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The Third Door
The Third Door
General information
Series

The Three Doors

Author

Emily Rodda

Illustrator

Marc McBride (cover)

Kate Rowe (any illustrations associated with the story, including maps and letters)

Publication
Publisher

Omnibus Books - imprint of Scholastic Australia

Published

October 1st, 2012

Chronology
Preceded by

The Silver Door

The Third Door is a fantasy novel written by Emily Rodda. It is the third book in the Three Doors trilogy.

Book description

"Against all odds, Rye and Sonia have survived the perils behind the gold and silver Doors. But Weld is still under threat, and Rye knows what he has to do. One Door remains a mystery - the ancient wooden Door that he has been drawn to from the beginning. For good or ill, his desperate quest will end beyond that Door.

All he has to do is dare to go through it."[1]

Plot

Rye, Sonia, Dirk, and Sholto travel over the Scour by night, headed for the Silver Door. They feel bad about leaving the residents of the wastelands fend for themselves, but their priority is finding a way to stop the skimmers for good. As they travel, Sholto explains more about the gaps in his memory. He remembers exploring the Fell Zone, and being stalked by creatures he called Watchers (Sonia is able to identify that these are Fellan). Suddenly he found himself transported to the Saltings with a “mind like murky soup”. Sonia assumes that the Fellan had a hand in this event.  Asthey reach the area where the door should be, Rye notices that Sonia is in a daze. He is able to get her attention telepathically, and she comes to and points out the location of the Silver Door. Rye tries to use the magic key to open the door, but this does not work. Dawn approaches, two of the monstrous birds appear on the horizon. Rye runs at the door in an attempt to recreate the way he opened the Golden Door, the Silver Door opens, and the group is transported back into the Chamber of Doors​. Rubbble litters the floor of the chamber, seemingly coming from the chimney. Dirk intuits that the roof caved in not long ago. The group figures out that the Warden would have ordered the repairs made to the chimney would have been made with aesthetics in mind instead of structural integrity, meaning that the skimmers were able to break in. They are dismayed to realise that they apparently did not wipe out the skimmers at the Harbour. They agree to check on Annocki and Faene before leaving Weld. As the chimney is blocked, Dirk starts to knock on the wall where the Sign of Dann was. When no answer comes, Rye uses the magic crystal and realises that the guards that should be stationed there are not present. Rye instead uses the magic key to get past the wall.

The group enters the Waiting Room, which is also in complete disarray. They find a hastily-abandoned letter penned by the Warden, forbidding the citizens of Southwall from testing Tallus’ theory about repelling skimmers by using light; as well as a petition from Southwall. Looking through the window, they can see that the courtyard is also filled with rubble, though it is being cleared by soldiers. 

The group continues to search the Keep using the invisibility hood. They find that the room that housed the Keep Orphans was hit by falling rubble, and many orphans were trapped and/or hurt. Sholto separates from the group to help heal them, and so the remaining three decide to abandon the hood and simply blend into the crowd of emergency workers. Among the people working to heal the wounded they find Tallus, Annokci, and Faene. Tallus notices them, but does not blow their cover (though he does discreetly confirm that Lisbeth is alright).

Shortly after the wounded have been tended to, Tallus is informed that the Warden is looking for him. Tallus shows the group a copy of The Lantern, a newsletter written by Crell in support of Southwall testing the light-based skimmer repellent. The group moves towards the Drawing Room (where the Warden is). The Warden angrily confronts Tallus and accuses him of being a traitor. The crowd watching the confrontation starts to turn against the Warden, and so he orders Jordan to shut the door. Wanting to support Tallus; Dirk, Rye, and Sholto enter the room. Jordan tries to stop them, but is repelled by the power of the shell.

The Warden is unable to have them arrested then and there, as all his soldiers are busy changing into clean uniforms (as he ordered). Flustered, the Warden leaves the room saying that he has to do something in private (presumably destroy the petition so he can claim that he has not received it). Shotlo warns Tallus about the daylight skimmers, and Tallus insists that they leave and destroy the skimmers for good. The soldiers finally arrive, and the Warden re-enters the room. Sonia telepathically connects with Rye to tell him that she snuck into the room.

Rye, Dirk, and Shotlo are able to flee to the Waiting Room thanks to the speed ring. The door leading to the underground is unlocked, despite the fact that Sholto fastened it after they passed through. Sonia catches up to the group, though lacks a good explanation as to how. They make it to the Chamber of Doors, and Sonia opens the Wooden Door.

This time, Rye is able to walk through the door. Him and the others find themselves in a dark cave within the Fell Zone. Sholto remembers being in the Fell Zone. He explains his theory that Weld was built in the mouth of a dead volcano. While he explains this, Rye and Sonia begin to experience a sensation of dread. Rye hears the voices of the Fellan, angrily telling him to leave. 

Rye uses his feather to help the group travel above the trees. As they do, they hear music, horses, and many voices. They head towards the sound, and as they do so they almost crash into a tall metal fence on the edge of the Fell Zone. Beyond the fence is a town that appears to be in the midst of a celebration. There is also a wide, paved road beside a river, and running parallel to this rode is a huge pipeline.

Landing in the town, the group sees a banner reading, “Welcome to Fell End, Chieftain Farr”. A steamboat arrives at the town via the river. Farr is on the boat, along with a number of other companions (councilors Manx, Sigrid, & Barron; his wife Janna, son Zak, and Zak’s nurse Petronelle). Farr addresses the crowd, telling them that a three-year long project has nearly been completed. He also mentions that the people have also faced attacks by skimmers. He plans to use the results of the project to bargain from a position of power with “the enemy” (though he is purposely vague on details in case of spies). Most of the crowd demands revenge for the attacks, but Farr advises threats instead.

The group assumes that Farr fights against The Master, and the pipeline is to supply water to troops in the Scour. Sonia is sleeping deeply, so the brothers leave her behind while they go to warn Farr that The Master cannot be reasoned with. Dirk and Sholto split off to gather information. Left alone, Rye notices Zak being lured into a shadowy doorway by a seemingly magical bubble. A human figure emerges from the doorway, but changes shape into a monster with wooden skin thick with fungus, flame-like hair, and thorny claws. Rye runs to defend Zak. He is knocked to the ground and hits his head, falling into unconsciousness.

Rye awakens in a bed upon Farr’s steamboat. He has developed amnesia and cannot remember anything about who he is. Regaining semi-consciousness, he hears a brief conversation between Petronelle and Janna. They discuss how the monster disappeared into thin air. He falls unconscious again, awakening in the night to the sound of skimmers. Rye again feels a strong sensation of dread and malice, which vanishes when Zak enters the room carrying a lantern. Zak returns the bell tree stick to Rye. 

Rye spends the next few days drifting in and out of consciousness. At some point he arrives in the city of New Nerra, and awakens properly. He is given the name Keelin. Keelin/Rye manages to get out of bed. In the pocket of his dressing gown he finds a threatening note addressed to him that accuses him of being a traitor. He also finds a blue pebble, obviously thrown through the window at some point. He recognises that this is significant, though he cannot recall why.

Keelin/Rye also realises that his room is guarded by a young man named Jett. Jett is unkind towards Petronelle due to her heterochromia, which is said to be a sign of a curse/Fellan blood. 

Farr questions Keelin/Rye, but he is unable to answer any questions. Farr receives a letter from a woman named Carryl. In it, she begs Farr not to go ahead with his attack, and to come talk to her at the museum.

The council members deliver news to Farr; there was an unusual number of skimmers over Fell End last night, five Riverside residents were found dead in their beds with no apparent cause, and threatening messages were burnt into the fields outside New Nerra. They also mention that the pipeline will be completed by tomorrow. Farr refuses to act until Keelin/Rye regains his memory, as Petronelle is sure he knows something important.

Exploring his room that night, Keelin/Rye finds the bell tree stick. Touching this he receives a vague memory of his time in Oltan, though he does not remember anything specific. He feeds the resident clink a cake that was given to him.

The following morning, Keelin/Rye finds another pebble on his floor. The clink has died, poisoned by Keelin/Rye’s cake. Petronelle assures him that he is good-hearted, tells him to protect Farr, and goes to tell Farr and Janna about the poisoned cake. When she wakes Farr, he discovers that Janna has also been poisoned. She is still alive, though unconscious and near death. Farr sends Keelin/Rye and Zak to Carryl’s museum in a carriage driven by Jett, as he wants Zak out of the house for the time being and can only trust that Keelin/Rye isn’t the poisoner.

Carryl brings Keelin/Rye into a back room, and shows him a deep pit. Before she can explain, Keelin/Rye hears a voice in his head yelling at him to get out. Then the building is hit by an explosion and the roof caves in. Keelin/Rye grabs Zak and Carryl’s grandson Pieter and takes them out of the house. He returns to find that Carryl has been pinned under a beam. She gives him a book called 'The Three Brothers' before dying. Keelin/Rye tries to flee the building, but the floor caves in, dumping him into the pit. 

Keelin/Rye is knocked unconscious, before coming to in the depths of the pit. On the bright side, this restores his memories. Using the light crystal, Rye intuits that he is in some kind of burial pit. He also realises that the book has fallen open, revealing an underlined section. This section speaks of a charm that was hidden inside a golden box by a past chieftain, who only ever told his oldest son the location. However, the location of the box was lost over time. Rye realises that Carrlyn believed the charm was hidden somewhere under the museum.

Rye uses the feather to fly to the top of the pit. He tries to use the honey sweet to find the strength to move the rubble, but this is not the power of the sweet. Fortunately, he finds a metal door in the pit that is rusted enough to break through.

The door leads to a maze of narrow passageways. Sonia is able to connect with him telepathically, and guide him through them to her. Sonia explains that she had been trying to contact him, but his amnesia prevented her from doing so. After the attack in Fell End, Dirk and Sholto were injured and taken to Riverside. Sonia had to make her way alone to New Nerra. After seeing the museum destroyed she found the entrance to the underground maze. She travelled through it for a while, before falling asleep in a small alcove that “seemed to welcome” her. Rye uses the golden key to open a secret panel in the back of the alcove, revealing the golden box with a lid inlaid with swirling stones. He again uses the key to open the box, revealing a large disc with a rippling blue-green surface. As Rye picks up the disc, the words “When I was born; The Spell was cast; While I endure; The pledge will last.” appear on it.

Rye realises that this must be the magic charm that prevents the Fellan from interfering with Dorne as a whole. If Farr returns the charm to them, this pledge can be broken and the Fellan can use their magic to ward off the Lord of Shadows. Sonia disagrees with involving Farr, and thinks they should return the charm themselves.

While they sneak through the city using the hood, Rye and Sonia overhear a conversation that informs them that Farr is already heading to Riverside to begin his attack. The city is celebrating this event. Sonia explains that Riverside lies along the river, halfway between New Nerra and Fell End. She also explains that the pipeline runs to the sea.

Rye and Sonia stow away on a barge headed upriver. Rye reads ‘The Three Brothers’, and finds out about the history of the Fellan. The book tells him that the Fellan are the orginal inhabitants of Dorne. When humans arrived in Dorne, the Fellan were happy to let them settle on the coast, as they are weakened by salt. Marriages and children between the Fellan and humans were not uncommon. Over the years, the farmers began pushing inland and felling trees to create farmland. The Fellan did not fight back, but simply withdrew into the forest.

While waiting on the boat, Rye overhears the sailors remarking that their cargo seems to be “nothing but junk”, but Farr has ordered it taken upriver anyway. Rye sleeps, awakening just in time to see the boat passing Riverside. He wakes Sonia up and tries to use the feather, but finds that it has been severely weakened. Instead he and Sonia jump off the boat and wade to shore, nearly being caught as they do so.

Riverside is a lovely town with board streets and friendly residents. One flaw in this idyllic setting are the skimmer shields located on the windows and doors of the houses. While Rye and Sonia are wandering the streets invisible in search of Dirk and Sholto, they see a running man in a soldier’s uniform being pursued by other soldiers. The leading soldier shouts that he tried to kill Farr. Rye trips the running man, and sees that it is Jett. Jett insists that he is innocent, but Councillors Manx, Sigrid, and Barron arrive and tell the onlookers that Jett delivered a food tray to Farr that contained an explosive device. Sigrid also mentions that Jett had no explanation of where he came from, and had strange manners of speech. She accuses “Keelin” of being in league with Jett. Rye realises that Jett is a volunteer from Weld.

Rye spots Dirk and Sholto in the crowd and he and Sonia are able to telepathically Sholto. Dirk and Sholto do not know anything new, except that Farr’s soldiers will be using weapons known as “flamers”. 

Rye explains his plan to return the charm to the Fellan, but Dirk and Sholto are reluctant to trust them. Rye points out an underlined passage in ‘The Three Brothers’ that states that a past chieftain promised the Fellan that the forests in the centre would remain untouched so long as the Fellan did not interfere in the wider affairs of Dorne. He says that this means that the Fellan are physically unable to help. Sonia argues that Farr will not be convinced to take the charm to the Fellan, and Rye and her should do this instead. Dirk agrees, but only if they help free Jett first. He says that Jett is innocent (as he met him at the Keep and can vouch for his loyalty to Weld), and that the real assassin will murder him and fake his suicide if he is not freed.

The group sneaks up to the watchtower where Jett is held, hidden under the hood. An angry mob is gathered outside, demanding that Jett face justice, blocking access to the door. Rye and Sonia use the feather to fly up to a window instead. Beforehand, Sholto gives Sonia a small bottle of myrmon (a chloroform-like substance).

Using the golden key, and the myrmon, Rye and Sonia are able to make their way into Jett’s cell and free him. However, Jett explains that he did try and kill Farr, as he believes that he is the source of the skimmers. Jett was drawn to the Golden Door, but chose the Wooden Door as the humble choice is always the correct one in stories. He accuses Rye of being a traitor to Weld, and admits he was the one who wrote the threatening note, but denies that he tried to poison him. He attempts to strangle Rye, but is repelled by the armour shell. 

Jett explains further that he believes Farr is working with a powerful ally, and that the pipeline is designed to release even more skimmers into Weld at sunset. Sonia believes that this is true, while Rye does not. 

In either case, Rye insists that they should return the charm to the Fellan. Looking out the window, he sees Farr and his companions heading to Fell End. In a panic, he uses the feather to start flying to the Fell Zone, forgetting to put on the invisibility hood. Jett shouts to the mob below that Rye and Sonia are sorcerers and the true assassins. The guards shoot arrows at the pair, but the armour shell protects them. Rye swoops down to grab Dirk and Sholto. He is able to carry them as far as the river, where he uses the power of the scale to get everyone to swim upstream. They arrive in Fell End (overtaking Farr on the way). 

At Fell End, hundreds of carts are being loaded with barrels, seemingly to be carried into the Fell Zone. In addition, the pipeline has been completed, with the mouth rising up to the top of the fence. A long, clear, flexible tube is attached to the mouth of this pipeline. The group recognises this technology as the same as the tech used by the Master. The group assumes that the soldiers will use the flamers to cut a path through the Fell Zone, and then uncoil the transparent tube so that it reaches Weld.

Farr arrives in Fell End, and yells at his soldiers to find the group. Janna arrives shortly afterwards and begs Farr to halt the attack, but Farr refuses. Seeing the conflicted emotions on Farr’s face, Rye assumes that he is merely misled - not malicious - and hatches a plan. Leaving Dirk and Sholto behind, he and Sonia sneak up on Farr. Rye knocks him off balance with the power of the shell, and Sonia tangles his ankles up using her rope belt. They grab him and carry him off using the magic feather. They carry him to the top of the pipeline, where he cannot escape and no-one can easily reach them.

Rye begs Farr to listen to him, but he refuses - seemingly in a trance. Jett and the other soldiers arrive. Jett is able to climb up the pipeline thanks to his experience working on the Wall. He climbs towards them, madly ranting that he will save Weld. Sonia encourages Rye to flee into the Fell Zone with Farr, but Rye is concerned that Jett will try to follow and fall to his death. While they are trying to decide what to do, night falls and they see the skimmers rise from the Fell Zone. Jett is devastated by this, and falls into denial about his mistaken belief.

Rye is similarly devastated, as he believes this proves that the Fellan are the source of the skimmers, and are in league with the Master. He believes they gave him the nine powers so he could kill Olt and clear the way for the Master to invade. 

While they watch the skimmers, they see a bright light from the direction of Weld. They are briefly overjoyed to see that the people defied the Warden, but this quickly changes when the flock of skimmers turns and heads towards Fell End.

The people left behind on the ground have already sought shelter, but Rye, Sonia, Jett, and Farr are trapped on the pipeline. Just before the skimmers reach them, a cloud of smoke appears, and Rye realises that Sonia is the one who summoned it. Taking advantage of the distraction, Rye uses the feather to carry them all into the Fell Zone. Rye remembers a few other inexplicable events (e.g. the smoke cloud that saved them at the Harbour, the door in the Waiting Room that mysteriously became unlocked), and realises that Sonia can cast magic. Rye notes that it is probable that some of Dann’s followers were part-Fellan, and this is where her powers come from. Sonia explains that she was worried others would judge her for her powers, so she kept them hidden, but Rye tells her that it is a gift.

Jett flees deeper into the Fell Zone. Rye untangles the cord from Farr, and he slowly comes out of his trance. Rye says they are from another city that had been attacked by skimmers, and gives Farr the charm. Rye explains the death of Olt and the invasion of the Master in the east of Dorne. He begs Farr to go to the Fellan and ask for their help. Farr hesitantly agrees. Rye hears the whispering voices of the Fellan, arguing about whether to help or not.

Rye and Sonia lead Farr to Dann’s Mirror. Rye notes that the clearing is slightly different, and the Fellan have a very different attitude compared to when he met them the first time. The Fellan use their magic to keep Farr out of the clearing, so Rye steps forward to talk to them. Rye asks Dann’s Mirror what he should do, and it responds, “Guard the heart”. Frustrated by the lack of answers, Rye swings his bell tree stick through his reflection on impulse. The Fellan mentions “the Sign”, and a series of images appears in Dann’s Mirror. These images show three brothers, the oldest two arguing while the youngest looks beseechingly at Rye. Rye hands the charm to Sonia, and again swirls his stick in the water. The pool tells him the story of the three brothers. 

When Chieftain Perry died, the elder brother Annoltis was meant to take his place. However, the middle brother Malverlain wanted the throne for himself and attacked Annoltis. Working together, Annoltis and the younger brother Eldannen were able to fight him off. They banished him from Dorne, in a grey boat with a sail marked in red. // As time passed, Annoltis grew old and began to fall into madness. He hid the charm in the depths of his palace, despite the disapproval of Eldannen. Annoltis told Eldannen about his plans to start the Gifting, and Eldannen was horrified, but refused to fight another brother. Olt angrily told him to leave, explaining that he would make his people believe that he was the only thing that prevented Malverlain from returning, when instead it is the Fellan who are responsible. Eldannen took some followers and left to form the city of Weld. 

Dawn comes, and Rye flies above the trees to see if he can see where the skimmers roost during the day. As he does so, he sees Farr’s soldiers begin their attack on the Fell Zone. The pact is broken, and the charm shatters.

Farr stands up smiling grimly, and Rye realises that he had given the order that the attack was to go ahead with or without him. Farr angrily tells Rye that he knows that the east has not been invaded. The Fellan emerge from the trees and threaten Farr. Rye begs them to explain the situation, but they are angered by his suggestion that they have allowed the Lord of Shadows to invade Dorne.

Farr asks Rye to take him above the treeline. Rye agrees so long as he agrees to be bound. When Sonia puts her rope around his wrist, he again stiffens, and she realises the cord is made of Fellan hair, and puts those without Fellan blood into a stupor.

Rye, Sonia, and Farr fly above the treeline, and witness the Fell Zone being burned by soldiers. They are being followed by hogs pulling the carts laden with barrels. Many soldiers are attacked by fell dragons, but continue their approach. Rye notices that the Fellan are not attacking the soldiers themselves, and realises that the barrels on the carts are filled with iron. They do however summon a wind which carries the embers of the fire back into Fell End. 

Farr comments that now they can begin, and Rye realises that a) his hesitation to attack the Fellan was an effect of the pact, and b) there is another stage to this attack. Farr leaves them to rejoin his people.

Rye hears the Fellan whispering mentioning “the enemy” and “the pipeline”, and realises that the pipeline is to release salt water into the Fell Zone. Rye suddenly realises that the Golden Door led into Dorne’s past, the Silver into the future, and the Wooden into the present (e.g. a normal door), explaining all the inconsistencies he experienced. Dann created the Golden Door to experience the world and the friends he left behind, and the Silver to see what effect leaving Olt in charge would have. The landscape through the Silver door is what happens if the Fellan are killed and the Lord of Shadows is able to invade. This also explains Sholto’s changing memories, as the future was changed by the death of Olt.

Sonia encourages Rye to try and prevent this future from happening. Rye realises that the honey sweet has the power to grant persuasiveness. Rye sucks on the sweet, and he and Sonia reveal themselves to the crowd. Rye tells them the story of the three brothers, his voice magically amplified by the sweet. He tells them that the Fellan protect Dorne. The crowd demands proof, and Rye bluffs, pretending to know the identity of a spy. The monster who attacked Zak leaps from the crowd, attempting to silence him.

Rye uses the power of the bag’s drawstring, a thread of woven Fellan hair. The power paralyzes the beast, and forces it to change back into its orginal form, which is revealed to be Barron. Barron injures himself in the fall, and dies.

The people are convinced to halt their attack, and Rye reveals that he knows where the skimmers roost at night - within the Wall of Weld. The Fellan quickly forgive the humans, as they did not realise that the humans were completely unaware of the actual situation, and thought they were merely trying to gain more land for themselves. Rye and the others enlist the help of the people of Fell End to break through the Wall with the help of explosives. The people of Weld are prevented from stopping them thanks to the magic of the Fellan. Sonia uses her magic to fill the wall with smoke. The skimmers are either driven into the sunlight, or into the pipeline that leads to the sea.

The people of Weld celebrate their freedom from the skimmers. They plan to remove the wall, and start trading with Dorne at large. Sholto explains that he now believes that the daylight skimmers were actually being developed to invade Deltora.

The following day, the Warden summons Dirk, Sholto, Rye, and Jett. He asks them which one of them wishes to be his heir. Jett admits he failed to find the enemy, and refuses. Dirk wishes to stay with Faene. Sholto also declines. Rey accuses the Warden of coming up with the whole plan to get rid of young men who might rebel against him, and tells him to step down from power. He says that the Warden knew that the doors would only open from the outside when touched with a bell tree stick. He explains that he saw another vision in Dann’s Mirror. He saw a friend of Dann accompany him beyond the Golden Door, then steal his stick and dash back into Weld. This was the orginal Warden, and the story has been passed down father to son over time.

The Warden agrees to step down, and names Rye the leader of Weld. Rye instead chooses to nominate Sonia. Sonia reveals that she is the Warden’s daughter. Dirk, Faene, Sholto, Annocki, Rye, Sonia, and even Lisbeth decide to live beyond the Wall (which now has a set of gates installed). They step through the Wooden Door to begin their new lives.

Characters

Protagonists

Antagonists

Trivia

References

  1. Rodda, Emily. The Third Door. Scholastic Australia. 2013.
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