Might and Magic Novels

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Might and Magic Novels

Postby {CH}ArticleBot » May 17 2006, 21:15

Marzhin wrote a report about two little-known Might and Magic novels. While many fans have heard of The Sea of Mist by Mel Odom, there were two other books published by DelRey Books in 1995 and 1996 and written by Geary Gravel. It will be difficult to find The Dreamwright and The Shadowsmith in store these days, but at least you now have a summary of the plot. The third book of the series, The Worldcrafter, has been cancelled.

If you are up for some good reading, you can download the Heroes Fables winning entries here. As mentioned before, they include stories by Round Table members Echo and Marelt Ekiran.
In 1995, right after the release of Might
& Magic V : Darkside of Xeen, DelRey Books started publishing a
trilogy of novels based on the computer role-playing game, and written by
Geary Gravel (the author of "The Alchemists"). Unfortunately, only the
first two chapters, "The Dreamwright" and "The Shadowmith", were
released. The third book, "The Worldcrafter", was announced but never
saw the light of day. Geary Gravel was supposed to tie his books to the world
of the upcoming Might & Magic VI, but as the new game was delayed,
he created a whole new world and story that still fitted with the M&M
universe, and even added depth to its mythology. Even if the world isn't a
"true" M&M world (such as Varn or Xeen or Enroth) it certainly has the
flavour of early Might & Magic titles with that intriguing balance between
fantasy and science-fiction, rich bestiary, mysterious characters, brave
heroes and powerful villains.



Back then, New World Computing apparently
thought about using Gravel's world as the setting for M&M VI, but
finally they decided to use the world of Enroth, which had been introduced in
Heroes of Might and Magic. Still, many ideas from Gravel's writings
were not lost and managed to appear on later instalments of the series. The
world of Axeoth from Heroes of Might and Magic IV even has a shy
reference to the books as it features a land called the Wheel.



***



Thousands of years ago, many world-seeds
were sent through space by beings called the Ancients. On those worlds, their
servants, the Guardians, watched over human beings and other creatures
accordingly to the Ancients' mysterious plan. But a rebellion occured on one
of those worlds : seizing control over the energy network called the Wire,
wizards and heroes waged war against the Guardians to free the planet's
inhabitants from the Ancients' schemes. They eventually managed to be
victorious, and became the new, nearly-immortal protectors of the world, known
as the Wielders.



But soon after their victory, one of those
Wielders, known as Dubiel, was corrupted during merging with a machine. He
tried to eliminate his past comrades to claim the domination over the world
for himself. After a terrible war, he was forced to withdraw to the far-south,
and his access to the Wire was severed. His power in decline, he became known
as the Shadowsmith, the fabled King of Evil.



Centuries passed...



The Dreamwright : ISBN 0-345-38292-7,
first printing in february 1995.




Image"The
Dreamwright" opens as the land called the Wheel is striked by earthquakes,
firestorms and other not-so-natural disasters. It seems the only one able to
find the source of those disasters and prevent the Wheel from destruction is a
being called the Dreamwright, the worldseer who lives in a crystal palace in
the far north and is said to know everything. One of the kings of the Wheel
actually know someone who could get them in touch with the Dreamwright : a
powerful sorceress called Amonwelle. This king and Amonwelle had a child
together : in exchange for contacting the Dreamwright, Amonwelle asks the king
to send back their daughter to her. A caravan is formed for travelling through
the dangerous lands between The Wheel and the Unseen Wall behind which the
Dreamwright's palace lies, carrying the young princess
Diligence.



Somewhere in the mountains, a young boy
named Hitch leaves his home village, pushed by dreams of new and exciting
adventures. After a disastrous encounter with a giant creature called a
stonecrush, Hitch finds himself lost in the wilderness with a blue-jeweled
staff he "borrowed" from the leader of his former travelling
group.



After a few days of wandering, he witnesses
the falling of a giant golden egg in the cold waters of a mountain lake. He
manages to rescue a man wearing a strange suit, who somehow escaped from the
egg before it sank. Soon thereafter, Hitch and his "hatchling" encounters
Diligence's caravan, which has been attacked by some mysterious enemy. They
are allowed to join the party on their way to the Unseen Wall. Many adventures
and dangers await them, as they discover the Shadowmith has risen again in the
south wastes with the help of a new ally that came from the stars with a black
ship.



ImageThe
Shadowsmith : ISBN 0-345-38293-5, first printing in april
1996



([url=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=ur2&tag=celestialheav-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&path=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0345382935%2Fref%3Dsr_11_1%3F%255Fencoding%3DUTF8]Buy
it from
Amazon[/url]Image)

The Dreamwright died during the Shadowmith's
attack against the Unseen Wall, and Hitch discovers his destiny to become the
new worldseer. But following a betrayal inside the crystal palace, Hitch and
the hatchling, Jassad Attqua ("Jatt"), go through a magic portal that closes
behind them. They found themselves in the Aulmad, once the powerful kingdom of
Auldemar, now a cursed land haunted by monsters. Diligence joins the rescue
team sent by Amonwelle, disobeying her mother's orders to stay safely behind
the Unseen Wall. On their way to the Aulmad, they witness the black spaceship
bringing death and desolation, and rescue a young woman named Eil do Mer who
seems somehow linked to the mysterious aircraft.



But Hitch, Jatt and their new friends,
including a powerful bronze golem named Carverax, are not in the Aulmad
anymore. With the Shadowsmith's soldiers in close pursuit, they activated
another portal with the blue-jeweled staff, and found themselves under the red
sun of a totally alien world. After many adventures and battles, they manage
to get back to their homeworld. They reach Jatt's golden ship just before the
Shadowmith does, eventually even killing the former Wielder. But then Jatt
turns crazy, take control of his ship and launches an assault against the
Unseen Wall...



Reunited with Diligence and the rest of the
Turn Folk, our heroes finally learn the truth behind the Shadowsmith's power.
It turns out that Jassad Attqua and Eil do Mer are explorers for two galactic
nations at war with each other, the Arc and the Bright Star. They both came to
this world to investigate Ancient technology, but soon afet her arrival, Eil's
ship computer was corrupted by Dubiel. More machine than man, the Shadowmith
cannot be killed as long as he manages to plant his seed in new, fresh bodies.
Now he's trying to take control over Jatt's mind, and plan to use his golden
ship to destroy Amonwelle and the other Wielders. As the heroes manage to take
back Eil do Mer's black void-ship from the Shadowmith, the board is set for
the final battle between good and evil...



***



This second book may be open-ended, hinting
at the adventures that would have been told in the third novel, the story
started with "The Dreamwright" still comes to a conclusion, so the reader is
not left (too much) frustrated by the fact there is no sequel. One can only
wonder what Geary Gravel had in stores for Hitch, Diligence and their friends
in "the Worldcrafter", a book whose title obviously made reference to the
Ancients themselves...



The Sea of Mist : ISBN 0-06-103163-1,
first printing in September 2001.




Image




Our hero,
Praz spent his early years being trained by the demon Nymus to become a great
warrior, and earned as such the title of Praz-El. Then he was sent to the
Magistracy of Soronne to study an art of his choice, may it be magic or
combat. But Praz refuses to learn a single skill and hopes to become a Master
in all the disciplines, much to his foster father's desperation. But Praz'
delusions take a sinister turn after the discovery of a mysterious fountain
buried under the academy, which some are ready to believe is the key to
godhood...




Greedily
lusting for power, the seconds-in-command of the Circles of Steel and Shadow,
Lenik and Mandel, betray the Magistracy and allow Sendark, the undead lord of
the Sea of Mist (who roams the foggy ocean with an armada of ghost ships), to
invade the city. His father assassinated, his (wicked) love interest Lissella
abducted, Praz and his friends Telop (an elf wizard student) and River (a
ranger who has a crush on Praz) decide to pursue the traitors across the Sea
of Mist with some familiar heroes (Alagar, Xarfax-- who by the way have no
real role, they are just here to allow some name-dropping). But this is no
ordinary sea : it is a gateway between worlds, a hole in reality. Fighting
Sendark's minions, Praz-El fall overboard and finds himself in a forest where
a battle is taking place. He is saved by a dwarf -- another misplaced Heroes 3
character, Clancy -- who has some revelations about Praz-El's past. But Praz
has no time to learn much because he is sucked back into his own plane just in
time to witness the death of his friend Telop. Going berserk, Praz butchers
all Sendark's creatures, frightening the heck out of his remaining
companions.




In the
meantime, Lenik, Mandel and Lissella have arrived on the Isle of the Dead,
where a second fountain is hidden. After bathing in that second fountain, they
will become true gods, but for that they need Lissella's magical powers. It
turns out they know dirty little secrets about the young woman, namely her
interest in necromancy and demon-summoning. While Lissella is performing the
ritual, Praz and crew arrive on the Isle of the Dead where they encounter
Clavis, Sendark's death knight servant. But Clavis is not here to fight :
Sendark has decided to leave Lenik and Mandel to their fate at the hands of
the vengeful Praz, his interest caught by the deadly power of our young hero.





During the
battle against Lenik and Mandel's troops, Praz and friends find Lissella. But
the treacherous beauty, during one of those convenient moments where nobody is
watching, eliminates her rival River by pushing her into a chasm. Praz is
devastated to lose another good friend, but he at least realize something is
very wrong with Lissella. But once again the clock is ticking and Praz rushes
inside the fountain chamber to fight against the two felons who killed his
foster father. Making use of all the tricks Nymus teached him, he eventually
manages to defeat them.




Sailing
back to Soronne, he expresses his distrust of Lissella and decides to go to
the faraway land of Murlank where he could learn more about the darkness
inside him and how to control it. And in his misty realm, Sendark has finally
discovered Praz-El is in fact a half-god, and is now looking for a way to use
him in his own evil schemes.




And...
that's it.




The Sea of
Mist is very different from Geary Gravel's two novels, which were leaning
towards a Jack Vance-ish kind of SF. What we have here is a pretty dull
sword-and-sorcery tale, with average writing and a thin plot. Even the cover
art tries to mimic Frank Frazetta's style...




Some
"interesting" facts :




- There
are never any mentions to places or things from the MM universe as depicted in
the games (with the exception of some character names as noted
before.)




-
According to the back cover, Praz is joined in his quest by "warriors from
multiple dimensions". I guess that's for Alagar, Xarfax and the
others.




- Xarfax,
who is an Inferno hero in H3, is one of the good guys here, and a Follower of
D'Rebbik, a "god of war who serves Light". Don't ask.




- Sendark
appears to be a servant (or at least an associate) of a God of Death called
Necros. Necros is the name of the undead villain of Crusaders of Might and
Magic, so there may be a connection here. Or maybe it's just the lack of
originality in naming.

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