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These skills are called the Sword and the Staff respectively, and together form the First Ward of Kevin's Lore, an ancient repository of knowledge. A student who masters both parts of the Lore — and does not opt to become Unfettered in order to pursue a private vision — is invited to join the Council of Lords at Revelstone, also known as Lord's Keep.

The Lords carry special staffs that allow them to channel their power, and are easily identified by their sky blue robes. Lord Foul is the most commonly used name for the ancient enemy of the Land, given to him by the Council of Lords. According to Roger Covenant, he also called himself 'a-Jeroth' during the time he served on Kevin's council. He is described as "the wicked son or brother of the Creator's heart" and is the source of all evil in the Land.

He is a being of pure spirit, although capable of taking on human form, and is apparently immortal: he cannot be killed, but his power can be reduced to near insignificance. On occasions when this has happened he has always been able to restore and regenerate his power. His desire to bring suffering to the earth and the Land in particular is manifested by his extremely well orchestrated and even cautious long-term plans throughout the chronicles.

Kin of Cain: A Short Bernicia Tale by Matthew Harffy | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble®

Ramen are the tenders of the Ranyhyn see below. The Ramen's life-work is to serve the Ranyhyn, whom they hold in very high esteem. Traditionally they do not ride or otherwise subjugate the great horses, and can grow resentful of those who do. The fact that the Lords of Revelstone and the Bloodguard often ride the great horses is a major point of contention, but the Ramen tolerate this in deference to the Ranyhyn, who choose to give their service.

When defending the Ranyhyn from Kresh large wolves in service to the Despiser or other predators, the Ramen frequently use ropes as garottes to break the attackers' necks. Ramen are organised into three "ranks": Manethralls who are the leaders, Cords who assist the Manethralls while training to become Manethralls themselves, and Winhomes who perform domestic supporting duties. Two other ranks are mentioned in The Runes of the Earth , Keepers and Curriers, but their placement within the Ramen hierarchy is not known. Ranyhyn are the great horses of the Land.

These horses live on the Plains of Ra, and are tended by the Ramen. The Ranyhyn are akin to normal horses, but are larger, always have a star and are in some indefinable sense enhanced by the Earthpower of the Land, so that their speed and endurance, as well as their intelligence, far outstrip those of a standard horse.

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The Ranyhyn can be ridden by individuals they deem worthy, but a person who seeks such a mount must travel to the Plains of Ra and offer himself to the horses for consideration. If a Ranyhyn accepts a rider, it is loyal to that rider until death. All of the Bloodguard apparently are accepted by the Ranyhyn, but not all Lords have been deemed worthy. The Ranyhyn also have a limited ability to perceive the future; these horses can "hear" when their rider will need them, hearing their calling days or weeks before the rider makes the call.

Thus, when the rider summons his Ranyhyn, it appears shortly thereafter, regardless of the distance between them. Ravers are bodiless evil spirits with the ability to possess and control some lesser creatures, and most humans as well. Giants and Bloodguard are typically immune to this power, and there are no known instances of a Raver possessing a Ranyhyn. Their greatest hatred is reserved for the trees of the One Forest of old, and their loathing of the Earthpower and all good things has led them to become Lord Foul's willing servants.

The Despiser is somehow able to enhance their abilities when he pleases, but can prevent them from possessing individuals he deems too powerful. They were not allowed to possess Thomas Covenant, for instance, because his ring would make them too powerful for Lord Foul to control. This possession can be, and in some cases needs to be, facilitated by some external power.

In the 'Illearth War' the Ravers were only able to possess their giant 'hosts' when they worked in harmony with the power of the Illearth Stone. They often serve as leaders in Lord Foul's armies, or as spies among his enemies.

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Stonedownors are humans descended from the Land's original inhabitants. They are known for their knowledge of stone lore and live in stone huts. A master of stone lore is called a "Gravelingas", or a Rhadhamaerl which also refers to the craft of stone lore. Stonedownors are typically dark-skinned, squat and muscular, though this is not always the case.

Trell and Triock are both unusually tall for Stonedownors. During the Second Chronicles, their leaders are known as Gravellers, and sacrifice members of their village to use the blood to call forth the power of the Sunbane. Sunder, the Graveller of Mithil Stonedown, manages to use the power of Loric's Krill to summon forth the power of the Sunbane without shedding blood, and learns to manipulate the Sunbane for his own purposes. Ur-viles are creatures of jet black color and are constructions of an extinct race named the Demondim.

They are highly magical, possessing a number of supernatural abilities, including shooting acid, creating bolts of pure energy and the like.

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They are blind, lacking any form of visual organ, but possess a preternatural sense of smell. One of their most distinctive features is that when assembled in a wedge formation, the leader or loremaster at the apex wields the combined power of the entire group, without weakening any of their kin in the rest of the wedge. The ur-viles initially served Lord Foul, but later turned against him by creating the creature Vain from which the new Staff of Law was created.

In The Runes of the Earth , the ur-viles have actively joined the side of "good", though their motivation remains unclear. Because they were made rather than born, the ur-viles loathe their own bodies and often redirect this rage towards other targets. They also do not die, except when killed, or reproduce naturally, although they do retain the lore required to construct more of their own kind and the Waynhim—however, their motivations for doing so are unlike those of natural creatures.

Viles are an extinct race who spawned the Demondim. They were non-corporeal, but nonetheless very powerful. Initially a proud and gifted race, they were led into self-hatred and despair by the Ravers. Waynhim are another race of creatures spawned by the Demondim often referred to as the "accidental" or "lesser" creations, in contrast with the ur-viles. They closely resemble the Ur-viles having no eyes, super-sensitive smell and hearing, and magical abilities , though they are smaller and lighter in color.

Like the Ur-viles who are their long-standing nemeses , the Waynhim were made rather than born. However, they do not share their cousins' self-hatred, and have dedicated themselves to serving the Land and the Earthpower according to their own peculiar ethical system, the Weird of the Waynhim. Like the Ur-viles, they fight in a wedge formation with a loremaster at the apex. Woodhelvennin are humans descended from the Land's original inhabitants.

They are known for their use of wood lore and living in tree-top villages. Oh, and no dragons or magic!


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I would love the chance to be able to just create a plot and write whatever I wanted because I would be in total control and nobody could tell me I had got something wrong, as it would be my creation! So, what of the future? Matthew Harffy is the author of the Bernicia Chronicles, a series of novels set in seventh century Britain. Kin of Cain , a standalone prequel novella set in the same world as the Bernicia Chronicles was published on Amazon and all good online bookstores on March 1 st Killer of Kings , the fourth of the Bernicia Chronicles, is available for pre-order now on Amazon and all good online bookstores.

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  • Hopefully others will enjoy whatever directions in which the muse takes me. Author info: Matthew Harffy is the author of the Bernicia Chronicles, a series of novels set in seventh century Britain. Website: www. Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public. Name required. Post to Cancel. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Amongst the blood and the betrayals, Beobrand learns of his brother's near-certain murder.

    Inexperienced but ruthless, Beobrand must form his own allegiances and learn to fight as a warrior with sword and shield. Driven by a desire for vengeance and a relentless pursuit of his enemies, he faces challenges which transform him from a boy to a man who stands strong in the clamour and gore of the shieldwall.

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    As he closes in on his kin's slayer, can Beobrand mete out the retribution he craves without sacrificing his honour About the Author: Matthew grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline had a huge impact on him. He now lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters. Please Note: By their very nature, all signed books will have been handled several times before they get to you. This may result in small marks to the dustjacket and title page, please also bear in mind that each signature will be a little different from the one we show here.

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