MASSIVE SPOILERS--Plot outline for "The Raven Ring"

This is the plot outline that I sent in with the P-and-O for "The Raven
Ring," which I sold on spec (i.e., it wasn't finished yet) -- that's why
this a tad short for a submission synopsis (it's four pages in my print-out,
unless I oonch the margins...). It is the thing and the whole of the
thing -- all I did was cut-and-paste it into this post and change the format
to be Usenet-friendly. People who have read the book will be able to tell
*exactly* how much of the manuscript I had written when I did this summary.

Plot Outline for THE RAVEN RING

The story takes place on Lyra, in 2238 A.W.B. For some eight years, an
uneasy peace has prevailed between the Cilhar and the country of Syaskor,
due in large part to a treaty forced on the Syaski by the Emperor of Ciaron.
The treaty, which annexed the Mountains of Morravik to the Ciaron Empire,
was engineered by representatives of the Island of the Moon, an independent
group of idealistic scholars, wizards and healers.

Eleret Salven, a young Cilhar woman, has been notified of the death of her
mother, who had been serving in the army of the Emperor of Ciaron as a
mercenary. As the book opens, Eleret has just arrived in the port city of
Ciaron to collect her mother's effects. The trip is not without danger,
since some of the Syaski, the old enemies of the Cilhar, remain determined
to kill any Cilhar they find outside the mountains despite the Emperor's

Eleret's first stop is at the school run by the Island of the Moon, since
the Islanders act as ambassadors and intermediaries as well as teachers. She
has a conference with the head of the school, who recommends a place for her
to stay. He also tells her whom to see when she goes to collect the effects.
He offers to provide a guide for her, to help her get around the city, but
she declines.

On her way to the inn, Eleret is followed by a dark-haired woman who also
takes a room. At supper that evening, the woman introduces herself as
Jonestra Wirandol, a collector of small, old things, and asks for Eleret's
help in acquiring some. Eleret hides her suspicions and makes non-committal
noises which more or less satisfy Jonestra.

The following day, Eleret goes to the headquarters of the Imperial Guards.
When she reaches it, she is held up briefly by the Commander's staff, one of
whom (a particularly sleazy specimen named Maggen) seems unpleasantly
interested in her. Eventually, she is taken in to see the commander, who
gives her a box containing her mother's personal effects as well as her back
pay. Among the items is the Raven Ring, a family heirloom which Eleret does
not consider particularly significant. The commander hints that there was
something odd about her mother's death and warns her that someone has been
trying to get at the box of effects.

On her way out, the obnoxious Maggen offers to buy the loot, but Eleret
turns him down. As she heads back toward her rooms, she is accosted by one
of the city guard accompanied by a man who claims she has stolen the bag
full of her mother's effects. A young nobleman who is just passing
interrupts to champion her, much to Eleret's irritation, and the incident is
rapidly settled.

Eleret then goes back to the Third Moon school. She tells them that she is
being followed and that she wants to take them up on their offer of a guide,
if they can send someone who can go partway back to the mountains with her.
She also gets them to send a message to her family. She then returns to the
inn, where she prepares to leave at once.

In the process of packing, Eleret goes through her mother's effects. This
brings home the fact of her mother's death, and she has a good cry. Before
she has recovered, a girl from the school shows up with Daner, the young
noble, who has agreed to be Eleret's guide/bodyguard on the trip. Eleret
doesn't think much of him, and is somewhat regretting her impulsive request,
but agrees to take him.

Next morning, Daner and Eleret start to leave the city. On their way to the
gate, a thief named Karvonen Aurelico tries to swipe Daner's purse and is
caught in the act by Eleret. Karvonen is chagrined to realize that he has
tried to rob a Cilhar, and offers to make amends. While they are still
discussing it, a group of Syaski attack them. Karvonen helps fight them off
and guides Eleret and Daner through some back streets to safety.

The three leave the city together, as Karvonen's assistance has put him in a
potentially dangerous position. Eleret catches a glimpse of Maggen at the
city gate, but she is unable to convince Daner. At their first stop, an inn
known to Daner, they find Jonestra staying there. Maggen shows up a little
later, along with a wizard who is also after the ring.

The trip back to the Mountains of Morravik becomes a running fight between
Eleret and her friends and the various people following them. Eventually
Eleret discovers the reasons each of her pursuers has for wanting the Raven
Ring. The final confrontation does not take place until Eleret, Daner and
Karvonen reach the foothills of the mountains, where Eleret's earlier
message of warning to her family bears unexpected fruit.

Patricia C. Wrede