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Authors: Dennis L. McKiernan

The Eye of the Hunter

BOOK: The Eye of the Hunter
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THE ELFESS CLIMBED TOWARD THE GOLDEN LIGHT—

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!

The
Eye
of the
HUNTER

D
ENNIS
L. M
C
K
IERNAN

ROC
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 10 Alcom Avenue, Toronto,
Ontario M4V 3B2, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2,
Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
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Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
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New Delhi - 110 017, India
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Auckland 1310, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
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Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Published by Roc, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin
Group (USA) Inc. Previously published in a Roc hardcover edition.

First Roc Mass Market Printing. August 1993

ISBN: 978-1-101-65943-4

Copyright © Dennis L. McKiernan, 1992
All rights reserved

REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

To Martha Lee McKiernan:
Helpmate, Lover, Friend

Acknowledgments

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.

Contents

Foreword

Notes

Map

1
Out of the Storm

2
Mygga and Fé

3
Faeril

4
Gwylly

5
Glacier

6
Grimwall

7
Legacy

8
Journey to Arden

9
Riatha

10
Deliverance

11
Aravan

12
Equinox

13
Honing the Edge

14
Dangerous Journeys

15
Monastery

16
Bolt–Hole

17
Awakening

18
Elusion

19
Reunion

20
Urus

21
Flight

22
Stoke

23
Vanishment

24
Trek

25
Lógoi tôn Nekrôn

26
Pilgrimage

27
Pendwyr

28
Avagon

29
Karoo

30
Kandra

31
Dodona

32
Prey

33
Mai’ûs Safra

34
Crossing

35
Nizari

36
Extrication

37
Sanctuary

38
Restoration

39
Mosque

40
Vengeance

41
Wings of Fire

42
Passages

43
Retribution

44
Auguries

About the Author

Foreword

A
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
were
Elves, Dwarves, Wee Folk, others. Mayhap they
did
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
August 1991

Notes

1.
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.

2.
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
L
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.

3.
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.

4.
I have used transliterated Arabic to represent the tongues of the desert since no guide was given in the
Journal
.

5.
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.

6.
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.

7.
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.”

BOOK: The Eye of the Hunter
10.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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