Authors: Dennis L. McKiernan
Heedless of the enemy, Riatha climbed. Suddenly she called back to her companions, “Quickly! Aid me!”
Leading Aravan, damman Faeril and buccan Gwylly scrambled up through the slithering mass of ice, coming at last into the luminance. The bulk of the glacier loomed high above and the light from within suffused through the myriad splits and cracks, shining as would the Sun through a fractured glass window. And even as they stood up to their knees in the sliding shatter, stood in that fragmented golden glow—Elfess and buccan and damman, Riatha with the Lastborn Firstborns at her side—overhead the Eye of the Hunter streamed crimson through the sky
But neither gold nor crimson caught their sight. Instead, it was what they saw in the center of the scattered light: for out from the shattered wall jutted a hand, a large Man’s hand…
…and the fingers moved!
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Copyright © Dennis L. McKiernan, 1992
All rights reserved
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To Martha Lee McKiernan:
Helpmate, Lover, Friend
Appreciation and gratitude to the following: to Daniel Kian McKiernan, without whose help the transliterated ancient Greek used as the magical language would have never been; to Dr. John Barr, whose advice on sleds, sledding, and sled dogs proved invaluable; to Al Sarrantonio, who pulled me from slush; to Pat LoBrutto, who launched a career; to Janna Silverstein for planting a seed; to John Silbersack for his faith; and to Jonathan Matson, who moves mountains.
And to Chief Seattle and all the others who heed the words of Elvenkind.
t times I’ve been asked, “Where do you think legends come from? Was there ever a time that the tales were true…each perhaps in a simpler form, before some tale-teller’s imagination embellished it beyond recognition?”
Along with those questions come corollary probes: “Do you think there ever were Elves, Dwarves, Wee Folk, others? If so, what happened to them? Where are they now? Why did they go? Did iron drive them out?”
I am a tale-teller, perhaps guilty of embellishing tales beyond all recognition…but then again, perhaps not. Perhaps instead I am working on a primal level, unconsciously tapping the ancestral memory embedded in my Irish genes. Mayhap in the telling, or in the dead of the night, ancient fragments bubble up, knocking on my frontal lobes for admittance, or slipping over the walls of disbelief like heroes in the darkness coming to rescue a consciousness entrapped within humdrummery.
If it is ancestral memory, then mayhap there once
Elves, Dwarves, Wee Folk, others. Mayhap they
live on earth…or under…or in the air above or the ocean below. If so, where are they now? Integrated? Separated? Hidden? Extinct? I would hope that they are merely hidden, at times seen flitting at the corner of the eye. Yet deep in my heart I fear they are gone. Where? I know not.
There have been times when surely I have glimpsed what my ancestral memory has safely locked away, visions
which come in the depths of the darktide when the sleeper sleeps and the walls are less patrolled. Mayhap these are the fragments which help shape the tale in the telling, glances of the visions seen in the fathoms of the night.
Come, let us together explore the latest ancestral fragment, this midnight stormer of the bastion, for embedded within
The Eye of the Hunter
we may find answers to our questions, can we just riddle them free.
—Dennis L. McKiernan
The source of this tale is a tattered, faded copy of the
Journal of the Lastborn Firstborn
, an incredibly fortunate find dating from the time before The Separation. Printed by an unknown printer (the frontis page is missing), his claim is that he took it from Faeril’s own journal.
There are many instances in this tale where, in the press of the moment, the Warrows, Elves, Humans, and others spoke in their own native tongues; yet to avoid the awkwardness of burdensome translations, where necessary I have rendered their words in Pellarion, the Common tongue of Mithgar. However, some words and phrases do not lend themselves to translation, and these I’ve left unchanged; yet other words may look to be in error, but are indeed correct—e.g., BearLord is but a single word though a capital
nestles among its letters. Also note that waggon, traveller, and several other similar words are written in the Pendwyrian form of Pellarion and are not misspelled.
From my study of the
Journal of the Lastborn Firstborn
, the arcane tongue of magic is similar in construction to archaic Greek, but with a flavor of its own. With help, I have rendered the language into transliterated eld Greek, with uncommon twists thrown in here and there.
I have used transliterated Arabic to represent the tongues of the desert since no guide was given in the
The “Common tongue” speech of the Elves is extremely archaic. To retain a flavor of this dialect, in the objective and nominative cases of the pronoun “you.” I respectively substituted “thee” and “thou.” Also, in the possessive cases, I included “thy” and “thine” in the Elven speech, along with a few additional archaic terms such as hast, wilt, and so forth.
To avoid minor confusion, the reader is cautioned to pay heed to the dates denoting the time frame of each chapter. In the main, the tale is told in a straightforward manner, but occasionally I have jumped back to a previous time to fill in key parts of the story.
This tale is about the final pursuit of Baron Stoke. Yet the story is tightly entwined with three earlier accounts concerning the hunting of Stoke; these prior tales are recorded among others in the collection of stories known as
Tales of Mithgar
“Auguries are oft subtle…and
dangerous—thou mayest deem they
mean one thing when they mean
something else altogether.”