The Unwelcome Warlock: Progress Report Forty

Chapter Forty and the Epilogue are now online. The serial is concluded and complete. My sincere gratitude to everyone who contributed!

Wildside Press has sent my agent a contract, but it’s not signed yet, so I have no information about the eventual publication date, cover price, or much of anything else. I do know that once the contracts are signed I’ll be taking down the serial version, so read it while you can.

I have only made the most tentative of starts on the second draft at this point. Given the time needed for revisions, editing, copy-editing, cover design, and so forth, it will still be several months before the finished book sees print.

When it does see print, I’ll be sending copies to everyone who donated $25 or more (in the U.S.; Canada the minimum is $30, and overseas it’s $35). I’ll post updates about that here when the time comes, as well as e-mailing information. I’ll be verifying addresses as best I can before anything actually ships.

I’m fairly sure there will be e-book editions for the Kindle and for other e-readers, as Wildside is enthusiastic about those, but again, I have no information at this point.

As long as the serial is online, I’ll accept donations/advance orders. (You can look at them either way, now that we know the book will appear.) Once it’s down, you’ll have to wait until you can order from Wildside, Amazon, B&N, or whatever your preferred source is; I won’t continue taking orders after that.

If you donated more than the minimum, we can discuss in e-mail what extras, if any, you might want — but please, don’t do that now; wait until I announce that the book’s ready and I’m verifying addresses.

In the past, I’ve always included extras of some sort with everyone’s books, but this novel is much longer than any of my previous serials, so I’m not sure whether I’ll be doing that this time. We’ll see.

As for future serials, right now I have no definite plans. I’ll want to see how the writing and publishing business develop over the next year or so — e-books and other developments are drastically changing the market. I will say, though, that this is definitely not the last Ethshar novel; I’ve started writing the next, a “young adult” novel with the working title Ishta’s Playmate (formerly A Stranger in the Forest) that I hope will move the series back to traditional publishing. We’ll see how that works out.

Thanks again for your support!

41 thoughts on “The Unwelcome Warlock: Progress Report Forty

  1. Minor point. Your email link to the epilogue didn’t work for me. Since both links in chapter 40 did, I don’t think anyone will have any trouble.

    I like it, I am still curious about the Refuge, Hammar obviously did arrange 2 way transportation, but he didn’t stay out for a year, so either he did somehow get his tapestry repaired or find a new one for sale. I’d like to know which.

  2. Yeah, the link in the e-mail had a superfluous “40” in it; sorry about that.

    Javan’s Restorative is a difficult and expensive spell that could repair the damaged tapestry. Or maybe he bought or borrowed one. I don’t know which; I never decided.

  3. Nice wrap up! Considering the Cult had several Warlock’s in their ranks I don’t see why they would stop at one or two. Once Sterren creates an acolyte they will know exactly how to go about retuning their already existing Warlock staff if they so choose. An unknown Warlock after all is the perfect assassin, they could stop anyone’s heartbeat without being obvious about it while the target is asleep, or even more subtle causes of death if they are well skilled.

    One question, did Hanner get his title of Lord back?

  4. Huh. You know, I hadn’t thought about that. I think he probably did, but he wouldn’t much care either way. I’d just been thinking of him as Hanner the Generous.

  5. This was a very satisfying end to one of your best novels yet. Thanks!

    It would seem likely that the Cult of Demerchan would want Sterren to modify and train at least two apprentices, and continue trying to have two or more experienced warlocks among their ranks at any given time in the future; while they have just one warlock, or even only one really experienced warlock, there’s danger that one could die without training a successor and end warlockry entirely, or at least lose a lot of orally transmitted knowledge about how to use warlockry effectively, if they died shortly after modifying an apprentice’s brain but before training them much.

  6. I enjoyed that! Many thanks for this book with its twists and turns!

    Did the Demerchan strand evolve as you were writing?

  7. Everything evolves, but I always knew the Demerchan stuff would be in there, if not necessarily in the form it wound up in.

  8. After reading Jim Henry’s comment above, it did occur to me to ask: Does Sterren actually even KNOW how to modify a prospective apprentice’s brain to attune it to the Towers or even at all? He didn’t even complete an original warlockry apprenticeship himself.

    I suppose Demerchan may have some ideas, and that is supposedly why they want to study him.

  9. “We’ve particularly been watching the warlocks who came back from Aldagmor with Vond, and none of them have managed it. They just get headaches; they never make the transition Vond did. ”

    Does that mean that they didn’t try it with warlocks prior to the call ending? They presumably didn’t think it a big issue until the Source disappeared, but that seems a pretty big blind spot.

    I guess they may not have known about the towers, since only Vond and Sterren talked about them, even if they did know Sterren was a warlock.

    It makes sense that once the Source was gone the former warlocks wouldn’t be able to make the change, since they have lost their powers.

    Also, I wonder if a witch scanning Sterren’s brain would be able to make the required changes.

  10. I always imagined Hanner looking for a way to fix his damaged tapestry, and stumbling upon Gresh. That of course would start a merry little round of horse trading until 8 months later Hanner gets his repaired tapestry. Since the method isn’t specifically mentioned I think I’ll continue with this fantasy.

    One thing I wasn’t so keen on in the epilogue is that everyone has a happy ending. Statistically speaking at least one of them should have a bad end.

  11. >One thing I wasn’t so keen on in the epilogue is that everyone has a happy
    >ending. Statistically speaking at least one of them should have a bad end.

    I didn’t mind that. They weren’t really endings, from my point of view. The point was that the people had lives after being warlocks. They moved on. What happens after that, we don’t know.


  12. >Does Sterren actually even KNOW how to modify a prospective apprentice’s
    >brain to attune it to the Towers or even at all?

    A good question. The Cult has ex-warlocks in it, we’re told. They would know how to create standard attunements and could explain the basics. Witches might be able to help.

    Also, Sterren may have a very long time to work on it. The Cult probably has access to life-extension magic from multiple schools. If all else fails, they could just keep him alive and wait for him to figure it out.


  13. I’m with Knowan to some extent, that the person we get further news of in the Epilogue who “fails” worst ends up as captain of a pirate ship struck me as representing an unlikely level of success for this group (of course, until contradicted I’ll assume that this particular pirate ship gets eaten by a demon, we know that’s one of the risks they run).

    But then there were lots of other characters we don’t hear about, so there may have been a more likely overall distribution of success and failure.

    I definitely like the image of Hammar hiring Gresh to find a way to fix the tapestry, but I don’t think it’s actually likely. If Hammar hired a wizard to cast Javan’s Restorative then the wizard might hire Gresh to get components, but that doesn’t require any interaction of the two characters.

  14. HANNER and Gresh live in different cities. Javan’s restorative isn’t so uncommon that someone from out of town would need to be called in. I would think that he would probably get another tapestry rather than fix that old one b/c in the epilogue it is stated that he is selling the lumber that grows in that other world. He probably fixed the other one too, (I realize that that’s expensive.) but with all those people coming and going he would likely get another exit that does not come out on the 4th floor of his house. The Cult does have access to Wizardry, there simply aren’t as many Wizards. Most likely they have penetrated the Guild’s leadership.

  15. In retrospect, the Cult’s age makes a great deal of sense. The Wizards’ Guild has been pretty consistent in respecting precedent that was established before the Guild was (fully) formed, even when it violates the Guild’s rules.

    That said, the Cult hasn’t exactly been doing great things for the Small Kingdoms, has it? Hundreds of years after the Great War, and the Small Kingdoms are a poor backwater that stands far behind the rest of Ethshar magically and (more importantly, but not unlinked) economically. They’re the third world nations of Ethshar. I don’t doubt that a good part of the blame can be put on the Cult, even if they genuinely believe themselves to be ‘helping’.

    For a perfect example, look at what happened with warlocks. They appeared in the Hegemony, and they were swiftly and profitably integrated into the economic structure of the Hegemony. Now imagine a Small Kingdoms without the Cult, free to utilize magic as it saw fit. I imagine ambitious businessmen would swiftly have established a pipeline so that warlocks needing to ‘retire’ father away from the Source could come to the Small Kingdoms and continue to practice their trade for years more before the Calling. (Er, pre-Vond of course.)

  16. That’s not entirely fair. Demerchan didn’t ban warlockry; the nobility did. The local rulers and the Wizards’ Guild each imposed more limits on magic than Demerchan did.

    And the Small Kingdoms, while not competitive with the Hegemony, aren’t all backwaters — Semma certainly was, pre-Vond, but we saw in Taking Flight that some of the northern Kingdoms are doing fine. Several of the coastal nations are thriving; I just haven’t set any stories in them.

    If you want a real backwater, look at Aala.

    The big reason the Hegemony has done so much better is that it inherited all the military magic, and a lot of really good land. The plain between the Pirate Towns and the Great River is the richest farmland in the World.

  17. Thanks for a thoroughly satisfying read. Your books never disappoint.

    I can’t help but wonder if Demerchan ever approached/would approach Teneria, given her experience with the synergy between witchcraft and warlockry. To be honest, when she turned up back in the middle of the book, I half-thought she WAS working for Demerchan.

    Come to think of it, I suppose she could have been, couldn’t she? After all, she was trying to steer the Wizards’ Guild away from killing him.

  18. I didnt realize that the Wizards Guild was War-Era or Post-War. I found that fact kind of interesting.

    Also, will we be seeing a Demerchan book in the future? Maybe finding out a bit more about all this?

  19. Lawrence: [That’s not entirely fair. Demerchan didn’t ban warlockry; the nobility did.]

    I wasn’t going to respond on the merits of the Cult of Demerchan, since what could be sillier than arguing with an author about his own setting? However, I was rereading chapter 40, and I noticed that Kelder outright claims responsibility for keeping the warlocks out:

    “It was the cult that kept warlockry severely limited in the Small Kingdoms, but we had our own warlocks, hidden away, until the Calling ended. And we use that magic to keep the peace, as much as we can.”

    That was probably what I was thinking of when I commented on them retarding progress.

  20. I am curious to know if the cult has penetrated the Guild or if the cult is merely really good at spying on them.

  21. Thanks Lawrence, that was a good story. As always.

    Just had to keep us guessing about the towers, eh?

  22. Applause! I was rather amused by Gerath’s fate, that being pretty much what happened to the real life pirate Bartholomew Roberts who started out as crewman on a ship attacked by pirates, was ‘recruited’ by them, and decided to make the best of it. Which he did, most spectacularly, in the early 1700s…

  23. Kelder’s statement that Demerchan have unique knowledge in the fields of demonology and theurgy is intriguing. Does he mean getting the known pantheons to use powers they otherwise wouldn’t, or can they invoke gods/demons that others don’t know about?

  24. They remember gods and demons no one else does.

    Matthew, yeah, you’re right, Kelder did say that. Demerchan tends to be pretty conservative, and they did try to limit warlockry’s influence, but any outright bans were the work of the nobility, who tend to be even more conservative.

    Ah, Bartholomew Roberts! I had him in mind when I named a character Bartholomew Sanchez in “The Final Folly of Captain Dancy.” I might even be distantly related, as the Welsh side of my mother’s family included a seafaring bunch with the surname Lloyd-Roberts.

  25. And let us not forget that, in Ethshar, characters are frequently not the best sources of facts. Often they are somewhat misinformed, lying, or dead wrong about the facts. Getting all nitpicky and semantic about a particular character’s comments isn’t really the best use of your time.

    My spouse actually finds this aspect of Lawrence’s writing fascinating. “Characters say things that are wrong? And not as a dodge or a plot device to cover something up for a reveal later on? Really??”

  26. So, I have re-read this final fascinating chapter at least ten times now and I am guessing that the Cult asked the Guild not to kill Vond b/c they used that as a distraction to their real goal, which was recruiting Sterren?

  27. Which edition?

    The cover of the Misenchanted Press edition is a painting my daughter did for a class assignment when she was a student at Drake University; it was the closest thing to appropriate art I had on hand. I always liked that image.

    The cover of the Wildside Press edition is stock art the publisher found somewhere, because the schedule and budget didn’t have time and money to commission a new painting.

    Neither of them really has anything much to do with the story.

  28. Alright. I am referring to the Wildside press version. It simply looks like a Cambodian pyramid. I was wondering if it was supposed (I always want to spell “supposed with 3 ‘s’) be the Overlord’s Castle in Ethshar but thanks for the information.

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