Friday, April 19, 2013

"The Lost Swords: Mindsword’s Story" Plot Overview

Looking for something new to read? Here's a short summary of The Lost Swords: Mindsword’s Story. See if you'd be interested in it...

Author: Fred Saberhagen

Summary by Steve Wilson

Plot summary:

Murat finds the Mindsword on top of a mountain. He has been searching for it, following clues and rumors to where it might be, and now intends to give it to Princess Kristin of Tasavalta in repayment of his theft of Woundhealer. He is in love with Princess Kristin. Lord Vilkata, the Dark King, was carried from the field of battle fourteen years ago by Vulcan and has been living in a village near the mountain ever since. Now he senses that someone has found the Mindsword. Akbar, one of the demons that used to serve him, finds him and offers to help him regain the Mindsword if Vilkata will make him second-in-command when he rises to power again. Vilkata agrees. 

Carlo, Murat’s son, tracks him down on the way to Tasavalta. They are then attacked by bandits. When Murat draws the Mindsword, however, the bandits all swear their loyalty to him. Murat doesn’t want them as followers, but can’t find a way to get rid of them. 

Murat and company then come across an elderly, blind beggar named Metaxas, who claims to have been a servant of the royal house when Princess Kristin was young. Murat isn’t sure whether to believe Metaxas or not, but brings him along anyway in the hopes that Metaxas will help him gain favor with the princess. 

As soon as the party enters Tasavalta, they are arrested by a patrol. Unwilling, however, to give up the Mindsword before he can deliver it to Kristin himself, Murat draws the Sword and magically adds the Tasavaltan patrol to his own company. 

As they continue toward the capital, Sarykam, Metaxas (revealed to be Vilkata) begins placing doubts in Carlo’s mind as to the wisdom of simply giving a Sword away. He says that if Murat wants to give someone a Sword, he should give it to Carlo, his own son, rather than a foreign princess. 

Murat and company find Kristin at her summer home before they get to the capital. He tries to give the Sword to Kristin, but she won’t listen to him, calling out her guards instead. Murat is again forced to draw the Mindsword, which turns Kristin into his loving admirer. Knowing that Mark will soon be home from whatever mission he’s currently on, Murat plans to take Kristin home to Culm until the Sword’s effect wears off. Metaxas then reminds Murat that there are still three more Swords in the Tasavaltan armory – Dragonslicer, Stonecutter, and Sightblinder. The company sets out for Sarykam the next morning in order to take the three Swords. Kristin admits that she does not remember Metaxas from her childhood. When they reach the capital, they find it deserted and the Swords gone. They suspect Prince Stephen saw the Mindsword take over his mother and then ran here to report it. Meanwhile, Karel and Stephen ride out and meet Mark and Ben on their way back home from a mission. They tell them everything that’s happened and that General Rostov has Stonecutter and most of the troops busy blocking Murat’s exit from the country. 

Murat is woken suddenly at night and instinctively draws the Mindsword. Caught unaware, Vilkata himself comes under its power and confesses everything. Murat has Vilkata summon Akbar, who then also becomes enchanted the Sword, admitting that its life is somehow hidden in the Sword. Akbar cannot be killed unless the Mindsword is destroyed. Being frustrated that he can’t leave the country due to Rostov’s blocking him in, Murat decides it might be better after all to just conquer Tasavalta and make it, and Kristin, his. The next evening, Mark and Karel approach the edge of the Mindsword’s radius of influence and wait for Kristin to approach. Mark grabs her and Karel uses a spell to put her to sleep so that they can get her away without her fighting them. When Murat hears that Kristin is missing, he suspects that she went to Mark willingly, an impossibility since she was under the power of the Mindsword, but such is Murat’s paranoia that he thinks she betrayed him. Thinking that perhaps Kristin’s hate for Vilkata was what made her leave, Murat banishes the Dark King from his presence. Akbar then suggests that Murat travel to Sarykam and use the Mindsword to enslave the capital as a punishment to the Tasavaltans for taking Kristin away from him. The next morning, Vilkata sees Murat riding by and runs to ask him to take him back into his service. Murat pumps the Dark King for information, then orders him to find a way to kill Akbar. When Vilkata leaves, we see that “Murat” was actually Ben wearing Sightblinder. Later that day, Akbar finds Vilkata. Vilkata has now been away from the Mindsword long enough to be over its effects. He tells Akbar that the demon’s life is no longer in the Mindsword. When Akbar flies off, Vilkata begins summoning more demons to aid him in his quest for revenge against Murat. The next morning, Murat has Akbar fly him and Carlo into the Tasavaltan palace. His plan is to sneak in and see if Kristin still loves him or not. He wants to keep the Mindsword sheathed until he knows. When they arrive in Kristin’s bedroom, Akbar drops them off and flees. As Kristin tries to get to Murat, Prince Stephen attacks and makes Murat drop the Sword out the window and onto the roof. Vilkata then arrives with his new demons. Murat orders Carlo to get the Sword. As he attempts, he falls off the roof and dies. Akbar then returns and refuses to help Murat or Vilkata. He has Shieldbreaker hidden in himself and so was always immune to the Mindsword’s power. He was only pretending to serve Murat. Akbar takes away Vilkata’s sight, but then Ben arrives and fights Akbar. He is unarmed so Shieldbreaker can’t harm him. 

Murat tries to climb out on the roof and falls to his death himself. Kristin dives out after him. She is critically injured, but not dead yet. A new demon gives Vilkata his sight back and he flies down and grabs the Mindsword. As he is about to unsheathe it, Mark arrives and, as a son of the Emperor, banishes the demons. Vilkata, still being carried by the demons, is swept away along with them. 

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