The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

In Born to Exile, the wandering fifteen-year-old minstrel Alaric is introduced. In addition to his talent for music, he has the power of teleportation. The power is limited in that he is able only to move himself and objects he is carrying to a location that he is able to visualize and position in relation to his current location. He was found, as a newborn baby on a hillside, covered in blood with a “gory hand raggedly severed above the wrist” clutching his ankle. He was taken in by a couple and reared as their son. When he was seven years old, his adoptive mother died, and his father was cruel to him, raising a whip to strike him. As he was about to be whipped, he visualized a tree in the nearby woods and was instantly transported there.

Alaric initially lives by stealing but soon meets Dall, a wandering minstrel who makes him his apprentice. Dall is later murdered by bandits, and Alaric transports himself away to safety. In his wandering, Alaric comes to the Castle Royal, where he falls in love with, and becomes the lover of, Princess Solinde. He is accused of witchcraft by one of her maids, who witnesses his teleportation power being used. The king, Solinde’s father, exiles him from the kingdom. Solinde’s brother, Jeris, who has become Alaric’s friend, gives him a sword, belt, and scabbard.

In his continuing travels, Alaric uses his teleportation power to escape being killed by the proprietors of an inn, at which travelers are routinely killed for their belongings. He leaves the inn accompanied by Mizella, a prostitute who had been used by the inn to lull travelers into a false sense of security. He and Mizella rescue an old woman whom villagers have thrown into a well to die, thinking her to be a witch. It turns out that this woman is Artuva, the midwife who slapped Alaric’s rump after he was born, frightening him into using his teleportation powers. It was, she explains, her bloody severed hand that gripped his ankle when he was found on the hillside as an infant.

Artuva was herself exiled by Alaric’s true father, as a result of the loss of his son. She leads Alaric to the home of his father, Baron Garlenon, and his...

(The entire section is 891 words.)