The Unwelcome Warlock/The Final Calling: Progress Report Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Seven is now online.

From now on, I’ll post chapters as fast as they’re paid for, rather than trying to maintain a weekly or semi-weekly schedule — after all, there are only three left. (The epilogue will be posted with Chapter Forty.) Chapter Thirty-Eight is about 20% covered.

No further news on rewrite or publication; I’ve been busy with other stuff.

If any of you are at Capricon this coming weekend, do say hello. (And if anyone can provide a ride to or from Union Station…)

Oh — that trip does mean I won’t be online from Thursday, February 10, through Monday, February 14. Sorry about that.

42 thoughts on “The Unwelcome Warlock/The Final Calling: Progress Report Thirty-Seven

  1. The first sentence of paragraph 3 is a bit malformed:

    That reminded Hanner that he had hoped some of the refugees who had been sent through to come back out at the top of the hill, but none had.

    Simplest fix would be to change “to come back” to “would come back”.

  2. Wow, a short chapter, but packed. Hanner must regret destroying the tapestry now, Rudhira might have assassinated Vond all on her own if he had waited.

    Now the only remaining Warlock in the world is Sterren. Will it die with him? I admit I’m a bit sad that we didn’t get any reactions but the Wizards, I guess that Witches and Theurgists will go back to being the premier healers now? Or are there sorcerous talismans to do that too?

  3. Wow, I’m surprised. Usually the turning points in Ethshar novels are less about the application of violence than about a clever idea or negotiations. Certainly that wasn’t the sort of knock-down drag-out battle you expect from most fantasy… but it was still more violent than most Ethshar resolutions seem to be.

  4. An excellent resolution to the issue of Vond. I admit I was surprised when he went into the Refuge, no matter how well guarded. I just can’t imagine Vond giving up access to the power even for a minute. Far too many people wanted him dead.

  5. That was a twist. I did hope that Hanner would have gotten a chance to say that Vond had betrayed them all, not he, before the end. Guess Vond never did follow through on the brief flashes of almost enlightenment he had.

    Chapters go go before an epilogue. Liked how Hanner’s thoughts strayed to Rudhira and his willingness to die.

  6. There’s a lot to like in this chapter. It’s somehow fitting that Vond’s death isn’t glorious and spectacular, and I think it makes a lot of sense that Rudhira was the one to do it. I don’t think there’s anyone else who can even come close to understanding his mindset, but Rudhira WAS the most powerful Warlock in the world, if only for a brief time. I wasn’t sure if she’d go in the direction of “I’ll do anything to get that power back,” or “I know how dangerous that power is.” I guess now we know.

    I also liked Hanner’s “Why am I doing this?” discussion with himself. He’s an oddly modest character for someone who was a noble and, as Vond says, “almost a legend” as the first Chairman of the Council. It seems like even now, he can’t give himself credit for an incredibly-strong sense of responsibility for others.

  7. …leaving Sterran as the last warlock in the world for now. And if there is a reason for the Demerchan wanting to keep this form of warlockery alive, then I’m guessing that we might find out why.

  8. Well, it stinks that there will not be anymore “Lumeth” Warlocks but that seemed like the only way things would resolve themselves. Vond’s entering the Tapestry world was a bone-headed yet, in character move for him. I guess at this point I am wondering if these things will be answered in the denouement:
    1)Will we learn what happens to Sterren?
    2)Can the Tapestry be repaired with Javan’s Restorative?
    3)Will Hanner’s tapestry world become an Ethsharic homeless shelter?

  9. the Great Vond, emperor of Semma and the Vondish Empire,

    Semma and the Vondish Empire? He earlier introduced himself as “I am Vond, emperor of Semma, Ksinallion, and Ophkar, lord of the southern lands.” And I thought he called himself “Emperor of the World” at some point, but I can’t find that passage anywhere.

  10. He’s never been good with titles — hadn’t you noticed, for example, that after specifically dismissing Sterren as chancellor, he then calls him his chancellor? He doesn’t really believe they have specific meanings.

  11. I don’t understand why Vond “[draws] his hand back to strike” when he already has the blade cutting into Hanner’s throat. Was he trying to chop Hanner’s head off?

  12. I really hope we’ll find out why Rudhira chose to kill Vond. Was it because of the threat he posed in general–or was it because he was threatening to kill Hanner, specifically?

    I suspect the latter.

  13. I think part of why Rudhira did it was b/c she was taking a stand. Up until now, she has been a victim of circumstance. I really like how Vond dies. Part of me wishes that he could have lived (this was before he started killing people) in relative peace, with a few select Lumeth warlocks but I did like the fact Hanner and Rudhira did him in rather than a wizard or a spell, or an Assassin. Doyle, what are you talking about? Are you just trying to get a response from people?

  14. I actually think Doyle might be right. Sterren is still there, and it might be possible for witches to make the “brain-change” necessary to work with the Lumeth source.

    Given that the Demerchan didn’t want Vond killed, it seems like there might be an actual use for warlocks. Vond felt he could “undo” the tower of flame. Perhaps warlocks could counter Ellran’s Dissipation, also, and restore those areas blank to wizardry.

    The rapid removal of the Vond issue allow us three whole more chapters to explore these issues. So exciting. Come on donors!

  15. Oh, and on the wind up for the thrust: it’s a common mistake that people who are unfamiliar with weapons (or fighting make.) In this case, it saves Hanner’s life. It turns a 1 beat move to 2 beat move, and it’s usually more important to get the first strike in. Very realistic.

  16. I don’t think we’re going to see any more warlocks.

    The real question is what will happen to Sterren, who is technically now the most powerful warlock in the World–kind of ironic, given his back story.


  17. Hanner was also thinking about the fact that he only agreed to keep Vond in check, not warlockry in general. It could very easily end with Hanner and Sterren recreating warlockry.

    Alternatively, it could end with Hanner trapped in the other world. However, the fact that the tapestry leading to the world is still working makes rescue easier.

    They would just need to convince a wizard to lend them another one for a while. Given that Hanner dealt with Vond, it seems the least that they can do.

    Actually, can they send supplies through to them without someone carrying them. Maybe they could send them through using animals or something.

  18. Readers, I’ve changed my spam-filtering software, and the new stuff works much better, but I’ve just been informed of a false positive. If you’ve tried to make a legitimate comment here and not seen it appear, e-mail me at and let me know, so I can salvage the comment and tell the filter to let you through.

    Also, I’m leaving for Chicago tomorrow and won’t be back until Monday afternoon, so I may be offline that whole time — I don’t know whether I’ll have any net access at all.

  19. Three chapters left! How can we have a whole world with no warlocks. that would be cruel. I’m convinced they are coming back. This a really good story!

  20. Yeah Doyle,
    I am with you. I want more Warlocks but you have to consider it logically and pragmatically like most Ethsharites would. Remember the scene in the “Black Dagger” where they are debating creating a second black dagger to counter Tabea? It is the same deal, once you have created a Lumeth Warlock, how do you check that person? Granted there’s still the unexplored Demberchan element, THAT might make a difference, but I cannot (I wish I could) think of any reason an Ethsharite want anyone using the World’s atmospheric plant (Note: The World is a little like John Carter’s Barsoom-artificially maintianed, Lawrence is that where you got the idea? It’s an awesome idea, regardless of its origin.). At this point I simply cannot justify keeping Warlockry alive. I wish I was wrong.

  21. I find warlocks interesting, but from an Ethsharitic point of view, they managed OK without them before the night of madness; surely they could continue on with none.

    And who knows? Maybe there’s some way they can set up a trap for another alien space ship so it will crash, send out a rescue signal, and go into stasis, powering a new bunch of “Neo-Warlocks”? This time make the ship crash in one of the deserts, so nobody’s home is ruined. Neo-Warlocks would be forced to give a certain percentage of their earnings to the Neo-Warlock guild, which would invest the money so that when space ship #2 gets rescued and all the Neo-Warlocks lose their powers (and the called ones return), they’ll be supported until a third ship gets trapped. The aliens might get annoyed after a few times, but of course the people setting the traps would be sure to wait long enough between setting the traps to minimize the risks. Becoming a Neo-Warlock could also be a useful punishment: if there’s someone you want to put “on ice”, make them a Warlock and ship them close to the new crash site. No reason not to have a transporting tapestry come out close enough to the crash site that anyone popping out there would immediately be “called”.

    Um. This is sounding like a story idea. While I know it’s absurd, and highly unlikely to ever be used, I want to make it clear that I waive any and all rights to this story, should Lawrence Watt-Evans or his heirs or appointed agent(s) choose to develop it. Not that they will, of course.

  22. once you have created a Lumeth Warlock, how do you check that person?
    That was the whole concept behind the Council of Warlocks and in that drive it was a direct mirror of the Wizard’s Guild.

    but I cannot (I wish I could) think of any reason an Ethsharite want anyone using the World’s atmospheric plant
    I still don’t think the warlocks are using the functioning air purifier. Vond specifically inspected the broken one which indicates, to me, that one is providing his power not the two fully functioning ones. Unless the air purification is a side effect of it being broken- which seems to be the opposite of everything LWE has said and suggested.
    Regardless- if anyone wants real answers to the way the air purifier works their best bet seems to be the restoration of warlockry.

  23. Well Ryan,
    I admit that policing each other was the reason for creating the Council but the ultimate check on a Warlock was the Calling. But your ideas about the towers-they are just ideas. It is nothing you can prove, so why even go there? If the idea’s not stated as fact it does not make sense to base suppositions on it.

  24. Hi, folks —

    I have limited net access at the moment, but I wanted to let you know that Chapter 38 is paid for and will be posted once I’m home again.

  25. If extremely powerful magicians need a check what is the ultimate check on wizards?

    My ideas are based on the informatiin given. Sure, they’Vond could study wizardry and figured out how the tower of fire worked even though wizardry is harder for warlocks to percieve than warlockry. We know Vond followed his power to the towers, meaning they should be his source and thus he should be able to study their sympathetic magic more easily. We know the towers are sorcerous artifacts and sorcery is driven by physical forms. We know that warlockry excells at studying and manipulating the physical environment. We know wizardry directed at sorcery doesn’t always behave well. What am I supposing without support?

  26. >If extremely powerful magicians need a check what is the ultimate check
    >on wizards?

    The check on wizards is that really powerful spells are hard, time-consuming, potentially exhausting, and require rare and very expensive ingredients.

    Other branches of magic (except warlockry) have similar restraints.

    Warlockry, on the other hand, is easy, instantaneous, invigorating, and requires no material components. It’s free.

    Before the end of the Calling, it had a price. But afterwards, it costs the user nothing.


  27. On the other hand warlockry has shown no evidence of being able to create new worlds or generate persistant, contageous distruction. It’s more limited in effect for all that it’s better at what it does.

    As for warlockry being a free lunch; we don’t know that. High level warlocks, including both Hanner and Vond, have shown significant atrophy of their physical bodies. Maybe that’s meaningless within the World, maybe not. They also have a tie to the source which may or may not ultimately be significant. I doubt it, but we don’t know.

  28. Actually, I assume it’s the standing body of the tower, not the piece broken off. Just for clarity.

    Vond gave particular attention to the broken tower. I may be presuming, but he doesn’t seem like the type to be interested because it’s broken or different unless he’s looking for a reason to use power. There he seemed more interested in learning about the source.

  29. The check on wizards is that casting spells is also inherently dangerous (if not as dangerous as demonology) and the more powerful spells are more dangerous. Back in the original “Misenchanted Sword” it was implied that a common cause of death for elderly wizards is attempting to cast an immortality spell that they don’t have the chops for. (Because at that point, why not?)

    Though really, there is no ultimate check for the really skilled wizards, which is why they live in their own private worlds and do what they please.

  30. We’ve already seen that all you need to create more Lumeth warlocks is Sterren and a skilled witch. And Demerchan is interested in keeping Vond alive. It’s possible that the only warlocks in the world after this book will belong to the cult of Demerchan.

  31. The Check on wizardry would be a) scarcity of ingredients b) one’s own competence c) being left alone long enough to perform a spell properly d) getting access to spells-not as easy as it sounds e) The Guild
    Peter: Interesting thought….

  32. “If extremely powerful magicians need a check what is the ultimate check on wizards?”

    Thus far, I’d say it’s the Wizards’ Guild itself. In fact, I’ve always been of the strong impression that that’s the primary reason the guild exists, and why they’re so insistent about not allowing any rogue wizards. They keep wizardry in line by saying, in essence, “Step out of line and the rest of us will dogpile on you.”

    Whether that’s a SUFFICIENT check on wizardry is another matter, and it seems like that’s a question posed by several of the books. (Spell of the Black Dagger comes to mind immediately, as does this book.)

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