving her soon and ponders the wisdom of telling her of his Earthly origins and his role with the Star Lords. The Savanti Delia knows very well, from first hand experience. In fact I'm surprised she doesn't assume his disappearances and the time loop situations are born of them. It would seem logical or the only reason available within her ken. Delia states the various suspicious times but Dray decides that now is not the time.
They move on to other areas of discussion, among them the island of Can-Thirdaand its proposed new name. He then states that he never thought a land would be named for him (page 22). Of course he was wrong in that assumption, as I will later relate.
Also on page 22 Dray mentions that one day a land would be named for him. This is a reference to Drayzm (formerly Nikzm), an island near Zamra, which is named for him early in Savage Scorpio (p. 37).
Then comes the chilling news from Barlanga, the sole survivor of a Shank attack on the village of Fossheim, located on the island of Fossana (page 22). This is a Vallian outpost and was not to be tolerated. So Dray takes off with a force to drive the Shanks out and is accompanied by: Tom Tomor, Vangar ti Valkanium, Naghan the Gnat, Oby, Tilly, Balass the Hawk, Turko the Shield, Mellow the Supple, Kardo, Planath-Pe-Na, Delia, and Prince Drak.
Dray says that "in those days he had no admiration for the true courage of the shanks, those fishheads who sailed in their superb craft from around the curve of the world, sailing from their grouping of continents and Islands to sack and destroy the fair cities of our continental grouping of Paz". One would assume his views change on this subject.
The vanguard of the force (without Seg ) arrives (via voller problem) to the besieged village of Panashti on the island of Lower Kairfowen (also a nearbyVallian outpost). There they shore up the defenses of the besieged. Then it happens, Prescot is plucked out by the Everoinye!
Prescot is plucked by the Everoinye and sent to the island of Vilasca. Again it is an island in the same general vicinity and is being ravaged by Shanks and worse! It would seem that the attack from Schan is more than a raid but in fact, a mini-invasion. After all, they have landed on three separate islands on the outer fringes of Vallia.
As I mentioned, there were Shanks and worse on Vilasca. There were also Shtarkins or snakeheads (page 34). Dray comments on both the fishheads and snakeheads: "Among the shanks I saw the hideous forms of shtarkins. No one THEN knew the name these fishheads gave themselves; we called them by a variety of names of which shant, shank, and shtarkin were only three. But the ones I called shtarkins were not fishheads. As I looked down I saw the reptilian heads, the snakelike features, the hard, unfishlike scales closely set, the wide eyes and the trap-mouths set flatly in wedge-shaped heads, a flicker of forked tongue darting through as they fought. Snakeheads!" This would seem to prove that the term shtarkins is distinct while the others are regional names for fishheads. But, are shtarkins the Neeshargs? If the shargs are snakeheads then the answer is yes!
Well, Dray is sent back to Vilasca again but this time with clothes! With Delia, Drak, and his comrades in imminent danger in Panashti, he defies the Star Lords a last and almost fatal time and thereby banished back to Earth for long and long.
There is a great illustration by Whelan on page 40 that dramatically shows the confrontation between Prescot and the Gdoinye.
Dray awakens from the transit in Morocco in 1830 and makes his way back to civilization. There he decides to make the most of his banishment and makes up a list (pages 43 & 44) of things to investigate upon his (hoped for) return to Kregen. They are and in order of importance:
1. The Star Lords
2. The Savanti
3. The Todalpheme
4. The Volroks and other strange diffs
5. Wizards of Walfarg
6. Voller propulsion
7. Lem and other religions
Prescot has to pistol duel an arrogant lord and uses this apt description: "He owed his title to the dubious bedtime antics of an ancestor who had been rewarded for her exertions by being created a countess ... (page 51).
Finally on page 52 Prescot meets Madame Ivanovna or Zena Iztar more accurately. She promises him an eventual return to Kregen and answers briefly a few of Dray's questions (pages 53 & 54). Among them:"Are you from the Savanti?" "No.""The Everoinye?" "No.""You are from Kregen? "Well, yes and no." Then she comments on the Savanti and calls the remnant of the Sunset People or the Sunrise People (no double s in suns). "The Savanti have at heart the well being of apims ... As for the Star Lords, their plans are different, wider and more universe embracing, and I shall tell you only that you will have to make a choice one day, and the choice will be the hardest thing you have ever done." I have always assumed that this decision involved throwing his lot in with either the Savanti or Star Lords, but I'm really not sure of that.
Further on the great decision, Zena says that "One day, I believe, you will be called on to see and make your choice, and you will feel an outcast, a pariah, a traitor. Yet think back on this day and remember." (page 55).
Zena then comments on Dray's earlier adventures in The Eye of the World and how both the Savanti and Star Lords attempted to control his destiny but ultimately failed. I think it was the Everoinye who failed as Dray became a Krozair of Zy and an adherent of Zair. Both are looked upon favorably by the savants of Aphrasoe.
Then she informs Dray that 18 years have been spent on Earth (and 3 more will follow). He is horror-stricken and has an intuition of future problems with his children. Dray then lets out that Delia was 21 when she met Dray. Interesting ...
Dray is told he SHOULD thank Zair and eradicate the cult of Lem the Silver Leem for the betterment of both Kregen and EARTH.
The conversation returns to the subject of the Star Lords:
Zena Iztar: "Certain events on Kregen have not turned out as they expected."
"They can riddle a future or two."
" the Star Lords are only partially to blame for some of your misfortunes; they are not omnipotent on Kregen - who is?"
"Even the Star Lords are divided among themselves."
"To tell you what they plan to do will quite evidently, given their nature, cause them to do something else".
Dray: "Out of spite? The Star Lords ...out of spite?"
"Not out of spite, you onker!" Then why, I ask?
As Zena departs Dray notices the cogwheel gem on the back of her gown. I think we see this symbol again in "Savage Scorpio". Three years later during the Franco-Prussian War, Prescot is returned (page 60) to Kregen! Naked too.
Back to Kregen! Prescot is deposited (naked of course) on the island of Inama where he saves the shishi's from being carted off by slavers from the neighboring island of Yanima. After the girls had finished castrating the surviving raiders, Dray glances up (page 65). This is the first time I have noticed his comment on "Kregen's Keplerian orbit about Antares". It is close to a forty-year cycle for the huge red and smaller green suns that comprise Antares.
Bidding adieu Dray leaves Inama in a small provisioned boat (courtesy of Yanima) and proceeds to try and find his bearings and civilization.
Chapter 7 has the aptly named title of "Lost on Kregen". Great name for a story! This is a great opportunity for Prescot to land in Schan but sadly he does not and is eventually picked up the Xuntalese argenter Scepter of Xurrhuk, commanded by Captain Swixonon. It was en route from Mehzta to Xuntal. Dray wryly admits to the captain that he has friends from both lands, showing him to be a well traveled man.
Upon his arrival in Xuntal Prescot convinces the Vallian ambassador to provide him with a voller (but does take the time to ponder why he was closeted with a Rapa). The return to Valka is a taut 2-page affair (pages 74 & 75). Just imagine the emotions that raced through Prescot's mind as he envisioned a triumphant and joyful return. Alas ...
After landing at Esser Rarioch he learns from his chamberlain Panshi that Segnik is now Seg and in the Eye of the World. Drak is in Vondium. It is not clear where Lela and Velia are. Delia had left for the Inner Sea a year ago with a small guard and Mellow the Supple. Seg and Inch were in their kovnates while his Valkan based comrades were warding off incursions by neighboring Vallian nobles. Evold Scavander and Khe-Hi-Bjanching were about their affairs with Prince Drak while Tharu still presided over the Assembly. Then there were references to the young prince and princess ... And the old Strom ... (pages 76 & 82). We find that Prince Varden and Natema have a son, Vanden and that Dray is 90 years old, chronologically (page 82)!
After sending letters to Seg and Inch in Falinur and the Black Mountains, asking for their help, Prescot takes off for the Eye of the World, and it too was not what he expected or hoped for
And now Prescot undertakes another journey equally important as the one from Xuntal to Valka. Now it is Valka to Felteraz. But that was not premeditated and it only occurs to him to do so on page 93. Zy was his original destination. Strangely, there are Krozairs at Mayfwy's estate (page 94), but they are unaware of the apushniad proclamation. Neither is the Lady Mayfwy herself.
The Michael Whelan illustration on page 95 is extremely well drawn but also deceptive. It wasn't until my last re-read (last year), that I realized the stately but beautiful woman portrayed was not Mayfwy, but a servant of sorts named Sheena (pages 94 & 96).
I now wish to closely examine the conversations between Dray and Mayfwy, in regards to whether or not they had a sexual relationship during his tenure in the Eye if World 50 years ago. She greets him on page 96 with "Dray! Oh, Dray! You have come back!" And then she was in my arms (Prescot), clasping me close. Then she exclaims "You have not changed, my Lord of Strombor!" The emphasis here is on "my". They take a walk on a terrace and Dray realizes it has been over 50 years since last they met. Incredible!
When Dray mentions Delia "a shadow flicked across Mayfwy's elfin face and passed." (page 97). When Prescot pushes for further detail she retorts with "You treat women harshly, my Lord of Strombor. You say you love them and you leave them, for seasons on end." This could apply to Delia, Mayfwy, or both, for she did say "women" and not "a woman". Then Prescots utters another of his phrases that have confused Delia before: "Nonsense! A lad like that will forge his own way on Kregen." She looked at me (Prescot) oddly." As well she should!
While looking at family portraits (Zorg's in particular), Mayfwy states " I used to hope I could place your portrait there, my Lord of Strombor." I shook my head. Then she cried. (pages 98 & 99).
Dray then remembers how he had " both welcomed and dreaded the encounter" between Delia and Mayfwy (page 99). Sober reality dictated that these two ladies not be friends (according to Prescot). Why, because of jealousy?
Just before leaving for Zy he calls Delia "my Delia" and realizes how that utterance must have hurt Mayfwy. While nothing concrete is established here, I do believe the general pattern of the discussions between Dray and Mayfwy show they had a past relationship.
But leaves he does and soon arrives in the fortess of Zy and finds himself "forsworn, less than nothing, Apushniad, ingrate, traitor, leemshead. No longer a Krozair of Zy" (page 103).
Dray is declared Apushniad because he did not answer The Call issued from the Horn of Azhurad, from deep within the bowels of Zy. How could he? But I think he should have tried to explain the specifics of his situation instead of broad generalizing (page 109). The stakes were high enough to warrant this revelation, private promise to make Delia the first not withstanding.
So Prescot is stripped of that which he holds most dear (aside from Delia), his ranking among the Krozairs of Zy. From the Ombor Throne, Pur Kazz, the Grand Archbold of the order declares the sentence and is more vehement about it than need be, due to a disfiguring wound on one side of his face. It is not determined exactly when Kazz (not Zazz) became Archbold, as Zenkiren had been the Archbold-Elect. It would appear that 5the change happened relatively lately since Zenkiren's fate was sealed by recent military setbacks in the war against the Grodnim. The pseudo-Krozair longsword, crafted by both Prescot and Naghan the Gnat is destroyed by the Hammer of Retribution and all Krozair insignia stripped away (page 110).
How low the mighty Dray Prescot has fallen. More so than when paraded around Ruathytu or slaving on a Magdaggian Swifter. Prescot has struck rock bottom, but it does get worse.
Delia pays a visit (page 114) and again Dray contemplates but does not tell her of his Earthly origin. She does mention the Sisters of the Rose specifically for the first time. Dray does state that "I will win free, My Delia. I will. And I will tell you why sometimes I go away even if you do not believe... I will prove I am a true Krozair." Delia leaves the stinking fish-smelling cell and Prescot is soon an oar slave once more (and not for the last time either). He makes no comrades and almost goes mad. It is up to Nath and Zolta (Zimen now) to rescue Dray, at Delia's behest. This they do at great risk to themselves, referring to Prescot as Stylor (pages 117-120). While recuperating on a deserted isle he reflects back on Delia's visit. He remembers Dayra being referred to and thinks "Who the hell was Dayra." Wait until he really finds out !
Then Nath and Zolta return and explanations are given.
I'm trying to figure out if Delia was actually quartered in Zy when Dray was declared Apushniad (page 124). The text seems to indicate this. As a sign of the time and dire it is, when Nath takes a swig of wine and declares " By Mother Zinzu the Blessed! I needed that!" Dray chills at these words (page 125). How often he had wanted to hear those very words and now when he does ...
We know that Nath is the son of an illiterate ponsho-farmer from Zullia, but Zolta is a different story. As Dray says on page 126 " We did not know much of Zolta, yet he carried the proud Z not only just in his name, but as the initial letter of his name. Much was to be known of Zolta." When Prescot says "we" I'm assuming he means he and Nath, but it could mean he and us readers. After all, Zolta and Nath are much closer to each other than they are to Dray. They've been together for so long that perhaps Zolta has confided in Nath, but not Dray.
Nath and Zolta take turns on filling Dray in on what was up with Delia and how they now knew he was a high and mighty Prince and even a King. The main theme reiterated though, throughout this conversation (pages 127-129), was that Delia expected Dray to get reinstalled by the Krozairs of Zy, before returning to her in Valkanium. In fact, she goes as far as to say "tell him (Dray) I wear the Krozair badge still and will not unpin it until he returns to Valka and tells me to take it off with his own lips." Strong words indeed and Prescot is later willing to ignore them! More on this later.
As Dray contemplates how his two rascally oar comrades have put themselves in danger on his behalf, he bemoans this and thinks "I valued them far too much to do that to them." "So I thought then, as I sat in the miserable hut and planned what I would do." (page 130). What does "So I thought then" mean? That he finally does realize their friendship is of the kind that allows such risk taking?
On this same page Prescot talks of the diff situation in the Eye of the World. Basically there were few diffs on the southern shore but many on the north and they were used in the Grodnim armies. The red of Zair referred to them as "Zair-forsaken beast-men allies." Further Dray states concerning the lack of diffs in Zairian society and lands "How important a factor in my life-aye! and the destiny of Kregen-this proved to be, you shall hear." This could be a reference to the planned but never written next Krozair Cycle (perhaps based on King Zeg).
Whelan again draws an accurate and nicely done illustration on page 133. The three Chuliks come across Prescot who is all ready to rumble! Just before the battle is joined, Dray comments (to the reader) "Chuliks and I, we do not laugh often" (page 134). Nice comparison, that.
Ken used a couple of interesting words to describe the sound of a swinging sword. Both sound "right" but neither was in my dictionary. The first usage is on page 134 as Prescot battles the 3 Grodnim Chuliks: "The sword chirred." On the ensuing page the word changes to "shirred", as shown "The blades touched and rang, and then shirred in that shivery sound of war-metal striking war-metal." Two different words and meanings, methinks now.
After disposing of the diffs, Dray in act of true bravado hides from Nath and Zolta, upon their return to the nameless isle. Feeling bad about that but feeling it was for the best, he mentally planned to carouse, wench, and drink with them in Holy Sanurkazz. I don't think that opportunity ever arises (in this cycle at least).
With those pleasant if never accomplished thoughts in his mind, the tapes from Rio de Janeiro come to an end (page 136), marking the second chapter of Dray's career (the tapes from Africa being his first). New tapes from Sydney, Australia take up the tale of Prescot in the Eye of the World. Dan Fraser and Geoffrey Dean are mentioned in passing for perhaps the last time.
As the tapes from Sydney begin, Alan Burt Akers mysteriously speaks of Dray voicing the name "Pakkad" and that it appears to affect him profoundly. I don't recall any further reference to this incident. And it appears that a map of the Eye of the World accompanied these tapes, but it doesn't appear until the third and last book of the cycle "Krozair of Kregen". A pity as it would have come in handy for the first two books.
After making his way to the south shore of the Inner Sea, Dray meets up with Duhrra in Crazmoz, who is illustrated quite well by Michael Whelan on page 139.
In dire need of hard cash, Prescot wrestles and defeats him in fair combat and thereby gains a golden oar. Surprisingly he shouts Hai Jikai! after flattening his overmatched if magnificently sculptured opponent. Surprising for two reasons: it was hardly a jikai of any sort, certainly not a hai jikai and secondly, if a term were to be used it would be "Hai Hikai!" for unarmed combat.
When helping the defeated Duhrra up from his prone position, he recognizes the look given him and senses that a devoted comrade to be is at hand. The idea is both joyful and one of apprehension (page 142). Then chaos erupts as a Grodnim raiding party wreaks havoc as they hit the red supply train.
In the midst of the ensuing chaos both Prescot and Duhrra observe the brave attempts of a two hundred-year old man attempt to save his liege. He fails because of overwhelming odds but then again, so does Prescot. Duhhra was quick to pick up on that with "You fight well, yet is the boy slain." (page 146). Thinking that the lad was calling out to Dray, he calls him Dak (as well as master).
Near the tale end of this conflict Duhrra is pinned beneath a column and both the fires and the diffs of the green are steadily advancing. Prescot performs the grisly business of severing the pinned arm at the wrist. Dray claims it was a clean cut but is later referred to as a butcher by surgeons who eventually treat the amputation.
In a rather chilly manner, as Dray and Duhrra walked away from the scene, Prescot ruminated that he had the best of the bargain that night. For Duhrra had lost a friend and he (Prescot) had gained a name. While no doubt true, it seemed overly callous for my taste (even on the unforgiving world of Kregen).
On pages 150 and 151 Prescot begins to waver in his desire for reinstatement. His reasoning seems to be that his future happiness lay with Delia (and hers with him). I just don't see how he could so quickly discount her words that said she would not remove his Krozair badge until he told her too with his own mouth. What is he thinking!
Then he reflects on his 21-year banishment and how cruel it must have been to Delia, as well as himself. At least on prior occasions the princess had not pined overly long as the Everoinye employed time loops: when he became Zorcander of the Clansmen ("Transit"), while fighting in the Jikhorkdun of Huringia ("Arena"), and while making himself some sort of King of Djanduin ("Fliers").
Duhrra and Dray make their way to Shazmoz, which was under siege, and they befriend a Pachak mercenary named Logu Pa-We. He is a hyr-pakyun and inquires of Dray. He admits to having worn the pakmort but not the pakzhan (pages 158 & 159). He has never mentioned when he and Seg were made paktuns by the proper tribunal. Does he ever make hyr-paktun I wonder?
Now a plan must be devised to enter the besieged city. For Duhrra needs assistance with his arm and Dray wants to talk with someone within
I do believe that Logu Pa-We, the Pachak hry-paktun is the first to specifically mention the mysterious land of Tambu (pages 160 & 161). It is not referred to as an Island, just the "land" of Tambu. It is located off the southwestern coast of Loh and it looks like Dray and the Shanks visit it (finally) in "Scorpio Triumph". I wonder what kind of experience there would scar Logu's ib and make him never want to go back?
While imbibing with the Logu, Dray ponders the possibility of a Pachak world and others, populated by the diffs of Kregen. Then the Everoinye meddle with these planets and set some down on Kregen.
As the wine flows, so too do the songs. Interesting enough there is one concerning fish-heads ("The Destiny of the Fishmonger of Magdag." But these are not Shanks. Prescot then recalls that Panshi had told him that there had been no significant raids from Schan since that day he was banished, 21 long years ago.
By guile Dray and Duhrra make their way into besieged Shazmoz., the former to meet Pur Zenkiren, the latter to gain a hook for his arm. And Dray does meet his former friend on page 165. It takes Dray awhile to calm him down. He reminds Zenkiren of prior times that mysterious happenings occurred that were linked to his fate. This becomes important again near the end of "Krozair". While attempting to make Zenkiren see that it was possible for him to not hear the Call, he decides not let him be the first to know of his Earth ancestry. That honor will go to Delia (pages 169 & 170). I believe back in "Suns" Dray had said the Zenkiren would be the first to know. Then he thinks that old King Zazz would have believed him, if told.
After things settle down between them, Dray learns of why the Grodnim have been winning the war. Genod Gannius has made himself King of Magdag. He is the son of Gahan Gannius, who the Star Lords wanted Prescot to save from the grundals in "Suns". It is then that Dray knows for a fact that his rebellion failed (pages 170 & 171). That question is finally put to rest. Zenkiren knows that Prescot utilized the phalanx in that battle, but he withholds blame.
Zenkiren withholds blame on Dray for being the instrument responsible for the Grodnim's phalanx. But Prescot does not. He also does not understand why the Star Lords wanted Gahan Gannius and the tart Talima saved from the grundals. This action has caused much misery for Zairia.
Before leaving Pur Zenkiren, Dray informs him that Raz Nazilfum will probably not be able to relieve the siege of Shazmoz. Zenkiren is not surprised and this leads Prescot to believe there was a mystery attached to that lord (page 174).
When Dray and Duhrra leave the city, it is to the occupied west of the south shore they head, for Arkhram. The green own all on this side of the Inner Sea, from the Dam of Days to Shazmoz. One major reason for going to Arkhram was to procure a hook implant for the arm of Dray's latest comrade. It would seem the Todalpheme are more than astronomers and meteorologists.
En route Dray reflects on why the Grodnim worship Genodras, the green sun. The answer lays in its reemergence from behind the giant red, a type of rebirth or procreation (page 178).
(This contrast is one that I have always found interesting. On the one hand, Zim-Zair is an unchanging entity; always the same, Zim does not seem to have any human traits; it would seem more godlike because of it's eternity. In addition, it is an angry red color, looking down broodingly at the world.
On the other hand, Genodras seems to be a much more human-like entity. It has a life cycle of birth, growth, strength, decay, and death. But then it triumphs over death and is reborn. In addition, it seems to move around, and is the color of living things; I can see relationships to both moon-religions and earth-religions in it, rather than sun religions.
And yet, paradoxically, the Zairians are a bright fun-loving people, daring and passionate, attributes one would expect the Genodras worshippers to have, while the Grodnims are a methodical and grim people, calculating and unforgiving, which would be traits one would normally expect from Zim worshippers. Deuced odd..)
During this same trek Duhrra reveals that his brother was captured, tortured, and killed by the Overlords (page 178). How does he know of the last two deeds?
On page 179, Dray makes clear for the first time that he plans to leave the Eye of the World, by Vallian galleon, from the Dam of Days. Sigh how quickly we forget. The Grand Canal is reached (pages 182 &183) and Dray then reflects on his last time here. Then it is Akhram with a new leader who remembers Dray from before. Just before falling asleep, Dray daydreams of all that has happened to him since that long ago day when he last trod the shores. There were many
While staying overnight in Akhram Dray discovers that vollers from Havilfar are en route to the northern shore from Havilfar. The Akhram had never heard of that continent until recently (due to the voller shipment). I found this surprising as educated men like the Todalpheme should have a basic knowledge of their hemisphere's geography. He could be forgiven for not knowing Hamal or Hyrklana, but the name of the most progressive continent in Paz? Plus, there are globes (not flat maps but globes) at Akhram (page 187). Surely an indicator of a sophisticated knowledge of geography which should include knowing the names of the continents and Islands of Paz.
I was surprised that Prescot intuitively knew that this voller shipment would be from Hamal and not Hyrklana or one of the voller manufacturing countries in the Dawn Lands (page 188). Gut reaction or simply a means (plot device) to seeing Rees later in the cycle?
As alluded to earlier the surgeon at Akhram comments acidly on the butchery work involved with Duhrra's hand being amputated. At this point as both men leave the Todalpheme for the 15 burr journey to the Dam of Days, it is not clear what action was taken on Duhrra's arm. That must wait for when that worthy picks up his name, Duhrra of the Days. I am amazed that Dray did not undertake this short trip to the Dam when last he set out from Akhram in "Suns". Then he immediately journeyed to Magdag and fate ...
So it was that in the fullness of time (how I love that phrase) that Dray and Duhrra arrive at the Dam of Days (pages 188 & 189). It was built to last by the Sunset People who Prescot learned (while he was on Earth) were the Savanti. Surely he could have pieced that together without Zena's input!
Perched atop the Dam, they view argenters from Menaham transporting the Hamalese vollers. Yet another incident in that long running alliance. But what to do, what to do?
There is another one of those references to "Wizard of Scorpio" on page 194. But not even a foot-note to explain. It took me years to find out the hard way, about that short-story!
And then Dray and Duhrra (page 194) bestride the Dam of Days! The wind blustered flags snapped, the sea appeared covered in white foam, and the inland bay was calm. Zair! What I would give to actually see such sights from atop the gargantuan bulk of the dam!
At this time Dray makes a decision to aid the Red despite his being cast out by them and orders the opening of the valves to the tanks and the closing of the valves to the caissons. The Oblifanter is stunned by the "request" and gapes! Then realizing Prescot was mad but yet must be obeyed, the deed is done and a tidal wave roars through and into the calm bay. But Prescot and Duhhra must fight for the time needed to allow this to happen. It was a true Jikai if not a Hai Jikai!
The two destroy the Grodnim contingent (pages 197-200) that try to stop the flooding. But not before the Star Lords attempt to pluck Dray up and are successfully foiled by Zena Iztar and the group she represents (blue vs. yellow).
In the aftermath of this battle, Dray dubs Duhrra as Duhrra of the Days. A very apt name indeed!
As the tsunami continues to roll closer to the Menahem fleet, Dray comments on the moonless nights known as Notor Zan. But then he gives the name of a night when all the moons of Kregen are visible, as the Scarf of Our Lady of Monafeyom (page 201).
Watching in fascination, the wave presses on relentlessly and Prescot thinks on just how high the wave is. After numerous "how highs" he finally realizes, (page 203) "High enough for death." And so it was that the argenters, their crews, and cargo are destroyed on the giant shelves on the side of the Grand Canal. His will followed, the two escape in the chaos and Dray takes the longsword of the Grodnim Jiktar he had beheaded atop the Dam of Days. He had been a Ghittawrer, the green brotherhood that seemingly aped the ways of the Krozairs. But couldn't it be vice versa? Hmmm...(While it may seem that the Ghittawrer are a fairly new brotherhood of warriors, check out Renegade of Kregen, p. 178, where a drunken Gafard urges Gadak to join in a High Jikai and make people forget about Pur Dray, believed to be dead. He adds: "Dead with the great Ghittawrer Gamba the Rapacious, who went to the Ice Floes of Sicce these thousand seasons gone." So clearly the Ghittawrers were around for over a thousand years.)
As they head for distant Magdag they are visited by Zena Iztar. Naturally Duhrra is blissfully unaware of the exchange (pages 205-207). She calls on Dray to become a Krozair again and says he will not leave Turismond until he does. Will it be the Star Lords that prevent him he asks? "No." replies Zena (page 207). And Dray barks out that he had to wait "three damned long years" after their visitation in London. She only replies "Aye." Dray does not say so, but I believe that the Call came out during those 3 years and they certainly did damn him to Apushniad! It makes me wonder if she had the power to do so and purposely made Dray go through hell by waiting.
At any rate, they travel on toward Magdag in defiance of both Zena and Delia. Phew! And Duhrra is the proud owner of a hooked hand, courtesy of the Todalpheme. And even that is subject to change, as we shall see .
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