Eddings, David – Tamuli – 02 – The Shining Ones

The Shining Ones

David Eddings

the Tamuli book 2

Years ago, the Child-Goddess Aphrael had hidden Bhelliom, the Stone of Power,

at the bottom of the sea. Yet now it is needed again to stop a malign force

from spreading evil and destruction across the lands. Sparhawk, Queen’s

champion, sets out to retrieve the Stone. But others seek the gem for their

own diabolical ends. Most fearsome of these are the Shining Ones, whose mere

touch melts human flesh from bone. Now Sparhawk finds himself stalked by these

creatures out of myth . . . whose touch is all too real.


Excerpted from Chapter Three of the ‘ Cyrga

Affair: An Examination of the Recent Crisis’.

Compiled by the Contemporary History Department

of the University of Matherion.

A compilation such as this is the work of many scholars, and

thus inevitably reflects differing views. While the author of this

portion of the work in hand has enormous respect for his eminent

colleague who so ably composed the preceding chapter,

the reader must be candidly advised that this writer differs from

his colleague in the interpretation of a number of recent events.

I most definitely do not agree that the intervention by the agents

of the Church of Chyrellos in the Cyrga Affair was entirely

untainted by self-interest.

I must join with my colleague, however, in expressing my

admiration and respect for Zalasta of Styricum. The inestimable

services to the Empire of this wise and faithful statesman cannot

be overly praised. Thus it was that when the full import of the

Cyrga Affair burst upon his Majesty’s government, it was quite

natural for our ministers to turn to Zalasta for counsel. Despite

our admiration for this pre-eminent citizen of Styricum, however,

we must admit that Zalasta’s mind is so noble that he

sometimes fails to perceive less admirable qualities in others.

There were grave doubts in some quarters of his Majesty’s

government when Zalasta urged that we turn our attention

beyond the borders of Tamuli in our quest for a solution to the

problem which was quite rapidly approaching the dimensions

of a crisis. His suggestion that the Pandion Knight, Sir Sparhawk

was best suited to deal with the situation troubled the

more conservative members of the Imperial Council. Despite the

man’s military genius, he is nonetheless a member of one of the

Militant Orders of the Church of Chyrellos, and prudent men

do not lower their guard when compelled by necessity to have


Second Zemoch War between the Knights of the Church of

Chyrellos and the minions of Otha of Zemoch. Not even Zalasta,

whose wisdom is legendary, can tell us precisely what took

place in the City of Zemoch during Sir Sparhawk’s fateful confrontation

with Otha and with the Zemoch God, Azash. There

have been some garbled hints that Sir Sparhawk may have utilized

an ancient talisman known as ‘the Bhelliom’ in the struggle,

but no reputable scholar has been able to uncover any details

about the talisman or its attributes. However he managed to

perform the astounding feat, it is undeniably true that Sir Sparhawk

was successful in his mission, and it was clearly that

remarkable success which stampeded his Imperial Majesty’s

government into turning to this Pandion Knight for aid in the

early stages of the Cyrga Affair – despite the grave reservations

of some highly respected ministers, who quite correctly pointed

out that an alliance between the Empire and the Church of Chyrellos

might well be fraught with unseen dangers. Unfortunately

perhaps, the faction headed by Foreign Minister Oscagne currently

has the Emperor’s ear, and our Prime Minister, Pondia

Subat, was unable to prevent the government from embarking

on a potentially dangerous course of action.

Foreign Minister Oscagne himself headed the mission to the

seat of the Elene Church at Chyrellos to petition Archprelate

Dolmant for Sir Sparhawk’s aid in dealing with the crisis. While

no one can question Oscagne’s skill in diplomacy, his political

views have been called into question in some quarters, and it is

widely known that he and the Prime Minister have disagreed

Violently in the past. The politics of the Eosian Continent are murky, for

there is

no central authority there. Quite frequently, the Church of

Chyrellos finds itself at odds with the reigning monarchs of the

separate Elene kingdoms. As a Church Knight, Sir Sparhawk

would normally be under the command of Archprelate Dolmant,

but that simple and direct line of command was clouded by the

fact that Sparhawk is also the Prince Consort of the Queen of

Elenia and therefore subject to her whims. It was here that

Foreign Minister Oscagne was able to demonstrate his virtuosity

in the field of diplomacy. Archprelate Dolmant clearly saw the

contiguity of interest with the Empire in the matter, but queen

Ehlana remained unconvinced. The queen of Elenia is young,

and her emotions sometimes cloud her judgement. She clearly

viewed the notion of a prolonged separation from her husband

with a profound lack of enthusiasm. In a brilliant stroke, however,

Foreign Minister Oscagne proposed that Sir Sparhawk’s

journey to the Daresian Continent might best be masked by a

state visit of Queen Ehlana to the imperial court in Matherion.

As Prince Consort, Sir Sparhawk would quite naturally accompany

his wife, and his presence would thus be fully explained.

This proposal sufficiently mollified Sparhawk’s queen, and she

finally agreed.

Travelling with a suitable escort of one hundred Church

Knights and various functionaries, Queen Ehlana took ship and

sailed to the port of Salesha in eastern Zemoch. From there

the royal party travelled north to Basne where an additional

escort of horsemen from eastern Pelosia awaited them. Thus

reinforced, the Elenes crossed the border into Astel in western


The accounts we have received of the queen’s journey have

shown some glaring inconsistencies. Objections have been

raised that, should we accept the word of these Elenes, we

would clearly be faced with an absurdity. After some consideration,

however, this writer has become convinced that these

apparent discrepancies can be easily reconciled if those who so

violently object will but take the trouble to examine the differences

between the Elene and the Tamul calendars. The Queen

of Elenia did not, in fact, pretend to have flown across the continent,

as some have scornfully suggested. her progress was quite

normal, and it will be recognized as such if the learned gentlemen

will but take note of the fact that the Eleine week is longer than


At any rate, the queen’s party reached the capital of Astel

at Darsas, where Queen Ehlana so charmed King Alberen that

Ambassador Fontan humorously reported that the poor man

was on the verge of giving her’ his crown. Prince Sparhawk,

meanwhile, began to actively pursue the real purpose behind

his journey to Tamuli, the gathering of information about what

the Elenes had melodramatically come to call ‘the conspiracy).

The queen’s party was joined ‘at Darsas by two legions of Atan

warriors under the leadership of Engessa, the commander of the

garrison at Genae, and they journeyed to Pela on the steppes of

central Astel to meet with the nomadic Peloi. From thence they

set out for the Styric city of Sarsos in northeastern Astel.

A disturbing note emerges from the accounts of this journey,

however. The Foreign Minister, either duped or willingly conspiring

with the Elenes, reported that, somewhat to the west of

Sarsos, the royal party encountered Cyrgai This clear evidence

of an intent to deceive his Majesty’s government has raised grave

questions, not only about Oscagne’s loyalty, but about the sincerity

of the Elenes as well. As Prime Minister Subat pointed

out, Foreign Minister Oscagne is, though brilliant, sometimes

erratic, a common characteristic of the overly gifted. Moreover,

the Prime Minister added, Prince Sparhawk and his companions

are Church Knights, after all, and the Church of Chyrellos iS

widely known to be a political as well as a spiritual force on the

Eosian Continent. Dark suspicions began to arise in the halls of

his Majesty’s government, and many have expressed grave

doubts about the wisdom of our course. Some have even gone

so far as to raise the possibility that the disruptions here in

Tamuli might be of Elene origin, providing as they did a perfect

excuse for an incursion onto the continent by the Church

Knights, the acknowledged agents of Archprelate Dolmant.

Could it be, they ask, that this entire affair has been contrived by

Dolmant to provide his Church with the opportunity to forcibly

convert all of Tamuli to the worship of the Elene God and thus

advised this writer that he is seriously concerned about this

possibility. At Sarsos, Queen Ehlana’s party was joined by Sephrenia,

who was formerly the tutor of the Pandions in the Secrets of

styricum, but who is now a member of the Thousand, the ruling

council in that city. They were also joined there by Zalasta himself,

a fact which has quieted some of our anxieties in regard to

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