The Last Light of The Sun - Plot

Plot

Bern Thorkellson, a young Erling man living on Rabady Island has stolen a horse belonging to the island's governor, who has died. Attempting to find a way to flee the island, Bern seeks the assistance of the local Volur seer, who offers to make him invisible if he has sex with her. The seer's trickery is revealed by a young acolyte who assists Bern to escape from Rabady.

Elsewhere, in Cyngael, a Jaddite priest named Ceinon discovers Alun ap Owyn and his older brother Dai, two Princes of Cadyr, about to carry out a cattle raid at Brynnfell, the house of Brynn ap Hywll, a renowned fighter and leader of another Cyngael province. The princes are persuaded by Ceinon to forget the raid and to accompany him to Brynn's house, where Dai ap Owyn becomes strongly attracted to Brynn's daughter Rhiannon who in turn is enamoured of Alun. In an attack by Erling raiders, Dai is killed and his soul is taken by a fairy to the fairy queen, an event wtinessed by Alun who begins a relationship with one of the faeries.

Among the Erlings who participated in the attack is Bern's father, Thorkell Einarsson, who alone is spared among the Erling captives, and becomes a retainer in Brynn's household.

Bern Thorkellson himself travels to Jormsvik, a fortress for elite Erling mercenaries with some parallels to the Viking Jomsvikings of Jomsborg, with the intent of seeking admittance to the ranks of the mercenaries, which is traditionally done by way of defeating another Erling from the fortress in single combat. On his arrival at Jormsvik Bern narrowly escapes being killed even before he can issue his challenge, but is hidden by a prostitute, Thira, who lives in the settlement outside the walls of the fortress. Defeating a Jormsvik captain, Bern is accepted as a member of the mercenaries and joins a raiding part heading from Vinmark to Anglcyn under the patronage of Ivarr Ragnarsson. Ivarr's famed grandfather was killed by Brynn ap Hywll and is hoping to avenge his grandfather's death and he persuades the Jormsvik Erlings to participate in the venture by falsely assuring them that Anglcyn's defences remain vulnerable.

Anglcyn is ruled by Aeldred, who in his youth saved the kingdom from Erling conquest. Equally interested in the broader aspects of nation-building, Aeldred has begun to collect manuscripts and foster scholarship. One of the scholars he wishes to attract to his court is Ceinon, who is unwilling to give up his role as leader of the Jaddite faith among the Cyngael. Although he is a great hero to his people and endeavours to be a good Jaddite, Aeldred suffers from periodic debilitating fevers and spiritual confusion as he had encounters with the half-world of faeries in his youth, and cannot reconcile his knowledge of the faerie-world with the tenets of his acknowledged religion.

Aeldred and his wife have four children: Aldred's heir, Aethelbert; two daughters Judit and Kendra; and a younger son, Gareth. The Erlings attack Anglcyn, killing one of Aeldred's lifelong friends, but are defeated by Aeldred's fyrd, or army. Bern and Thorkell have a brief reunion, but Bern rejoins the Erlings who set sail for the land of the Cyngael, to attack Brynfell, kill Brynn ap Hwyll and regain the sword of Ivarr Ragnarsson's grandfather, although Ivarr himself is killed.

Alun determines to warn Brynn and his family, deciding to seek a way through the enormous spirit wood that separates the Anglcyn settlements from the lands of the Cyngael in the west. The forest is a place of great dread for Cyngael, Anglcyn and Erling alike. On this journey Alun is joined by Thorkell, and then by Aethelbert. The ancient god creature that dwells in the forest suffers the three men to pass through after Thorkell pledges that they will kill nothing on their journey. In the wood Alun meets the faerie he first met the night of his brother Dai's death and persuades her to travel to Brynfell to warn Brynn of the approaching Erlings. It is decided to determine the conflict between the Erlings and the Cyngael by a contest of single combat. Thorkell who offers himself as the champion of the Cyngael, is slain; but while Brynn suspects Thorkell of having sacrificed himself he honours the wager and allows the Erlings to depart.

After the combat Alun uses the sword of Ivarr's grandfather to kill the souls of mortals that had been taken as the faerie-queen's lovers and later discarded, including the soul of his own brother Dai. With the discovery of the psychic link between himself and Kendra, Alun's own relationship with the faerie is ended.

Read more about this topic:  The Last Light Of The Sun

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