Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Night's Mistress: Tanith Lee (1947-2015)

Fantasy / horror / SF Grand Master Tanith Lee passed away on Sunday. While I was a latecomer to her books, I was sufficiently blown away by the Tales of the Flat Earth sequence to teach Night's Master in Spring 2014. Here is the transcendent ending of that amazing novel:
     But abruptly Fair, the youngest of the seven sisters, crept to the window, and there in the east she saw a single yellow sword uplifted, the token that the sun was coming. What made her do it she never knew, but she hurried to the incredible man, and, kneeling by him, she kissed his mouth, and whispered: "Azhrarn, awake, for the sun returns to earth and you must return to your own kingdom."
     And the man's eyelids flickered up, and two dark fires blazed suddenly between the bladed lashes, and he smiled, and touched the lips of Fair with his cool fingers. And then he was gone.
     The room was filled with screaming yet again, while a black eagle rose unseen into the sky of earth, turned on its broad wings, and vanished without trace.
     Moments after, the bright sun rose. But be sure, the age of Innocence was ended.
Rest in peace, Tanith Lee.

1 comment:

  1. I also debated using the following quote from the "Kazir and Ferazhin" chapter of _Night's Master_. I went with the novel's ending because the playful resurrection of evil seems more apropos of Lee's oeuvre, but here's a beautiful counter-example of good triumphing instead:

    "Then came a great agony, and fear and joy. They overwhelmed her, drowned her, bore her away with them. She tumbled through seas of fire and flames of pain, she put on flesh like a scalding garnet, and knives tore wide her eyes to a sky of black radiance.

    She stood in the cup of a vast flower, as once before. She saw a man, as once before. Seeing him, finding him, she recalled everything.

    Kazir put his arms about her, and lifted her down to him. They clung together as the stem of the tree clung to the earth. What they said and what they promised in that moment who needs to be told?

    But somewhere perhaps some dark door slammed like thunder in a city underground."