Chainer’s Torment is the second novel of the Odyssey Cycle. It tells the back-story of the character Chainer from Odyssey and then furthers the story where the first book left of. The story is concluded in Judgment.
|First printing||January 2002|
Chainer's Torment was written by Scott McGough and published in January 2002.
Something horrible lurks in Cabal City.
In the pit-fighting arenas, a Cabal dementia caster enters a trance. Deep in the recesses of his mind skulk horrors and unimaginable nightmares, and no longer do those monstrosities wait until dark to come out.
The story begins shortly before the events depicted in Odyssey, and it's mainly told from the point of view of Chainer, a young and ambitious Cabal apprentice. One day, wandering in the outskirts of Cabal City, he finds an artifact of immense power, whose call lures him to it. Despite the temptations of the orb, he decides to hand it to the head of the Cabal, the Patriarch, or First, who's impressed by Chainer's loyalty and abilities. He realizes that the artifact is calling many people to Cabal City, including the mer ambassador Laquatus and the Order Lieutenant Kirtar, but more importantly the barbarian Kamahl. He senses that the warrior will play a crucial role in the story and orders Chainer to make sure that he is welcomed in the pits.
Kamahl and Chainer quickly become friends. The barbarian respects the other's guile and ingenuity, while the cabalist admires his strength and passion. They are separated though, when, following the devastation caused by the Krosan dragon, Kamahl along with Seton and Laquatus leave after Kirtar, who came in possession of the powerful sphere. Chainer resumes his training as a dementia summoner under his master Skellum, whom he loves deeply and considers as a mentor and father.
A while later, Kamahl returns as Fulla and Laquatus escape the Mer Empire, devastated by Aboshan's misuse of the artifact, now known as Mirari. Aboshan's wife Llawan claims the throne of the seas, a title that the mer ambassador considers his. The orb is returned to the First, who decides to put it as a prize in the upcoming Cabal Anniversary Games. Chainer and Kamahl fight together in the pits in preparation for the event, forming an unstoppable duo.
While the two train and Chainer continues in his dementist initiation, the other characters plot. Laquatus starts a civil war within the Mer Empire, with the main theatre of war being the Aboshan Trench, a section of the Otarian continent submerged by the former emperor's devastation. As the conflict escalates, it becomes increasingly clear that the victor of this battle will be the ruler of the ocean. To secure political support, Laquatus schemes with both the Order and the Cabal, promising to each what they desire while advancing his own cause. The Order tries to infiltrate Cabal City to rid it of the Cabal, while the First promises the ambassador a new jack, Turg having died while stopping Aboshan, with the help of the Mirari; at the same times tries to control the Order. In his plotting, he sacrifices Skellum, who dies in the pits to appease them. Chainer is left devastated by his death.
The dementist decides to go on with the final ritual anyway and substitutes Kamahl for his deceased master. Together they travel to Krosa to complete his training, and he becomes a full-fledged dementia summoner. With his newfound powers, he is able to master the Mirari, seemingly without being overwhelmed by it. On orders from the First, he creates a new fighting servant for Laquatus, the synthetic Burke. The Patriarch is very impressed with Chainer's progress and together they wreak havoc on the Order's camp outside the city, defeating them temporarily. He then asks the cabalist to create a jack for him as well using the Mirari.
Chainer, however, plots revenge for the death of Skellum and using information gained by Laquatus he disarms and renders the Patriarch harmless. He then tries to kill him using the artifact but finds he is unable to. He, therefore, banishes him to Aphetto, forces him to nominate Chainer as the new head of the Cabal and makes him leave control of the city to him. Chainer installs as the new leader and shows increasing signs that the Mirari is corrupting him. He gifts Laquatus with an army of dementia monsters for his help.
The Cabal Anniversary Games proceed as planned, becoming only a show for the glory and entertainment of Chainer. His control on the dementia creatures becomes more unstable and soon the city is overrun with them. In its centre, in the pits, stand Chainer in his gleeful folly. At the same time, the monsters are winning Laquatus' war in the Aboshan Trench. Kamahl attempts to stop his mad friend by offering a fight between them, but Chainer is no longer able to think straight: he summons all of his creations within himself, leaving Laquatus without an army, and then tries to release them to fight Kamahl. However, the Mirari magic is too powerful and they become his body, corrupting him in front of his friend's eyes. As Chainer regains some of his sanity, he realizes that the Mirari cannot be controlled and makes Kamahl promise to take it and keep it safe, away from misuse.
Laquatus' army and mercenaries are utterly defeated in the Aboshan Trench and Llawan's mages create a bubble that entraps him and what remains of his followers in it. The merman swears revenge and already plots to gain the throne.
Kamahl tearfully witnesses Chainer's death and takes the Mirari, as promised. How he will try to keep it from the Cabal, the Order, and the thousands of others who are allured by its call is told in Judgment.