Domes of Fire by David Eddings

Domes of Fire by David Eddings

The Tamuli book 1

Danger stalked Queen Ehlana’s realm. When an ambasador from the

far-off Tamul Empire begged for help, Sparhawk, Ehlana’s champion and

Prince Consort, was the Emperor’s last hope. For surely the knight who

had killed the evil God Azash could prevail against the terror in

Tamul. But waiting for him was a glittering court seething with

corruption, treachery–and the greatest danger Sparhawk would ever



Excerpted from Chapter Two of The Cyrga

Affair: An Examination of the Recent Crisis.

Compiled by the Contemporary History Department

of the University of Matherion.

It was quite obvious to the Imperial Council at this point

that the empire was facing a threat of the gravest nature

a threat which his Imperial Majesty’s government

was ill-prepared to confront. The empire had long

relied upon the armies of Atan to defend her interests

during the periodic outbreaks of incidental civil disorder

which are normal and to be expected in a disparate population

ruled by a strong central authority. The situation

facing his Majesty’s government this time, however,

did not appear to arise from spontaneous demonstrations

by a few malcontented hotheads spilling out into

the streets from various university campuses during

the traditional recess which follows final examinations.

Those particular demonstrations can be taken in stride,

and order is usually restored with a minimum of bloodshed.

The government soon realized that this time, however,

things were different. The demonstrators were not

high-spirited schoolboys, for one thing, and domestic

tranquillity did not return when ‘classes at the universities

resumed. The authorities might still have maintained

order had the various disruptions been the result

of ordinary revolutionary fervour. The mere presence of

Atan warriors can dampen the spirits of even the most

enthusiastic under normal circumstances. This time, the

customary acts of vandalism accompanying the demonstrations

were quite obviously of paranormal origin.

Inevitably, the imperial government cast a questioning

eye at the Styrics in Sarsos. An investigation by Styric

members of the Imperial Council whose loyalty to the

throne could not be questioned, however, quite clearly

indicated that Styricum had had no part in the disturbances.

The paranormal incidents were obviously coming

from some as yet to be determined source and were so

widespread that they could not have emanated from

the activities of a few Styric renegades. The Styrics themselves

were unable to identify the source of this activity,

and even the legendary Zalasta, pre-eminent magician

in” all of Styricum though he might be, ruefully confessed

to total bafflement.

It was Zalasta, however, who suggested the course

ultimately taken by his Majesty’s government. He

advised that the empire might seek assistance from

the Eosian continent, and he specifically directed the

government’s attention to a man named Sparhawk.

All imperial representatives on the Eosian continent

were immediately commanded to drop everything else

and to concentrate their full attention upon this man.

It was imperative that his Majesty’s government have

information about this Sparhawk person. As the reports

from Eosia began to filter in, the Imperial Council began

to develop a composite picture of Sparhawk, his appearance,

his personality and his history.

Sir Sparhawk, they discovered, was a member of one

of the quasi-religious orders of the Elene Church. His

particular order is referred to as ‘The Pandion Knights’.

He is a tall, ‘ lean man of early middle years with a

battered face, a keen intelligence and an abrupt, even

abrasive manner. The Knights of the Elene Church are

fearsome warriors, and Sir Sparhawk is in the forefront

of their ranks of champions. At the time in the history

of the Eosian continent when the four orders of Church

Knights were founded, the circumstances were so

desperate that the Elenes set aside their customary

prejudices and permitted the Militant Orders to receive

instruction in the arcane practices of Styricum, and it

was the proficiency of the Church Knights in those arts

which helped them to prevail during the First Zemoch

War some five centuries ago.

Sir Sparhawk held a position for which there is

no equivalent in our empire. He was the hereditary

‘Champion’ of the royal house of the Kingdom of

Elenia. Western Elenes have a chivalric culture replete

with many archaisms. The ‘Challenge’ (essentially an offer

to engage in single combat) is the customary response

of members of the nobility who feel that their honour

has been somehow sullied. It is amazing to note that

not even ruling monarchs are exempt from the necessity

of answering these challenges. In order to avoid the

inconvenience of responding to the impertinences of

assorted hotheads, the monarchs of Eosia customarily

designate some highly-skilled (and usually widelyfeared)

warrior as a surrogate. Sir Sparhawk’s nature

and reputation is such that even the most quarrelsome

nobles of the kingdom of Elenia find after careful consideration

that they have not really been insulted. It is a

credit to Sir Sparhawk’s skill and cool judgement that

he has seldom ‘even been obliged to kill anyone during

these affairs, since, by ancient custom, a severely

incapacitated combatant may save his life by surrendering

and withdrawing his challenge.

After his father’s death, Sir Sparhawk presented himself

to King Aldreas, the father of the present queen, to

take up his duties. King Aldreas, hoWever, was a weak

monarch, and he was dominated by his sister, Arissa,

and by Annias, the Primate of Cimmura, who was also

Princess Arissa’s surreptitious lover and the father of

her bastard son, Lycheas. The Primate of Cimmura, who

was the de facto ruler of Elenia, had hopes of ascending

the throne of the Archprelacy of the Elene Church

in the Holy City of Chyrellos, and the presence of the

stern and moralistic Church Knight at the court inconvenienced

him, and so it was that he persuaded King

Aldreas to send Sir Sparhawk into exile in the Kingdom

of Render.

In time, King Aldreas also became inconvenient, and

Primate Annias and the Princess poisoned him, thus

elevating Princess Ehlana, Aldreas’ daughter, to the

throne. Though she was ‘young, Queen Ehlana had

received some training from Sir Sparhawk as a child,

and she was a far stronger monarch than her father had

been. She soon became more than a mere inconvenience

to the Primate. He poisoned her as well, but Sir Sparhawk’s

fellow Pandions, aided by their tutor in the

arcane arts, a Styric woman named Sephrenia, cast an

enchantment which sealed the queen up in crystal and

sustained her life.

Thus it stood when Sir Sparhawk returned from exile.

Since the Militant Orders had no wish to see the Primate

of Cimmura on the Archprelate’s throne, certain of the

champions of the other three orders were sent to assist

Sir Sparhawk in finding an antidote or a cure which

could restore Queen Ehlana to health. Since the queen

had denied Annias access to her treasury in the past,

the Church Knights reasoned that should she be

restored, she would once again deny Annias the funds

he needed to pursue his candidacy.

Annias allied himself with a renegade Pandion named

Martel, and this Martel person was, like all Pandions,

skilled in the use of Styric magic. He cast obstacles, both

physical and supernatural, in Sparhawk’s path, but

Sir Sparhawk and ‘ his companions were ultimately

successful in discovering that Queen Ehlana could

only be restored by a magical object known as ‘The


Western Elenes are a peculiar people. They have a

level of sophistication in worldly matters which sometimes

surpasses our own, but at the same time, they

have an almost childlike belief in the more lurid forms

of magic. This ‘Bhelliom’ we are told, is a very large

sapphire which was laboriously carved into the shape

of a rose at some time in the distant past. The Elenes

here insist that the artisan who carved it was a Troll. We

will not dwell on that absurdity.

At any rate, Sir Sparhawk and his ‘ friends overcame

many obstacles and were ultimately able to obtain

the peculiar talisman, and (they claim) it was successful

in restoring Queen Ehlana – although one strongly

suspects that their tutor, Sephrenia, accomplished

that task unaided, and that the apparent use of the

Bhelliom was little more than a subterfuge she used

to protect her ,from the virulent bigotry of western


When the Archprelate Cluvonus died, the Hierocracy

of the Elene Church journeyed to Chyrellos to participate

in the ‘election’ of his successor. Election is a peculiar

practice which involves the stating of preference.

That candidate who receives the approval of a majority

of his fellows is elevated to the office in question. This,

of course, is an unnatural procedure, but since the Elene

clergy is ostensibly celibate, there is no non-scandalous

way the Archprelacy can be made hereditary. The

Primate of Cimmura had bribed a goodly number of

high churchmen to state a preference for him during the

deliberations of the Hierocracy, but he still fell short of

the needed majority. It was at this point that his

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107

Categories: Eddings, David