Exiles: The Official Melanie Rawn Website
The Mystery of Collan Rosvenir
as researched by Lady Brenlis

COLLAN’S MEMORY

And of what he did recall, what could he trust? A gray cat he’d named Smoky. One or two other things—songs sung by a woman with a beautiful voice, Scraller’s face, Taguare Veliaz… RoA p504

Age At Enslavement

We open the book, start reading about a little boy of 4 years who was sold and raised as a slave before being rescued at 13. This all appears unremarkable until Collan is captured by Glenin at the end of Mageborn Traitor and his Wards dissolve.

The layers began to peel from his Wards. Like a great wind roaring through him, like the wind remembered from early childhood that knocked him into the ditch, leaving him there stunned while the reivers killed his family and burned down his home—
No.
There never was any wind. Nor ditch.  Nor reivers nor mother nor cottage nor family nor anything else remembered from that life. It was not his life. They were not his memories. They were as the wind he couldn’t grasp or feel—
--because the wind was magic.
Sweeping over him, a tempest that blew away everything he’d been born, wiping away another life, leaving nothingness where other memories were substituted for the ones that belonged to him.
The ditch? Ah, that was where his true self was hidden while the magic blew past, sweeping all before it.
The cottage? All his life before the magic wind, burned to the ground, unrecognizable for what it had once been.
The reivers? They were the ones who had stolen his true identity and caged his memories. The imprisonment had not been of his body but his Self. MT p537

Melanie already laid the groundwork for this revelation in Ruins of Ambrai:

  • Collan shows Sarra his tattoo: “I was born a slave.”… Sarra replied, No you weren’t…. it hasn’t been there all your life, you know. You weren’t slaveborn, Collan. If you’d had that mark from birth, it would’ve grown larger as you grew. I’d say you were eleven or twelve when that was done. RoA p 503
  • Consider this from the following descriptions of Collan’s early years as a slave: Although he couldn’t have spent more than a few hours each day at this exhausting task, it seemed his life existed solely of treadmill and pallet for years. RoA p 9
  • …nothing but his thick hair protected his head from cold, acidic rain. By the third day his nose was streaming, his hair was falling out in clumps, his scalp was burned  RoA p 10. Collan was exposed to acid rain, but there is no mention of scars anywhere in the books. This may be evidence of false memories.

Collan became a slave later in life. A year or two would be all that is necessary to establish Collan as a slave at Scraller’s. Eleven or twelve was Sarra's guess, which may or may not be accurate.

That would be 949-950. What happened around then?

  • Telo Ambrai died in 948, RoA p51 which led to the tensions between Allynis and Auvry.... 950 was the year Allynis and the Captal sent Auvry to Ryka under false pretenses, 951 was the year Ambrai was destroyed. Desse came for Collan some time after. Telo Ambrai is the brother at law to Gorynel Desse, and the uncle of Maichen Ambrai.
  • Also, Jener Ostin died in 949 and Sollan Vekke was killed in (950) an accident along with Tiva Sennison.

Warded Memories

Indeed, Collan couldn’t have become a slave at age 4. He recognized Sarra as Sarra Ambrai, and his first meeting with Auvry Feiran plays hell with his Wards. He knew them from childhood!

Selective compilation of people blocked from Collan’s memory.

Taguare name & memories
Falundir name, face & memories
Viko name & memories
Elseveth name & memories
*Auvry Feiran face, voice?  memories
**Sarra Ambrai Wards were not triggered. Memories only were blocked.

*          Collan recognized Feiran! In Ruins of Ambrai, Gorynel Desse takes Agatine, Orlin & company to Ryka where they are surprised by Auvry Feiran. From the second Auvry Feiran intones, “No.” Collan’s Wards kick in giving him hideous headaches. But his vision was clouded, his perceptions muddied, the pain in his head crippling. Telomir tells him Battle globes can do that.” But remember that Telomir is in on all the little secrets. Obviously, he is throwing sand in Collan’s eyes—covering up. RoA p346-7. There is no other reason for such a strong reaction from Collan’s Wards. He’d been around magic enough before to rule that out.
At Ambrai, Gorynel Desse set his Wards to gradually dissolve, so he could be around Falundir, etc. That’s why it wasn’t a problem for him when Feiran confronted him at the Crossroads of  St Feleris.

**        Sarra Ambrai did not aggravate the Wards at all. It was Melanie Rawn herself who pointed out to me that Collan recognizes her before he [spoiler].
Each was almost as deeply loved as he loved Sarra Ambrai.
“Of course!” he exclaimed, the first and only words that had left his lips since a different magic had wrapped around him. “Of course!”   MT p537

Conclusion

In his unknown childhood from 0-10, Collan must have spent quite a bit of time in Ambrai and the Octagon Court.

His life belonged to him.
And his Wards? To whom did they belong?
He could have been rid of them. Cailet had offered. But he’d chosen to keep them. They were his, part of him.
And this knowledge sprang from places the Wards didn’t even touch. There were levels in his mind and awareness now, like stacked song folios on a shelf containing memories from childhood and adulthood, aspects of his personality and character, things he knew and things he was. That his Wards were of his own choosing was at the very bottom of the piled volumes. He knew they were his.
And the Malerrisi would take them away to find out who he was without them.
RoA p 456

Wouldn’t you? ;)

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© 1995-2006 Irena Pereira, DAW Books, Inc., Melanie Rawn, and artwork © Michael Whelan.