Whispering Woods (novel)
|This publication may no longer be canonical.|
|First printing||November 23, 1994|
Whispering Woods is the second Magic novel ever produced and the first novel in the Greensleeves Cycle. It was published in November 1994, and written by Clayton Emery. The story is continued in the novel Shattered Chains and then in Final Sacrifice. The story of Arena is referenced later on in the cycle, but that book is not necessary to understand the plot.
Gull should have known better than to take the job. But with his village destroyed and a half-wit sister to look after, what choice did he have? At least the pay was good.
But this wizard was even worse than the ones he'd heard about. Between the tavern brawls, the magical battles, and taking care of that strange artifact that turned up, a guy could barely find time to catch his breath.
And now, with his sister beginning to gather her wits, Gull really has his hands full.
Gull the woodcutter and his sister Greensleeves, who cannot talk, but only chatters like an animal, live peacefully in the village of White Ridge, on the border of the Whispering Woods. One day a falling star is seen in the sky, which is reputed to be a bad omen. This is proven to be true when White Ridge is destroyed during a wizards' duel. The elders and the children all die, and the remaining villagers decide to relocate elsewhere. Gull and Greenslesves stay behind.
Gull finds the centaurs Helki and Holleb and the Two-Headed Giant of Foriys Liko, stranded after the battle. Gull treats them harshly, thinking that they are just mercenaries, but they reveal that when a wizard summons them, they are mind controlled to fight for him (or her). That evening, one of the wizards, Towser, comes to Gull and, after assuring he took no part in the destruction of the village, asks Gull to become his new freightmaster, since the old one perished in the duel. Gull, confused by the mind magic of Towser and with nowhere else to go, accept his offer. Towser, as a token of gratitude, sends the centaurs and the giant back to their home.
So the convoy starts its journey. Gull quickly befriends Morven, an old sailor turned bodyguard, and Stiggur, the cook's boy. He even falls in love with Lily, one of the dancing girls of Towser. Another bodyguard, Kem, instead starts antagonizing the woodcutter. After a difficult slog through the forest, the wagon train reaches its destination: the place where the star fell. The star is revealed by Towser to be a Mana Vault, a powerful artifact which can store mana. During the night, the camp is attacked by another wizard. Gull manages to save Lily from the clutch of a Black Knight, but then the enemy wizard storms the camp to kidnap Lily and Greensleeves. He is defeated by a Fungusaur. During the battle Gull saw Helki and Holleb and thinks that Towser has enslaved them; he confronts the wizard, but once again the mind magic of Towser is enough to appease the woodcutter. Finally out of the Woods, the convoy stops for the night near a swamp. During the night, though, Kem is kidnapped by Sedge Trolls, so Gull and Greensleeves enter the bog and save him.
The convoy finally reaches a coastal city. Gull is amazed by the city and the sea, and spends the days with Lily and his sister: but his greatest surprise is the discovery that Greensleeves can now talk since it was the overwhelming magic of the Whispering Woods that clouded her thoughts. One night, the three are kidnapped by Towser's minions; back at the camp, the wizard reveals his intention to kill Greensleeves and store her power in the Mana Vault. A riot starts and Towser is forced to teleport away Gull, Morven, and Stiggur.
The three find themselves on a tropical island, where they meet, among others, the centaurs and the giant Liko. It's revealed that the island is where Towser sends his minions when he doesn't need them, and that there isn't any way to escape from it. Still, Gull refuses to surrender and starts organizing the people on the island in a ragtag army, until one day he is summoned away.
He has been summoned by Lily who, unbeknownst to her, is a wizard. Towser has tied Greensleeves to an altar and he's ready to kill her, when Kem changes sides, remembering how Gull saved his life in the bog. At the same time Greensleeves, who is revealed to be a wizard (she summoned the Fungusaur), starts summoning Morven, Stiggur, the centaurs, Liko, and all the creatures of the woods who befriended her to fight Towser's minions. Still, Towser is a veteran wizard and can control his creatures better than Greensleeves. She resolves to use an earthquake, which destroys the cliff they are on and plunges them in the sea.
A tsunami, caused by the earthquake, is coming, so Towser escapes with his flight spell. Gull, Greensleeves, and Stiggur escape from the huge wave taking refuge in a crack in the cliffside, while Morven and Kem are swept away by the sea. After the water has settled, they find that Lily, the centaurs, and Liko have survived. Gull and his friends vow to form an army in order to fight Towser, who Gull has realized is the wizard who killed his family, and all the evil wizards who see people as mindless pawns.