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The Reaver (novel)

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The Reaver by Richard Lee Byers is the fourth novel of The Sundering (series).

Endless, pounding rain afflict the Sea of Fallen Stars and the coastal regions surrounding it. Harvests are failing, travel and trade are disrupted, and civilized forces are giving way to the deluges caused by the storms. In panic and despair, many have turned to the goddess Umberlee, Queen of the Deeps, offering her sacrifices with hope that they will be spared the inevitable reckoning of her perpetual tempest.

Evendur Highcastle, undead pirate captain, risen from the depths to assume the mantle of Umberlee's Chosen, takes advantage of the people's desperation to strike for both spiritual and temporal power in her name.

Vying with Highcastle for the hearts and minds of the people is Stedd Whitehorn, a little boy and the chosen of a god thought lost to time: Lathander, the Morninglord. In a time of such upheaval, Stedd's message of renewal and hope runs in stark contrast to the savage ethos of Highcastle and his waveservants.

When Anton captures the boy in order to collect Highcastle's considerable bounty, the reaver is quickly caught in the riptide caused by the sundering of worlds.

  — product listing


In 1486 DR, endless and torrential rain afflicted the Sea of Fallen Stars, also known as the Inner Sea, and the coastal regions surrounding it. Harvests failed, travel and trade was disrupted, and civilized forces began to give way to the deluges caused by the storms. In panic and despair, many people began to turn to Umberlee, the Queen of the Depths, the evil goddess of the sea, offering her sacrifices in the hope that they would be spared the inevitable reckoning of the perpetual tempest, which had become known as the Great Rain. Unbeknownst to the people of the Inner Sea, the rain was neither a force of pure destruction nor a weapon forged by Umberlee to impose her creed on the region. The Great Rain was fundamentally how that part of Toril was mending the damage inflicted by the Spellplague.

The undead pirate captain Evendur Highcastle soon rose from the depths of the Sea of Fallen Stars to become Umberlee’s Chosen and took advantage of the people’s desperation to strike for both spiritual and temporal power in her name. Vying with Evendur for the hearts and minds of the people was Stedd Whitehorn, a young boy and the Chosen of a deity thought lost to time: Lathander, the Morninglord, the god of the dawn. In a time of such upheaval, Stedd’s message of renewal and hope was in stark contrast to the savage beliefs of Evendur and the Umberlants.

Umberlee commanded Evendur to capture Stedd and kill the boy prophet in a sacrificial ritual that would augment the undead pirate’s mystical power, discredit the reborn faith of Lathander to those people who supported the Morninglord’s message, and ensure the supremacy of the sea goddess’s church throughout the Sea of Fallen Stars. Evendur offered a considerable bounty to whoever could capture Stedd and deliver the child to him on Pirate Isle. Meanwhile, the lich Szass Tam, the supreme ruler of Thay, ordered two Red Wizards, the vampire Kymas Nahpret and the human Umara Ankhlab, to apprehend Evendur and bring him to Thay. Szass wanted to kill a Chosen and harness his or her power in order to increase his own strength.

Also at that time, the Turmishan pirate Anton Marivaldi, the captain of the Iron Jest, and his corsair crew attacked a village near the port city of Teziir to capture Stedd. Anton’s reavers defeated the villagers and Stedd’s bodyguards, the Moonstars, and then seized the young Chosen. Afterward, the pirates of the Iron Jest mutinied against Anton, knocked him unconscious, and severely beat him.    

Kymas and Umara traveled on a Thayan ship to the settlement of Immurk’s Hold on Pirate Isle, where the undead mage, who was the senior of the two Red Wizards, instructed Umara to speak with Evendur. Umara met with Evendur in the temple of Umberlee to present him with Szass Tam’s offer of an alliance between Thay and the Umberlants. Evendur rejected the proposal, but the true purpose of the meeting was for Umara to assess the Chosen’s power. When Umara then used magic to secretly explore the temple, she learned about Evendur’s extensive search for Stedd. Kymas and Umara decided that it would be easier to pursue and capture Stedd than to try to abduct Evendur.

Anton and Stedd were held prisoner on the Iron Jest, which sailed toward Pirate Isle to deliver the boy prophet to Evendur. Anton was told that he was going to be sacrificed to Umberlee before the ship reached the island. Stedd used his clerical powers to heal Anton, who then freed himself and the child. The two managed to escape from the Iron Jest on a rowboat and made their way to the coast. Although Anton had rescued Stedd, he still intended to bring him to Pirate Isle so that he could collect Evendur’s bounty. While traveling east toward the port city of Westgate, Anton and Stedd passed near a small village where a priest of Umberlee was forcing the inhabitants to sacrifice an old woman to the sea goddess. Stedd immediately entered the settlement to stop the villagers before they hurt the woman. Stedd preached Lathander’s message to the villagers and confronted the Umberlant priest, who summoned three sahuagin to slay the Chosen. Anton protected Stedd and fought the sahuagin and the evil priest, and after he killed them, he and the young prophet were welcomed by the villagers, who decided to not sacrifice the elderly woman. Stedd and Anton rested briefly in the village before continuing their journey east.

After their ship departed from Pirate Isle, Kymas and Umara used magic to discover Stedd’s approximate whereabouts. The two wizards learned that Stedd was in the western part of the southern coast of the Inner Sea, and they immediately ordered their galley to head to that area. To increase the Thayan ship’s progress, Kymas motivated the vessel’s sailors to row harder and for longer periods of time by killing a slave rower, transforming him into a zombie, and threatening the other crewmembers with the same fate.

When Anton and Stedd reached Westgate, they discovered that the church of Umberlee was quickly becoming the most powerful faith in the city. The pair made their way to a tavern where Anton met with the halfling Dalabrac Bramblefoot, an officer in the Fire Knives, Westgate’s strongest criminal fraternity. Anton arranged for a ship to transport him and Stedd to Pirate Isle, but Lanthander’s Chosen overhead the reaver speaking with Dalabrac and realized that his companion had deceived him. Stedd immediately left the tavern and began wandering the streets of Westgate. Once Anton discovered that Stedd had departed, he again met with Dalabrac and negotiated a new arrangement with the Fire Knives. Anton and the criminal organization agreed to work together to apprehend Stedd and then split Evendur’s reward for the child.

Shortly after Stedd made his way to Westgate’s marketplace, a violent riot over the lack of food erupted, but the prophet was able to stop the brawl by using his powers to multiply the food supplies. Stedd spoke with a crowd of well-wishers until the arrival of a group of warriors who served the House of the Sun, the temple of the sun god Amaunator in Westgate. The men-at-arms asked Stedd to come with them to Amaunator’s temple, and the young Chosen accepted their offer. Around the same time that Stedd was escorted to the House of the Sun, the Thayan ship arrived in Westgate. Umara and Kymas soon learned that Stedd was in the temple of Amaunator, and the vampire ordered his female associate to retrieve the boy.

Stedd met with Randal Sweetgrove, the First Sunlord of Westgate, and explained to him that since the world was in need of hope and new beginnings, Amaunator had changed his incarnation and once again assumed the role of Lathander. Randal did not believe that Lathander had returned and thought the boy’s notions were heretical. Randal ordered the temple’s warriors to imprison Stedd, since he intended to give him to the Umberlants in order to guarantee tolerance for Amaunator’s church in Westgate. That night, Anton, Dalabrac, and two Fire Knife agents infiltrated the temple of Amaunator to seize Stedd, and Umara entered the building at the same time. Umara found Stedd first and freed him, but they were then attacked by a band of silvery female angelic creatures that had been summoned by the temple’s priests to prevent the pair’s escape. Anton and his comrades quickly joined the fight in order to aid Stedd and Umara, and together they defeated the silver women, though one of the Fire Knives was slain. Before the intruders could be confronted by the priests and warriors of Amaunator, they fled the temple. While hurrying away from the House of the Sun, the group was joined by Kymas, but they then discovered that an astral deva had been summoned by Amaunator’s clerics and was pursuing them. Anton and Umara stayed behind to fight the powerful angel, while the others continued to flee from the temple. Once the two managed to kill the astral deva, they fled the area and tried to catch up with their companions.

While fleeing down Westgate’s streets, Dalabrac and his Fire Knife associate attempted to kill Kymas, but they were swiftly slain by the undead wizard. Stedd then used his mystical power to try to stop Kymas, and although he hurt the vampire, he was overwhelmed and knocked unconscious. Kymas hastily took Stedd to the Thayan ship, which he ordered to immediately set sail from the city. When Anton and Umara reached Westgate’s harbor, they discovered that the Thayan vessel had departed without them. Knowing that the church of Amaunator, the Umberlants, and others were seeking them, Umara and Anton quickly departed from the city on the gnome smuggler Falrinn Greatorm’s ship in pursuit of the Thayan galley.  

Umberlee was enraged that Evendur had allowed Stedd to be captured by Thayans and harshly reprimanded her Chosen. The evil goddess ordered Evendur to personally stop the Thayans and seize the boy prophet. The undead pirate used his mystical abilities to view different areas of the Sea of Fallen Stars until he found the Iron Jest. Evendur magically transported himself to the sea near the pirate ship, boarded the vessel, and commanded the crew to help him capture Stedd by catching the Thayan galley while it was sailing in the straits between Pirate Isle and Gulthandor.

As Greatorm’s ship was sailing east across the Inner Sea, friendship developed between Umara and Anton. When the smuggler’s vessel caught up with the Thayan galley, the trio discovered that it was being pursued and attacked by Evendur and the Iron Jest. Anton and Umara used magic to secretly board the corsair ship and ignited several enchanted incendiary catapult projectiles. The resulting explosion significantly damaged the Iron Jest, and following a brief fight against Evendur and the pirate crew, Anton and Umara escaped from the vessel. After the Iron Jest sank, the two companions boarded the Thayan galley, which was then magically assaulted by Evendur, who refused to halt his pursuit despite the loss of his ship and its crew. Since Evendur could not be stopped by the two Red Wizards’ magic or the Thayan men-at-arms’ conventional attacks, Anton released Stedd from his magical imprisonment so that the boy could use his powers against Umberlee’s Chosen. Stedd was able to seriously wound Evendur and force him to flee, but he was then once again imprisoned by Kymas. Anton opposed Stedd’s incarceration by dark magic and tried to stop Kymas, but the reaver was quickly incapacitated by the vampire and Umara, and he was imprisoned himself. After being wounded by Stedd, Evendur had fled to Umberlee’s otherworldly ocean to recover his strength. The Queen of the Depths later appeared and threatened to annihilate Evendur if he failed her again.

Stedd soon convinced Umara to free him and Anton and assist him in completing his mission for Lathander, who wanted the boy to quickly journey to the Turmishan port city of Sapra. Anton had also befriended Stedd by that time and decided to help the young Chosen accomplish his task. Once Umara released the two, she and Anton confronted Kymas and managed to kill the vampire following a vicious fight on the ship’s deck. The Thayan galley had been irreparably damaged in the clash against Evendur, but it was able to reach the coast near the wilds of Gulthandor. Shortly after they landed, Anton and the others noticed that the Octopus, a pirate ship loyal to Evendur, was approaching their location. To avoid a confrontation with the corsair vessel, the group hastily left the coast and began traveling through Gulthandor toward Turmish.

Mourmyd Jacerryl, the captain of the Octopus, was unwilling to pursue Stedd and his companions into the forest, so he immediately led his crew to Pirate Isle to notify Evendur that the Chosen of Lathander was in the Gulthandor region. After speaking with Mourmyd, Evendur commanded all the corsairs of Immurk’s Hold to hunt for Stedd, and he specifically ordered the captain of the Octopus to take control of the Turmishan village of Morningstar Hollows, since anyone journeying east through the northern reaches of Gulthandor would naturally head there.

As Stedd, Anton, and the Thayans were traveling through Gulthandor, they were followed and often attacked by a pride of magically-controlled lions. While the band was encamped that night, they were assailed by the lions, and the leader of the pride, a gigantic lion with a mane of blue fire, attempted to abduct Stedd. Anton and Umara managed to stop the monstrous lion from escaping with Stedd, and the young prophet was able to then use his powers to cleanse the creature of the magical flame. The giant beast revealed himself to be Nobanion, the lion lord of Gulthandor, and commanded the pride of lions to stop their attack on the Thayan camp. After thanking Stedd for healing him, Nobanion told the boy, Anton, and Umara how he had been afflicted by the blue fires of the Spellplague, and how being in that weakened state had allowed him to be magically enslaved by Malar, the Beastlord, the god of the hunt.

With the help of Nobanion, Stedd and his companions swiftly journeyed through Gulthandor, and they then headed to Morningstar Hollows, which they discovered was being occupied by the pirates of the Octopus. Anton and the others ambushed and killed the reavers, and after the fight, they took control of the Octopus. The group soon set sail for Sapra, but before they departed, they learned from the villagers that all of Turmish was starving due to the perpetual rains.

When the Octopus arrived in Sapra, Stedd, Umara, and Anton made their way to the House of Silvanus, the main stronghold of the Turmishan druidic order known as the Emerald Enclave. The order was led by the Elder Circle, which consisted of three Chosen of Silvanus, the Forest Father, the god of nature. Stedd and his friends met with two members of the Elder Circle, the half-elf Ashenford Torinblow and the human Shinthala Deepcrest. Stedd informed the druidic leaders that he had come to save Turmish in its time of need by working together with the Emerald Enclave. However, Stedd and the druids could not complete the magical rituals that would end the famine in Turmish without the assistance of the third member of the Elder Circle, the elf Cindermoon, who had been driven insane by the Spellplague. While Anton distracted Cindermoon’s guards, Stedd, Umara, Shinthala, and Ashenford were able to incapacitate and heal the elf, who then assumed her former name, Shadowmoon.

Stedd, the three Chosen of Silvanus, many other druids of the Emerald Enclave, and a variety of nature spirits and forest creatures soon gathered together near the House of Silvanus and performed two intricate magical rituals to save Turmish. The first rite made the Great Rain’s healing effects work faster and repair the damage inflicted on Turmish by the Spellplague. The ritual reestablished the natural order in Turmish and restored the Emerald Enclave’s magic to its level of potency before the catastrophic event. The second magical rite ended the Turmishan famine by causing food to instantly grow throughout the nation. Although the rituals saved Turmish, completing the great works of magic drained Stedd and the Emerald Enclave of a lot of their mystical strength, and Lathander’s Chosen was so weakened that he even fell into a coma-like state.

Umberlee was infuriated that disaster in Turmish had been averted, and in her rage, she nearly destroyed Evendur. However, the undead pirate was able to convince Umberlee to allow him to gather the forces that served her and lead them against Sapra. The Queen of the Depths wanted her Chosen to slaughter first the people of Sapra and then all of Turmish.

When the Elder Circle learned that Evendur’s fleet was moving toward Sapra, they hastily assembled the city’s forces and prepared to meet the enemy in battle on the sea. Stedd was still unconscious, but Anton, Umara, and the other Thayans joined the Turmishan navy that was going to engage Umberlee’s minions. Since the Elder Circle’s main responsibility was to protect and nurture the wild lands of Turmish, only Shinthala decided to directly participate in the battle, while the other two Chosen of Silvanus would lead a group of druids in providing magical aid to Sapra’s defenders.

As Evendur’s armada approached Sapra, the Turmishan fleet set sail from the city and confronted them. Although Umberlee’s forces outnumbered their opponents and were fighting at sea, the martial skill and divine power of the druids allowed the Turmishan navy to withstand them. The outcome of the battle was ultimately determined by a fight in which Evendur faced Shinthala, Anton, and Umara. The three companions fought courageously against Evendur, but Umberlee’s Chosen was too formidable and their defeat was inevitable. However, at that time, Lathander showed himself to Stedd and healed him, and the young prophet then found a way to get magically transported to the naval battlefield. After Stedd healed Anton and Shinthala of their serious wounds, he used his connection with Lathander to give the reaver the power to destroy Evendur. Once Anton killed the undead pirate, the Turmishan forces had a significant advantage over Umberlee’s fleet and soon achieved victory.

Following the battle, Stedd chose to stay in Sapra for a time to learn from the three Chosen of Silvanus, and Anton decided that he would accompany Umara when she returned to Thay. Also at that time, the rains that had fallen in Turmish for months finally ended, and the sun emerged over the realm.

  1. Richard Lee Byers (February 2014). The Reaver. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 1. ISBN 0-7869-6458-8.

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