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Blood and Ivory: A Tapestry: The Collected Tales of Jamethiel Priest's-Bane

Chronicles of the Kencyrath

P. C. Hodgell

Warning: Spoilers for the Chronicles of the Kencyrath in this synopsis and in the collection's stories

Jamethiel Priest's-Bane first entered our lives when she walked out of the Haunted Lands on the opening page of God Stalk in 1982 with the haunts on her trail, searching for her ten-year-older twin brother Tori to give him their father's sword and ring. But what was she doing in the Haunted Lands in the first place? What happened that caused her to leave her home?

For the past 20 years, this has been one of the biggest mysteries of Jame's background. The answers to those questions -- and others -- are found in the pages of this collection.

Blood & Ivory: A Tapestry presents eight original stories by P. C. Hodgell, three of them written especially for this collection. These stories explore different facets of Jame's life and background and weave a lush and complex picture of this enigmatic figure. Also included are new introductions to the stories, as well as maps and drawings by P. C. Hodgell.

This collection was first released in 1994 containing 5 stories; an expanded version, with 3 additional new stories plus maps and artwork, was released in 2002.

Table of Contents:

  • Hearts of Woven Shadow (2002) - short story (read online)
  • Lost Knots (2002) - short story (read online)
  • Among the Dead (2002) - short story (read online)
  • Child of Darkness (1980) - novelette
  • A Matter of Honor (1977) - novelette
  • Bones (1984) - novelette
  • Stranger Blood (1985) - novelette
  • A Ballad of the White Plague - [Sherlock Holmes] (1998) - novelette
  • Maps (2002) - interior artwork
  • Art (2002) - interior artwork
  • An introduction to P. C. Hodgell - essay

The Talisman's Trinket

Chronicles of the Kencyrath

P. C. Hodgell

This short story in Hodgell's Kencyrath-setting originally appeared on the Baen website. No other known publications are available at this time.

Read the full story for free at Baen.

God Stalk

Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Book 1

P. C. Hodgell

Jame is a Kencyr. Kencyrs are not native to the planet where they now live. For thirty centuries they have been the weapon that their Three-Faced God has used against the power of the Perimal Darkling. And though they have fought well, the Darkling has come to planet after planet, and the Kencyrs have moved on.

Jame knows this as she stumbles out of the hilly, barren Haunted Lands into the city of Tai-tastigon. But she knows little else. She does not remember where she has been or what she has done for the last ten years of her life. Her memory goes back only a week or two — to finding her home destroyed and all her family dead.

In Tai-tastigon Jame begins a new life that seems to be at odds with all that the Kencyrs stand for. Kencyrs are honest and just, but Jame becomes an apprentice to the most renowned thief in the powerful Thieves' Guild. Kencyrs are confirmed monotheists, yet Jame explores the rituals and activities of the thousands of gods, templed and untempled, in this religious center; she even kills a god and then resurrects him. And at the inn, the Res aB'tyrr, where she lives, she finds herself using the most sacred dances of her people, dances she does not even remember learning, for the entertainment and sometimes the destruction of the inn's patrons.

Within herself Jame finds power she does not want and doubts she defies her heredity to harbor. She moves through the rich and bloody stew of Tai-tastigon like a hot spice. Her probings, to find herself and to discover what her powers mean to her and her people, combined with influences already at work, very nearly destroy the city. And yet, they bring her face to face with a destiny she must accept.

Dark of the Moon

Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Book 2

P. C. Hodgell

Tai-tastigon is burning.

The whole city is in an uproar. And the cause, Jame, and her friend Marc have fled. They are making their way through mountain passes, far too late in the season, hoping to find Jame's brother Tori somewhere on the other side.

Nothing ever goes easily for Jame, least of all this journey. As hints of the past she has forgotten — of dark and horrid years in the house of Gerridon, betrayer of her people, the Kencyrath, and her god — come to the surface, she encounters changers from the house of Gerridon, wanting to bring her back into that dark place. Arrin-ken, catlike creatures who are nevertheless a part of her own people, find and judge her. Bandits, brigands and strange remnants from the past of her people—which suggest a dim future for them, their god and their hope of defeating the great enemy, Perimal Darkling — arise to haunt her. But her determination to find her brother and to avoid falling into eternal darkness only grows stronger.

Meanwhile Tori, who is Highlord of the Kencyrath, leads the wayward lords of the Kencyrath with uneasy grace. He is a compromise for them, a way of avoiding endless battle between them. But he can bind them together only so long as he can tread a narrow way between their varied needs and desires. When a vast and unexpected danger threatens, he must call up the host — the troops that each lord must muster — but in so doing he threatens his own position and his sanity, for he cannot avoid the attention this calls to him, attention that seems to bring changers who want to kill him, and odd nightmares that seem to suggest a future he does not want and the reappearance of a sister he both loves and fears.

Seeker's Mask

Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Book 3

P. C. Hodgell

These are the duties of a Highborn lady, and like the veils, masks and tight-fitting underskirts female Kencyr students are obliged to wear, Jame finds them damnably constricting. Sent here by her brother Torisen, Highlord of the Kencyrath, she has tried valiantly to fit in, but the unruly girl can't help throwing the quiet Women's Halls into an uproar.

It's not entirely Jame's fault, though. While Tori's vain and vicious consort treats her like an underling, the Kencyr Matriarchs, determined to winnow out her secrets, scheme to use her to their own advantage. And her own brother wants nothing to do with her. On top of this, Shadow Guild assassins have come hunting her, eager to fulfill a long-held contract to dispose of the last of the powerful Knorth clan. It's no wonder that Jame decamps.

In the company of her telepathic hunting cat, Jorin, a runaway priestling named Kindrie, and a chance-met squad of cadets, she sets out to rescue a friend from a cruel and ambitious Kencyr lord who seeks the deadly Book Bound in Pale Leather. Dodging ghostwalkers and shadow assassins, riding weirdingstorms and peripatetic trees, Jame discovers that her life is tangled up in a much larger purpose. For the war against Perimal Darkling cannot resume until three terrible objects of power, and the avatars who will wield them, appear. And she just might be one of them...

To Ride a Rathorn

Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Book 4

P. C. Hodgell

These are the chronicles of Jamethiel Priest's-bane, otherwise known as Jame, as she struggles to find a place in a universe full of danger, intrigue, and more than a bit of downright lunacy. The current novel's title To Ride a Rathorn, comes from the Kencyr phrase that refers to someone attempting something insane, but it is too dangerous for them to stop. The reference is also to a certain young rathorn (think of an armor-plated, carnivorous unicorn with a nasty temper) who is after Jame for killing his mother and about to catch up with her.

At Tentir, Jame faces cut-throat competition and finds even more buried, poisonous family secrets. Not only is the Caineron heir sent to humiliate her but a charming Ardeth Highborn arrives hell-bent on seducing her. Then too, what is she to make of the mysterious White Lady who haunts her dreams or of the growling monster and prowls Tentir's hallways and is said to eat young cadets for breakfast? For she is learning Tentir has secrets of its own. And it is fighting for its soul. Under political pressure that threatens to compromise its independence, it looks to its Commandant, an honorable man; but also a Caineron. As the college tests Jame, so she tests it. "Some things need to be broken."

Bound in Blood

Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Book 5

P. C. Hodgell

When Jame returned to Knorth hall to help her brother Torisen name all the fallen fighters' death banners stored there, she made the disturbing discovery that thosr banners splattered with their owner's blood also have trapped their owners' souls. She also found a contract proving her cousin Kindrie to be legitmate, proving that there are three full-blooded Knorth. Three full-blooded Knorth means that the Three-Faced God can be manifested -- something that none of the three are likely to want to do, if they have any choice in the matter.

Returning with this unwelcome knowledge to school at Tentir, Jame continued to dodge the attentions of an unwanted admirer, strengthen her link to her feline hunting ounce, work with the rathorn colt Death's-head to insure that it doesn't resume its attempts to kill her, and of course, kept causing plenty of unintended havoc. She also had to help fight off attacks from hillmen, repel a stampede of yarkcarn(think warthogs the size of mamoths), fight in the Winter War (a mock conflict -- or, ar least, that's how it was supposed to be), and solve the mystery behind the death of her evil uncle, who somehow is still spectrally manifesting himself in nasty ways.

No doubt about it -- Jame is back, and with vengeance.

Honor's Paradox

Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Book 6

P. C. Hodgell

Jame is one of the last of the Kencyrath line, born to battle a world-destroying Lord of Darkness and resuscitate her ancestral heritage. Jame's youth was spent hard and low in a desert wasteland. Now she has discovered her past and her heritage as Highborn - and, with it, the power to call souls out of their bodies and slay the occasional god or two (as well as to resurrect them).

First, though, Jame must survive the politics and dangers of haunted Tentir College, a school for warriors where she's a student. At Tentir, Jame saves a young protÉgÉ from possession by a powerful, evil soul in search of a body, while combating jealous students who see her as a danger to their ambition for power and want her expelled - and blinded and dead, in the bargain! Then, just as graduation approaches, Jame's exemption from the sacred laws of the tribe of her youth expires and she is expected to wed immediately, plus take on a family. To make matters worse, she's challenged to a mounted combat duel to decide who is Tentir 'top gun' - a competition she must win to graduation. It's trial by fire, as Jame moves closer to a magnificent destiny she both fears - and knows she must face.

The Sea of Time

Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Book 7

P. C. Hodgell

Kothifir the Great City: ruled by an obscenely obese god-king, peopled with colorful, dueling guilds, guarded by the Southern Host of the Kencyrath. Here Jame arrives, only to find that the turbulent city claims more of her attention as the Talisman than the Host's training fields do as a second year randon cadet.

Mysteries abound: Caravans plunge deep into the hostile Southern Wastes and return laden with fabulous riches -- from what source, and why do they crumble to dust if not claimed by the god-king's touch? Karnids from Urakarn prowl the shadows, preaching the return of their mysterious prophet. An unstable Kencyr temple rumbles in the outer, decayed rings of the city. Then too, someone in the Host's camp is trying to get Jame killed.

In order to save the present, Jame must search the past, be it fifteen years ago when as a boy her brother Torisen arrived here, unknown and unwanted, or three thousand years ago when the Wastes were a great sea ringed with rich civilizations. Somehow, Tori survived. Somehow, the cities of the plain were destroyed in one catastrophic night. Now Kothifir's gods have lost their power and its proud towers are falling. What curse out of the past has struck it? Jame, a potential Nemesis, must try to stop the destruction --without undoing time itself.

The Gates of Tagmeth

Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Book 8

P. C. Hodgell

Destruction is in Jame Knorth's nature. Literally. She is the avatar of of a god known at That-Which-Destroys, the god of chaos and ruin. Yet Jame is also a noblewoman within an ancient race, and the designated heir of her twin brother Torisen Knorth, High Lord of the Kencyrath. Jame's people are fleeing, world by world, from a terrible enemy that has pursued them through a multitude of universes. Its name is Perimal Darkling.

Obeying instructions from her brother, Jame sets out with a force of Southron warriors to reestablish the long-fallen castle keep of Tagmeth. By Jame's side is Lyra, a devious Kencyrath noble girl who is determined not to be forced into a marriage with a man she despises. Jame's old friends Mark and Brier Iron-thorn stand with her, as well: Marc, steward and organizer of Jame's household and Brier, the only captain under her command wholly sworn to support Jame no matter the cost. Jame finds more allies in the forest surrounding the ancient keep where the wild people of the woodlands, the Merikit, hold court. And Jame's adopted mother, Gran Cyd, matriarch and queen of the Merikit, may once again provide the voice of calm that Jame requires to survive her own tempestuous nature.

Jame sets about establishing Tagmeth as an outpost against the gathering power of Perimal Darkling. But Tagmeth hides a secret, a gateway to a mystery that may save this world from eternal darkness--or plunge it to destruction and ruin all the sooner. It is up to Jame to find her way through Perimal Darkling's traps, and to come to terms with the god of pandemonium and destruction within her who grows stronger every day. If she succeeds it may be that Perimal Darkling can finally be defeated after eons of fear and flight. And if she fails, yet another world will fall to darkness forever.

By Demons Possessed

Chronicles of the Kencyrath: Book 9

P. C. Hodgell

Something is preying on the gods of Tai-Tastigon.

A crucial moment draws nigh leading to the ultimate showdown between Jame Knorth and Perimal Darkling, the supernatural entity that has pursued Jame's people, the Kencyr, across multiple universes, destroying all in its wake. Can the Kencyr finally make an effective stand, or will another world fall into shadow?

But now news arrives from Tai-tastigon, the vast city that formed Jame into the master thief, wily fighter, and godling-in-the-making that she has become.

It seems something is preying on the gods of Tai-tastigon. The new Pantheon is falling, and the ancient city is in turmoil. The self-serving, beguiling demi-god leader of the Thieves Guild has coerced Jame into finding the soul of his missing brother by holding hostage people she loves. Jame She reluctantly returns to find a Tai-tastigon in turmoil, with citizen pitted against citizen, and day and night-time folk at one another's throats. It seems many in the vast Lower Town have lost their shadows - not so funny when you realize that a shadow is cast by a soul.

Disappearing Souls

Some of the affected have gone mad. Some wander like ravening wraiths, attacking even family members by tooth and nail. Which means something is taking - or destroying - souls in the city.

What's more, in the city's Temple District fearful gods are finding their very beings drained. Some have become so diminished they hide in the robes of their priests like mewling babes. Across the city, murder and mayhem have erupted. But whatever demon-wrought madness is afoot in Tai-tastigon will have to face the ultimate avatar of god That-Which-Destroys Itself. That would be one Jame Knorth.

Where Jame Knorth goes, Chaos will follow!