Herewiss at home in the Brightwood

The Five:

Herewiss

Part-time swordsmith. Reluctant sorcerer. Novice strategist and tactician. A man with a mission... and a problem.

As the sole surviving heir to the rule of Darthen's rural Brightwood province, Herewiss's early life should have been quiet and unremarkable, occupied by the studies that would underpin his lordship and the occasional call to battle in support of Darthen's Queen. But his preparation to succeed his father as the next Prince of the Brightwood was interrupted early on by a pair of unexpected developments.

In his early teens came the shocking discovery that he possessed enough of the dangerous blue Fire of Power to focus -- if it didn't kill him first, as it killed the only other two men who focused it (and saved the world) more than a thousand years before. Then, years later, came an unwelcome royal visit that threw him together with the deeply annoying son of the visiting king of Arlen.

Herewiss was the last to see how the mutual disdain between him and Prince Freelorn was shifting gradually through acceptance into friendship, and finally into something far deeper. When on his father's death Freelorn was outlawed by his family's enemies and banished from his homeland, Herewiss swore to do whatever he could to help put Lorn on the Throne that was his by right.

But after seven years of flight and exile, Freelorn's situation has reached a crisis... and Herewiss knows he can no longer put off choosing what path he'll follow. Should he concentrate on helping Lorn gain armies and allies to fight his way back through the Middle Kingdoms to Arlen, and the kingship he's been denied? Or should he instead gamble what little sorcerous knowledge he's come to command on seeking mastery of the Fire, before his failure to focus it snuffs it out -- and him as well?

A message from Freelorn forces Herewiss's hand, sending him to track down his loved and Lorn's little band of followers and help them escape mercenary forces on Freelorn's trail. In the perilous company of the fire elemental Sunspark, Herewiss leads Freelorn and his people beyond the reach of the mercenary forces hunting them, deep into the debatable lands beyond the Kingdoms' borders. There on the fringe of the endless Waste Unclaimed they lay new plans for Freelorn's return to kingship, leaving Herewiss to explore the infinite worldgates contained within the uncanny Hold in the Waste.

In this bizarre place at the edge of the lands of men, Herewiss hopes to find the door that will lead him to his Power, giving him at last the means to make Freelorn King of Arlen. But in this place, the wonders and deadly dangers of many worlds come into play... and these doors open both ways.

The beginning of the Tale of the Five is told from Herewiss's point of view in The Door Into Fire.

Lorn and Dusty in the Brightwood
At the forge in the Brightwood

On the side terrace at the Stuck Pig
The adept meditates