The Final Calling: Progress Report Thirteen

Chapter Twelve is now online.

I’m midway through writing Chapter Twenty.

The serial’s paid for through Chapter Nineteen.

Chapter Thirteen will be posted Wednesday, September 8.

Hey, I’m finally farther along in writing than I’ve been paid for!

Generally speaking, I think it’s going reasonably well. I’m into a section where my working outline is a bit skimpy, but I think I can manage.

23 thoughts on “The Final Calling: Progress Report Thirteen

  1. I don’t think so. He still wants to investigate the towers. He still wants to retain control of the empire. He plans to live forever and seems likely to eventually conquer the world.

    And he DIDN’T mention taking all those warlocks with him and at least a few of them were having headaches.

    I can’t see Vond peacefully settling down to live out his life on the street of magicians, and I can’t see the wizard’s guild as really likely to let him do all that much more than that. If he were interested in public service and just wanted to build roads and irrigation works they might let him get away with it. But Vond thinks he can do anything and is the type to eventually try it. He thinks he’s more powerful than the guild and doesn’t plan to try to avoid a confrontation.

    They still have to kill him, and it still won’t be easy to do.

  2. In the first draft he found the fallen castle, yes; that detail may not survive in rewrite, as right now I’m not planning to do anything much with it.

    But I may change my mind.

  3. I have to admit that I was surprised by Sterren’s decision. After all this time he wants to leave Semma and try to forge a new life? I had expected him to take the position as regent and quietly recall his family.

  4. My interpretation was that Sterren simply saw coming along as a way to minimize damage, with a side-order of being in a position to either smooth things along Vond’s way, or slip away and get back to his family undetected, whereas staying regent nails him to the ground in a way that Vond will know where to find him, and who to blame.

    Kudos to Vond for thinking through things (at least, thinking through things for him). Semma was always a consolation prize for him. The problem is that he seems to think that Ethshar of the Spices is his to take too (eventually), and the Wizard’s Guild is going to have problems with that.

    Interesting that Vond no longer has a compulsion to use his power. I wonder how much of what we previously saw was even his personality? This could be a whole new day, although I imagine it will take him a while to break old habits.

    Fascinating stuff. Seeing the Guild’s actions from a man on the ground’s perspective, rather than Hanner’s desperate behind the scenes dealings does make the Wizard’s Guild’s actions rather suspect, doesn’t it?

    We know that not even every Wizard gets a very good picture of the reasons why the Guild does stuff. The only ‘united’ perceptions people have of them are of big dramatic things that Guild officers like Ithinia do. Seems like maybe they could use a press office, maybe an official newsletter.

  5. The fallen castle would be the perfect place for Vond to set up his new capital as he would be completely protected from the guild and his magic would work at full force.

    Ofc, presumably, that isn’t what is going to happen if it was just a throw-away comment. Also, he doesn’t know what it can do.

    Presumably, the fact that one of the palaces is shielded from wizardry is not known to the general public.

    However, it appears that it was known to the warlocks, as they set up their council chamber in the palace specifically so they couldn’t be heard. Not all warlocks may be aware of the reason for its location though.

    It is surprising that he would see all the “sites” if he was just traveling to Semma. Maybe, his warlockry senses could detect points of interest.

    Also, that point about old age is interesting. I wonder if it is really as good as Vond claims. It could be that they can repair much of the damage, but it becomes increasingly difficult as time passes.

    Living to 70-80 might be easy for a warlock, but living to 100+ would require much more skill.

  6. >Living to 70-80 might be easy for a warlock, but living to 100+ would require much more skill
    Why? If you can repair yourself (perfectly) once, you can do it as much as you want -you simply stop aging. It is not as if he is delaying his age somehow. And if the damage becomes more apparent, it is that much easier to deal with. Come to think of it, a warlock should also be able to change parts of himself, like changing appearance, etc.

  7. Bear in mind that a lot of what Vond is saying about aging is likely simple supposition. The Night of Madness wasn’t really a whole lifetime in the past. But for a few who were converted after being quite old already, there isn’t a lot of actual data surrounding the healing/anti-aging aspects of warlockry extending the normal life-span.

    It’s interesting to see Vond’s internal struggle showing through. He seems to want to be reasonable, but his previous nearly limitless power has given him a clear sense that he is immune to any laws or restrictions but his own. He seems to want order, but only order that doesn’t annoy him in any way.

    I just don’t see this ending well for him, even if somehow his access to the Lumeth source is somehow removed.

  8. > Why? If you can repair yourself (perfectly) once,
    > you can do it as much as you want -you simply stop aging.

    True. However, it is unclear if they can do it perfectly.

    Weakened bones could be strengthened. Clogged blood vessels could be cleared. There are probably hundreds of things that go wrong with aging that the warlock could see and repair.

    However, other things might degrade over time without the warlock being able to see it.

    if there was a limit to the number of times a cell can divide (which there apparently is), then eventually there would be no more cell division.

    I can’t see them being able to repair the internal function of cells. Even if the warlock could see them, he would have to understand things like how DNA works etc. Also, even if he could understand, repairing cells one by one would not be possible.

    In fact, the rate at which a person can heal degrades as a person gets older. Broken hips are much more likely in later life.

    Even if the warlock can repair the bones, as he gets older, he may find that his bones are breaking more often and that he has to use his powers to keep them functional.

    I doubt a warlock would ever die of a heart attack or cancer as they are things he could see and correct. Simple degradation of his cells seems much more difficult to repair.

    OTOH, one of the warlocks was “filtering” out a disease from a girl’s bloodstream, so maybe they can give general instructions to their power, i.e. make the following change to every cell in the body.

    However, even by repairing only those things, this would enhance lifetime. Some of the Called warlocks had gray hair. That seems like something that would be hard to fix. You would need to fix the underlying problems with the hair follicles.

  9. Good points, raphfrk. Well, only Lawrence can say for sure if warlock can become immortal this way. They do seem to be able to manipulate things on atomic level, and have some kind of subconscious understanding about functioning of surronding objects. So, even without knowing DNA, they may just be able to remeber how their cells were before, and restore them to this state. Altering one’s own brain in this way may be the most problematic, I think. They can also probaby make their cells, if they stop dividing, but that will require almost constant concentration.

  10. We already know the warlocks can alter brain cells – that’s how they made new warlocks. I don’t think keeping himself alive indefinitely will be a problem for Vond. Of course, Lawrence probably has some cool totally unpredictable way of making him meet his end!

  11. I think I see another plot thread clicking into place. Recall that part of the problem wizards have with Vond is that “Vond” is not his true name. Nobody knows his real name. Now Vond tells us that he was around right when Hanner was putting together the Council of Warlocks.

    It seems very likely that Hanner will recognize Vond. It’s even possible that Vond is Hanner’s former apprentice, though that’s probably an unnecessary coincidence.

  12. >It’s even possible that Vond is Hanner’s former apprentice, though that’s
    >probably an unnecessary coincidence.

    “The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master.”


  13. Hanner specifically didn’t recognise Vond at the start of the novel, it would be surprising if he was Hanner’s apprentice.

    Vond was just a 12 year old boy on the Night of Madness.

  14. Eleven year old boy on the Night of Madness…

    If Vond isn’t his real name he probably wasn’t going by that when he was apprenticed so Hanner could be his master and have no idea (though we don’t know if he ever took apprentices).

    Any number of the Called warlocks from Ethshar might know Vond. Actually, since he was presumably going by Vond and seemed to be a moderately successful magician prior to heading south, I’d be surprised if at least one or two warlocks somewhere didn’t know him from before… Whether they’re in Semma or the Spices group, for one the odds are his master is *somewhere.*

  15. Vond presuming he can take over Warlock House makes it all the more likely IMO that he gets dumped through the Tapestry Hanner commissioned. I am looking forward to his Grand Tour with Sterren, perhaps we will see things we never got to see before on this return to The Spices.

    The fact that the Tower Warlocks are not drawn to use ever more power makes it all the more likely to me that they will be able to tune in and resume their former occupations as Warlocks, after all this conditions means they would not be constantly growing stronger by using Warlockry on a subconscious level and also explains why Sterren has not advanced a great deal from the power level he had 15 years before. This condition means newly apprenticed Warlock’s would have to work really hard at channeling energy to grow stronger where with The Aldagamor Call they did it without thinking about it.

  16. >We know that not even every Wizard gets a very good picture of the
    >reasons why the Guild does stuff. The only ‘united’ perceptions people
    >have of them are of big dramatic things that Guild officers like Ithinia
    >do. Seems like maybe they could use a press office, maybe an official

    One of the fundamental features of the Wizard’s Guild is an insane degree of secrecy. Even most of the wizards we’ve seen, including some fairly senior ones, seem at least vaguely aware that some of the Guild rules and secrets are unnecessary or ridiculous.

    On the other hand, while a somewhat more open and cooperative group of wizards could be much more effective, two such groups that failed to agree on goals would be a really bad thing.

  17. > Hanner specifically didn’t recognise Vond at the start of the novel, it would
    > be surprising if he was Hanner’s apprentice.

    Hanner specifically didn’t recognize the name “Vond,” which we know isn’t Vond’s real name. Who knows when or why Vond began calling himself that?

  18. random asides (working on something for the wiki, as usual); is there something about female theurgists named Alladia? I was going through the family notes for Gresh’s kin and found his theurgical sister was apprenticed to (an entirely different) Alladia.

  19. similarly random(ish) stuff I’m probably the only one tangled up enough in the trivia of all the published material to care about;

    When did Gresh’s sister Difa get called (and should we be watching for a cameo?)

    Are Wulran and Ederd still Wulran III and Ederd IV?

    What’s up with brotheleers being named Rudhara? There’s the one we all know from Spices from her time as a warlock, and the brothel in the Guardswoman (in Sands) is run by a Rudhara.

    (Oh, and I guess Alladia isn’t just for priestesses… In Weaving Spells she’s a wizard.)

    Do these recurring names in certain jobs have something to do with the “magic” of name-meanings? You’ve hinted a couple times (Wirikidor, Gresh’s sister Dina) that names have a certain amount of power, and actually end up having more power than people give them credit for- even beyond what wizards and the like can do with true names.

  20. Actually, I think the two theurgists named Alladia are cousins. It’s a fairly common name, though.

    Rudhira is more or less Ethsharitic for “redhead,” and redheads are seen as exotic and sexy, so they’re in demand as prostitutes. It’s not THAT big a stretch having one run a brothel and the other a streetwalker. (Rudhira of Camptown didn’t work in a brothel.)

    Difa never did get Called; at the time of The Final Calling she was semi-retired, trying hard to avoid it. No cameo is planned, but one might happen.

    Wulran III is only thirty-five in The Final Calling, so yes, it’s still him. In Ethshar of the Sands, though, I’m not 100% sure — Ederd IV would be eighty-four if he’s still alive. His heir would be Ederd V, though (born 5180, married to Kinthera of the Rocks, one daughter, Annara the Graceful, born 5204, not sure about grandchildren), so I don’t need to decide immediately.

    Except for Rudhira, repeated name/occupation pairings are not intentional.

  21. And here I was spinning out theories that you could shape a child’s future with their name. (well, in a way other than how you can in real life.) Certainly give an entirely new meaning to a True Name… Though, in a place as magic rich as Ethshar I’d be willing to bet somewhere there’s a onoma- or diorizo-mancer selling exactly that, true or not.

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