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The Reweaving: The Sage Seed Chronicles, #4
The Reweaving: The Sage Seed Chronicles, #4
The Reweaving: The Sage Seed Chronicles, #4
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The Reweaving: The Sage Seed Chronicles, #4

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There are no monsters on Ose. People can be monstrous enough.

A major event of cataclysmic proportions threatens Ose. The damage done by false gossip and accusations has infected people’s minds, and a misguided but deadly witch hunt hinders the remaining sages’ ability to concentrate on correcting the planet’s imbalance.

Their one chance to save the civilization comes with the next eclipse, but there are too few of them left, and very little time. The people, the weather, and even the planet itself seem to fight them at every step.

Can Drune and the other sages reweave the fabric of their world before the eclipse tears it apart?

Release dateJul 10, 2016
The Reweaving: The Sage Seed Chronicles, #4
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Holly Barbo

Holly's world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the nature and an irrepressible curiosity that frequently has her turning over rocks and questioning what she finds. This sometimes sends the reader down a rabbit hole into an alternate view of the world than what they expected. Holly’s mind can be an interesting place. To get the latest news just subscribe to Holly's newsletter. The button is on the right of the page.: http://hollybarbo-books.com

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    The Reweaving - Holly Barbo


    A major event of cataclysmic proportions threatens Ose. The damage done by false gossip and accusations has infected people’s minds, and a misguided but deadly witch hunt hinders the remaining sages’ ability to concentrate on correcting the planet’s imbalance.

    Their one chance to save the civilization comes with the next eclipse, but there are too few of them left, and very little time. The people, the weather, and even the planet itself seem to fight them at every step.

    Can Drune and the other sages reweave the fabric of their world before the eclipse tears it apart?

    Map of Ose

    To my friends who have been there for me. Some of you are mentioned in my acknowledgments but there have been so many of you. I’m blessed. I fear that if I begin to list all of you this book will grow by about a hundred or more words. Let me put it this way… have I hugged you (for real or virtually)? Then you know who this book is dedicated to.

    There is an odd perk of being a writer. We reflect things back that we see or experience. People who have impressed us either in a good or bad way can become a character in our books. Watch out. :D

    Chapter 1


    Bure adjusted his seat in the saddle. His hands were chafed raw as the Great One’s security had bound him to his horse and had set their pace to cover as many miles as possible during each day. They thought they had him confined and under control. He knew they were comfortably complacent in their plans to exile him on Obsidian Island. He sneered to himself. They underestimated him. He was Bure: the smartest, strongest and most resourceful man in the whole realm. They would regret their treatment of him when he became the Great One. It was only a matter of time.

    It was he alone who had devised the potent contact poison. The memory of its musty yet acidic smell came back to him and he smiled. He had tested it on a number of stupid animals before he used it on his aunt. She had been getting too nosey anyway, and her death just proved that his formula worked.

    Bure’s eyes narrowed at the memory. It had been the final test, and its success proved that the Ancients smiled on his endeavor. He felt some people were different, and he set about eliminating them. There was something odd about them. He didn’t understand why they seemed distinct, but whatever it was, those people had to go. So they died. It was as simple as that. Too bad that some citizens held those individuals in high esteem.

    Since he couldn’t be everywhere at once, he had recruited his brother, Targ, and cousin, Wras. He told them that their victims were witches, and they were more than happy to track down the people on his list and use his poison as he directed. It was a marvelous plan. Then Targ died of his own clumsiness and Wras unraveled — spilling information about Bure’s brilliance to the authorities. He’d take the personal pleasure of killing his cousin as soon as he became the Great One. Eliminate weakness and inefficiency.

    He figured it out. First, he would overcome the men around him. The security force thought that they were safe and that fact meant they would relax their vigilance and slip up. He’d get loose and kill a couple. He’d been talking to them every chance he got. They were now aware of his brilliance. He had always got ahead because of his natural skills. This time would be no different. They would see that he was a superior leader. By the time they got through Tight Valley, the security team would be his.

    Tonight would be his night, as tomorrow they would travel beyond the valley and reach Kunscap. His eyes glittered in anticipation. With their loyalty switched to him, he would establish himself as leader of the realm. His new forces would capture the Great One and those loyal to him and then take them all to Obsidian Island. He was merciful that way. They would live the rest of their life in the extinct volcano, never to escape. Then he would round up that little bitch Erin and those remaining on his kill list and take them to Obsidian to keep the old leader company.

    Once he had the reins of the realm in his hands, things would settle down. He had it all figured out. He went over his plans in his head. Tonight, things would change.

    Chapter 2

    An End and a Beginning

    The guild train members postponed their planned departure from Yerra and stayed an extra couple of days to help the city with some of the cleanup from the latest quake. The Founder cities were extremely well designed, and the old city itself suffered little destruction. The main damage was to sections of the outer city. The quake had been fairly mild in magnitude, and it was only the pudding effect of the ground that had destroyed or damaged some structures. With so many hands helping out, the worst of the mess was taken care of.

    It was time for Ree to return home. Erin approached the wise woman and clasped her hands in affection. I will miss you, Ree. I would love to travel to your home right now and let Tempo get acquainted with little Silk while I learn from you, but the danger is still very real. The planet is out of balance with so few sages. The Great One has requested that I go to Khanlund now to see if we can devise a solution. I have about three months before winter solstice. Perhaps by then we’ll have a glimmer of hope and Tempo and I can come visit at your hearth.

    Ree gave Erin a hug, and the young sage inhaled deeply the aroma of apples that surrounded the dear woman. You two are welcome at any time, dear heart. We can stay in touch through our wild messengers. Contact me whenever you feel the need. She squeezed Erin’s hand, then gave the skunk, Tempo, a small caress. Travel safe! she said and turned to the woods to make her way home.

    You too! called Erin as she watched Ree disappear into some shadows at the edge of the forest. The old woman had such a vibrant way about her that it was only in moments like these that Erin realized how incredibly old Ree was. These last few months had made it clear to her how frail life could be. She mentally shrugged as she watched Ree’s figure get smaller until she was out of sight, then turned back to the merchant train.

    Due to the death of Nate, the caravan was short one driver. Until they could work out a rotating schedule with the members available, Drune was going to travel with the guild train as the driver of the tinker’s wagon. Erin was going to stay with the caravan and continue working on the development of her skills during the day and help with the animals in the morning and evening.

    This morning she was sitting beside Drune on the bench of the tinker’s wagon as they crossed the large bridge entering the Duluse Province. They had been traveling for a few days since they had left Yerra. Tempo was beside her, curled up at an angle and watching her face. For the most part Erin had been quiet. The little skunk broke the silence with a low growl that had a few high-pitched notes. Erin reached over to stroke the small head just behind the ears.

    Drune looked over. What’s bothering Tempo?

    Erin gave a small smile. He’s pushing me to talk out some thoughts with you. I’m blaming myself for Nate’s death. If I hadn’t set up the trap, Nate would still be alive. Oh, I know, it is much better that we have Bure contained. The rate that he was murdering people…well, it had to stop. It’s just that I didn’t want anyone to die.

    Drune nodded. It was always a possible outcome, and you know it. You thought that you were the one who might die, but instead Nate did. I’ve heard it’s called survivor’s remorse, and it is totally understandable. But Erin, Nate knew the danger, too. We all did. When we were preparing the trap and selecting people to be witnesses, each and every person knew that there was not a guaranteed outcome. Each one of us knew the job was dangerous, but we took it. We formed the jaws of the trap when we revealed ourselves, and Bure knew he was surrounded. He could have gone for any of us. Bure did choose. He went for you and Ree because he perceived you two as the weakest. Being a bully, and a trapped animal, that was predictable. That’s what you thought and expected, too. Nate saw it the instant Bure had decided and moved to prevent the poison from getting to you. It was unfortunate that it splashed into his eyes, because you could have treated it anywhere else. But he acted knowing the danger. Don’t take that from him. He was a terrific friend and a brave man. You’ll always have him in your heart and memories.

    Tears were rolling down Erin’s cheeks as she nodded. She tasted the salt on her lips, and her throat was tight with emotion. It was a minute before she was able to continue speaking. It’s easier to place myself in danger than to have my friends pay the consequences. I’ll truly respect his memory and the affection he bore me. I just can’t help the regrets.

    They rode in silence for a while when Erin spoke up again. Two things: Is there any reason why I can’t be Erin now, instead of the boy, Terran? The other question is, how much support did you and Ree provide me during the confrontation with Bure? Drune smiled. "Okay, first answer. The danger of being Erin existed while the three cousins were loose and looking to kill you. That has been eliminated. As a young woman, you can wear trousers if you wish, and with what you do during this trip that is infinitely more practical. You’ve been putting out your bedroll in close proximity to men, but in this public camping situation, absolutely everyone is sleeping near one another so that doesn’t affect the answer. Your hair is decidedly unfeminine but it will grow out. Be Erin if you wish.

    I can’t completely speak for Ree, though we did talk about it. I didn’t reinforce you at all, as that’s not my skill. I did try to buffer Bure’s intensity but didn’t have much success. The mind distraction trick I taught you seemed to help considerably. Ree was able to be in your mind and encourage you to focus at the beginning. After that, you did it on your own. You’re learning at an impressive rate!

    Though the sun indicated that it was nearly noon, the temperature was dropping. The cooler marine air that had come in five days earlier had yet to dissipate. Erin decided to walk beside the wagon for a while. The exercise would keep her warm and it would help get her mind out of its wool wrapping. Her striped friend could either ride on her shoulder or hunt. She swung off the moving wagon with Tempo on one arm and broke into a long stride.

    Put me down and I’ll hunt and keep the caravan in sight.

    Erin stopped and rubbed her fingers through his glossy coat. You’ve got it, little one. I’ll keep my mind open for you.

    Tempo scampered off in the direction of some nearby rocks.

    Erin walked forward to catch Drune’s attention. I am going to fall back and check with all of the wagons and their teams. Tempo is keeping the wagons in sight, and Keir is hunting in the area. I’ll see you in a little while.

    Since Drune was in one of the front wagons, it wasn’t hard for her to catch the wagons farther back. All she had to do was slow her pace a little bit. Erin worked her way through the back wagons. As she came alongside each team, she mentally spoke to the individual horses, stroking the necks and sides of the animals as she asked them how they were. It was important to her, particularly because of the frequency of the quakes, that the animals were checked and reassured. She had found that they were less likely to panic if they felt attended to and safe.

    As she got to the last wagon, Erin was satisfied that the teams were in good shape. She had just stepped away from the herbalist’s wagon when her mind was blasted by loud emotional energy from Bure. Erin staggered under the impact. She blindly reached into her pocket to find a piece of jerky to chew. Drune had showed her the trick that something that would strongly occupy her mouth, saliva glands and taste buds would distract the mind from the sheer power that threatened to engulf her. Bure was screaming his fear and panic. It hit her in waves. Erin knelt on the ground and concentrated on what her mouth was doing. Her eyes were closed as she worked another piece of jerky between her lips. She felt Tempo jump on her legs and put his cool nose against her face. She stroked the skunk as she mentally reached to see what had set Bure off.

    Bure was being bound to an armature so he could not wiggle. He was then securely attached to another man in a paraglider harness. Bure was mentally screaming and wanted to break free of his bonds, but try as he might, he could not. Erin could see another man beside Bure. He was fairly tall, with a strong body. His hair was to his shoulders and streaked with grey, tawny brown and blond strands. The man looked at Bure with an implacable expression in his dark eyes. For some reason, this made Bure feel more alarmed.

    They were at some mountainous plateau used for a paragliding launch. The wind filled the glide wing and they were airborne. At first, Erin almost lost the vision, because Bure was so panic-stricken that he nearly passed out. The emotional scream got weaker, and Erin was able to open her eyes and stand up. Tempo was standing at full alert beside her and Keir was perched on a nearby rock.

    I’m okay. Let’s get back to Drune before Bure’s next shout hits. She put a new piece of jerky in her hand in preparation and started to walk, then jogged to catch up. Keir had shot ahead to get Drune’s attention, and Tempo was running full out to keep pace with Erin. The young woman paused and scooped the little animal up in her arms and broke into a run. She had caught up with the caravan but had to push harder to beat the speed of the horses at a trot and surge ahead to the tinker’s wagon. She was just a little winded when she pulled alongside and handed Tempo to Drune. He slowed his team and she was able to get a hand hold and swing on board. She sat and rested for a while as she listened with her mind.

    Drune looked over then clicked the horses back up to speed. I caught part of that. What is terrifying Bure?

    Erin spoke quickly. He was being bound tandem to a paraglider. They have taken wing and I’m anticipating another blast. She stroked Tempo. Did I interrupt the hunt? I hope you got something to eat, little one.

    Tempo was standing on the seat beside her and his voice carried a smile. I caught enough for now. I’ll hunt later. Don’t worry. I always seem to be hungry lately.

    Half an hour later, Bure’s emotions were a loud mix of terror, futility, hopelessness and rage. Erin had a moment of warning and slipped a piece of jerky in her mouth in preparation. She closed her eyes and concentrated on him so she could break under the agitated energy to see what was happening. She focused hard and could see a mountainside coming up fast. It looked like they were going to smash into the mountain face, but at the last second the expert glider turned his wing onto a large, gently-sloped ledge and landed.

    He left Bure where he was and dragged his equipment out of the way. Bure could now see that two other paragliders were coming in. He stayed bound as he watched, which increased his rage. How dare they ignore him! Bure! What were they going to do? Maybe he could overpower them. He was strong. His anger took on a sly tone. Erin could still see under the emotional intensity and detected movement around Bure. The three wingmen disengaged their prisoner from his harness but didn’t untie his arms and hands, which were secured in front of him. They hauled him to his feet and walked-dragged Bure to the far lip of the ledge. Erin could see as they stood on the edge that they were looking down into a green valley inside a massive extinct volcano. The sides were glass-smooth gold obsidian. While Bure was looking down, a terror was building inside him, and he momentarily stopped struggling. The wingmen, taking advantage of his fleeting quiescence, quickly wrapped him in a padded blanket and hauled him to a small man-sized chute. He started to struggle in earnest now as he finally realized that the slide would take him into the valley where he would spend the rest of his life. He wasn’t going to get the chance to escape. He really was going to be a prisoner inside Obsidian crater! The walls were so slick that there would be no climbing out! NO! He was screaming in his head as they let go of him and he was propelled by gravity down the slide and into his new home.

    The shout stopped abruptly and Erin blinked back into her own unencumbered mind. She heard the clink of the harnesses and felt the sun on her face. Drune looked over to her, waiting for her to elaborate. She shook her head. He’s been delivered to Obsidian to live in banishment. I don’t think he really believed that he would have that fate. The valley inside the crater looks green and habitable, lovely in its own way. I think that there were some things in his wrappings to help him survive. It is up to him to live. I wonder if his father is still there and what sort of homecoming that meeting will be. Any way you look at it, it is a more merciful sentence than the ones he bestowed on his victims.

    They rode in silence for a while and camped in early evening on the plains near the border between the Duluse and Khanlund provinces. They set up campfires every second or third wagon, and the guild members ate in small groups. Lor, Alliz, Drune and Erin shared a fire. It was not common knowledge, but the four were all sages, three of which had been sent out on this particular guild train to try to find the reason for the planetary disquiet that the Great One had sensed. They had the answer now but not the solution to set things back right. The fact was that the realm was now short seven or eight sages, and the stabilizing bond with the planet was dangerously weak. They had caught the killers but those men had set in motion things that were causing ripples of incredible magnitude throughout the realm.

    Tempo was out hunting while the four prepared their own meal. They had eaten a fine supper of camp bread, roasted tubers and grilled sausages. They were ranged around the fire talking in quiet tones. When the conversation lulled, Erin spoke. Bure is in Obsidian. They transported him today and he was shouting his emotions. I could get beneath the agitated energy and see parts of it. Up until the last moment, he thought that he would have a chance to escape because he was smart and strong. He saw his future much differently. His anger and fear were incredible when he realized his plans were shattered. Though incarcerated for life, he was given things to assist his survival. He truly didn’t believe he would end there. In his mind, he was certain he would be the Great One. She shook her head.

    Alliz stood and started to collect the plates. Well, that takes care of those three. It’s too bad that Bure wasn’t stopped before he planted all of those rumors in the minds of the susceptible. We will just have to deal with it.

    Lor got up and brought the bucket of water to be used for washing the plates and eventually for putting out the fire. Kennet came by and mentioned that Ruke, the Musicians’ Guild’s assistant, wouldn’t mind driving Nate’s wagon back to Khanlund if you needed to leave, Drune.

    The young man nodded. I haven’t heard where Gyan wants me. I don’t mind driving until I do. He stood. Good night, everyone.

    Luna, the big grey-and-white moon, was part-way up in the sky with smaller ruddy-colored Cear just emerging above the horizon as everyone returned to their respective wagons. Erin got her bedroll out of Lor’s wagon and stretched out beneath it, as was her habit, and drifted off to sleep. It wasn’t much afterwards that Tempo came and curled up against her to find his rest.

    Chapter 3

    Help Wanted

    Gyan strode into Aerie. He had lived there for centuries, and it had been named that for longer than he had been alive. It was the home of the Great One and was located above the mountain city of Kunscap. Both were Founder-built. He had just returned from sending Bure into banishment. He didn’t have to banish people too often. The people of the realm worked admirably together, and the few laws they had were usually respected. Their civilization functioned well, but every once in a while an unstable person emerged and caused all kinds of problems. Bure was the son of one of those, and he apparently had inherited, or perhaps developed, those sociopathic traits.

    Because of Bure’s actions, they now had a very large problem. He had been spending much time in the Ancients’ library trying to find the solution. He had more books to go through than he had time. There were some areas of Aerie that were off limits to everyone but the Great One, though he could use some carefully chosen help in the library. It was restricted to a few chosen sages but not forbidden like the granite-enclosed Realm Room that had the special map of their world. He had some ideas of whom to hand pick but wanted to ask council from a sage near to his mind.

    He went into his study and closed the door. This was his personal sanctuary. The room was somewhat multi-leveled in that the main room had a very tall ceiling with a mezzanine, which could be reached by a circular stair in the far corner. The upper level had some bookcases as well as drawers and shelves for things that were very special to him. The room had all of his favorite things. A rich, silk area rug in deep reds, blues and greens covered the floor, and a beautifully carved desk dominated one side. He went to the comfortable chair by the fireplace and settled in. Clearing his mind of extraneous thoughts, he visualized his friend.

    Ree, I need your input on a matter.

    She answered quickly. How may I help?

    I have to find a solution to our current dilemma and have been poring through the mountains of books in the Ancients’ library. I need some agile sage minds that can help me get through the enormous amount of material and extrapolate possible solutions from any information we find. Though a characteristic of the sage seed is intelligence, you and I both know that some are just more flexible and intuitive than others. We simply don’t have time. I would have you here but I need you anchoring with the planet where you are. Whom can you recommend?

    He could hear the smile in her voice when she answered. Your youngest three sages would be my choice. Erin has shown a remarkable problem-solving ability and maturity in the last few months. Her skills just continue to grow at a surprising rate. Drune is mature beyond his years, and he can easily unearth information and scrutinize it for how it is applicable. Lor is quick to pick up on clues and to see the ramifications. I must say, though, that Drune and Erin lead him in these skills. Bas wouldn’t be a bad choice but he is a bit of a scamp and can’t resist pushing buttons. You don’t need that disruption right now.

    Thank you, my friend. I will take your words under advisement, Gyan answered graciously.

    Now he indeed heard Ree laugh. You don’t fool me, Gyan. I’ll bet that you were already thinking the same.

    He chuckled. You would win that bet. He disengaged from the conversation. Gyan sat thinking for a moment. He would call in Drune and Erin and allow Lor to make his way back with the guild train. He could always tap him when he arrived.

    He cleared his mind again and focused. "Drune, this

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