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Devastating hate, p.1
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       Devastating Hate, p.1

           Markus Heitz
 
Devastating Hate


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  Markus Heitz was born in 1971; he studied history and German language and literature. His debut novel, Schatten über Ulldart (the first in a series of epic fantasy novels), won the Deutscher Phantastik Preis (German Fantasy Award) in 2003. His bestselling Dwarves trilogy has earned him a place among Germany’s most successful fantasy authors. He currently lives in Zweibrücken, Germany.

  Also by Markus Heitz

  Righteous Fury

  Jo Fletcher Books

  An imprint of Quercus

  New York • London

  © 2011 by Markus Heitz

  Map illustration © by Markus Weber

  English translation © 2014 by Sheelagh Alabaster

  Cover design © hilden_design; Illustration © Alan Lathwell

  Originally published in Germany in 2011 by Piper Verlag GmbH

  First published in the United States by Quercus in 2016

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by reviewers, who may quote brief passages in a review. Scanning, uploading, and electronic distribution of this book or the facilitation of the same without the permission of the publisher is prohibited.

  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.

  Any member of educational institutions wishing to photocopy part or all of the work for classroom use or anthology should send inquiries to [email protected]

  e-ISBN 978-1-62365-707-9

  Distributed in the United States and Canada by

  Hachette Book Group

  1290 Avenue of the Americas

  New York, NY 10104

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, institutions, places, and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons—living or dead—events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  www.quercus.com

  To the world’s composers,

  living or dead,

  classical or modern,

  my inspiration

  as I write

  CONTENTS

  Cover

  About the Author

  Also by Markus Heitz

  Title Page

  Copyright Page

  Dedication

  Dramatis Personae

  Prologue

  Chapter I

  Chapter II

  Chapter III

  Chapter IV

  Chapter V

  Chapter VI

  Chapter VII

  Chapter VIII

  Chapter IX

  Chapter X

  Chapter XI

  Chapter XII

  Chapter XIII

  Chapter XIV

  Chapter XV

  Chapter XVI

  Chapter XVII

  Chapter XVIII

  Chapter XIX

  Chapter XX

  Chapter XXI

  Chapter XXII

  Chapter XXIII

  Chapter XXIV

  Epilogue

  A Note from the Author

  Acknowledgments

  Glossary

  A Unique Interview with Superstars Sinthoras and Caphalor

  DRAMATIS PERSONAE

  THE ÄLFAR

  Nagsar und Nagsor Inàste, the Inextinguishables

  Sinthoras, älf-warrior (Comet faction) and a nostàroi (supreme commander)

  Demenion, politician (Comet)

  Khlotòn, politician (Comet)

  Khlotònior, his nephew

  Rashànras, politician (Comet)

  Yantarai, artist

  Imàndaris, Yantarai’s daughter, and a nostàroi

  Timanris, artist

  Robonor, Timanris’s former companion, a warrior (deceased)

  Timansor, Timanris’s father, an artist

  Durùston, sculptor and artist

  Arviû, warrior

  Horgàta, warrior

  Virssagòn, warrior

  Morana, bodyguard

  Carmondai, artist in language, script and image

  Polòtain, politician (Comet)

  Godànor, Polòtain’s grandson

  Eranior, politician (Comet)

  Samrai und Chislar, Eranior’s personal entourage

  Halofór, politician (Constellations faction)

  Landaròn, Halofór’s brother

  Falòran, guard in Dsôn

  Ratáris, politician (Constellation)

  Armatòn, benàmoi (military leader) in the Gray Mountains

  Arganaï, warrior cadet

  Tiláris, warrior cadet

  Zirlarnor, warrior cadet

  Phinoïn, benàmoi of warrior cadets

  Itáni, Dsôn artist

  Caphalor, älf-warrior (Constellation) and a nostàroi (supreme commander)

  Enoïla, Caphalor’s life-partner (deceased)

  Aïsolon, a friend of Caphalor’s (Constellations)

  Kilanor, trader, from Dsôn

  Verànor, messenger sent by the Inextinguishables

  Téndalor, benàmoi of island fort number one-eight-seven

  Daraïs, Téndalor’s deputy

  Ilinia, coachwoman

  Yintaï, älf in Avaris

  Heïfaton, älf in Avaris

  Umaïnor, Sinthoras’s administrator in Dsôn

  Bolcatòn, academic and chair of the Wèlèron Research Council

  Païcalor, blind bodyguard to the Inextinguishables

  Ergàta, warrior

  Sajùtor, warrior

  Ofardanór, benàmoi at the Stone Gateway

  THE HUMANS

  Raleeha, slave girl to the älfar (deceased)

  Wirian, slave to Sinthoras

  Farron Lotor, barbarian prince of the Ishmanti

  Törden and Famenia, famuli (apprentices) to the magus Jujulo

  Olfson and Drumann, Famenia’s uncles

  Parilis, Famenia’s aunt

  Khalomein, rebel

  Pirtrosal, rebel

  Iula, famula (female apprentice) to the maga Hianna

  Quartan, cooper, from Duckingham

  Geralda, serving woman from Halmengard

  Doghosh, commander of soldiers from Sonnenhag

  Endrawolt, Doghosh’s deputy

  Pantako, trader from the barony of Gourarga

  Ossandra Ilmanson, daughter of the burgomaster of Milltown

  Mollo, Gatiela, Sarmatt, Ossandra’s playmates

  Welkar Ilmanson, Ossandra’s father and burgomaster of Milltown

  Jiggon, young slave in Avaris

  Hirrtan, Jiggon’s father

  Elina, Jiggon’s sister

  Rodolf, Jiggon’s grandfather

  Irhart, villager

  Salisala, villager

  Güldtraut, villager

  Errec, human slave

  Amso, human slave

  Omenia, landlord’s daughter in Quarrystone

  Odeborn, king of Ido

  Starowig, ruler of Ido by proxy

  THE MAGI

  Jujulo the Jolly

  Simin the Underrated

  Grok-Tmai the Worrier

  Hianna the Flawless

  Fensa the Inventive

  Ortina the Omnipresent

  MISCELLANEOUS

  Narósil, leader of the elf-riders

  Fatunasíl, elf from the Golden Plain

  Veïnsa, princess of the Golden Plain

  Ataronz, óarco from the vassal nation

  Toboribar, óarco prince and leader of the Kraggash óarcos

  Shoggrok, a Kraggash óarco


  Sardaî, thoroughbred night-mare

  Rîm, an Ubari female

  Worbîn, a fire-bull

  ÄLFAR DIVISIONS OF TIME

  A division of unendingness, ten years

  One year would be a tenth of a division of unendingness

  A moment of unendingness, one day

  A splinter of unendingness, one hour

  ÄLFAR MEASUREMENT

  One pace, one yard

  They are said as a people to show more cruelty than any other.

  They are said to hate elves, humans, dwarves and every other creature so much that the blood runs black in their veins and darkens their eyes in the light of the sun.

  They are said to dedicate their lives exclusively to death and to art.

  They are said to use black magic.

  They are said to be immortal . . .

  Much has been said about the Älfar.

  Read now these tales that follow and decide for yourselves what is true and what is not. These are stories of unspeakable horror, unimaginable battles, gross treachery, glorious triumphs and crushing defeats.

  But they are also tales of courage, integrity and valor.

  Of friendship.

  And of love.

  These are the Legends of the Älfar.

  Preface from the forbidden books which transfigure the truth,

  The Legends of the Älfar,

  unknown author,

  undated

  PROLOGUE

  What a magnificent assembly that evening! What a magnificent hall!

  Never again will such a gathering of heroes be seen in a single place—heroes of such stature, of such power, of such unique nature!

  The aura that surrounded each one was clearly visible and almost tangible. And on hearing the heroes speak, ordinary älfar were filled with dread and awe.

  I, too, was fascinated.

  By each one of them.

  By Virssagòn: virtuoso in the arts of war and the skills of the forge, deviser of sophisticated and deadly weaponry and instructor of others in their use;

  by Arviû: bringer of death and destruction to the elf realms and whose misfortunes made him the greatest of enemies to the elf peoples. Such was his fame that even today many a fortress bearing his name still stands in the conquered regions once held by the elves;

  by Morana: supple and elegant warrior and worker of magic who, while steadfastly resolute toward her deadly foes, harbored an unforgiveable and incomprehensible weakness;

  by Horgàta: restless and incomparable beauty, graceful huntress, who never once spared an adversary;

  and, of course, I was fascinated equally by the nostàroi, Sinthoras and Caphalor, leaders and initiators of the campaign against Tark Draan, at last granting our people their sweet and cruel revenge. To describe these two leaders would be blasphemy.

  For, in truth, no words of mine could match their deeds!

  At least, not at that point in time.

  No one could have guessed what changes lay in store for them.

  Excerpt from the epic poem The Heroes of Tark Draan

  composed by Carmondai, master of word and image

  Tark Draan (Girdlegard), Gray Mountains, Stone Gateway,

  4371st division of unendingness (5199th solar cycle),

  summer.

  The air was filled with the sound of hundreds of banners flapping in the breeze; occasionally the cry of a raptor was heard as it flew across the darkening sky.

  Awe and reverence determined the mood of the silent multitude of älfar warriors assembled on the high plain.

  Surrounding the throng, shattered enemy weapons that had been melted down and twisted creatively into bizarre interlocking structures towered into the air—victory columns to symbolize the downfall of the dwarves. But no regard was currently being paid to these abstract works of art: all eyes were trained on the garlanded platform before them.

  A low roll of thunder gave the first indication of an approaching storm. Over in the south, black clouds covered the sky as if ready to halt the advance of an enemy; a warm breeze played around the tips of the älfar army’s lances and spears and the rivets on their armor.

  Carmondai tied back his long brown hair so that the strengthening wind would not whip it into his face and over his paper, and observed the patiently waiting crowd. It is as if they had turned into statues. The silver-clad stick of compressed charcoal in his right hand raced across the open page as he drew without looking down at the notebook. He never needed to correct these preparatory studies; he was accustomed to making accurate lightning sketches for the large paintings he would complete later.

  The blood-red sun sank behind the Gray Mountains, illuminating the finest of the óarco, barbarian, troll, demi-giant and älfar fighting force. They had gathered to acclaim the Heroes who had made their victory at the Stone Gateway possible.

  The groundlings—the defenders of Tark Draan—had been eliminated, their bones serving as raw material for sculptures, musical instruments and decorative souvenirs, wagonloads of which would be finding their way back to the homeland as evidence of the win.

  This is only the beginning of an endless river. Our swords will take Tark Draan’s last drops of lifeblood. In the margin, Carmondai made a note of the color combinations and appropriate blood types he had in mind for his mural. Groundling life-juice was darker and more mystical than others, he had found, and not easy to work with, but it did give the work a level of integrity not usually achieved through the use of other creatures’ blood: minute traces of minerals in the dwarves’ blood emphasized the picture’s essence through scent, and would intensify the effect of the battle for the discerning spectator.

  Carmondai sketched without stopping. He knew the swift lines he was drawing impressed the barbarians who could see his sketches, but this did not satisfy him—any älfar child could do this sort of thing.

  He caught sight of the cloud formations as they moved threateningly toward the conquerors. You shall not stop us. He took in the gray, white and black as the clouds raced across the sky and then his gaze dropped back to the decorated ceremonial stage and he began to make his way slowly through the ranks of the warriors to study it more closely.

  Skillful craftsmen had created the brilliant white base of the podium from split and dried groundling bones; strands from the hair and beards of the defeated soldiers had been used to fasten the bones together. At the rear of the stage, bronze-coated skulls hung from long poles by ropes of braided silver, jangling like bells. Carmondai could hear the sound now that he was closer; the combination of bone and metal produced a strange tone. Their enemies’ grimacing features had been transformed into shimmering masks: images of death that would last forever.

  In the distance, Carmondai could see standard-bearers beginning to march toward the stage, and suddenly the noble runes of the nostàroi could be seen; blood-red fabric wafting lazily in the breeze. There followed the nostàroi bodyguard in sinister leather armor glittering with engraved tionium plates. The motifs on their helmets signified that each warrior had killed more than one thousand of the enemy.

  Carmondai moved away from the stage to get a better view. Ye gods of infamy, how proud our people are! His fingers flew, making notes on the figures around him. His skin prickled and the sense of awe sent waves of excitement up his spine.

  Suddenly an impatient night-mare’s imperious snort broke the quiet and Sinthoras and Caphalor were sighted on their magnificent armored mounts. Caphalor’s black stallion Sardaî was taller in stature and more impressive in nature than any other night-mare.

  Carmondai registered that he was writing more slowly now. He was deeply affected by the imposing appearance of the nostàroi; their presence swept over the plateau like a spell. The two nostàroi were producing powerful emotions from the assembled troops: respect, worship and fascination.

  Carmondai had to shake himself free from their hypnotic effect. He looked quickly around at the crowd, noticing that all were staring at
their leaders’ noble features, eager for some slight word that might impart to them a shred of this triumphant brilliance.

  The effect could hardly be stronger if it were the Inextinguishables themselves who had arrived. Carmondai was convinced that every warrior and any creature present would have followed Sinthoras and Caphalor to the ends of the known world. What power they have!

  The leaders, their way lined by standard-bearers and bodyguards, halted at the platform.

  Sinthoras and Caphalor dismounted and climbed up to the dais. They wore gold-wrought black ceremonial armor studded with jewels. They removed their helmets, displaying fine facial features and allowing their long hair to move in the wind: blond in the one case, black in the other.

  Carmondai had heard tell how different these two nostàroi were, in personality as well as coloring; he had heard that Caphalor tended toward the views of the Constellations and that Sinthoras supported the Comets. But now, seeing them together, it looked as if they could be brothers.

  Sinthoras raised his right hand and addressed the silent throng. “We are standing on the land of Tark Draan! Do you know what this means?”

  A single cry thundered from thousands of älfar throats.

  “No army could have achieved more!” he proclaimed. “It is we who have defeated and annihilated the groundlings, and it is we who will bring down and destroy the elves. We will not only eradicate them, but eliminate all they stand for and all they have created. Nothing of theirs shall be allowed to continue. We shall be their death.” He lifted his head slightly, the fire of hatred glowing in his eyes. “For the Inextinguishables!”

  Again the response came back a thousandfold.

  Carmondai’s heart beat quickly in his chest, while his pen scurried across the paper. Every fragment of this event must be recorded for posterity—every fragment! I am witness to our people’s greatest victory. I must miss nothing.

  “We shall bring death into every last corner of Tark Draan. Kingdoms will fall under our yoke, fortresses will burn to the ground and we shall create such art as has never been seen before. We are the new rulers here!”

  Not even the loudest clap of thunder could compete with the älfar warriors’ voices and the roars from the other creatures. To Carmondai’s mind, the sound had penetrated deep into Tark Draan. He imagined the inhabitants quaking with fear and turning their ugly heads toward the Gray Mountains, aware that their end was nigh. I must start my new poem this very day.

 
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