The Fifth Age

Yarblek arrives back in the West and gives a report on what's been going on in Mallorea to Queen Porenn. There are also a number of private letters. Vella gives her message to Porenn verbally–specifically, the information that Urgit is actually Silk's half-brother. After reading the letters, Porenn calls a meeting of the Alorn Council (with Kail sitting in for Garion), and Drosta, Fulrach, Varana, Mandorallen, and Lelldorin (but not Korodullin, since he's not well enough to travel) as well. (SD 11-18)
Urgit refuses Agachak's command to go to Mallorea and the Place Which Is No More–suggesting that the Hierarch go to Thull Mardu and get King Nathel instead. (Agachak backs down from compelling Urgit when Urgit threatens him with Belgarath and half a bushel of arrows in the back.) (SD 18-25)
Zakath appears to be getting very lucky–the plague in Mal Zeth seems to be subsiding, with a less-than-expected death rate, and Mengha hasn't been seen in several weeks. Even Garion, who he thought had betrayed him, hadn't–as he's still in Mallorea, from what Brador can find out. Zakath assigns General Atesca the task of quelling the remaining rebellion in Mallorea and tracking Garion down. (SD 25-29)
Porenn takes charge of the meeting of the Alorn Council. The nations of the West decide to negotiate with Urgit as a means of distracting Zakath from pursuing Garion. Vella nearly guts Yarblek after finding out who Feldegast really was. (SD 29-37)
Zandramas has begun to change. (SD 37-38)
Garion has an encounter with the owner of a pig ("peg"), who gives them a fairly complete and accurate summary of what's going on in Voresebo. The Companions go through anyway. They bluff their way past one patrol, and unhorse several Temple Guardsmen; Garion rides down some Grolims who make the mistake of attempting to sacrifice some villagers while he's in the area. They start traveling at night when they reach the border of Rengel, since the groups of soldiers are bigger; Garion, Belgarath, and Polgara lead the way in their other forms. Until they run into a group of mercenaries Silk hired to guard his caravans on the routes through Karanda, that is. Travel becomes much easier after that. They head for Jarot. (SD 39-68)
Silk's factor at Jarot tells them that Naradas hired a ship headed for Melcena. Naradas remains his usual charming self (the longshoreman who saw him offers his cargo hook as a weapon). The boat was boarded by Naradas, a woman robed in black, and a little boy. The Sardion also went through Jarot at some point in the past. (SD 72-80)
Garion and Silk go out looking for where Zandramas landed with Geran. One of Brador's secret policemen in Melcena spots Silk. They also divert a Melcene businessman (a member of the Consortium) by letting him think he'll be able to swindle Silk blind. The Orb reacts near the north gate, indicating that Zandramas left that way. The Companions track Zandramas to the estate of Archduke Otrath, one of Zakath's distant relatives, and one well down in the succession. The Archduke left several days ago with some people from the mainland. His wife insists on seeing them, though. She's bombed. She does, however, give out some useful information–like the fact that a white-eyed man (guess who?) encouraged her husband's imperial ambitions, and was at the estate several days ago. (SD 81-115)
At Silk's request, Vetter sets his men to finding out where Zandramas and company went (and if possible, who took them there). Otrath, it turns out, is Zandramas' Angarak king–all you really need is a trace of royal blood, a coronation, and recognition by a major Grolim priest. Vetter lets drop that an alchemist at the university–a clubfooted man named Senji–can evidently turn brass into gold. Garion, Belgarath, and Beldin go to see him. (SD 116-127)
The three of them are forced to blow Senji's door in (they're usually blown out by the side-effects of alchemical experiments). Senji proves to be a sorcerer of modest gifts of about 4 millennia in age. He figures out who his visitors are in the process of telling them his story. The Orb also makes itself known. It leads the four men to the College of Comparative Theology, where Belgarath deals with a pompous doorman on the way to the library. It seems that there's a case in there where they used to keep Cthrag Sardius… before it was stolen. The Orb shatters the case. (SD 127-143)
Inconsistency notes: (1) Garion cites the year as 5379 on SD 134; this inconsistency may be due to errors in my timeline. I'll re-adjust things when I finish the timeline–if I can reconcile them. (2) In BtS, when Belgarath first meets Beldin, Beldin already knows the secret of sorcery; in SD, Beldin's first act of sorcery was the rage-fueled destruction of a tree (instead of Belgarath).
Senji tells them how the Sardion wound up at the University of Melcena, which ultimately leads to asking him if he knows where a copy of the Ashabine Oracles might be found. Senji does, in fact, know where a copy is. As he should, since he stole it. The Oracles explain quite a bit–including what "sacrifice" meant in the Prophecies of the Western Grolims. And where they can go to find out exactly what's meant by the Place Which Is No More–to wit, Kell, since the location is in the only true copy of the Mallorean Gospels. They also discover the message Torak left on the final page of the Ashabine Oracles. Addressed to Garion. Even Torak, it seems, knew how bad things would get if the Dark Prophecy won, and in one single moment of brutal honesty, told Garion about it. (SD 144-157)
By the time Garion, Beldin, and Belgarath return from visiting Senji, Vetter's men have found Captain Kadian, who took Zandramas to the mainland. His description leaves little doubt that he did, in fact, transport them to a beach near Selda in Peldane. Several crewmen were lost in putting them ashore–only the fog saved the ship from Zandramas' usual method of eliminating witnesses. After the captain gives Silk a rough chart showing where he put Zandramas ashore, the Companions depart immediately. Captain Kadian drops them as near as he can to where he put Zandramas. (SD 161-173)
The Companions head inland; since Zandramas is heading in the general direction of Kell, they continue to use the Orb to follow Geran's trail. They don't go far before they begin to encounter Urvon's forces, in addition to Zandramas'. They swing south to avoid Urvon's forces, and hopefully get clear of the impending confrontation between Urvon and Zandramas. At Durnik's suggestion, Belgarath uses his Will to start a number of fires to give both sides something to pay attention to. They encounter a Melcene bureaucrat who was hiding in the burnt-out ruins of a village; he tells them that Zandramas actually intends to crown Otrath as the "Emperor." The man is exhausted (and under the influence of a calming compound from Sadi's Little Red Box), but before they let him sleep, they manage to get Zandramas' life story out of him. Naradas was at one point the High Priest of Torak at the Temple of Torak at Hemil in Darshiva; Zandramas was about 16 at the time he gained power, and a very, very enthusiastic participant in the rite of sacrifice. (She evidently uncovered a passage in the Book of Torak that indicated that the rite should be performed nude. Naradas was quite… appreciative.) Shortly after Torak was killed, she wandered into the forest along the border of Likandia and vanished; she was sighted intermittently by travellers for a number of years. When she returned to Hemil, she spoke with Naradas, and from that point had supreme authority in the Temple. Her current goal–she's going to get married. To the New God of Angarak. Geran. Ce'Nedra is Not Happy. (SD 174-194)
As they continue west toward the Magan, they encounter evidence that the main battle between Zandramas and Urvon has already started–fires, deserters, etc. And demons. It appears that Zandramas was forced by Nahaz's presence to obtain demonic help of her own. (SD 194-209)
Javelin reports back from Rak Urga. The negotiations with the Murgo King are going fairly well, even if they have to beat the Mallorean agents over the head with what's going on occasionally. Yarblek reports that Drosta's up to something, and tells Porenn to send her agents to the One-Eyed Dog in the thieves' quarter of Yar Nadrak, instead of the palace. Agachak actually takes Urgit's suggestion, and persuades Nathel to accompany him to Mallorea. Barak, Hettar, Mandorallen, Relg, Lelldorin, and Barak's son Unrak meet at Vo Mimbre… to discuss a certainly illicit and quite possibly treasonous little plan to go after Garion. Unrak resolves their moral dilemma (i.e., if they could carry that out without disobeying not only their rulers, but the Gods) by pointing out that he's the protector of the heir to the Rivan Throne (Geran), and therefore, he must go to Mallorea to carry out that responsibility. Zakath sends Atesca to Ferra (in Peldane) to establish a forward base of operations for putting down the rebellions stirred up by Zandramas and Urvon; he also gets word of the negotiations between Urgit and the Alorns, but stops short of beginning a war on a third front. (SD 210-227)
A severe storm causes the Companions to take shelter in an abandoned farmhouse. They're disturbed by a knock at the door after the storm passes. The man at the door is a Grolim. A rather changed Grolim. He had served Torak without question; now he awaits the coming of the New God, the God intended for Angarak since the beginning. The Purpose disclaims responsibility for the Grolim, pointing out that it was the possibility of the new Purpose preparing the way in the event that Garion and friends succeed (of course, that means that somewhere a saintly old man is now a bloodthirsty maniac…) The old Grolim will be the prophet and the first Disciple of the New God–if the Child of Light is chosen. (SD 228-246)
That night, Garion catches sight of a long line of torches to the west. He goes wolf to investigate, and finds that it's a troop of elephant cavalry hired and led by Naradas. He brings the cavalry to meet Zandramas (actually her, not a projection). Shortly after she reveals that she's raised her own Demon Lord, Mordja, to counter Nahaz (an act that even surprises Naradas), she detects Garion's presence, changes to her other form (she's not a former priestess of the Dragon God for nothing), and heads for the farm where the Companions are still sleeping. Garion warns Polgara and runs back at top speed, arriving just in time to start using his big knife. With Poledra's help, he drives Zandramas off yet again (especially easy once Poledra points out to Zandramas just exactly how much she stands to lose by pushing the confrontation right now). (SD 253-260)
Poledra gives them some news: Otrath has, in fact, been crowned "Emperor" of Mallorea. Zakath is in the process of sealing off the west bank of the Magan from the northern end of the Dalasian Mountains to the jungles of Gandahar (so they'd better hurry). Agachak has landed at Finda in the Dalasian Protectorates; he's brought Nathel of Thulldom with him, instead of Urgit. And then Poledra has a little talk with Belgarath… (nothing bad, actually. In fact, quite good.) (SD 264-267)

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