Wow, what a story this was.
Now that I’ve come to the end of Age of Empyre, and therefor to the end of the Legends of the First Empire series, I think I can say that this series is one of my favorites. Now that we’re at this point, we can look back when the series first started with Age of Myth and at all the things that have happened in between and see how far we’ve come.
Sullivan takes great care in his characters and the stories that shape them, he’s a master weaver of tales, making them all come together in the end for a seamless conclusion. I’ve read through the stories of Hadrian and Royce, but it feels so long ago, that I might have to give them a reread, just so I can appreciate how everything ties together over 1000’s of years.
! Alert ! Spoilers ahead:
This is the ending of Age of Empyre:
“I’ll watch you.” This made his brows rise suspiciously. “I’ll check in from time to time . . . when I’m bored,” she clarified. “Each time you do something I approve of, every time I feel my hatred of you lessen, I’ll send you a . . .” She thought a moment, looking around. She caught sight of the bags of feathers and smiled. Grabbing a little white tuft, she held it up. “. . . a feather.” “Why?” “It’s a symbol of rising, of renewed spirit, an embodiment of hope.” He nodded, and she saw a smile rising. “You realize that even with my help you have an extremely small chance of success.” He leaned over and peered inside the hut. “You have a lot of feathers.” “I was going to make pillows.” He looked down at the bag he held. “So if I fill this up, do you think you can forgive me?” “You won’t manage to. It would take an eternity.” “No, not that long. I’m sure I’ll finish before trees walk and stones talk.” He winked. She smirked and held up the feather. “Small feathers—big bag.” “But if I do?” She shrugged. “Maybe.” He nodded. “That’s fair.”
And this is how Farilane ends:
“You are my executioner, then?” Tears ran the length of his face. “I don’t know if I can.” “You must.” “I can’t.” He pressed his wet cheek to hers, holding tight. “The sun is rising.” Farilane thumbed away his tears. “My star must fade.” Kile began to shake. “Afterward . . .” Farilane said, “afterward, you can have pie.” With trembling lips, he dared what no other man had and kissed her. In doing so, he stole her breath away.”
Although not a cloud marred the blue sky, thunder cracked overhead. He did not look up, but soon a white feather descended lightly, touching ground inches from his foot. He wiped his eyes clear and stared at it. Then he walked away. Two more fell. He ignored them. Quickening his pace, he left the city through a growing blizzard of white feathers that blanketed the streets, roofs, and balconies where they remained untouched until the wind blew them away.
Finally figuring out the correct meaning of the feathers gave me goosebumps and made me a bit emotional. Re-reading the ending of Farilane did not make that better. Everything Malcolm (Turin / Uberlin / Caratacus) does is so he can gain forgiveness in the eyes of his daughter, Muriel, for killing her lover, Trilos. It’s quitea revelation.
If you haven’t read anything from Mr. Sullivan yet, and you love fantasy, you owe it to yourself to give it a go!