Upgrade to a better browser, please.

Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books

The Outlanders

Added By: Administrator
Last Updated: Administrator

The Outlanders

Purchase this book through Purchase this book from Purchase this book from
Author: David B. Coe
Publisher: Tor, 1998
Series: LonTobyn Chronicle: Book 2

1. Children of Amarid
2. The Outlanders
3. Eagle-Sage

Book Type: Novel
Genre: Fantasy
Sub-Genre Tags:
Avg Member Rating:
(0 reads / 0 ratings)


Four years after the insidious, devastating invasion by agents of Lon-Ser, Tobyn-Ser's Order of Mages and Masters is riven by conflict and paralyzed by inaction. From the outlander, Baram, they have learned much about their neighbor to the west: Unlike Tobyn-Ser, which is served by the Mage-Craft of the Children of Amarid, Lon-Ser is devoid of magic. Instead it possesses a dazzling and deadly technology that shapes every aspect of its people's daily life.

Frustrated by the Order's inability to act, Orris, a young, rebellious mage, takes it upon himself to prevent further attacks on his homeland. Taking Baram from his prison, he embarks upon a perilous journey to Bragor-Nal, an enormous, violent city in Lon-Ser, ruled by a brutal, feudal-like system of Break-Laws, Nal-Lords, and Overlords. As Orris soon learns, however, Baram has been driven insane by his captivity. Upon reaching his strange and fractured homeland, the man abandons Orris.

Armed only with his magic, Orris is thrust into a world whose language he does not comprehend and whose technology he can barely fathom. Together with Gwilym, a man with strange powers, whose vision of Orris has lured him out of the mountains and into the chaos of the Nals, and Melyor, a beautiful Nal-Lord who harbors a secret that could cost her life, Orris must end the threat to Tobyn-Ser without getting himself and his companions killed.



In considering the sum of my interrogations of the outlander Baram, I am forced to conclude that future encounters with invaders from Lon-Ser are inevitable. The conditions in Lon-Ser that prompted this first attempt to destroy the Order and seize control of Tobyn-Ser have plagued that land for more than two centuries, steadily growing worse with the passage of time. They will not have disappeared. Indeed it seems likely that the intervening four years have served only to heighten the urgency felt by those who initiated the plot against us. It is up to us, therefore, to choose the circumstances of our next encounter: Do we wait for them to make their next move, and risk that this time we will be unable to withstand their assault? Or do we act first, and set the terms of the confrontation ourselves? Certainly, no one who knows me will be surprised to learn that I would advocate the latter.

--From Section Nine of "The Report of Owl-Master Baden on his Interrogation of the Outlander Baram," Submitted to the 1,014th Gathering of the Order of Mages and Masters. Spring, Gods'Year 4625.

* * *

The paper itself was a message. Immaculately white, its edges were as straight as sunbeams, its corners so sharp that they seemed capable of drawing blood. It had arrived with first light at Amarid's Great Hall, Sonel had been informed, delivered by an Abboriji merchant who sailed with it across Arick's Sea, through the Abborij Strait, and around the northeast tip of Tobyn-Ser into Duclea's vast ocean. Yet, despite the distance it had travelled, it still came rolled in a precise, narrow cylinder and tied with a shining, golden ribbon of silk. Indeed, it looked so elegant, so unnaturally perfect, that Sonel had known, even before she read the infuriatingly terse response to her own letter of several months before, what the flawless, ornate lettering would say. She thought now of her own note and she felt embarrassed. She had used the finest parchment in the land; she had employed the most skilled scribe in Amarid, and had tied her letter with the fine, blue satin used for all of the Order's communications. But when compared with this missive from Lon-Ser, the image of that first letter seemed to wither and fade. In her memory the parchment now looked dingy and rough-edged, the lettering coarse and uneven, the blue satin crude and inadequate. The letter from Lon-Ser's leaders made a mockery of her effort.

Which, of course, was the point. The words printed so finely beneath the gold seal of Lon-Ser's Council of Sovereigns made that much clear:

* * *

Owl-Sage Sonel:

Regarding your note of this past winter: We have no knowledge of the events you describe, nor do we have any desire to become entangled in what are most likely internal disturbances endemic to Tobyn-Ser.

* * *

That was all, except for the date, given in a notation that Sonel did not recognize, and a second seal pressed in gold wax beneath the message.

She leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes, smelling the sweet breads and shan tea that sat on the low table before her, still untouched, no doubt cold by now. Nearly half the morning was gone, and still she could not bring herself to stir. Twice already, Basya had come to the door, urging her to eat and offering to help her make preparations for tomorrow's opening of the Gathering, and twice Sonel had put her off. The third time could not be far away. Again she read the note, as she had perhaps a dozen times already. It was a dismissal, cold and disdainful. Little more, and certainly nothing less. She wasn't sure what she had expected, although she knew that it hadn't been much. More than this, though; she needed more than this.

* * *

The idea of writing the letter had first come to her late in the fall, during one of Baden's frequent visits to Amarid. Once more, he had come to the First Mage's city to continue his conversations with Baram, the outlander. But each of Baden's visits had seen the Owl-Master and the Owl-Sage spending greater amounts of time together, and Sonel's recollection of this particular occasion remained vivid and brought a smile to her lips, even as the continued to stare at the note from Lon-Ser. Before that visit, it had been several years since she had lain with any man, and several more since she had passed a night with Baden. Her smile deepened, then faded as the memory moved past their lovemaking to what had followed. Lying together in these very quarters, as the glow of the moon seeped through the translucent white windows and illuminated the tangle of sheets and bare limbs, Sonel had shared with the Owl-Master her frustration with the Order's inaction over the last four years. Ever since Sartol, the renegade Owl-Master, was destroyed by the combined might of the Order in the Great Hall, and the band of outlanders with which the renegade had allied himself was defeated at Phelan Spur, she had tried to compel the Order to address the threat posed by Lon-Ser. But every proposed plan of action had drawn fierce opposition from a small but outspoken clique of older mages and masters, and, though a majority of the Order agreed that some action was warranted, Sonel had been unable to win support for any specific plan. The problem persisted even after Owl-Master Odinan's death, just before last summer's Gathering, robbed the older mages of their most impassioned voice. Indeed, if anything. Odinan's passing appeared to reinvigorate his allies, giving them a symbol around which to rally. With the venerable Owl-Master gone, a new leader emerged, Erland, who, though revered less than Odinan, had proven himself an energetic and persuasive spokesman.

"We haven't done a thing," Sonel concluded on that autumn night, lying with Baden. She hade been unable to keep the desperation from her voice as she passed a hand through her wheat-colored hair. "For all we know, there's already another group of outlanders in Tobyn-Ser, and we've done nothing."

Baden cleared his throat awkwardly before astonishing her with a confidence of his own. "They may be planning something," he told her, taking her hand. "They may even be on their way. But they're not here yet. That much we do know." And in this way, Sonel first learned of the psychic link that Baden and his friends had formed in western Tobyn-Ser. It was an old magic, first developed by Amarid himself after the death of Theron, his friend and rival, and the departure from Tobyn-Ser of Theron's followers. The First Mage had feared that the Owl-Master's disciples would return and seek to avenge their leader, and he had established a mind link among all the land's remaining mages, a web of consciousness that monitored the land's borders. Even after the First Mage died several decades later, the Order continued to maintain it. For nearly three hundred years, Amarid's psychic link guarded the land. But the link demanded a tremendous expenditure of power that drained both mage and familiar, and eventually, it was allowed to slacken, until it ceased to exist altogether.

Now Baden and his allies had created a similar link in western Tobyn-Ser, smaller to be sure, but, if formed correctly, no less effective than Amarid's. And they had done so without any proper authority. The Order had rejected the reestablishment of the psychic link as an option several times over the past few years, though the issue continued to be a point of bitter contention within the Order. For a time, before the mages learned that outlanders had been responsible for the attacks on Tobyn-Ser, Baden himself had spoken against the link. Later, he switched sides in the debate, but those against the link still prevailed. And now Baden and his friends had gone against the will of the Order. He had no right to do this. Sonel should have been indignant. But her immediate sense of relief and gratitude at learning of what he had done would not allow it.

"You have every right to be angry with us," Baden told her, concern etched in his thin face, his bright blue eyes locked on hers. "With me really; it was my idea. But if Erland and his followers learn of this, it won't matter to them that you weren't involved. You're the one they'll blame."

She allowed herself a smile in response to his earnestness, his dismay at exposing her to this risk when his impulse had always been, had remained even to this day, to protect her. Then she felt her expression harden. "If they learn of your link," she assured him in a tone that would brook no contradiction, "I'll tell them that I knew of it from its inception, and that you had my blessing. Because if I had known, you would have." She paused, gratified to see him smiling at her with equal measures of surprise and pride. "So you'd best fill me in on the details," she added a moment later. "I'll want to be as convincing as possible."

That Trahn and Radomil were involved came as no shock to her. The dark mage from the Great Desert was Baden's closest friend in the world, and Radomil, the portly, goateed Hawk-Mage who served Leora's Forest was, in his own quiet way, as courageous and steadfast in his devotion to the land as any mage she knew. Nor was the Owl-Sage surprised to learn that Jaryd and Alayna had joined them. Jaryd, Baden's nephew, had been the Owl-Master's apprentice. But more than that, both he and Alayna, who had once been Mage-Attend to Sartol, had played a pivotal role thwarting the traitorous mage's plot and defeating the outlanders. Now Sonel fully understood the young mages' decision to serve the Lower Horn rather than returning to Alayna's home near the Abborij Strait or Jaryd's home in Leora's wood.

Sonel was suprised to hear that Orris, Ursel, and Mered had also joined Baden's little conspiracy. Mered tended to avoid political entanglements of any sort, and Ursel, though she had battled the outlanders at Phelan Spur and was closely allied with Orris and the other younger mages, had never seemed to Sonel the type to take such a bold step. And then there was Orris himself. True, the burly mage travelled with Baden, Trahn, Jaryd, and Alayna to Theron's Grove, and stood w...

Copyright © 1998 by David B. Coe


There are currently no reviews for this novel. Be the first to submit one! You must be logged in to submit a review in the BookTrackr section above.


No alternate cover images currently exist for this novel.