The Well of Echoes
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The Well of Echoes consists of four books:
The Well of Echoes quartet centres on new characters, set in the same world as The View from the Mirror.
Tiaan Liise-Mar is a highly skilled artisan. She works hard to maintain her position as she knows the alternative is the breeding factory. Her mother has worked in the breeding factory in Tiksi most of her life. She also doesn't know who her father is and has no history of her family from his side which is a disadvantage on Santhenar. However, she does have some extraordinary talents. She has a photographic memory and even more rare, if she can remember the mechanical workings of a machine, she can make them move in her mind and tell whether the machine will work and what flaws it has.
Irisis Stirm is another artisan and Tiaan's rival for promotion in the manufactory. She also comes from a well-respected family and uses this against Tiaan. The overseer of the manufactory is her second cousin although he does not favour her as much as she would like. She feels pressure from her family to become crafter, the chief artisan, as so many people in her family have held the position.
- Cryl-Nish Hlar
Cryl-Nish Hlar is an artificer of average skill and an inexperienced spy for his father, Jal-Nish Hlar. He is usually known as Nish though he doesn't like the nickname much. He comes from a well-respected family and was a scribe to a merchant but his father had him moved to the manufactory. He hates the work but works hard, despite his lack of any real ability.
- Xervish Flydd
Scrutator for the region of Einunar. One of few uncorrupt Scrutators. A member of the Council of Scrutators. When he is cast out he vows to bring down the corrupt Council and give Santhenar a chance of winning the war against the lyrinx.
The leader of Clan Inthis and of all the Aachim of Aachan. He is the foster-father of Minis and is constantly forcing his will on his foster-son. He is arrogant in his superiority.
Foster-son of Vithis. He is timid and weak-willed and completely in Vithis's thrall. He contacts Tiaan from Aachan and pleads with her to save the Aachim.
A brilliant, yet eccentric, geomancer who has a need to control everything and everyone in his life. When he loses control he has panic attacks. He has out lived his the normal life expectancy of a normal human, possibly by using his skills as a geomancer to prelong his life. He resides in Nyriandiol and takes Tiaan as his apprentice, shortly before being captured by the lyrinx. Once captured Gilhaelith is almost willing in his aid of them, Gilhaelith soon regrets this as it becomes clear that Matriarch Gyrull has no intention of letting him go. Though "almost willing" he stills keeps in mind his goal in life, to fully understand and control the forces of the world, by using his geomancers globe (a very detailed scaled model of Santhenar) to accomplish his life's aim.
A hypersensitive young woman. She has a strange talent that allows her to see the Secret Art in all its froms. This talent identifies her as a Seeker. She develops feelings for Nish and becomes pregnant with his child, after they make love in the air-floater, while stranded near Tirthrax. Nish has feelings for Ullii, but not to the extent she does for him.
A deformed lyrinx, lacking armour or chameleon skin. The daughter of Matriarch Gyrull, she is a brilliant flesh-former and one of the greatest fliers among the lyrinx. She is passionate and opinionated, which sometimes gets in the way of her blossoming relationship with Ryll. Liett is strong in the Secret Art and her and Ryll often work together on such matters.
Ryll is a deformed Lyrinx male who has only stubby useless wings and is a very talented flesh former. During the course of the series, he creates many of the Lyrinx's most dangerous flesh formed creations. By the end of Chimaera, he is appointed as the first Patriarch of the Lyrinx for three thousand years. Tiaan and Ryll have saved each other's lives several times and despite the war between their species, they come to regard each other as friends. He has romantic feelings towards Liett though he is often confused about her feelings towards him.
Perquisitor for the region of Einunar. He is the Father of Cryl-Nish Hlar.
Although The Well of Echoes does occur 207 years after the events of The View from the Mirror, two longer lived characters from that time do re-appear and have major roles in The Well of Echoes. These characters are:
A great and powerful mancer and Matah of all the Aachim of Santhenar. She befriends Tiaan in Tirthrax and helps her discover how to make constructs fly. She later helps Tiaan escape Vithis and his Clan Vengeance and decides to accompany her on her journeys. Malien becomes an important ally of Flydd's cause to bring down the Council of Scrutators.
A great and powerful mancer who is over 1200 years old. He joins Flydd's cause but he and the Scrutator will forever be rivals. He helps coordinate the attack on Nennifer and it is he and Malien who cause the ampliment to wreak havoc on the fortress. He petitions against the annihilation of the lyrinx.
Characters of great prominence but not to the extent of the above include:
- Chief Scrutator Ghorr
- Scrutator Fusshte
- Matriarch Gyrull
- Scrutator Klarm
- Eiryn Muss
A seeker is a person with the fictional ability to see the Secret Art in all its forms, within a mental lattice. Known seekers include:
- Ullii, is perhaps the most powerful Seeker of all, as she is able to make use of her lattice not just observe it. Her hypersensitivity also increases her power.
- Myllii, has a talent much like Ullii's though due to not being hypersensitive his is less powerful.
- Young scavenger girl, able to sense where Irisis was with her talent. This was a native and less developed talent.
The Well of Echoes is set 207 years after The View from the Mirror. The events from that time directly affect the Three Worlds now. It is set on Santhenar, which is ravaged by war between the old humans and the lyrinx.
The lyrinx escaped from the void when the Forbidding was broken, the war began 50 years after their arrival on Santhenar.
The terrible Council of Scrutators has control of the world and hides the fact that it is the war itself that gives them power and so refuses to allow it to end. Though the people believe the Council (mancers all) to be the ones to control the world it is in fact the Numinator who pulls their strings, though he or she takes no active part in day-to-day life.
Tiaan, an artisan from Tiksi, has a strange crystal dream and soon discovers that it is no dream at all. It is the Aachim of Aachan crying out for aid, their world is being destroyed by worldwide volcanic activity. Tiaan sets off to Tirthrax too ask for the Aachim of Santhenar's aid, but is captured by Ryll the lyrinx and is forced to help in the lyrinx's frightful flesh-forming.
The Well of Echoes
The Well of Echoes itself is a portal of pure energy, sacred to the Aachim, which they send their dead to and sometimes use as a means of execution. An Aachim who believes their life has extended beyond its natural course will also give themselves to the Well. One Well of Echoes resides at Tirthrax, held in place by powerful magic. When Tiaan arrives at Tirthrax, the amplimet begins to communicate with the extremely powerful Nodes there, and draws power from it. It then uses this power to begin to thaw the Well and it takes all the effort of Malien to hold the Well in place. When Tiaan leaves Malien has a bitter struggle with the Well, but ultimately is able to renew the Great Spell that holds it in place, with her great Arts.
Only the Aachim of Clan Inthis can summon a Well of Echoes as they are the clan which discovered it and some claim, originated from it. While kept asleep, a Well is controllable by all the clans. It is possible that it acts as a node in this form. However, once awakened, it can only be controlled by Clan Inthis. An awakened Well appears as a vast circular hole in the ground with golden points of light streaming downwards in the walls. It does not exist in the normal three dimensions. When an awakened Well is summoned in Chimaera, it is seen to move underneath buildings, taking the dead from inside but leaving the buildings intact.
Tears of the Node
Tears of the Node are extremely powerful sorcerous artefacts. The Tears are made of the purest substance on Santhenar, Nihilium.
Even a tiny piece of Nihilium is craved by mancers beyond all things, as it can turn a minor-mancer, into a mancer whose power surpasses all others. The Tears are exceptionally dangerous as they are each the size of a grape-fruit and give the user the power of an entire Node.
The Tears were formed when the node at Snizort exploded, because power was fed back into it, via the node-drainer. Jal-Nish secretly obtained the two tears and eventually used them to take control of the entirety of Santhenar. Jal-Nish refers to the two tears as; Gatherer and Reaper.