The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

At the dawn of time, a dwarfed, misshapen Troll named Ghwerig, shunned by the other Trolls, spent his time searching for treasure. He found a large, valuable blue gemstone. Ghwerig noticed and enhanced the gemstones distinctive shape by polishing it. He muttered spells, endowing the gemstone with the power of the Troll gods. Ghwerig, however, was unable to tap the power of his new gemstone, called Bhelliom. Guided by the gods directions, he fashioned two gold rings set with oval shards to serve as the key to Bhellioms power.

Later, the Styrics, a society endowed with magic, moved into the area. Their Elder Gods coveted Bhellioms power. To render Bhelliom powerless, the Younger Gods chose the child-goddess Aphrael to steal the rings. Eventually, the Elenes displaced the Styrics, and the Thalesian king took possession of Bhelliom and incorporated it into his crown.

The story of the Elenium begins several centuries later. Sir Sparhawk, a Pandian knight and the kings champion, had been banished from Elenia. Ten years later, the king died, and his daughter ascended the throne. Sparhawk returns to present himself to Queen Ehlana and finds her trapped in a block of enchanted crystal. Her cousin Lycheas is ruling as prince regent under the control of Annias, primate of the Eosian church in Elenia.

The Pandian knights Styric teacher of magic, Sephrenia, and twelve knights had conjured the crystal block to sustain Ehlanas life. The block is temporary, lasting only as long as those who created it live, and one of them is dying each month.

Annias uses the Elenian treasury to buy the position of archprelate of the Eosian church. After Annias tries to discredit and disband the Pandians, the four orders (Pandian, Crynic, Alcionic, and Genidian) of church knights preceptors agree that Annias ambition should be blocked and that the best way to do so is to effect Ehlanas cure. Representatives of the other three orders accompany Sir Sparhawk, Sephrenia, and four other companions around Eosia searching for a cure....

(The entire section is 836 words.)