Aurora Mathis is coming home. Back to Merrywood, an estate she doesn't remember. Back to the house in which her father died by his own hand. Back to where she is believed to have witnessed his death.
Charles Mathis captivated millions of readers with a series of eerie fantasy novels before taking his own life when Aurora was just a toddler. Raised by her repressive and ultra-religious mother, Aurora tried to hide from his infamy but now she wants to learn about the man she never knew.
She agrees to attend a convention honoring her father's work but on arrival is filled with a gnawing sense of unease. Not only does she begin dreaming of the strange, inhuman beings who populated her father's books, but she is shocked and angry to find Corwin Warrender, her old love, her old enemy, is an invited guest with an agenda of his own. When she starts receiving odd gifts and seeing the mysterious robed figure of a Mediator, the most unknown and fearsome creature her father created, Aurora worries she may be losing her mind.
As the happenings around her turn from odd to dangerous, Aurora begins to wonder if the magical world her father created may not be completely fictional...
There was a crystal carafe of water on the table beside the bed. I drank deeply, then sprawled across the bed, not even bothering to remove my jacket. I was asleep almost before I could kick off my shoes.
Then I dreamed. There was sharp and pointy music, soft but impossible to ignore, and the room—not the room I went to sleep in—seemed to be crowded. There was a Shining One at the foot of my bed—no, not a bed even though I was lying flat on a hard surface—while along the sides was a crowd of Valnicks and Ghrones and other creatures I couldn’t readily identify. Dressed in their traditional costumes of gaudy fabric or fur or feathers, they all stood unnaturally still, watching, waiting, as if expecting me to do something. I was vaguely embarrassed, because I didn’t really know what was expected of me and was too hesitant to ask. That part seemed to go on forever.
As if on a silent signal, the ones by my bed moved back in a wave of perfectly choreographed motion and for a moment I lay alone in a queer wash of golden light. Then the dark figure of a Mediator, one of the most mysterious and ambivalent beings in my father’s world, appeared at the end of my bed.
Instruments—or perhaps creators—of Fate, Mediators were always regarded with respect and no small amount of fear. When a Mediator called your name it was a sign of change, and usually not for the good. Some called the Mediators the personification of justice, others the harbingers of doom. Whatever they were, no sensible being in the Land of the Two Suns wanted to see one. Even when the results of their appearances were beneficent, once they were gone there was a sense of relief, of looking over one’s shoulder just to be sure you were really all right.
I began to tingle as his attention, as tangible as a breeze, focused on me. His robes were all encompassing, hiding any indicator of height or size or even sex. Beneath the deep hood, where a face should be, there was only impenetrable shadow.
It had to be my father. Irrational or no, in my dream I knew this solid shadow was he. I longed to call to him, to raise my arms to him, but he simply stood there, still as a photograph, staring at me, before he dissolved into nothingness and the room went dark as the golden light faded.
I struggled, trapped as if in deep blue water. When a Mediator called your name…