Devastating HateMarkus Heitz
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Markus Heitz was born in 1971; he studied history and German language and literature. His debut novel, Schatten über Ulldart (the first in a series of epic fantasy novels), won the Deutscher Phantastik Preis (German Fantasy Award) in 2003. His bestselling Dwarves trilogy has earned him a place among Germany’s most successful fantasy authors. He currently lives in Zweibrücken, Germany.
Also by Markus Heitz
Jo Fletcher Books
An imprint of Quercus
New York • London
© 2011 by Markus Heitz
Map illustration © by Markus Weber
English translation © 2014 by Sheelagh Alabaster
Cover design © hilden_design; Illustration © Alan Lathwell
Originally published in Germany in 2011 by Piper Verlag GmbH
First published in the United States by Quercus in 2016
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, institutions, places, and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons—living or dead—events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
To the world’s composers,
living or dead,
classical or modern,
as I write
About the Author
Also by Markus Heitz
A Note from the Author
A Unique Interview with Superstars Sinthoras and Caphalor
Nagsar und Nagsor Inàste, the Inextinguishables
Sinthoras, älf-warrior (Comet faction) and a nostàroi (supreme commander)
Demenion, politician (Comet)
Khlotòn, politician (Comet)
Khlotònior, his nephew
Rashànras, politician (Comet)
Imàndaris, Yantarai’s daughter, and a nostàroi
Robonor, Timanris’s former companion, a warrior (deceased)
Timansor, Timanris’s father, an artist
Durùston, sculptor and artist
Carmondai, artist in language, script and image
Polòtain, politician (Comet)
Godànor, Polòtain’s grandson
Eranior, politician (Comet)
Samrai und Chislar, Eranior’s personal entourage
Halofór, politician (Constellations faction)
Landaròn, Halofór’s brother
Falòran, guard in Dsôn
Ratáris, politician (Constellation)
Armatòn, benàmoi (military leader) in the Gray Mountains
Arganaï, warrior cadet
Tiláris, warrior cadet
Zirlarnor, warrior cadet
Phinoïn, benàmoi of warrior cadets
Itáni, Dsôn artist
Caphalor, älf-warrior (Constellation) and a nostàroi (supreme commander)
Enoïla, Caphalor’s life-partner (deceased)
Aïsolon, a friend of Caphalor’s (Constellations)
Kilanor, trader, from Dsôn
Verànor, messenger sent by the Inextinguishables
Téndalor, benàmoi of island fort number one-eight-seven
Daraïs, Téndalor’s deputy
Yintaï, älf in Avaris
Heïfaton, älf in Avaris
Umaïnor, Sinthoras’s administrator in Dsôn
Bolcatòn, academic and chair of the Wèlèron Research Council
Païcalor, blind bodyguard to the Inextinguishables
Ofardanór, benàmoi at the Stone Gateway
Raleeha, slave girl to the älfar (deceased)
Wirian, slave to Sinthoras
Farron Lotor, barbarian prince of the Ishmanti
Törden and Famenia, famuli (apprentices) to the magus Jujulo
Olfson and Drumann, Famenia’s uncles
Parilis, Famenia’s aunt
Iula, famula (female apprentice) to the maga Hianna
Quartan, cooper, from Duckingham
Geralda, serving woman from Halmengard
Doghosh, commander of soldiers from Sonnenhag
Endrawolt, Doghosh’s deputy
Pantako, trader from the barony of Gourarga
Ossandra Ilmanson, daughter of the burgomaster of Milltown
Mollo, Gatiela, Sarmatt, Ossandra’s playmates
Welkar Ilmanson, Ossandra’s father and burgomaster of Milltown
Jiggon, young slave in Avaris
Hirrtan, Jiggon’s father
Elina, Jiggon’s sister
Rodolf, Jiggon’s grandfather
Errec, human slave
Amso, human slave
Omenia, landlord’s daughter in Quarrystone
Odeborn, king of Ido
Starowig, ruler of Ido by proxy
Jujulo the Jolly
Simin the Underrated
Grok-Tmai the Worrier
Hianna the Flawless
Fensa the Inventive
Ortina the Omnipresent
Narósil, leader of the elf-riders
Fatunasíl, elf from the Golden Plain
Veïnsa, princess of the Golden Plain
Ataronz, óarco from the vassal nation
Toboribar, óarco prince and leader of the Kraggash óarcos
Shoggrok, a Kraggash óar
Sardaî, thoroughbred night-mare
Rîm, an Ubari female
Worbîn, a fire-bull
ÄLFAR DIVISIONS OF TIME
A division of unendingness, ten years
One year would be a tenth of a division of unendingness
A moment of unendingness, one day
A splinter of unendingness, one hour
One pace, one yard
They are said as a people to show more cruelty than any other.
They are said to hate elves, humans, dwarves and every other creature so much that the blood runs black in their veins and darkens their eyes in the light of the sun.
They are said to dedicate their lives exclusively to death and to art.
They are said to use black magic.
They are said to be immortal . . .
Much has been said about the Älfar.
Read now these tales that follow and decide for yourselves what is true and what is not. These are stories of unspeakable horror, unimaginable battles, gross treachery, glorious triumphs and crushing defeats.
But they are also tales of courage, integrity and valor.
And of love.
These are the Legends of the Älfar.
Preface from the forbidden books which transfigure the truth,
The Legends of the Älfar,
What a magnificent assembly that evening! What a magnificent hall!
Never again will such a gathering of heroes be seen in a single place—heroes of such stature, of such power, of such unique nature!
The aura that surrounded each one was clearly visible and almost tangible. And on hearing the heroes speak, ordinary älfar were filled with dread and awe.
I, too, was fascinated.
By each one of them.
By Virssagòn: virtuoso in the arts of war and the skills of the forge, deviser of sophisticated and deadly weaponry and instructor of others in their use;
by Arviû: bringer of death and destruction to the elf realms and whose misfortunes made him the greatest of enemies to the elf peoples. Such was his fame that even today many a fortress bearing his name still stands in the conquered regions once held by the elves;
by Morana: supple and elegant warrior and worker of magic who, while steadfastly resolute toward her deadly foes, harbored an unforgiveable and incomprehensible weakness;
by Horgàta: restless and incomparable beauty, graceful huntress, who never once spared an adversary;
and, of course, I was fascinated equally by the nostàroi, Sinthoras and Caphalor, leaders and initiators of the campaign against Tark Draan, at last granting our people their sweet and cruel revenge. To describe these two leaders would be blasphemy.
For, in truth, no words of mine could match their deeds!
At least, not at that point in time.
No one could have guessed what changes lay in store for them.
Excerpt from the epic poem The Heroes of Tark Draan
composed by Carmondai, master of word and image
Tark Draan (Girdlegard), Gray Mountains, Stone Gateway,
4371st division of unendingness (5199th solar cycle),
The air was filled with the sound of hundreds of banners flapping in the breeze; occasionally the cry of a raptor was heard as it flew across the darkening sky.
Awe and reverence determined the mood of the silent multitude of älfar warriors assembled on the high plain.
Surrounding the throng, shattered enemy weapons that had been melted down and twisted creatively into bizarre interlocking structures towered into the air—victory columns to symbolize the downfall of the dwarves. But no regard was currently being paid to these abstract works of art: all eyes were trained on the garlanded platform before them.
A low roll of thunder gave the first indication of an approaching storm. Over in the south, black clouds covered the sky as if ready to halt the advance of an enemy; a warm breeze played around the tips of the älfar army’s lances and spears and the rivets on their armor.
Carmondai tied back his long brown hair so that the strengthening wind would not whip it into his face and over his paper, and observed the patiently waiting crowd. It is as if they had turned into statues. The silver-clad stick of compressed charcoal in his right hand raced across the open page as he drew without looking down at the notebook. He never needed to correct these preparatory studies; he was accustomed to making accurate lightning sketches for the large paintings he would complete later.
The blood-red sun sank behind the Gray Mountains, illuminating the finest of the óarco, barbarian, troll, demi-giant and älfar fighting force. They had gathered to acclaim the Heroes who had made their victory at the Stone Gateway possible.
The groundlings—the defenders of Tark Draan—had been eliminated, their bones serving as raw material for sculptures, musical instruments and decorative souvenirs, wagonloads of which would be finding their way back to the homeland as evidence of the win.
This is only the beginning of an endless river. Our swords will take Tark Draan’s last drops of lifeblood. In the margin, Carmondai made a note of the color combinations and appropriate blood types he had in mind for his mural. Groundling life-juice was darker and more mystical than others, he had found, and not easy to work with, but it did give the work a level of integrity not usually achieved through the use of other creatures’ blood: minute traces of minerals in the dwarves’ blood emphasized the picture’s essence through scent, and would intensify the effect of the battle for the discerning spectator.
Carmondai sketched without stopping. He knew the swift lines he was drawing impressed the barbarians who could see his sketches, but this did not satisfy him—any älfar child could do this sort of thing.
He caught sight of the cloud formations as they moved threateningly toward the conquerors. You shall not stop us. He took in the gray, white and black as the clouds raced across the sky and then his gaze dropped back to the decorated ceremonial stage and he began to make his way slowly through the ranks of the warriors to study it more closely.
Skillful craftsmen had created the brilliant white base of the podium from split and dried groundling bones; strands from the hair and beards of the defeated soldiers had been used to fasten the bones together. At the rear of the stage, bronze-coated skulls hung from long poles by ropes of braided silver, jangling like bells. Carmondai could hear the sound now that he was closer; the combination of bone and metal produced a strange tone. Their enemies’ grimacing features had been transformed into shimmering masks: images of death that would last forever.
In the distance, Carmondai could see standard-bearers beginning to march toward the stage, and suddenly the noble runes of the nostàroi could be seen; blood-red fabric wafting lazily in the breeze. There followed the nostàroi bodyguard in sinister leather armor glittering with engraved tionium plates. The motifs on their helmets signified that each warrior had killed more than one thousand of the enemy.
Carmondai moved away from the stage to get a better view. Ye gods of infamy, how proud our people are! His fingers flew, making notes on the figures around him. His skin prickled and the sense of awe sent waves of excitement up his spine.
Suddenly an impatient night-mare’s imperious snort broke the quiet and Sinthoras and Caphalor were sighted on their magnificent armored mounts. Caphalor’s black stallion Sardaî was taller in stature and more impressive in nature than any other night-mare.
Carmondai registered that he was writing more slowly now. He was deeply affected by the imposing appearance of the nostàroi; their presence swept over the plateau like a spell. The two nostàroi were producing powerful emotions from the assembled troops: respect, worship and fascination.
Carmondai had to shake himself free from their hypnotic effect. He looked quickly around at the crowd, noticing that all were staring
at their leaders’ noble features, eager for some slight word that might impart to them a shred of this triumphant brilliance.
The effect could hardly be stronger if it were the Inextinguishables themselves who had arrived. Carmondai was convinced that every warrior and any creature present would have followed Sinthoras and Caphalor to the ends of the known world. What power they have!
The leaders, their way lined by standard-bearers and bodyguards, halted at the platform.
Sinthoras and Caphalor dismounted and climbed up to the dais. They wore gold-wrought black ceremonial armor studded with jewels. They removed their helmets, displaying fine facial features and allowing their long hair to move in the wind: blond in the one case, black in the other.
Carmondai had heard tell how different these two nostàroi were, in personality as well as coloring; he had heard that Caphalor tended toward the views of the Constellations and that Sinthoras supported the Comets. But now, seeing them together, it looked as if they could be brothers.
Sinthoras raised his right hand and addressed the silent throng. “We are standing on the land of Tark Draan! Do you know what this means?”
A single cry thundered from thousands of älfar throats.
“No army could have achieved more!” he proclaimed. “It is we who have defeated and annihilated the groundlings, and it is we who will bring down and destroy the elves. We will not only eradicate them, but eliminate all they stand for and all they have created. Nothing of theirs shall be allowed to continue. We shall be their death.” He lifted his head slightly, the fire of hatred glowing in his eyes. “For the Inextinguishables!”
Again the response came back a thousandfold.
Carmondai’s heart beat quickly in his chest, while his pen scurried across the paper. Every fragment of this event must be recorded for posterity—every fragment! I am witness to our people’s greatest victory. I must miss nothing.
“We shall bring death into every last corner of Tark Draan. Kingdoms will fall under our yoke, fortresses will burn to the ground and we shall create such art as has never been seen before. We are the new rulers here!”
Not even the loudest clap of thunder could compete with the älfar warriors’ voices and the roars from the other creatures. To Carmondai’s mind, the sound had penetrated deep into Tark Draan. He imagined the inhabitants quaking with fear and turning their ugly heads toward the Gray Mountains, aware that their end was nigh. I must start my new poem this very day.