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I'm thinking of a story wherein a short rogue-like man (probably not a dwarf, but perhaps some kind of halfling or a human little person) is contracted or coerced by a powerful wizard to track down a large, many-faceted crystal. The story follows this guy on his journey, and at the end, the short rogue/bard scratches one of the facets on the crystal before giving it to the wizard. This causes the crystal to explode when the wizard tries to use it in a spell, which kills the wizard.

During the story, the short rogue-like person comes across the siege of a castle or fortified town, and somehow he is conscripted (or volunteers) to help with the siege. I believe there's an exchange where he lies about being trained as a siege engineer (he's a rogue, remember). During the battle, the siege engines manage to breach one of the walls of the castle.

There may also be something with the wizard's daughter, or the king's daughter (whom the wizard works for). It might be that the short rogue-like person was caught with this daughter, and this is how he was coerced into tracking down the crystal.

This book was written in English and I read it perhaps fifteen years ago, definitely not less than ten years ago now.

  • Do you remember in what language it was written? Also, when did you read it? – Shevliaskovic Mar 17 '14 at 12:49
  • I've edited the question to include that information. Thanks! – L0j1k Mar 17 '14 at 14:27
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    Ah, I keep thinking it's the Crystal Shard/Drizzt series, and now I'm stuck. :( – JohnP Mar 17 '14 at 15:03
  • I know for certain it's not a traditional Forgotten Realms or another D&D campaign setting. I absolutely love that series! Thanks! You actually reminded me of something. – L0j1k Mar 17 '14 at 15:27
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    Sounds a lot like Cugel the Clever/Eyes of the Overworld by Jack Vance. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eyes_of_the_Overworld Though some of the details are off from my memory of that. – eshier Mar 9 '17 at 17:26
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Sounds like The Eyes of the Overworld by Jack Vance (also known as Cugel the Clever). Been a while since I read the Dying Earth stuff so my memory is poor, but definitely sent to get some crystal lenses. Lots of separate adventures since the novel is really a short story collection.

Cugel is easily persuaded by the merchant Fianosther to attempt the burglary of the manse of Iucounu the Laughing Magician. Trapped and caught, he agrees that in exchange for his freedom he will undertake the recovery of a small hemisphere of violet glass, an Eye of the Overworld, to match one already in the wizard's possession.

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    Some of the reason it came to me was that I recently read a novel that was an homage to this by "Hugh Matthews". Apparently this is a pen name of Matt Hughes who writes a lot of Vancian stuff. The one I read was a RPG tie-in that was...okay: smile.amazon.com/Pathfinder-Tales-Serpent-Hugh-Matthews-ebook/… – eshier Mar 10 '17 at 16:09
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    The first paragraph of the description sounds like The Eyes of the Overworld (hazily remembered), but the other stuff does not really fit (although it all sounds like stuff Cugel would have done) and may come from another source. – Buzz Mar 10 '17 at 18:32
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    @ Buzz; I agree, but the OP responded to my comment on the question implying it was correct and to post it as an answer. – eshier Mar 10 '17 at 18:46
  • Yes I could definitely be conflating things that don't belong. I could have sworn the gem was cut and it caused the wizard to explode, but I put a lot of faith in the fallibility of my own memory. – L0j1k Mar 10 '17 at 23:46
  • Also @eshier thanks for the Pathfinder book link! Totally unrelated, but I just started a Pathfinder campaign and I'm in the process of buying lots of Pathfinder stuff. This looks like a great story. – L0j1k Mar 10 '17 at 23:49
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Sounds quite like one of the Elenium series of books by David Eddings. There are three books in the series and they feature a search for a magic crystal that will cure a woman struck by a curse. The protagonist is a kind of disgraced monk/warrior who has been exiled from his order but called back for this mission.

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