The Wizards Of Llandwellyn
by Eric Wilson Outline of Volume 1 - The Legacy of Gilman Chapter 1 The story opens with a confrontation between Aramine and Elsaer. They are mages, the most powerful type of sorcerer in Llandwellyn except for wizards. Elsaer manipulates Aramine into committing a grave political murder so he can have a legitimate reason to incarcerate her. She escapes the initial trap set by Elsaer, and takes refuge in the caverns of her home in Mt. Orduin. Elsaer is not able to enter the mountain, but he does set a magical barrier backed by armed sentries at the only entrance to keep Aramine from leaving. The scene is a subterfuge of Elsaer's to gain political favor. But his true reason is to force Aramine to surrender her knowledge of the location of the infant wizard Aleksandor. Elsaer wants that secret since Aleksandor is the key to the very different versions of a future Llandwellyn that Elsaer and Aramine want to see. Both know that Aleksandor is the last wizard Llandwellyn will know. And as such, he is the only hope of ending the nightmare posed by the mad demon-wizard Vanmur. Vanmur has vowed to return every five hundred years and destroy every sorcerer he can with the exception of the vicious morikhuns who plague much of Llandwellyn. And when he has killed his last rival, he will eliminate the potential for any future enemy sorcerers to exist. Vanmur's return is predicted within three decades. And it will coincide with a two pronged invasion of Llandwellyn by morikhun led armies ruled by Ghanzeg in the East and Zorsten in the West. Aramine wants to raise and train Aleksandor to confront the morikhuns and ultimately Vanmur. Elsaer professes the same motives, but has a historical distrust of Aramine. He promises to keep Aramine sealed in Orduin until she surrenders. Aramine is convinced Elsaer wants to control Aleksandor so he will obey only his directives. She thinks Elsaer is a coward who will sacrifice all of Llandwellyn to the morikhuns if Aleksandor will only conserve himself to confront Vanmur and no one else. Chapter 2 Aramine comes up with a scheme to potentially outwit Elsaer. She can place herself into a type of hibernation for up to twenty-five years. By the end of that time, she believes Aleksandor will be powerful enough to break Elsaer's guard. In the meantime, she uses her unique skills as a seer to project herself to Vanmur's homeland of Norvansken. Intending to only read his energy levels so she can confirm her feeling that he will not emerge until Aleksandor is ready for him, she is drawn towards nightmarish scenes of morikhun savagery. She realizes that they have suddenly developed magical powers far beyond their accepted capabilities. Worse is that the energy for these abilities is being drained from the dormant Vanmur. She has a vision of a mysterious figure creating that energy tap. At the same time Vanmur awakens to further taunt her. Unfortunately, Aramine's own energy is so depleted that she can do nothing else. Chapter 3 Aleksandor is in the home of his peasant grandmother when a mysterious elderly man comes to the door late in the night. After talking his way in, he casts a spell to convince the grandmother that everything he says is the truth. He says he is Tai-Sung, the only other living wizard and the last to have faced Vanmur, over five hundred years before. Though Vanmur was forced to break off the attack and re-entered dormancy, Tai-Sung's abilities were so damaged that he was left with only a few talents. He had been contacted by Aramine to try to retrieve Aleksandor before the relentless Elsaer found him. This he does, but not before a narrow escape from a band of soldiers led by Mikara, a foul necromancer employed by Elsaer to help his search. Chapter 4 Tai-Sung shape changes himself to an old woman and Aleksandor to a cat so he can continue his escape. He barely outwits Mikara a second time. A week later, he completes a journey on foot to Lithorin, a country so embedded with magic that it can confuse the best efforts of Elsaer and his minions to find Aleksandor. Tai-Sung then meets with Daiman, who besides Aramine and Elsaer is the only other mage. Gruff, demanding, crafty and pragmatic, Daiman has reluctantly agreed to care for Aleksandor until Aramine can be freed. He is assisted in this effort by Elisha, an esoteric sorceress called a nemera. Chapter 5 Aleksandor displays amazing precocity though he is only eight months old. Daiman and Tai-Sung believe he was infused with latent knowledge from the first wizard, Gilman. But Gilman was nearly insane from the atrocities he had suffered and witnessed during his long duel with Vanmur. He created the traits of wizardry for Tai-Sung and Aleksandor, who otherwise would have been mages, then made an unprecedented time leap through time to implant the traits just before his final duel with Vanmur. He foresaw Vanmur surviving physical death by merging his spirit with that of a demon from the Netherworld of Vahashkur. Only a wizard could harm him in that state, thus Gilman sacrificed much of his waning energy to create a legacy to combat his enemy. Unfortunately part of that legacy was the potential for the same madness that had afflicted him. Chapter 6 Twenty-five years later, Aramine emerges from hibernation. Her energy nearly exhausted, she still has no way to escape the traps Elsaer has placed around Mt. Orduin. Desperately, she tries to telepathically contact Aleksandor, but cannot get a coherent response. Chapter 7 Aleksandor and Daiman discuss the ramifications of a frightening new morikhun skill, the ability to move themselves and small groups of human subordinates under opaque, moving covers of mists. Effective action cannot be taken until it is too late, as is illustrated by an attack on an isolated farm in eastern Lithorin. All signs point to an imminent invasion, one that no one in Llandwellyn is prepared to face. Worse, the coming war is shaping up as part of a much larger scheme. It is appearing more and more that it is linked with Vanmur's coming reappearance. Chapter 8 That same night, Aleksandor is alone when he receives and finally understands a telepathic message, or "mind-link" from Aramine. She begs for him to come to Mt. Orduin so she can complete his training. Sensing that she is dying, Aleksandor agrees, though he is plagued with self doubt regarding his abilities. Chapter 9 Daiman is not pleased with Aleksandor's decision, but must reluctantly agree with his logic, that Aramine will die within a few weeks unless she is rescued. As the oldest sorcerer and by far the most knowledgeable of Vanmur and wizardry, her survival is essential. Aleksandor is told that he must go alone, Daiman cannot leave Lithorin with morikhuns running amok in her eastern reaches. Chapter 10 After a few adventures, Aleksandor reaches Mt. Orduin. There he is attacked by the morikhun Bozek, who had trailed him from Lithorin with stealth that not even a wizard could unmask. Bozek attempts to subdue the young wizard with surprise and drugs that block his ability to reach his powers. Aleksandor resists with a martial arts display, but when Bozek jabs him with a needle tipped with the drugs, he is afraid that he must submit. Bozek makes it clear that he only wants to capture Aleksandor, not kill him. Before he can complete his attack, Bozek is driven off by a frightening illusion generated by Aramine. Falling into a chasm, it seems certain that he is dead. Aleksandor recovers from the drugs, and heads once more towards the entrance to Orduin's caverns, but not before realizing that he has learned some important lessons from the experience. At the entrance, the wizard breaks Elsaer's guard of magic and human sentries. He is then allowed inside the mountain by its guardian spirit, Vashkaya. Though injured and exhausted, he still makes his way to the cavern in which Aramine resides. Chapter 11 Aramine uses her highly developed charms to enrapture Aleksandor. In the course of an hour, they discuss Elsaer's ambitions, Aleksandor's fate to protect Llandwellyn, and their personal feelings. They also think that Bozek was acting under Elsaer's orders. Aleksandor at first feels that he is completely under Aramine's control, though she is using almost no sorcery, just her wiles. Despite Aramine's volatile personality, Aleksandor eventually finds the will to resist. Rather than angering her, this prompts her to treat the wizard with the same respect that he quickly develops for her. Chapter 12 Aleksandor is given a spell that had been locked inside Aramine for nearly a thousand years. Created by Gilman, the spell is a catalyst that allows Aleksandor to complete the evolution of his powers in one night instead of the decades it would otherwise take. But he will still need much training in proper uses of those powers. During the spell, Aleksandor has a vision of Gilman, who begs the young wizard to atone his failure to destroy Vanmur. Aleksandor is then beset by visions of the devastation wrought by Vanmur's insane, uncontrollable rage. Chapter 13 After a lesson in applying his new abilities, Aleksandor informs Aramine of his intention to meet Elsaer. Aramine nearly demands that Aleksandor try to hurt him, though the wizard disagrees. He wants to get the truth behind Elsaer's relentless attempts to snare him. Aramine is worried that Elsaer could still find a way to control the wizard's will. But Aleksandor is stubborn and sets off. Chapter 14 Ensconced in a tower in the nearby ancient city of Dar-Kursk, Elsaer greets Aleksandor with almost bored indifference. He admits that he wants the wizard for an ally, but refuses to divulge in what capacity. Maintaining an aloof attitude, Elsaer is evasive and subtly taunting. Eventually, Aleksandor's temper gets the best of them, and they agree to duel. Chapter 15 The sorcery duel begins as a trial of strength. Then Elsaer slyly begins a spell that will act on another's free will. His defenses penetrated easily because of his inexperience, Aleksandor counters by creating a high pitched sound that so torments Elsaer he cannot continue his assault. That ends the duel. Elsaer has still not revealed anything that can condemn him and Aleksandor knows he will not unveil anything else by staying. Angrily he leaves. A few hours later, Elsaer's tower explodes into flame. Aleksandor resists the obvious lure to return as he senses another trap. Chapter 16 Back in Mt. Orduin, Aleksandor and Aramine recount what went on with Elsaer. At first Aramine is upset that the wizard didn't seem to accomplish anything. She then helps him recall images he had stored of Elsaer's tower. Aramine is horrified to discover direct evidence linking Elsaer with the vile Zorsten, ruler of the western morikhun realm of Khadzar. Chapter 17 Deciding to follow the link, Aramine projects herself to Zorsten's stronghold of Khalzhestok. After witnessing his sadism, Aramine finds Zorsten with a large crystal that is imbued with tremendous energy. The source of the mist spells and other nefarious talents of the morikhuns, Aramine discovers a second unpleasant property about the crystal. It gives Zorsten the ability to drive her away so she cannot continually use her ability as a seer to observe him. This is a skill Elsaer had developed for himself many years ago. Aramine returns to Mt. Orduin, where she and Aleksandor conclude that Elsaer is indeed the driving force behind the coming war. And that he has even become so bold and skilled that he can tap Vanmur for the energy needed by his minions without alerting the dreaded demon-wizard. They then conclude that it may be possible to find some more confirmation and answers in the Hidden Archives of Dar-Kursk, an esoteric and arcane collection of writings about history and sorcery. Chapter 18 Six days later, Aramine can at last confirm that Elsaer has left Dar-Kursk. She and Aleksandor enter the city, the wizard to visit the Hidden Archives, Aramine to wander in the marketplace. The Hidden Archives are controlled by a cult founded after the death of the wizard Gilman. Devoted to research and the truth, the Hidden Archives do not contain any falsehoods and can only be accessed by those without rancor in their hearts. Unable to subdue her hatred of Elsaer, Aramine would not be able to find anything about him. A subtle display of magic is necessary for Aleksandor to get by the cantankerous scribe guarding the entrance to the Hidden Archives. Once inside, he is greeted by Marcel, the Chief Scribe. A gregarious man, Marcel seems to believe Aleksandor's story that he is an illusionist and wandering scholar. The wizard is not comfortable revealing his identity just yet. Also in the archives is an intense man who does not want to be disturbed. After much effort, Aleksandor unlocks the subtle psychic index to the works in the room. Many hours later, the wizard finishes the last words on Elsaer. An enigma his entire life, Elsaer has a keen understanding of human wiles and has used them in the past to amass an enormous fortune and political power. Unfortunately, he is crafty enough to ensure that anything too revealing does not get into the archives. Chapter 19 Marcel sneaks up on the wizard and discovers that he has read everything in the archives about Elsaer. Aleksandor realizes that Marcel has also seen through his story. Marcel is seemingly ambivalent regarding Elsaer. The conversation is overheard by the intense looking man, who is revealed to be Lord Errin, ruler of Harradin, the largest country in western Llandwellyn. At first suspicious of the wizard, Errin later warms to him. He is worried about his nation being unprepared for war. Aleksandor feels that he is about to become involved in changing that. Chapter 20 After leaving the hidden Archives, Aleksandor receives a panicked mind-link from Aramine. Running to the marketplace, he finds her surrounded by a large mob led by the necromancer Mikara. She is urging the mob of downtrodden residents of Dar-Kursk to kill Aramine for the crime of murdering the man who was once the leader of Harradin. Reluctant to use his powers on these people, Aleksandor suddenly finds himself and Aramine under attack. His martial arts skills work for a while, but the wizard is finally subdued. Separated from Aramine, the wizard watches a pile of wood ignite so it could be his and Aramine's funeral pyre. Aleksandor is still hesitant about employing potentially devastating sorcery on unarmed peasants, most of whom have no idea what they're doing. He decides on a more subdued application. Drawing fire from the pyre, the wizard first strikes a man intent on raping Aramine. He then surrounds himself and Aramine with a wall of flame to keep the others away. A few attempt to cross the barrier and are burned to death. The rest of the mob leaves, but not before the man who tried to assault Aramine invokes a quick magical attack on her. Aleksandor focuses on the man, and is stunned to discover that he is the morikhun Bozek. Unfortunately, he slips away before the wizard can cause him more harm. Finally, Aleksandor and Aramine escape. Aramine is hurt badly. The wizard decides to take her to the Hidden Archives because nearby there is an infirmary. Also, his healing skills are not yet that refined. In the infirmary, Marcel helps tend to Aramine. The attack by Bozek was designed to block her from using her seer's skills. Since she is the only seer, all of her enemies, not just Elsaer and Zorsten, could now plan with little chance of discovery. Marcel and Aleksandor have a long discussion. Marcel reveals that Aramine's power is rapidly ebbing, and that despite her youthful appearance, time has finally caught up. Only her seer's talents remain, and those will be denied for at least six more months. The wizard is then told that the entire scenario looked like yet another elaborate snare for himself and Aramine. If nothing else, Elsaer is persistent. Chapter 21 Zorsten receives a nocturnal visit from a mysterious man he calls "The Benefactor", who is a contrivance created by Elsaer. He is the provider of Zorsten's new sorcery and information on how to prepare to invade western Llandwellyn. Zorsten is informed of Bozek's and Mikara's latest failure to capture Aleksandor and Aramine. Zorsten is then told to come up with two more plans. First, Lord Errin has deduced that he is about to strike and is organizing resistance that could eventually overwhelm his magic. Zorsten is to deal with that first by arranging Lord Errin's death. Then he is to create another trap for Aleksandor. Chapter 22 Aleksandor unveils a new skill when he projects his image and consciousness to Lord Errin one night. It is four months after the assault in the marketplace and little has changed except that Errin has been consulting with Marcel and Aleksandor on how to prepare for the war Zorsten will inevitably launch. They have decided to merge the armies of Harradin and neighboring Montegrav, then crush Khadzar before they can attack. Then that army will be sent East to help prevent the enemy forces there from breaking out and coming west. Chapter 23 Returning to Orduin, Aleksandor and Aramine discuss what has happened. Her seer's talent has just returned, but both are worried about what took place that she could not observe, though they feel that Elsaer has returned to his homeland in the East. The scene shifts to an inn, where an aide to King Isaac of Montegrav is on his way to a council of eastern nations to plan a joint defense against the morikhuns. The aide is ambushed by Bozek, but kills himself before revealing any information. Chapter 24 Two months later, Aleksandor and Aramine receive a messenger from Lord Errin stating that King Isaac is in Dar-Kursk to sign the treaty merging Montegrav's and Harradin's armies. Aleksandor and Aramine are asked to go to the city to meet with Isaac and Errin. At that meeting, Aramine confirms that Errin's aide was killed by Bozek, then concludes that Errin wants her and Aleksandor along for his protection. Aleksandor feels that the setting will be perfect for Elsaer's next move, since his primary sorcerer and human foes will be gathered together. Chapter 25 The wizard is convinced that an assassination attempt will be made that day against both Errin and the king. As Isaac and Errin discuss details of the treaty to merge their armies, the wizard detects Mikara's presence. Hiding in a special spy chamber, she is relaying to Bozek the precise location of everyone. Aleksandor convinces Errin that Isaac should spend the night in a villa outside of Dar-Kursk. Where they are presently is too heavily defended for even a morikhun to get very far. The intent is to turn the tables on Elsaer by drawing his minions into a trap. Mikara is the first victim. Aleksandor slips into the chamber and kills her. Meanwhile, Aramine takes over her mind-link with Bozek to try to fool him into thinking Mikara is still the one transmitting. Isaac finally leaves, with Aleksandor and Aramine discretely following so as not to alert Bozek. Unfortunately, the wily morikhun fooled both, and was already in the lightly guarded villa ready to waylay his victims. Chapter 26 Aleksandor and Aramine arrive at the villa in time to find Isaac still alive, but Bozek dead from a magical attack. With them is Marcel. Wary that they are not out of danger, Aleksandor starts to examine Marcel and is stunned when he shape changes to Daiman. Daiman had placed the real Marcel under a sleeping spell then undertook his identity several months before. Partially to keep an eye on Aleksandor and also to more easily keep track of Bozek. He would have to risk any mayhem Zorsten could carry out in Lithorin in the meantime. Through a series of ruses, Daiman had placed himself in the midst of Errin and Isaac's war preparations. He had deduced Elsaer's role and Zorsten's position as Elsaer's lackey. By design he was in the villa when Bozek attacked, and killed him as he was about to strike King Isaac. Unfortunately, Zorsten will soon learn of Bozek's death and will unleash his forces in panic. He will be afraid that Isaac and Errin will soon be able to raise an army powerful enough to defeat his magically enhanced forces. And Bozek was his only agent in a position to stop them. Chapter 27 Elsaer contemplates what has happened. Much depended on Aleksandor and Aramine's eventual capture and the deaths of King Isaac and Lord Errin. His schedule for conquest has been upset. He has one more chance, and contacts Zorsten to put another plan into play, one to entice Aleksandor and Daiman into his stronghold. Chapter 28 A week later, Aleksandor and Aramine are sent a message from Daiman, who had since returned to Lithorin, that Zorsten has started his war. His forces are sweeping through Lithorin and cannot be stopped by conventional means. Eventually he will exhaust himself, but not before grave loss of life has occurred. Racing on horseback to Lithorin, Aleksandor an Aramine witnesses a nation caught in the nightmare of a sudden and devastating war. Before they can reach Daiman, the young wizard receives a mind-link regarding the kidnapping by morikhun agents of his foster mother Elisha, to whom he was very close. At Daiman's cottage, many things happen at once. Aleksandor and Aramine are first asked to cure the physical and mental injuries inflicted on Elisha's daughter Tirsha, and Sebastian, who is revealed to be a morikhun. Daiman explains that Sebastian was raised outside of Khadzar, and until discovered by the mage, had no idea of his true nature. Sebastian tried to intervene with Elisha's abduction, but failed. Daiman says that the event was designed to goad Aleksandor into a suicidal rescue. Which is just what will be done. Elisha will be taken to Zorsten's fortress Khalzhestok, which is in the heart of Zorsten's realm. Daiman proposes that he, Aleksandor and Sebastian allow themselves to be captured, since they'll also be brought before Zorsten. Then once inside, they'll have to overcome a large garrison, the tricks and traps of Khalzhestok, find Elisha, but most important of all, destroy Zorsten's energy crystal that is still the focus of his power then finally kill Zorsten. Two things will help, first is Sebastian's inherent morikhun stealth, endurance, and near invulnerability to the magical influences of his own kind. Second are a pair of "fireswords." Ancient weapons discovered by incredible chance by Daiman, once activated by the proper spells they can easily cut through armor, flesh and bone and cauterize any wound. Chapter 29 Daiman, Aleksandor and Sebastian leave for Khadzar on horseback. Aramine stays behind to provide remote sorcery assistance. At a rest stop, Daiman privately tells Aleksandor that there is a danger regarding Sebastian. Under extreme duress, the hereditary evil side of his morikhun nature could emerge. If so, Sebastian would have to be killed, else he would jeopardize the mission. Aleksandor is distressed, as he and Sebastian are rapidly becoming good friends. A night later, as the group is camping near the battle lines, a group of morikhuns emerge from an artificial fog. With minimal resistance Aleksandor, Daiman and Sebastian surrender. Then Daiman strikes the morikhun leader after an insult, and is badly wounded by a soldier. Aleksandor tries to fight, but is quickly immobilized by drugs that block access to his powers. Chapter 30 Two days later the group is inside Khalzhestok. Khadzar itself is a disorienting land twisted by the morikhuns to either offend or confuse one's senses. Khalzhestok, an imposing fortress with deep, multi-layered dungeons, is a formidable place. Over two hundred morikhun and human subordinates make up the garrison. The prisoners are taken before Zorsten. His frail physical appearance is a complete counter to his power, and his behavior is calculated madness. The prisoners are forced to endure much abuse, including a blinding of Daiman. Elisha is driven to state of catatonia from which she can never recover. Many times, Aleksandor nearly loses all self control, which is what Zorsten wants. Despite being a pawn of Elsaer's, he knows that he and the other morikhuns will be spared Vanmur's curse when he returns. Elsaer's only real control is convincing Zorsten that by fulfilling his objectives, his massive ego will be satisfied with a grand empire. The prisoners are then thrown into separate cells deep in the dungeons. Aleksandor is at the very bottom cell. Still drugged and well guarded, the wizard cannot at first believe that Daiman could ever bungle like this. But after thinking for a while, he realizes that Daiman did everything for a reason. Even his getting wounded while being captured was calculated. A reflex release of energy when that happened transmitted to Aleksandor several special magical techniques, including an antidote to the immobilizing drugs. Realizing now that the mission is indeed going as Daiman had planned, the wizard also realizes that the burden of completing it is now his. Chapter 31 Cleverly avoiding detection by his guards, Aleksandor contacts Aramine to set up a deception that will allow him to pinpoint the location of Zorsten's crystal and set the stage for escape from his cell. That done, he employs a mix of magic and fighting skills to slay his guards. Fleeing his cell, he contacts Daiman and Sebastian, though first he concocts a way to keep Zorsten convinced for at least a few minutes that nothing has happened. Sebastian is sprung free, but Daiman stays put. He had not counted on even the sadistic Zorsten blinding him, but is prepared nonetheless to offer indirect assistance to Aleksandor. Retrieving the fireswords, Aleksandor and Sebastian move quickly through the dungeons in hopes of fighting the garrison in small groups. At first they do well, but fatigue, injuries, and unexpected magical devices start to take their toll. Chapter 32 Improvising as they continue, Aleksandor and Sebastian are involved in a series of encounters, each requiring a combination of innovative techniques and fighting expertise to handle. Edging closer to Zorsten, they then become involved in a bitter fight with two morikhuns. Sebastian kills one, but before he dies, he claims that he is the renegade morikhun's father. Already under considerable strain, that is enough to touch the evil side Daiman had warned Aleksandor about. Sebastian attacks the wizard, but gets a grip on himself just long enough to flee. Near despair, Aleksandor finds a secure hiding place and contacts Daiman. As expected, Daiman had a plan for this eventuality, despite his order that Sebastian be killed. Augmenting a mind-link with intimate understanding of morikhun psychology, Daiman, after a struggle, undoes the damage to Sebastian's psyche. Meanwhile, Aleksandor comes up with a scheme to fool Zorsten into moving the garrison away from him. However, nothing can hide what Daiman had done to retain Sebastian's services. Zorsten orders five morikhuns to go to Daiman's cell and combine their powers to silence his mind-link ability. Intent on doing more harm than that, the morikhuns try to savage Daiman's sorcery ability. Daiman had decided long ago that he would end up this way, and put together one last stratagem against his hated enemy Zorsten. Believing that at this point self sacrifice is the best thing he could do for his cause, Daiman uses a final spell to convert his spirit and body into pure energy. Flashing throughout Khalzhestok, his energy collapses most of the passageways between Aleksandor and the rest of garrison, while leaving the way to Zorsten clear. At the same time, he ends Elisha's suffering. Chapter 33 Despite the shock of Daiman and Elisha's deaths, Aleksandor forces himself to leave his hiding place and resume his quest. Joining up again with Sebastian, they break into the turret at the top of Khalzhestok where Zorsten has sequestered himself. As the regrouped garrison tries to save their leader, Aleksandor renders him impotent, then destroys his energy crystal. This drains almost all of the wizard's energy, and he passes out from the effort. Zorsten then revives and engages Sebastian in a sword fight. He is on the verge of killing him when Aleksandor uses the last of his power to contact Aramine and get her to remotely transfer some of her own power. Thus revived, the wizard saves Sebastian and kills Zorsten with the same subtle magical technique Daiman used to kill Bozek. Aleksandor and Sebastian escape from Khalzhestok, though it takes some more effort to finally thwart their pursuers. That done, they start back towards Lithorin knowing that with Zorsten dead, his forces will falter and finally be routed. However, Ghanzeg's armies are even more formidable, Elsaer's adaptability could make the reprieve from Zorsten's demise only temporary, and ultimately, Vanmur will have to be faced. Aleksandor's adventures have just begun.