So we flash back to Arin, who is… again… staring into a fire and attempting to have a vision, even though we’ve already been told that the visions come whenever THEY want and trying won’t help.
She did not hear the remote belling of the stag horns nor the thudding of distant hooves as Rissa and Vanidar and the others reveled in the hunt. Nay, she heard them not, nor was she among them, for her own bow lay beside her—unstrung, unnocked with arrows, unnoticed in her mystic abstraction—for she was attempting to <see>.
… then why is she out there? That’s like going to a club so you can sit in the corner reading Jane Austen. If she doesn’t intend to do anything, why does she bother to go out in the woods with a bunch of hunters?
So our heroine is sitting in the woods doing… absolutely nothing, while all the others hunt. Aaaaaaannndddd…. it’s exposition time!
But as to the seer alone by the fire, she was a rarity among Elves, was Arin, for at times she glimpsed events—at hand and afar, past, present, and future— events known and unknown.
She used the magical device known as… google!
We’re also infodumped about how there’s only one other elf who can see the future: Rael, our Galadriel knockoff from The Dark Tide, who is like Galadriel if she didn’t have any history except getting married and producing a few kids, and if she did her magical future-seeing by using a crystal instead of a bird bath. Because it’s totally different that way!
Females, two females among all of Elvenkind, two females who could <see>. Was it that males of her Kind had not the power? Or was it instead that only females among the Elves had the patience? Arin did not know.
… or, just maybe, it’s pure random luck that out of the entire species, the two who happen to be seers also happen to be female. If there were lots of the seers and they were all female, like Garth Nix’s Clayr, then she might have a point… but there are only two of them. It might just be chance. If you flip a coin twice, it isn’t that shocking if it comes up heads both times.
So she keeps staring at the fire, which she obviously had to go out in the middle of the woods to do. Then the other elves arrive, blowing on bugles… for some reason. Arin snaps out of it in time for….
an Elf rode into the light of the fire—it was Vanidar, known as Silverleaf, one of the Lian.
Hooray! It’s Legolas Clone #2!
In case you haven’t read the series, Vanidar is a Dylvana (aka Wood-Elf) who shows up for… some reason in the Silver Call duology. He… really doesn’t do much there except be Elfy and occasionally shoot things. And in case you’re wondering how he has anything to do with Legolas, his name means “Silverleaf.” Whaddaya think Legolas’s name means? “Green-leaf!”
So he’s coming over with a bunch of Elves who are occasionally mentioned in McKiernan’s books, but who never really do anything except make cameos.
Stopping his lathered mount with nought but a word,
Would it have killed him to let the poor thing WALK back to the fire?!
As with all of immortal Elvenkind, Vanidar appeared to be no more than a lean-limbed youth, though his actual age could have been one millennium or ten or more.
He was still regularly carded at bars, and people were always taking away his beer.
He had golden hair cropped at the shoulder and tied back with a simple leather headband, as was the fashion among most Lian and Dylvana.
… you mean immortal Elves have fashions? Now I’m imagining a runway show full of floaty arboreal hippie clothes.
He was clad in grey-green
Of course. What else would he be wearing?
and wore a golden belt which held a long-knife.
What else would it have? I just hope he has another one so he can do kickass orc-killing moves.
We’re also told that Vanidar is unusually tall for a Dylvana. I don’t know why we’re being told this, because he has a couple scenes more and then is never seen again in this book.
Behind Vanidar the others dismounted as well—Rissa and Perin and Biren and Ruar and Melor—their horses sweat-foamed and blowing. The Dylvana were dressed much the same as Silverleaf in their loose-fitting jerkins and close-fitting breeks, though for the most part they favored earth tones—brown and russet and umber—all but beautiful, dark-eyed Rissa, who wore a deep blue, nearly black.
- I don’t care who these people are.
- I don’t care what these people are wearing.
- I want to get on to the damn story already!
- Will nobody think about the poor horses? If the poor things are exhausted and covered in sweaty foam, THEY NEED TO REST.
But the animal-abusing elves are all twinkling and smiling, because Vanidar’s girlfriend helped him catch the deer. Ah, nothing says true love like murdering innocent animals together. And they apparently decided to overstrain their horses by forcing them to drag the deer back to the campsite before they bled it out. Tell me again why animals are supposed to love elves so much? Aren’t elves supposed to all be like Disney princesses, floating through the woods in perfect harmony with nature, unlike us worthless ape-people?
By this time Arin had the saddle off Vanidar’s mount and was using twisted grass sheaves to rub the animal down. “Do I need walk him?” she called as she stroked along its left flank.
“I think not,” said Ruar nearby. “We rode at a walk most of the way back … until we reached the clearing.”
YOU LIARS. First, those horses should not be that exhausted if they had all that cooldown time! Also, why would they start galloping again right before they were supposed to STOP?
Shame on you, generic fantasy elves!
Rissa strode past, heading for Vanidar as he looped the lines over a sturdy low limb. “Let me give thee a hand with that, chieran.”
In case you blinked, that means they’re boinking. It has no relevance to anything.
So Vanidar slits the dead deer’s throat, and predictably there is lots of blood.
Arin glanced over at the scarlet pour, free-flowing blood runneling down neck and chin and onto the sward and into the soil below.
“Dammit, you always kill deer over my favorite petunias!”
But wait! She then glances into the fire, and IT’S VISION TIIIIIMMMEEEE!
Her eyes flew wide and she gasped in distress, and harsh breath hissed ‘tween clenched teeth. Horse, stag, Elven companions: all were forgotten as the vision took her.
The vision was of a hit movie trilogy adapted from a hit fantasy trilogy, which seemed suspiciously close to the future history of Mithgar…. except better written!
Tears flooded her eyes and streamed down her cheeks and she cried out in torment, but she couldn’t tear her gaze away from the Seeing.
And then her mind fled from her and she fell senseless to the ground.
It was the sight of horribly written vampire books sweeping the fantasy shelves, leaving a trail of plotless pro-abuse idiocy in their wake! Only with the use of magic could high fantasy regain its power!