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Westercon 51

Hello everyone,

Melissa here, reporting in from four fabulous days at Westercon. Had such a wonderful time, that I'm really rather sorry to be back! This is not my full and final report, as I haven't got time to post EVERYTHING that happened, but I will go directly to the heart of the matter as I know it's what everyone is dying to know.

SPOILER SPACE (If you want to live on in desperate curiousity about Bride's identity, read no further.)

And the Bride is.......;)(Drumroll, please,)

Prince Richard Haldane's younger daughter, Princess Araxie Lean Haldane, the Baroness Dunluce! (KK wasn't kidding when she said 'you've heard of this family,' was she? ;) KK said this book is not so much a mystery about WHO she is, but about how she and Kelson come together. In the prologue and the chapter that she read to us yesterday afternoon, Kelson is still carrying a torch for Rothana and torturing himself over how much he loves her and how badly things worked out between them He and Rothana have a private conversation in which she tells him grow up and get on with your life, because I meant it when I said I'd never marry again. Of course, she says it more politely and respectfully than that, but her meaning is plain. She then goes on to tell him that she's found a suitable girl for him, and that she is Araxie. Right after she tells him this, Kelson asks "How do you know if she will even have me?" (How he has failed to notice that he's the most eligible bachelor in Gwynedd defies belief, but never mind.)

Rothana rolls her eyes at him and says, "I know she will, because she said so when I asked her!" Kelson blinks in astonishment at Rothana's audacity at taking his marriage upon herself when it's been the raison d'etre of his entire privy council

Rothana goes on to tell him that the idea had come to her the previous summer when Araxie's whole family was visiting Rhemuth to negotiate the marriage of Araxie's older sister. Araxie had kind of stayed in the background on that visit, and Kelson's mind had been on other things. Before then, the last time he'd seen Araxie was before Prince Richard's death, and he has only general memories of the child she'd been. Rothana urges him to talk to Araxie when he stops at the Ile D'Orsal with Liam on their way back to Torenth. If he's willing to give her a chance, she won't disappoint him.

Much of this book takes place in Torenth, and KK says "Things are different in Torenth" which they are. Looks like we have three terrific villains in this book, but Kelson and his friends also find help and friends in high and unexpected places in Torenth. Also, Count Berrhones and his grandson will make appearances in the Torenthi part of the book.

This is going to be a fantastic book! It's very intricate with layers upon layers of events which are all linked and interconnected. KK says we'll understand why it took her so long to write it once we get it. I have to run, but I promise more details later.


Hi all,

Westercon was wonderful! I know you've all heard plenty from Melissa by this time, including Bride's identity (I sure was on the wrong track, wasn't I? (G)) but perhaps I've included some details she didn't. I'm writing this before reading any posts or e-mail, as I promised, so I don't know if I'm repeating Melissa (or Roberta, whom we met for a fun dinner Saturday night). As Melissa as no doubt reported, we had absolutely incredible good fortune (the kind that more often happens in fiction than in fact) and got to spend many fascinating hours with Katherine and with Rob and Mary. Thanks R & M! (BG) But we also were sworn to secrecy on a few details.

Where to begin to describe this awesome weekend? Chronologically, I suppose. Katherine read from the Temple and the Stone on Thursday night. It should be out later this month or early August and it sounds super! It takes place in the William Wallace era, beginning with the mysterious death of the Maid of Norway, a 7-year-old betrothed the king. The Templar Arnoux ( Arnault? Arno? pronounced Ar NO {long o} but I'm not sure on the spelling.) intervenes on a psychic level and discovers some magic involved in her demise. His partner, in Templars and in magical pursuits, has an equally difficult-to-spell French name, like Corvoissior (Melissa took notes so she may remember the specifics. I relied on my memory...but I guess I had a few too many facts to recall! (BG)) Katherine warned that if the Wallace execution in Braveheart disturbed you, you might have trouble with those scenes in T&S...but they're connected to an important magical ritual that sounds somewhat similar (at least to me) to the Torenthi funeral ritual with the sword --transfering power from a person to an object/symbol. Katherine said they weren't all that similar and obviously I haven't read the Temple one since it occurs near the book's end, so I'll reserve the right to revise my statement later. (G)

Melissa and I started asking questions after the reading and much to our amazement Katherine gave answers and hints about Bride (more on that later). The five of us who stayed (can you believe people left?) until almost 1:00 a.m. were the first to learn that Kelson marries Araxie Haldane. Katherine revealed that at the Kaffeeklatch and the interview Saturday. Bride sounds wonderful and should be out next spring.

Friday night we had a lovely 4-hour dinner with Rob and Mary and learned quite a bit about Codex...although we weren't able to get answers to all our questions! (G) And I, at least, have more based on what I learned...but when don't I have questions? ;-) Some of our questions can't be answered completely yet because we started speculation in some areas that haven't yet been developed. I won't say which areas because that way we can keep speculating...and maybe we'll get some of those answers in the expanded Codex that should come out around the time of Bride and include all the Bride info. Hint, hint.(G) More on Codex in a separate post--"Codex Challenge." I couldn't get a specific answer on who Brother Theo is, but I did notice that Rob and Mary refer to him in the singular which kind of smashes the group theory. That doesn't really destroy the series of Bro. Theo theory though since it would be one at a time, right? Then again, they might be intentionally leading us off the track. (BG)

We stumped both Katherine at the Interview! (G) I was almost afraid to ask any more questions after that...ALMOST. I did ask a few more though. Katherine didn't recall that Brion wasn't present when Donal died...she had to look it up in Codex. She says he was probably fostered at some court and that's why he wasn't there. Plus, the fact that he was absent when Donal gave Alaric the ability to empower Brion doesn't prove Brion didn't return in the intervening two weeks to be present when his father died. I suggested that perhaps Brion hated his father for cheating on his mother and she refuted that. "That wasn't cheating. Alaric was specifically produced to be a magical partner for Brion, as was an older child who died." Bronwyn is Kenneth Morgan's daughter, though. So she's Alaric's half-sister. I don't find information on Alyce having an older child who was Donal involved with another Deryni woman? Or Bro. Theo doesn't know about it? But we won't find out any more about that until the Childe Morgan Trilogy, which will likely be Katherine's next Deryni project. Before that, she's doing the Joan of Arc novel, Temple and Stone II (probably) and a Gargoyle novel that's an extension of the story she read at World Fantasy Con two years ago...I heard that story and, I think, reported on it then. It's a cool story and should make a great novel. Very different and fun!

I stumped Katherine with: "If Kelson is handed Codex on May 1, 1126, does he know the truth about Camber/Alister or does he have a somewhat different version of Codex than we do?" Kelson doesn't know about Camber/Alister and I didn't get the impression he learns about that in Bride either. So...I guess his version of Codex is different. Which leads me to wonder what else Brother Theo deleted/revised in the version given to Kelson. Did he remove the info about the current CC members, for instance? I didn't think to ask that at the Con though. Maybe Rob would like to address that...or, more likely, he'd rather not but perhaps we can weasle a few clues out of him. We can try anyway! (G)

Melissa stumped Katherine too by what was in Alyce's will that kept Bronwyn and Kevin apart. Katherine couldn't remember -- but since Bronwyn is a Morgan it can't be that they're both Donal's illegitimate kids as I had postulated. Unless Kevin is actually Kenneth Morgan's son...although I think it's unlikely. I'm not sure we'll ever get an answer about that will either. Katherine repeated that there are things in the first trilogy that she wishes weren't there and wouldn't include today...specifically the Stenrect Crawler. I got the impression the swearword Khadasa fit that heading too. Khadasa, incidently is meaningless, it's not an authentic Celtic curse or anything. I thought perhaps Khadasa was somehow connected to the Holy City of Dhassa...sort of an impudent reference to a sacred site. Or perhaps connected to an event in the era between 928 and 1120 since it doesn't appear in the Camberian era...but it disappears in the Kelson trilogy too. I guess we'll have to abandon speculation about that. Unless Bro. Theo suddenly uncovers some fascinating tidbit about that mysterious word and reveals it in the updated Codex. (G)

Katherine read the beginning of Bride on Sunday and left us all waiting with baited breath for the rest. Bride has a much lighter tone and a great deal more humor than most of the earlier books (especially the most recently published ones--with the obvious exception of Codex excepted). Hmm, wonder how much of that is Rob's influence? (G) We did learn the identity of a new member of the CC--and it isn't anyone we considered. Actually, Cyan de Bennett (sp? Pronounced SIGH an) isn't in Codex (unless his name isn't spelled with either a C or an S) so we had no information about him. Cyan (Syan?) is chancellor in Llannedd and works with the "headstrong" Gwenlian. Gwenlian is important in Bride, but Cuon isn't plotting to murder her...far from it. G & C wish to marry, but Kolman doesn't want to see Howicce and Llanedd united again so court gossip says Araxie will marry Cuon. There are three weddings in Bride...Kelson's, Janniver and Jatham's, and I won't tell about the third wedding. (BG) Bride takes us to Torenth where we'll learn much more about that fascinating area and encounter Morag (she's back there, not at Coroth, BTW, that's revealed in the opening scene of Bride), Mahael, and Mahael's brothers Teymuraz and Matiyas. Katherine says that Bride isn't about who Kelson's about how he comes to accept that Rothana can never be his and the development of his relationship with Araxie. She assures us we'll like Araxie. We didn't meet her in the opening chapters. We'll also see Kelson struggling with a good many potentially disastrous political problems and relationships as he strives to make Gwynedd a better place for Deryni to live. And that's all I'm going to say about Bride.

There will be more Kelson after Bride (G) but not for a while. KK wants to give Kelson and Araxie several years of happiness before she messes up their lives, just as she's giving Adam and Ximena some time to be happy. There will be an Adept VI eventually which should also tell the story of Phillippa and Graham (ie. Lammas Night II). BTW: Ximena is pronounced Shim AY na, which wasn't the way I was saying it. A few more pronunciation tips:

Cardiel = Car dee EL (not car Deel)
Arilan = Air i lan (I had that one right)
Torenthaly = Tor en TAL ee (the th is not pronounced th as in that)
I think we've already discussed that dd in Gwynedd and Llannedd is pronounce th.
Jandrich = Yon drich (J = Y) but I'm not sure if you pronounce the K in Kniaz (Jandrich's ruler) or not. Rob?
Dhugal is said with a long u. I don't know if anyone ever questioned that one.
Nikolauseum = Nik oh LAW see um (Nicola's tomb in Torenth about which we'll learn more in Bride)

Melissa and I had very different pronunciations on several items and had messed up on different names, so I would think we've probably all erred on at least a few. For that matter, 12 of us might have 12 different pronunciations per item! So, shall we see if we can convince Bro. Theo to include a pronunciation guide in the updated Codex? (G) Nudge, nudge.

BTW: Rob gave Katherine a disk containing about 800 of our post-Codex eventually she will read most of our comments. Speaking of which, we should all say "Hi!" to Mary, who has been reading everything for some time now. Maybe we can encourage her to join the fun and post. Come on, join the fun!

Well...I'm sure I left out a few details, but if you ask some questions you might stir up some memories. And be sure to check Codex Challenge.

Susan (Does detail make up for tardiness of posting (G))

P.S. I joked to Melissa that my report might be too long to fit a newsgroup post...and it was! LOL I edited a little, so this is the full report.

In my earlier enthusiasm to tell you about Araxie (we can finally stop calling her Bride), I totally forgot to tell you all that KKB IS finished, and Katherine turned it over to DelRey 3 weeks ago. She says it should come out by late next Spring. It will be a long, rich, wonderful read, and she hopes we'll think it was well worth the wait. It was an extremely complicated book to write, and she was so ecstatic at having finished it that she gave us con goers a wonderful sneak preview. Susan and her mother and I attended a reading of The Temple and the Stone (Due out later this month BTW,) and we three diehards and two other fans sat in the conference room listening to her until almost 1:00 A.M and drank in all she had to tell. The next morning when we all met again, Susan asked me "Could you sleep last night?" to which I replied, "no, did you?" My mind was revolving at 90mph all night. That may account for my forgetting to mention the salient point that Bride was finished and when we could expect to see it! It's been four days and three nights of intense and wonderful mental stimulation but not much sleep, folks! I confess, the helium is beginning to seep out of the balloon at this point. I just hope I can sleep tonight. Being tired and wired at the same time for the best part of a week is a little hard on the carcass.

I will say up front that Katherine asked us not to talk about anything that wasn't discussed in the prologue and the first chapter that she read to us yesterday afternoon. (Fortunately, those 20-odd pages covered a lot of ground! ;) It was rather funny, actually. At about midnight thursday, KK suddenly realized she had spilled a lot of privileged information to two of the biggest talkers on the NG! It was then that she told us to please watch what we said. I don't want her to be sorry that she told us what she did and maybe think that we can't be trusted. I also don't want her to be mentally burning Susan and I at the stake! Too toasty a fate for me! and I sure don't want the Camberian Council breathing down my neck!I don't want her to feel she has to clam up at future Cons which would be unfair to the rest of her fans. But rest assured, there is a great deal that we CAN tell you! Much more than was known before, right?

Now put down those torches and pitchforks, or I won't say another thing! ;)


Continuation of earlier post. MORE SPOILER SPACE!

This is going to be a very weddingy book! In just the prologue and the first chapter, Morag, Mahael and Teymuraz, then the Camberian Council, then Rothana and Kelson all discuss Kelson's marriage prospects.

By the end, Kelson, Araxie, her sister Richelle, Princess Gwenlian, Rory, Prince Cuan of Howicce and Janniver and Jatham and Jolyon Ramsay, the current Mearan pretender's son and daughter are all married, but I'm not telling who marries whom, except the two obvious couples, Kelson and Araxie, and Janniver and Jatham. It's also hinted that Jehana is drifing in the direction of a new romance of her own. The only Bachelors left are Dhugal and Derry. KK said she tied up a lot of loose ends in this book, but left a few dangling for the NEXT Kelson book! And yes, there WILL be another book in the Kelson series! :):):)! She wouldn't say when that might BE, but she intends to resume Kelson and Araxie's story after she's given them a few years of wedded bliss, first.

More tidbits later,


Westercon news page two.