Indomitable

  • Novella in Legends II
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books
  • Published: (December 30, 2003)

Master fantasist Terry Brooks first conjured the unforgettable world of the magic-wracked Four Lands more than three decades ago, and its boundaries continue to expand into new territory. With Indomitable, Brooks provides an essential epilogue to the beloved Shannara trilogy that started it all.

Two years have passed since Jair Ohmsford aided his sister Brin in her quest to destroy the evil living tome known as the Ildatch. When word comes that a single page of the book, covered in lines pulsing with dark energy, survived Brin’s magic, Jair must take up the fight alone. But Jair’s gift is not the equal of his sister’s, and as he steals into the prison fortress of Dun Fee Aran—where he almost died in his first foray against the Ildatch—he has nothing to rely upon but the power of illusion. Illusion, and the memory of an ally who died to defend him.

The novella Indomitable has appeared in three different places:

  • the hardcover Legends II edited by Robert Silverberg
  • the paperback Legends II: Dragon, Sword and King edited by Robert Silverberg
  • the forthcoming hardcover Indomitable published by Sub Press

Reviews

“Brimming with action and energy, wit and charm, pathos and joy, Silverberg’s anthology of short novels from 11 masters of fantasy, six of whom contributed to the original Legends (1998), provides a dazzling display of the genre’s variety and versatility. Otherland fans will welcome Tad Williams’s The Happiest Dead Boy in the World as a chance to visit with an old friend they never thought to see again. George R.R. Martin’s The Sworn Sword, which continues the story of Dunk and Egg that he began in the first Legends, will also please his readers. All the returning authors more than live up to their reputations, except for Anne McCaffrey, whose Beyond Between, an ill-conceived explanation of what happens when a dragon fails to return from between, strikes the book’s lone sour note. Yet for all the returnees’ star power, it’s the new authors who truly shine here. Elizabeth Haydon’s entry, Threshold, follows five doomed friends left to guard the remnants of a civilization about to be destroyed in a cataclysm after most of the populace has already fled to a safe haven: a stunning tale of courage and honor, duty and friendship, it may be the book’s best entry. Robin Hobb’s Homecoming, the story of the settlement of the Rain Wild River and one woman’s journey to independence, is the other contender. Terry Brooks, Diana Gabaldon, Raymond E. Feist, Orson Scott Card, Neil Gaiman and Silverberg round out the all-star cast.” — Publishers Weekly

“Many contributors to Legends (1998), Silverberg’s first collection of short(er) stories set in the worlds of their authors’ successful fantasy series, return in the follow-up. Anne McCaffrey offers a freestanding tale of Pern; Raymond E. Feist, a tale from the middle of his Riftwar saga; George R. R. Martin, a direct successor to his Legends contribution about a squire on the way to knighthood and his peculiar boy sidekick; editor Silverberg, another Majipoor story; and Orson Scott Card, a yarn in which Alvin Maker meets some of the Alamo’s destined defenders. Splash first timers include romantic historical fantasist Diana Gabaldon, of Outlander fame, with an episode in her Lord John Grey series; Neil Gaiman, with a story starring Shadow, hero of his award-winning American Gods (2001) and named after Sir Edwin Landseer’s famous painting Monarch of the Glen; and Robin Hobb, whose creepy, Liveship Traders-related Homecoming (think H. P. Lovecraft rewriting The Swiss Family Robinson) opens this book and sets the bar of quality extremely high for what follows.” — Booklist

Excerpt

The past is always with us.

Even though he was only just of an age to be considered a man, Jair Ohmsford had understood the meaning of the phrase since he was a boy. It meant that he would be shaped and reshaped by the events of his life, so that everything that happened would be in some way a consequence of what had gone before. It meant that the people he came to know would influence his conduct and his beliefs. It meant that his experiences of the past would impact his decisions of the future.

It meant that life was like a chain and the links that forged it could not be severed.

For Jair, the strongest of those links was to Garet Jax. That link, unlike any other, was a repository for memories he treasured so dearly that he protected them like glass ornaments, to be taken down from the shelf on which they were kept, polished, and then put away again with great care.

In the summer of the second year following his return from Graymark, he was still heavily under the influence of those memories. He woke often in the middle of the night from dreams of Garet Jax locked in battle with the Jachyra, heard echoes of the other’s voice in conversations with his freinds and neighbors, and caught sudden glimpses of the Weapons Master in the faces of strangers. He was not distressed by these occurrences; he was thrilled by them. They were an affirmation that he was keeping alive the past he cared so much about.

On the day the girl rode into Shady Vale, he was working at the family inn, helping the manager and his wife as a favor to his parents. He was standing on the porch, surveying the siding he had replaced after a windstorm had blown a branch through the wall. Something about the way she sat on her horse caught his attention, drawing it away from his handiwork. He shaded his eyes against the glare of the sun as it reflected off a metal roof when she turned out of the trees. She sat ramrod straight astride a huge black stallion with a white blaze on its forehead, her dark hair falling in a cascade of curls to her waist, thick and shining. She wasn’t big, but she gave an immediate impression of possessing confidence that went beyond the need for physical strength.

She caught sight of him at the same time he saw her and turned the big black in his direction. She rode up to him and stopped, a mischievous smile appearing on her round, perky face as she brushed back loose strands of hair. “Cat got your tongue, Jair Ohmsford?”

“Kimber Boh,” he said, not quite sure that it really was. “I don’t believe it.”

She swung down, dropped the reins in a manner that suggested this was all the black required, and walked over to give him a long, sustained hug. “You look all grown up,” she said, and ruffled his curly blond hair to show she wasn’t impressed.

He might have said the same about her. The feel of her body against his as she hugged him was a clear indication that she was beyond childhood. But it was difficult to accept. He still remembered the slender, tiny girl she had been two years ago when he had met her for the first time in the ruins of the Croagh in the aftermath of his battle to save Brin.

He shook his head. “I almost didn’t recognize you.”

She stepped back. “I knew you right away.” She looked around. “I always wanted to see where you lived. Is Brin here?”

She wasn’t. Brin was living in the Highlands with Rone Leah, whom she had married in the spring. They were already expecting their first child; if it were a boy, they would name it Jair.

He shook his head. “No. She lives in Leah now. Why didn’t you send word you were coming?”

“I didn’t know myself until a little over a week ago.” She glanced at the inn. “The ride has made me tired and thirsty. Why don’t we go inside while we talk?”

They retreated to the cool interior of the inn and took a table at a window where the slant of the roof kept the sun off. The innkeeper brought over a pitcher of ale and two mugs, giving Jair a sly wink as he walked away.

“Does he give you a wink for every pretty girl you bring into his establishment?” Kimber asked when the innkeeper was out of earshot. “Are you a regular here?”

He blushed. “My parents own the inn. Kimber, what are you doing here?”

She considered the question. “I’m not entirely sure. I came to find you and to persuade you to come with me. But now that I’m here, I don’t know that I have the words to do it. In fact, I might just not even try. I might just stay here and visit until you send me away. What would you say to that?”

He leaned back in his chair and smiled. “I guess I would say you were welcome to stay as long as you like. Is that what you want?”

She sipped at her ale and shook her head. “What I want doesn’t matter. Maybe what you want doesn’t matter either.” She look out of the window into the sunshine. “Grandfather sent me. He said to tell you that what we thought we had finished two years ago isn’t quite finished after all. There appears to be a loose thread that needs snipping off.”

“A loose thread?”

She looked back at him. “Remember when your sister burned the book of the Ildatch at Graymark?”

He nodded. “I’m not likely to forget.”

“Grandfather says she missed a page.”