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Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5571 Posts

Posted - 10 Jan 2008 :  16:45:48  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Well met

This is a Book Club thread for the short story entitled "Continuum", by Paul S. Kemp, from the Realms of War anthology.

Please discuss herein.

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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2008 :  00:14:26  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There is so much I could say about this short story, but it all boils down to the fact that the story really makes me wish that Shadowrealm was closer to being released. I loved the details that this story fills in. But before I jump into some of the more major events hinted at, a few of the details I really loved:

Paul really started to flesh out the personalities of the Princes of Shade in Shadowbred. Rivalen came across as cool, cultured, and refined. I really liked the sense of class that he had, even though it was clear that he was capable of great evil. We got a glimpse of Brennus' personality, but this short story really made me like him.

Brennus and his homonculi came across as a bit more (I hesitate to use this term for one of the princes of Shade) whimsical than his brothers, but this story really explains a lot of that. Brennus' connection to his mother is endearing, and there is something still a little child like about his demeanor, even though he was obviously driven by his father into his divination abilities. Plus, the simple, "discovering things is my gift," statement is almost an insight into his personality there. Instead of puffing up his talent or explaining the details, he states a simple fact.

And of course, restating the comment at the end of the story was the perfect note to end with.

I always knew that Rivalen was capable of great evil. While his cool demeanor makes for a villain that comes across as "above the fray," his emotional detachment also means that he has to be particularly cruel when he sets his mind to something. Nothing really brought that home more than when his mother, already aware of her son's betrayal, simply wanted to hold his hand as she died, and he denied her. In some ways, that condemnation of solitude in death was crueler act that the actual murder was.

And now the bombshell . . . Varra's pregnant? Wow. I probably should have seen that coming, but I didn't. Not only was that a shock to find out, but Varra and her journey helped to underscore the perspective of the destruction of Ordulin from the "ground floor." It was a very real, very emotional portrayal of how refugees would have to feel in this situation.

Varra has always been a survivor, but I fear that this whole situation won't turn out well. Cale is such a stand up guy for all of his friends, but given his inability to let himself feel as if he deserves a "normal" life, I'm worried that Cale is going to miss out on the family life that he could have if he just opened himself up a bit.

Yeah, I know, I'm being too sentimental. Honestly, I really liked this short story. Powerful on its own, and on top of that, a great reminder of why I'm hooked on this series.

"Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder."--Saint Thomas Aquinas

http://knighterrantjr.blogspot.com/

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The Red Walker
Great Reader

USA
3523 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2008 :  18:48:19  Show Profile  Send The Red Walker a Yahoo! Message Send The Red Walker a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What can I say? So much packed into the little story!

If you ever had any doubts about Rivalen, forget them. This guy is as cold-hearted as they come. One mean, evil bastard. Someone who could even make Elaith Craulnober wet himself!

It was good to see that Brennus still has good feelings for his mother along with resentment for his father. Interesting for him to find the necklace, that should lead to some real fireworks soon! When he discovers Rivalen killed his mother will he blame his father for letting it happen? I can see a real rift for these princes of shade.

Varra being pregnant, did not see that so soon! I am hoping that Cale will find out in time to protect them, but am not so worried for them. After all that was Mask in the caravan with her that made Brennus believe she had lost her child right?
Lastly

A little nonsense now and then, relished by the wisest men - Willy Wonka

"We need men who can dream of things that never were." -

John F. Kennedy, speech in Dublin, Ireland, June 28, 1963
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PaulSKemp
Forgotten Realms Author

804 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2008 :  19:20:38  Show Profile  Visit PaulSKemp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
KEjr and Red Walker,

Thank you both. I'm very pleased you enjoyed the story. Brennus and Rivalen are enjoyable to write. I was pleased to have a chance with this story to distinguish them a bit more, and give them and their backstory more detail.

I really like the notion that Brennus is a diviner almost without peer, but that it's not his first love when it comes to the Art and that he entered the "field" only to serve his father's purposes.

Rivalen, of course, is pure fun -- intelligent, sophisticated, thoughtful, mostly heartless, but for all that, blind to his own blindness. Should be interesting when he is forced to open his eyes.

Edited by - PaulSKemp on 15 Jan 2008 19:22:04
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KnightErrantJR
Great Reader

USA
5402 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2008 :  19:28:19  Show Profile  Visit KnightErrantJR's Homepage Send KnightErrantJR a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love the humanizing element of Brennus and his constructs and "toys." Its just elements like that make these characters so fun to read about.

"Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder."--Saint Thomas Aquinas

http://knighterrantjr.blogspot.com/

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Braveheart
Learned Scribe

Austria
159 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2008 :  07:10:26  Show Profile  Visit Braveheart's Homepage  Send Braveheart an AOL message  Send Braveheart an ICQ Message Send Braveheart a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KnightErrantJR
And now the bombshell . . . Varra's pregnant? Wow. I probably should have seen that coming, but I didn't. Not only was that a shock to find out, but Varra and her journey helped to underscore the perspective of the destruction of Ordulin from the "ground floor." It was a very real, very emotional portrayal of how refugees would have to feel in this situation.

Varra has always been a survivor, but I fear that this whole situation won't turn out well.


I liked the portrayal of the refugees too, it's something that in my opinion isn't done often enough in FR novels. I had to grin every time Mask came in to the scene. I had to laugh out loud when Varra was frightened that the handsome man would really tell her the truth.
I hope there'll be more of those Mask-encounters in Shadowrealm.

Jarlaxle: "Do keep ever present in your thoughts, my friend, that an illusion can kill you if you believe in it."
Entreri: "And the real thing can kill you whether you believe in it or not."
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PaulSKemp
Forgotten Realms Author

804 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2008 :  14:46:28  Show Profile  Visit PaulSKemp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Braveheart

quote:
Originally posted by KnightErrantJR
And now the bombshell . . . Varra's pregnant? Wow. I probably should have seen that coming, but I didn't. Not only was that a shock to find out, but Varra and her journey helped to underscore the perspective of the destruction of Ordulin from the "ground floor." It was a very real, very emotional portrayal of how refugees would have to feel in this situation.

Varra has always been a survivor, but I fear that this whole situation won't turn out well.


I liked the portrayal of the refugees too, it's something that in my opinion isn't done often enough in FR novels. I had to grin every time Mask came in to the scene. I had to laugh out loud when Varra was frightened that the handsome man would really tell her the truth.
I hope there'll be more of those Mask-encounters in Shadowrealm.



Appreciate that, Braveheart.
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Firestorm
Senior Scribe

Canada
792 Posts

Posted - 19 Jan 2008 :  23:31:20  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bot oh Boy........Pretty much everything has been covered by everyone else as far as what I wanted to say.

Especially Paul's comment about Rivalen's eyes being forced open soon:)

I really can't wait for Shadowrealm/Shadoworld(It said Book 3 shadoworld in one of my book covers)
Its coming out in a few months right? I'm flipping excited
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PaulSKemp
Forgotten Realms Author

804 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2008 :  18:45:07  Show Profile  Visit PaulSKemp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm

Bot oh Boy........Pretty much everything has been covered by everyone else as far as what I wanted to say.

Especially Paul's comment about Rivalen's eyes being forced open soon:)

I really can't wait for Shadowrealm/Shadoworld(It said Book 3 shadoworld in one of my book covers)
Its coming out in a few months right? I'm flipping excited



I'm pleased you enjoyed it, Firestorm. I believe Shadowrealm is scheduled for an August release.

Paul
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 29 Jan 2008 :  18:31:26  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The main reason I loved this particular story is because it put the spotlight back on Varra, a character who was absent from Shadowstorm and is someone I actually feel quite a bit of sympathy for. I don't think Erevis Cale is a particularly good "boyfriend" to her (in Shadowbred, he would not even say that he loved her, only that he cared for her, even after pining over her in the Erevis Cale series! Yes, I remember that.). The fact that she was left alone to fend for herself in their cottage made me a bit more mad at Cale, although I know of course he would not have expected a Shadowstorm to come Varra's way. And of course, this story showed that Varra is quite capable of fending for herself, which is something else I like about her. I know there is way more to her than meets the eye.

I also enjoyed what we learn about Rivalen's backstory, as well as his development as a character in the current time. Can't say I feel sorry for him. Whenever I hear Nine Inch Nails's "Closer" I just imagine him singing the lyrics for a good laugh.


"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
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BruceCordell
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

21 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2008 :  04:50:00  Show Profile  Visit BruceCordell's Homepage  Send BruceCordell an ICQ Message Send BruceCordell a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I enjoyed Paul's story for (despite?) its brutal, heart-chilling premise. Hard to read, but Paul pulls it off. The story is terrible in its portrayal of Rivalen's mother's death when he "[..] saw the awareness melt out of her eyes." And in the end, he wouldn't even hold her hand.

Edited by - BruceCordell on 31 Jan 2008 04:51:31
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PaulSKemp
Forgotten Realms Author

804 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2008 :  17:39:07  Show Profile  Visit PaulSKemp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rinonalyrna Fathomlin

The main reason I loved this particular story is because it put the spotlight back on Varra, a character who was absent from Shadowstorm and is someone I actually feel quite a bit of sympathy for.



I wanted to close the loop a bit with Varra in this story, and show her mettle. No one lives a life in Skullport without having some serious mental toughness.

Anyway, there is more yet to be learned of Varra and her fate.
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PaulSKemp
Forgotten Realms Author

804 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2008 :  17:40:24  Show Profile  Visit PaulSKemp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BruceCordell

I enjoyed Paul's story for (despite?) its brutal, heart-chilling premise. Hard to read, but Paul pulls it off. The story is terrible in its portrayal of Rivalen's mother's death when he "[..] saw the awareness melt out of her eyes." And in the end, he wouldn't even hold her hand.



Thanks, Bruce.
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2008 :  00:56:51  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by PaulSKemp

I wanted to close the loop a bit with Varra in this story, and show her mettle. No one lives a life in Skullport without having some serious mental toughness.

Anyway, there is more yet to be learned of Varra and her fate.



And I very much look forward to reading about it.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
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RodOdom
Senior Scribe

USA
509 Posts

Posted - 03 Feb 2008 :  06:25:13  Show Profile  Visit RodOdom's Homepage Send RodOdom a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Suspenseful, stylish. But I think it would have been better if it were worked into the new Cale books rather than presented in this anthology.
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Dart Ambermoon
Learned Scribe

Germany
253 Posts

Posted - 05 Mar 2008 :  18:15:44  Show Profile  Visit Dart Ambermoon's Homepage Send Dart Ambermoon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, finally got my hands on the anthology and what a geat story to start it off...as Iīve stated in the respective threads to the two novels already, Master Kemp is the first one to get me interested in anything Shade by his portrayal of Rivalen and Brennus, which only continues with this short story.

The scene in which Rivalen kills his mother is bone chilling in its description and especially in Rivalenīs action (or lack thereof) contrasted with his motherīs words in her final moments. His thoughts (not just here, but in the whole story as in the thoughts of the Sharrans throughout the trilogy so far) flesh out Sharīs creed in fantastic detail and help the reader truly understand it, even a lot more IMO than any published lore on deities, etc., so far. As a reader Iīm fascinated and as a DM I never felt I could run a Sharran NPC this well before. Especially the line "He realized, with a clarity born of pain, that hope had been his transgression." struck me and actually made me put the book down (not an easy feat), to ponder it for a good while.
Rivalenīs story is fleshed out nicely, also adding a vulnerable spot or two and I loved the realization, when he understood he had been but a tool in getting his father to worship the Lady of Loss. Greek tragedy canīt hold a candle to this.

The portrayal of Brennus was equally striking, adding more touches of humanity to him in the way he deals with his homunculi, his feelings towards his parents and the fact that the "best diviner" actually didnīt want to become that, but has a love for constructs. The small flashback to his childhood actually had me liking the guy. Liking him! Canīt believe I said that. Add to that the whole nackace intrigue...whew! As if you neded more burning questions for "Shadowrealm". Iīm voting for another trilogy right here.

I also enjoyed the focus not neing on Cale (and I do love me some Unwilling-Chosen-of-Mask), but on Varra and the refugees. Varra has gained a lot of character through the story IMO, showing what a brave soul she is. Same can be said for some of the refugees. Itīs always nice to see soul in those characters that normally donīt get any spotlight faced with catastrophe. It felt very...hmm...realmsian.Pregnant? Didnīt see that one coming.

Mask...well, I was like "is that...? Canīt be...or maybe...". Very interesting to see him take a direct part in things and very interested to see how that pans out. And what Cale will think when he finds out. Mask is one slick "bastard". Iīd love to see him play a game of chess with Rivalen, actually.

To sum it up...wonderful short story, excellent bridge for the series, leaving me hungry for more. Paul makes the darkness seethe and the flickers of light and bravery sparkle. Youīve just raised the bar for yourself and "Shadowrealm"...again!

Thank you for this one.

~ In Finder I trust, for danger I lust ~
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 05 Mar 2008 :  18:42:49  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dart Ambermoon

I also enjoyed the focus not neing on Cale (and I do love me some Unwilling-Chosen-of-Mask), but on Varra and the refugees. Varra has gained a lot of character through the story IMO, showing what a brave soul she is.


I always knew she had character and was a brave soul, but it was wonderful to see more of it, and for Varra to get more screen time. I also have to admit, it's good to see a female protagonist emerge in this series (or at least, that's what I think is happening). Sometimes, the Cale stories can feel a little like "stories of men without women." That's not a bad thing in and of itself, but what can I say? I'm female and I have a fondness for strong, non-obnoxious heroines.

quote:
Same can be said for some of the refugees. Itīs always nice to see soul in those characters that normally donīt get any spotlight faced with catastrophe.


Totally agreed.

quote:
It felt very...hmm...realmsian.Pregnant? Didnīt see that one coming.


Nor I.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
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PaulSKemp
Forgotten Realms Author

804 Posts

Posted - 05 Mar 2008 :  18:51:19  Show Profile  Visit PaulSKemp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dart Ambermoon

Master Kemp is the first one to get me interested in anything Shade by his portrayal of Rivalen and Brennus, which only continues with this short story.


Dart,

Thanks for all that. I sincerely appreciate it.

And keep on truckin' with Realms of War. Lots of great stories in there by lots of great authors.

Incidentally, I just turned Shadowrealm in a couple days ago, so all is moving forward. I think it wraps the trilogy nicely.

Edited by - PaulSKemp on 05 Mar 2008 19:01:03
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
2880 Posts

Posted - 21 May 2008 :  04:47:38  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-As has been mentioned, this is one of the two best short stories concerning the Forgotten Realms, period. Superb. And, as was mentioned already, the conclusion to the story, Brennus' line...fantastic.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

Elves of Faerûn
Vol I- The Elves of Faerûn
Vol. III- Spells of the Elves
Vol. VI- Mechanical Compendium
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PaulSKemp
Forgotten Realms Author

804 Posts

Posted - 29 May 2008 :  17:14:18  Show Profile  Visit PaulSKemp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you, Dag. I'm sincerely pleased that you enjoyed the story. I had a good time writing it. Eager to see Shadowrealm on shelves, now.
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Firestorm
Senior Scribe

Canada
792 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2008 :  06:06:30  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Paul. Just one question that has always been annoying me since rereading Shadow's witness.

The Verra that works as a servant to the Zhent lord, who is acquainted with Riven is in fact, a completely different Verra than the one Cale met in scullport and is now seeing right?

I know it is not feasible that it is the same Verra anyways, I just wondered why they share a name(Ill assume you liked the name) rather than making up weird scenarios in my head that Riven knowing Cale's weakness for women like Tazi and planting her to set him up down the road.
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Kajehase
Great Reader

Sweden
2104 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2008 :  14:54:12  Show Profile Send Kajehase a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The "Verra" that Cale's hooked up with is actually called Varra.

There is a rumour going around that I have found god. I think is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.
Terry Pratchett
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Firestorm
Senior Scribe

Canada
792 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2008 :  17:01:19  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kajehase

The "Verra" that Cale's hooked up with is actually called Varra.


Doesn't answer my question.

I have seen several instances where Forgotten realms books spelled a specific character by 1 name in a book, then changed the spelling in another. Be it a typo or accident.

First and foremost, R.A Salvatore's "Homeland" Spells Gromph Baerne "Gomph" for the entire book every time his name is brought up
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2008 :  18:07:56  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Firestorm

Hi Paul. Just one question that has always been annoying me since rereading Shadow's witness.

The Verra that works as a servant to the Zhent lord...


Which "Verra" is this? Where is she mentioned?

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
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PatrikF
Acolyte

Sweden
3 Posts

Posted - 25 Jun 2008 :  12:45:21  Show Profile  Visit PatrikF's Homepage Send PatrikF a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Her name was Varra, and she appeared as a minor servant in Shadow's Witness on pages 105-106.
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Firestorm
Senior Scribe

Canada
792 Posts

Posted - 25 Jun 2008 :  22:58:22  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by PatrikF

Her name was Varra, and she appeared as a minor servant in Shadow's Witness on pages 105-106.

That's her. Servant of Zhentarim lord Verdinal. Its page 104 actually.

Just struck me as too coincidental to have Riven acquainted with a girl of the same name knowing a woman who looked like Tazi would be Cale's weakness.....

Probably nothing, but that's why I am asking Paul here:) To Satisfy my curiosity:)
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