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Authors: Alison Croggon

The Bone Queen

BOOK: The Bone Queen
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Contents

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VII

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XXXI

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XXXII

XXXIII

XXXIV

XXXV

XXXVI

F
OR MY COVEN SISTERS
, K
ATE
E
LLIOTT AND
C
OURTNEY
S
CHAFER, WHO GOT ME THROUGH

A NOTE ON THE TEXT

I
T
is once again my pleasure to present to a wider general audience a classic of Annaren literature. As is the case with the
Naraudh Lar-Chanë
(
The Riddle of the Treesong
, originally published in my translation as the Pellinor quartet),
The Bone Queen
is mostly unknown outside the field of Edil-Amarandh studies, but I feel it has the capacity to delight far beyond the academic readership it now holds.

The trove of manuscripts, books and other cultural artefacts discovered in 1991, when an earthquake in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco opened up a hitherto unknown cave system, is one of the most significant archaeological finds of the twentieth century. This treasury of documents, which are in a remarkable state of preservation, has since (somewhat erroneously) become popularly known as the Annaren Scripts. They reveal the existence of a pre-modern civilization of unprecedented complexity and sophistication, occupying a continent that stretched from the polar ice fields to near the equator. To its various peoples, the continent was known as Edil-Amarandh.

It’s now widely accepted that the Annaren Scripts comprise the collection that was held at the Library of Turbansk, which must have been conveyed there for preservation shortly before the catastrophe which finally destroyed this remarkable culture.

The
Naraudh Lar-Chanë
was one of the first of the Annaren Scripts to be translated in full. The story of Cadvan of Lirigon and Maerad of Pellinor’s epic quest to find the Treesong in order to save their world from conquest by the Nameless One was clearly as appealing to its contemporary audience as it remains to the modern reader: since I began my own translation, laboured over between 1999 and 2008, no less than fourteen other copies have been discovered, written in Annaren, Suderain and the Speech.

As an introduction to the diverse peoples and landscapes of Edil-Amarandh, which stretched far beyond the central realm of Annar to include the highly individual cultures of the Seven Kingdoms, the nomadic collectives of the Pilanel in the north and the ancient Suderain civilization in the south, the
Naraudh Lar-Chanë
remains unparalleled. In contrast,
The Bone Queen
takes place entirely in Northern Annar, in the area bounded by the Schools of Lirigon and Pellinor, and the Osidh Elanor (the Mountains of the Dawn). The story concerns itself with an incident some fifty years before those recorded in the other four Books of Pellinor (but briefly referred to in
The Gift
), when Cadvan of Lirigon was a young man.

The Bone Queen
was written in Annaren, but its original title,
Illarenen na Noroch
(
The Fading of the Light
), is in the Speech. It is a signature of Bardic-authored texts that, even if they are written in another language, they are titled in the Speech; but as with the
Naraudh Lar-Chanë
, no author is credited. This opens a rich field of speculation. Arguments have been made for Cadvan himself, Dernhil of Gent, Selmana of Lirigon or Nelac of Lirigon. My own research inclines me to the notion that it was written by Selmana, who later in life became a prominent Maker and is the confirmed author of several books (including an Annaren translation of Poryphia’s
Aximidiaë
, as foreshadowed in this text). But in truth, unless further evidence comes to light, none of us can be sure.

The text, aside from its virtues as an adventure, gives us some new insights into the Bards’ beliefs, in particular their theories on magery and sorcery and the eleven dimensions which they believed structured the universe. And, which is perhaps of more interest to readers of my original translation of the
Naraudh Lar-Chanë
, it is also an intimate portrait of the early years of Cadvan of Lirigon, who figures prominently in the larger events of the other Books of Pellinor.

I would like to sketch a few general notes for readers new to this remote but fascinating world. I have used the word “Bard” to translate
Dhillarearën
, which in the Speech means “Starpeople”. They existed in every culture of Edil-Amarandh, but cultural conventions around Barding differed widely. Bards were people born with the Gift of magery and the ability to use the Speech. This gave them unique abilities, including a long lifespan and the capacity to speak to animals. The Speech was the language used in all spells and charms and, in Annar at least (although there is a voluminous list of writings from Annar and elsewhere which questions this rule), was considered the defining attribute of a Bard.

The Bards of Annar, as elsewhere in Edil-Amarandh, possessed both civil and spiritual authority, but it was considered a breach of the Balance (the central ethical guide of Barding) for Bards to be the sole authorities. Consequently, most regions had a double system of government – Bardic and secular, in order to check each other’s excesses. In Lirigon, for example, the Thane, who figures only as a minor character in this story, was as important to governance as the First Bard, although in matters pertaining solely to the School, the Bards had final authority.

In Bards, the Speech was inborn: they never had to learn it. A Bard “came into” the Speech at some point during childhood, usually in pre-pubescence, although this appears to have varied widely. (Cadvan of Lirigon is said to have been five, while Maerad of Pellinor achieved the Speech at sixteen, which was considered unusually late.) Although it could be learned by non-Bards, and was sometimes used as a lingua franca, it only held its properties of magery when spoken by a Bard.

For those interested, the appendices in the later Books of Pellinor have more information on this fascinating civilization, the Speech, the history of Edil-Amarandh, and a list of further reading.

As ever,
The Bone Queen
is the result of the labour of many people besides myself. My husband, Daniel Keene, has once again been commendable in his provision of delicious meals at crisis points, and in his proofreading skills. I wish to thank my children, Joshua, Zoë and Ben, for their patience and support, and I’m again grateful to Richard, Jan, Nicholas and Veryan Croggon for their generous feedback. I owe a special debt to my editors, Chris Kloet and Emily Damesick, for picking up my grammatical infelicities.

None of this would have been possible without the work of colleagues who have gone before me, and who have helped me over many years. I owe particular gratitude to the profound Bardic scholarship of Kate Elliott and Courtney Schafer, who guided me through some obscure problems at a difficult point of this translation. Any oversights or errors that remain are all my own. Lastly, I would again like to acknowledge the staff of the Libridha Museum at the University of Querétaro, whose courtesy and unfailing helpfulness remain exemplary.

Alison Croggon
Melbourne, 2015

A NOTE ON PRONUNCIATION

M
OST
Annaren proper nouns derive from the Speech, and generally share its pronunciation. In words of three or more syllables, the stress is usually laid on the second syllable: in words of two syllables, (eg,
lembel
, invisible) stress is always on the first.

Spellings are mainly phonetic.

ae
– a long sound, as in
ice
.


– two syllables pronounced separately, to sound
eye–ee
.
Maninaë
is pronounced Man–in–eye–ee.

au
– ow.
Raur
rhymes with
sour
.

e
– as in
get
. Always pronounced at the end of a word: for example,
remane
, to walk, has three syllables. Sometimes this is indicated with ë, which indicates also that the stress of the word lies on the vowel (for example,
ilë
, we, is sometimes pronounced almost to lose the
i
sound).

ea
– the two vowel sounds are pronounced separately, to make the sound ay–uh.
Inasfrea
, to walk, thus sounds: in–ass–fray–uh.

eu

oi
sound, as in
boy.

i
– as in
hit.

ia
– two vowels pronounced separately, as in the name
Ian
.

y

uh
sound, as in
much.

c
– always a hard
c
, as in
crust
, not
ice
.

ch
– soft, as in the German
ach
or
loch
, not
church
.

dh
– a consonantal sound halfway between a hard
d
and a hard
th
, as in
the
, not
thought
. There is no equivalent in English; it is best approximated by hard
th.
Medhyl
can be said Meth’l.

s
– always soft, as in
soft
, not
noise.

BOOK: The Bone Queen
10.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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