Ashen-Shugar/Tomas

Ashen-Shugar/Tomas

Ashen-Shugar/Tomas is a fictional character from the Riftwar Cycle series of books by Raymond E. Feist, which take place in the fictional world of Midkemia. According to the books, Tomas, a teenager from the city of Crydee, was gifted a set of gold and white armour by the ancient golden dragon Rhuagh, after stumbling upon him in a deep abandoned dwarven cavern. The armor contained the bound essence of the Dragon Lord, or Valheru, Ashen-Shugar, the Ruler of the Eagle's Reaches, whose power was contained within the armor, imbuing Tomas with his former power, melding them into one super-powerful mortal entity. This union, seemingly improbable due to the thousands of years between the lives of Ashen-Shugar and of Tomas, and their distinct differences in power, was made possible by the powerful and mysterious sorcerer Macros the Black.

History of Ashen-Shugar

In the time of the Valheru, ancient beings of incredible power and without conscience, Ashen-Shugar, who deemed himself the "Ruler of the Eagles' Reaches", was the strongest of all the Valheru (Stated to being the most powerful member of the most powerful mortal race ever to exist by Macros). He had a child named Alma-Lodaka, the Emerald Queen of snakes, whom he later mated with (familial relations mattered little to the Valheru) to produce Draken-Korin, the self-proclaimed Lord of the Tigers. The Valheru rampaged across the universe unopposed, destroying thousands of ancient and powerful civilizations simply for plunder and destruction's sake. When the Midkemian gods came into being, the Valheru faced their first true challenge, and the Chaos Wars had begun.

Draken-Korin gathered the Valheru for the sake of battling the gods as a single powerful entity, and he created the mysterious artifact known as the Lifestone, presumed to be a powerful weapon. The Valheru then united into a single entity which would become known only as "The Enemy". But Ashen-Shugar was the only Valheru who refused to join his kin, believing the battle against the gods to be fruitless. He was beginning to be under the incomprehensible influence of Tomas, which seemed to provide him with the conscience that his kin lacked. At the end of the Chaos Wars, the gods were victorious and all Valheru destroyed except Ashen-Shugar and a badly wounded Draken-Korin. Ashen-Shugar killed Draken-Korin's material form, preventing him from ever activating the Lifestone. He afterward traveled throughout Midkemia, naming all a free people.

An event of note is his speech to the elves. He told them that new beings (the humans and dwarves) had found refuge in Midkemia. The future eledhel were ones to say that they would live in peace with these new beings, while the predecessors of the moredhel were to say that they would war on the humans and dwarves, as they were the ones to "inherit the mantles of power." Ignoring Ashen-Shugar's warning against the gain of power and traveled to the north to dream dreams of power. The ones rendered mad by the destruction in the Chaos Wars snuck off to plot against their brothers, and so they were called the glameredhel. He then traveled back to his home in the Eagle's Reaches to spend the rest of his life, dying thousands of years later. He held a conversation with the essence of Tomas, and then let his essence bleed out of him and into his armor, which would lie in wait for its new host for many more millenia.

History of Tomas

Tomas was Pug's best friend when they were growing up in Crydee. After the appearance of an alien ship, feared to belong to a malevolent army, near Crydee, Duke Borric set out to personally warn The Kingdom of the Isles. He was accompanied by his son Arutha, the magician Kulgan, sergeant Gardan, Tomas, Pug, and a number of soldiers. The group was ambushed several times in the Green Heart Forest by moredhel (also known as the Brotherhood of the Dark Path, or dark elves), but was ultimately rescued by Dolgan and the dwarves of the Grey Tower mountains. He guided them to a shortcut through the mountains known as the Mac Mordain Cadal, an ancient mine. However, a wraith, a spectral creature whose touch steals life, attacked the party. Tomas was separated from the rest of the group in the confusion, and outran the wraith, despite running through a labyrinth of tunnels with little visible light. After the party was through the mine, Dolgan returned to look for Tomas, only to find him sitting comfortably in the cave of a dragon by the name of Rhuagh. Rhuagh was about to die, but was told by Macros the Black many years before that these two would appear before him moments before his death. As per Macros' request, he told them that there was a chest with a gift for each of them. Tomas and Dolgan looked in the chest, to discover the legendary Hammer of Tholin, which used to belong to the old dwarf king, and a suit of gold and white armour, shield, and sword. Tomas donned the armour, and despite being too small for it, over time his appearance changed. When they were exiting the Cadal, Dolgan noticed he seemed to have a more commanding presence, and be larger and taller.

Duke Borric's fears of invasion were realized, and the Empire of Tsurannuani attacked the Kingdom through a rift in space-time, controlled by powerful Tsurani magicians, or Great Ones. The Tsurani homeworld, Kelewan, lacked metals that were abundant in Midkemia, thus much of the Tsurani assault was directed at the dwarves of Stone Mountain and of the Grey Towers. Tomas came into his own as a powerful warrior, seemingly possessed when in battle and was admired by the dwarves for his heroics. It was during this time that he started having strange dreams, in which he met Ashen-Shugar and talked with him. He seemed subtly changed each time, appearing to be less the human and more the Valheru that Ashen-Shugar was.

When brought into Elvandar, the city of the elves, instead of being scared (which is how all other humans reacted to the magics of the elves), he instead felt at home there. He grew close to Aglaranna, the Elf Queen. They grew to be lovers, and he continued his subtle change into the Valheru. Tathar and the elven Spellweavers were wary of Tomas, because he was becoming one of the Valheru, who had enslaved the elves in ancient times. Over time, Tomas lost more and more of his conscience, slowly transforming into the long-dead entity of rage and battle-madness. The transformation culminated when the Tsurani prisoners of war were brought to the elven court. He killed several of the helpless Tsurani, commanding the nearby elves not to interfere. He would have killed Martin Longbow, but he suddenly recognized his boyhood friend and warned him not to oppose him. As he continued slaying more Tsurani, he came across a small boy who put him in mind of his childhood friend Pug. This then caused an internal battle, with Ashen-Shugar who wanted to kill all invaders of Elvandar, and Tomas wanting to spare the boy. Tomas won the struggle, by virtue of his memory of his foster brother Pug, and was immediately overcome by remorse for all his cruel acts. Seeking to redress his callousness toward Aglaranna, and quell contention for the throne, he became Prince Consort to the Elf Queen, gaining the approval and acceptance of the elves.

In A Darkness at Sethanon, the Valheru host threatened to return to Midkemia, but was trapped in the Lifestone of their own creation, when Tomas inadvertently activated it when stabbing his sword through a reborn Valheru and into the Lifestone. In the aftermath of the Valheru's banishment, he felt a great portion of his Valheru legacy absorbed into the Lifestone as well, but was reassured by Macros the Black that he would live a long life beside his Queen.

Through the following years, Tomas is content to live in Elvandar, though his son with Aglaranna, Calis, preferred a more active role in service to the Kingdom of the Isles. Eventually, during the Serpentwar, he and the elven hosts of Elvandar aided the armies of the Kingdom, and once again, found himself battling great evils at the side of his childhood friend, Pug. Near the end of the battle, he fought the self-styled Demon King of Midkemia when the latter sought to claim the Lifestone.

More recently, Pug brought a Talnoy to Elvandar, seeking Tomas's memories of his Valheru heritage to find out more about the alien artifact. Shortly after, Elvandar was invaded by evil forces, killing many elves and setting the forest on fire before being driven back. The attack prompted Tomas to leave Elvandar to aid Pug in confronting the evil that sought to claim the Talnoy. Later, while guarding a cavern filled with Talnoys, he fought a would-be raider, Ralan Bek, whose unexpected superhuman prowess surprised the human-turned-Valheru who, noting that the youth only grew stronger with every blow, ended the battle prematurely, something he had never found need to do before.

Tomas is a prominent character in the Riftwar Saga, notably in Magician and A Darkness at Sethanon, but like Pug, he tends to remove himself from the conflicts in Raymond E. Feist's later works.

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