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Water Dark by F.T. McKinstry
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Water Dark

by F.T. McKinstry

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Water Dark continues and amplifies themes in the author’s Chronicles of Ealiron series (The Hunter’s Rede, The Gray Isles, and Crowharrow, available from Double Dragon Publishing). As a novelette (or long story), Water Dark is an ideal length for deepening our understanding of the psychic forces at play in the world of Ealiron. The story focuses on the complex interplay of four characters and explores their powers, their secrets and their loves, their battles of wills, their manipulations and treacheries, their sense of tragedy and loss.

Wilima is a priestess of the Old One (also Maern or the Destroyer, the goddess force of death, transformation and change) and in teaching her skills to Urien, Master of the Eye, Order of Raven, pulls him into a scheme to protect herself from the Shapeshifter, Eaglin, mortal son of the god Aenmos. (Eaglin also has major roles in The Hunter’s Rede and Crowharrow.) Wilima uses her magic to intervene in the disintegrating romance of Eaglin and Urien’s student, the talented, stubborn, and “water dark” Rosamond, in order to prevent Eaglin from ascending from this plane of existence to his next level as a god--ostensibly because all the characters are bound to Eaglin by love and can’t bear losing him.

However, Urien slowly begins to realize that Wilima has strayed from the will of the Destroyer and has selfish and paranoid reasons for chaining Eaglin to this plane and for seeking the drowning death of Rosamond. In a series of disturbing encounters with the Destroyer, Urien begins to understand that he’s been used by someone who has been traveling “dark paths” and that he in fact may no longer be “on the right side of things.” To reframe and heal his relationships with both Rosamond and Eaglin he must renew his connection to water, to love and desire, compassion, and intuition.

That wizards in this fantasy world can abuse their powers is not new to the Ealiron series, but Water Dark zeroes in for a closer look at the complex motives of mortals interacting with gods and how fear and disunion can overwhelm even the most talented servants of Maern.

Is overreaching for power really so alien to us? Is “anything goes” in the name of self-interest or self-defense so unknown? Wilima, who has been living in fear for years, is not just a stock villain set up to drive a plot, but someone we wince to see having crumbled into an anxiety-driven imbalance and an abuse of power that the Destroyer can’t help but notice--and rectify.

Michael D. Smith ( )
  sortmind | Jul 22, 2013 |
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