The Final Calling: Progress Report Three

Chapter Two is now online; enjoy!

The serial is paid for through Chapter Seven.

I’m currently writing Chapter Seven.

Chapter Three will be posted on Wednesday, June 30. I’ll be maintaining a weekly schedule as much as I can; I’m going to miss two weeks in September while traveling.

35 thoughts on “The Final Calling: Progress Report Three

  1. There’s a sentence that got misedited partway through:

    “If it thing did come down to crush the mound, she realized…”

    I have to admit that I didn’t guess the true nature of the Calling, nor did I expect this particular twist in the plot to come quite so early in the book.

  2. Good catch; thanks!

    And I’ve been telling people for at least a decade that this novel wasn’t going to be what they expected.

  3. I am looking forward to understanding how/why warlockry powers were the result of the Calling and why the response took so long to arrive. I hope we get that explanation, but can already easily see that we might not.

  4. So it was a UFO crash after all.

    The important question seems to be: has the warlockification been reverted, or can they still draw power from alternative sources? Potentially interesting times ahead in Lumeth of the Towers.

  5. Well, it did seem obvious that the Calling was the distress beacon of some sort. Why did it give powers on the other hand, or whose beacon it was, or why were the Gods so tight-lipped about it… Many questions still unanswered. Waiting for the next chapter! BTW (Sorry if it was asked already), what is the deal for the donors this time? (Advance chapters, etc)?

  6. The Wizard’s guild may well have something to say/do about any attempt to use Lumeth of the Towers.

    For that matter we don’t know for sure (yet) that Lumeth is accessible in the absense of the original Source. It might not be, warlocks may simply not EXIST as a magic users without the source being present in the same world so even if Lumeth still radiates whatever, the access required that there be dependent on the Source at least being present to provide some minimal level of initial stimulation.

  7. That explains the hint/spoiler that the spinning coin of a spinning coin spell would stop if linked to a called warlock, rather than falling or continuing to spin.

    ( 🙂 )

    In any case, if the source in Lumeth of the Towers still operates, warlockry just became vastly more powerful, as its check on power has been removed. Maybe, the tower can only provide a maximum amount of power, as an alternative limitation.

    In fact, if to many warlocks draw from it, it might become damaged (along with the its climate control systems).

    Vond, if he manages to make it back to his empire, wouldn’t necessarily be the most powerful warlock. I wonder if the council would cede power back to him, probably not, if at all possible. He would have the advantage that he knows about the towers.

    Also, he might be one of the flying warlocks and so falls to his death before he can reconnect to the towers (or they might be to far away to maintain flight).

  8. Presumably, the assumption is that it can’t tell the difference between the 2 sources and tries to rescue the towers too.

    However, given that the Source and the Response seem to “speak” the same language and the tower doesn’t speak at all, that is not likely.

  9. And the towers have been there for centuries, not just thirty-four years; if they were going to draw attention, it would have come a long time ago.

  10. Really looking forward to answers to some of these questions- most particularly the ones regarding the southern source/other sources and the return of Vond… Though, for the moment, I’m just going to be amused by the fact that Hanner was “dead” for all of 3/4 of a chapter.

    I am a little curious, what about all the children? Several juveniles were effected, and presumably some disappeared during the Night of Madness… One thing that always disturbed me a little about the depopulation of Aldagmar, was that it included people of all ages- presumably including infants. Were they carried off by their mothers, or did they become functional Warlocks in those magic-filled hours? Both of these previously seemed preferable to the alternative of them being left behind… Now, I’m a little worried about these kids in that writhing mob…

    Fantasy/PG handwaving is acceptable, but one of the reasons Ethshar always appealed to me is because it recognizes common sense and consequences for actions as natural forces.

  11. I postulated years ago on LWE’s guestbook that the Source was giant fly paper. I’m am amused to see that I was kind of correct.

  12. Those children get a brief mention in Chapter Three.

    By the way, Raphfrk, why are you assuming other warlocks could use the Lumeth towers as a power source? Except for Vond, they never did before.

  13. Hmm, actually, now that I think about it, Vond had to actively change Sterren’s mind before he could use the Lumeth towers (pg. 218 Del Ray paperback edition of _The Unwilling Warlord_: “There!” Vond said, “I’ve adjusted your brain a little; now you can hear the new source!” ). Without having power from the main source to change their brains, I don’t see how the warlocks (other than Vond) could draw from it. And Vond would surely be too far away to use Lumeth towers (yet).

  14. You’ve got everything right except the last sentence; by the time he was Called, Vond was very powerful.

  15. “By the way, Raphfrk, why are you assuming other warlocks could use the Lumeth towers as a power source? Except for Vond, they never did before.”

    Presumably, there wasn’t something special about Vond, he just happened to be near the towers and heard their transmissions. Ofc, without their warlock enhanced senses, none of the former warlocks would be able to do that and neither was Sterren (but he was barely a warlock).

    Since Vond can draw from both sources, he could keep his “receiver” powered up when the Calling went offline. I wonder if turning off the towers for a short period of time would strip him of his power, since he wouldn’t be able to receive any more power. Effectively, he needs his warlock senses to draw from the towers and he needs power from the towers to keep his warlock senses online. This might have some climate change effects.

    Btw, Goljerp, Sterren would also be “Tower-enabled”. He is either part of the mound or is still in the Empire, depending on if he was called. (though he could also have died of natural causes).

    The real question is if it is still possible to perform the warlock apprentice and tower enabling modifications using the Tower as the power source. I wonder if it will be a battle against time to try to enable as many warlocks as possible, before Vond enslaves the world.

    Another possibility is that only the Source can create a warlock, but it is possible to give a former warlock the ability to draw from the towers. This would be the difference between building a radio receiver and tuning one to a new frequency, in terms of complexity.

    In the 2nd case, it would be in Vond’s interests to wipe out all former warlocks near the mound.

  16. Also, it occurs to me that Vond was the one who actually performed the modification, so Sterren may not know what he needs to do to enable someone else, even if it is possible. Hmm, that is pushing the balance in Vond’s favour :).

  17. I’m not sure how much I should explain here, but…

    Remember, Vond could not use the Lumeth power originally; it just gave him headaches at first. Eventually he managed to adapt to use it. No other warlock ever did that, and whether they could or not is an open question. Whether they’ll get the chance to try — well, we’ll see.

    That’s not considering Sterren, of course, who is a whole other issue.

  18. Getting a bit meta here, it’s interesting reading this a chapter at a time, as opposed to reading the book at a sitting. The way I work, I would not have time to ponder these things, as I’d just immediately read the next chapter. I mean it as a compliment when I say that I find the Ethshar books very “un-put-downable”.

    Of course, this isn’t a new experience — many classic SF novels were published a chapter a time in magazines, not to mention books like “Around the world in 80 days”, where people were actually betting on whether Fogg would make it in time, or some of Dickens’ novels (I think you can generally tell the ones which were serialized, because he was paid by the word, and they’re the longer ones.)

  19. I think when we find out what the Source is, questions will be answered. Then of course, they’ll be more questions.

  20. Always exciting to see new Ethshar!

    With the Source gone, I’m not sure we’ll get to find out what it is/was…

    I’m curious to see how many former Warlock cameos become important. While new faces will almost certainly appear, and I assume that both Vond and Hanner will rise to the surface (the first due to his power and potential to still be empowered and the second because he is a natural leader and most “trained” Warlocks should know him or know of him), I’m curious about how many others- like the Warlock from Blood of the Dragon (who was around just long enough to figure out that there’s some sort of connection between Warlockry and Witchcraft) or the Warlock from With a Single Spell (who “doomed himself … [for] fresh meat…”).

    I’m also wondering how long we’re going to have to wait to see if this is “the end of Warlockry” or “the end of Warlockry as we know it,” since both phrases have been used to describe this book.

  21. A quick note: Some of you have had your comments held for moderation. The way I have it set is that the first time you comment, I need to approve it. If you’ve been approved once, though, all future comments go through automatically.

    I’ve had to do it this way because I get a lot of comment spam. You don’t need to be polite (though it helps) or anything; you just need to convince me you’re an actual English-speaking human being.

    I do reserve the right to delete comments I find actively offensive, but I don’t think I’ve ever had to exercise that right.

  22. It just occurred to me that the source in Aldagmor may have been using warlocks as instrumental components of calling the Answer, and that they may not have been merely collateral damage from the Calling. Is it possible that the Source needed to convert the locals after its arrival in order to use their collected powers, honed by use of Warlockry? I think it may have had a fair amount of power, initially (The Night of Madness), but not a lot of range, so it needed to use local resources to assist its needs.

    My thoughts are that it is possible that the use of warlockry helped attune them to the needs of the Source, which then calls them to it, after which the warlocks became amplification modules for the Calling itself. Has there been any mention of whether the Calling itself has become stronger over time, such that warlocks are Called at earlier points than previously, given similar power levels? It might not have been noticeable, since Warlockry has not been around that long.

  23. If that was a mating call instead of a rescue call, it could have some interesting complications as it moves through the steps.

    I’m quite curious how the gods, demons and others perceive the events of the calling and response and why Lumeth runs on a similar bandwidth (and if it evokes the same responses from gods and such at other levels).

    Gee, now I need to go to the library and read all the books I was silly enough to give away when we moved.

    Well, not all several thousand, just the ones related to this series.

  24. I believe in “The Vondish Ambassador” the gods said the Source was a misunderstanding of some kind (if I am remembering correctly).

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