Into darkness, p.1
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       Into Darkness, p.1

           Patricia Scholes
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Into Darkness
Into Darkness

  The Song of the Lorekeeper

  Book 1

 

  Patricia Renard Scholes

  Copyright © December 2015 Patricia Renard Scholes

  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No portion of this work may be reproduced by any means whatsoever without the explicit written consent of the author and the author's publisher. This work contains people who have been used in a fictionalized setting for the purpose of historical reference. Any resemblance to persons living or deceased is used strictly for the embellishment of the story to lend creditable influence to the fictionalized work. The copyright laws of 1988, namely the Berne Convention Copyright Laws of 1988, and the Digital Millennium Copy Right Act of 1998, enacted by Congress protect this work from piracy and any transmission, trade, or sale through means electronic, printed, shared, or otherwise is strictly prohibited and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

  ISBN-13: 9781523321964

  ISBN-10: 1523321962

  DEDICATION

  This book is dedicated to the many talented people out there. The truly talented know that it is not their abilities that make them unique and valuable, but their availability to the Maker of All.

  In its ebook form, this book is permanently free. I want everyone to have a chance to enjoy their first taste of this new series, The Song of the Lorekeeper.

  The next three books in this series are finished, with eight more planned, so it may take a while to get through them. Don’t miss out.

  The next three books in this series are:

  Counterweave

  New Thread in the Tapestry

  Broken Thread

  CONTENTS

  Acknowledgments

 

  1

  The Nightmare

  2

  The Man in Assassin Black

  3

  Exceptional Service Rendered

  4

  Restrictions

  5

  Growing Alarm

  6

  Deceptive Assignment

  7

  Managing the Heiress

  8

  Double Meanings

  9

  The Duties of a Life Weaver

  10

  Third Mistake

  11

  Watching from a Distance

  12

  An Unusual Ability

  13

  Strange Clothing

  14

  An Unidentified Wrongness

  15

  A Reason for Avoidance

  16

  The Arrangement

  17

  Beginning the Absorption Process

  18

  The Hidden Place

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  This list is endless. My husband provided me the time and space to turn this work into a reality. My children have always been my fans. Lisa is an inspiration as well as a great beta reader. Patsy is a terrific proof reader. And all my friends who cheer me on.

  1

  the nightmare

  Zilla gasped at the intensity of the dream. In the dream, darkness flooded the City, then grew until it covered the whole planet. At its center stood a blank-eyed Tadessa, the Krindarwee Daughter. Instead of saving her people, as she was born to do, she betrayed them. A Zocassari roared with laughter as it played Tadessa like a puppet on strings. Everything the entity wanted, the mindless doll complied.

  She lay in bed, stilling herself with deep breathing. Khaadi, she prayed. Is this a true dream, or just a possibility?

  She remembered when her people had asked for a Daughter. Visitors from the stars assaulted them with horrendous weapons, capturing children, killing or enslaving the adults. The harassed people gasped out prayers of deliverance, and they ran. They ran into the forests, asking their Nulls to hide them.

  The overworked Nulls fell asleep while on watch, and the Neevee came with huge transports large enough to capture whole villages. Elders tested the villagers to find more Nulls with fields large enough to hide whole villages. Most failed the tests, and the enemy captured more villages. In the southland, people learned new, alien, ways, such as slavery, war, and desperation. Hundreds of thousands of people fell to the Grey-Skins.

  The free forests of the southeast turned into farms and ranches, the Neevee gobbling up territory as quickly as a baskeg’s unborn devoured its host. In addition to slavery and war, however, the Neevee brought a far more sinister invader with them as they conquered the planet, setting up Sector Cities, driving all who roamed the countryside into their cities, coercing them to do their bidding. Incorporeal entities accompanied the Neevee with persuasive words that seduced the people with lies.

  “These things should not be!” she told Simbal, her best friend, a Thread Weaver, the one who perfected the skills of the Many-Threaded.

  “Zocassari,” he agreed. “Those-Who-Should-Not-Exist. They are an affront to Khaadi’s design. The Neevee know about them. They brought them to us because they believed them to be as common every as sand is on the beaches, thinking that we, also, knew they existed.”

  “But we don’t…”

  “My Sister.”

  She silenced.

  “They know how to resist them. They teach their children from infancy in this skill.”

  “Then we must do the same!”

  He nodded. “The Zocassari feed off negative emotions. They love our despair and are drawn to it. So far, very few of us have been affected because we choose not to harbor negative emotions for long. Instead of deliverance, however, we must ask Khaadi for a Deliverer.”

  “A Daughter,” Zilla said, exhaling a sigh of relief. A way to defeat these enemies existed after all.

  “Khaadi has answered those prayers before, although our first ‘daughter’ was Janolly, the young male who taught us how to hide inside this image.” He gestured to his body, laughter in the back of his mind.

  “I’ve read, and sung, the tapestries,” she said, a little disgruntled. “Lateka, the next Daughter, brought Janolly’s invaders to the Mother Tree who changed them into the Zarindan.”

  He laughed out loud. He loved to banter with her in this way, stating the obvious as if he addressed a child.

  In retaliation, she named the next four Daughters, all born to meet a crisis. As they laughed together, others in the village drew around them. Simbal presented their solutions, causing those who heard to laugh with them, in relief.

  As one, the whole village prayed for Khaadi to send a Daughter to not only release them from slavery, but to defeat the Zocassari, a seemingly formidable task. But with a Daughter, who knew how Khaadi would provide?

  All those stories are in our songs and tapestries, Zilla reminded herself as she dressed in a hurry to call the Elders.

  This Daughter has taken a most circuitous route. She became known as the Second Daughter, after the First Daughter was adopted by a Neevee couple right after birth. Tadessa, the Second Daughter, learned both her mother’s Irelli heritage as well as her father’s Krindarwee ways. Who expected Tadellin to be offered a second seed when the Many-Threaded were so rarely provided more than a single child? Tadellin, called Snake by the Irelli, spent the remainder of his short life teaching Tadessa Krindarwee ways.

  Then the Neevee General adopted her away from both her mother and her father. She now knew the ways of three peoples. Not for the first time Zilla questioned Khaadi’s logic. Shouldn’t the Daughter be all Krindarwee?

  This time, however, an alien species, more alien in culture than even the Neevee, threatened to overtake her. If a way existed to stop them, Zilla intended to find it.

  She put on a coat and added leggings over her plastiform clogs before she entered the dark winter morning. How she hated t
his northland with its short winter days and constant cold. Even the summers failed to bring enough warmth. She pounded on the door of the reigning elder until he answered.

  He opened the door, blinking away the sleep that still clouded his mind. She touched her forehead in respect. “Beneree.”

  He repeated the gesture, but said instead, “Come in, Grandmother. Will you breakfast with us?”

  She hesitated. “I don’t mean to be rude, Lafwellen.” She hesitated again. “Yes. I’ll have a little something with you and your family, but time slips by as we tarry.”

  “What is it?”

  “The Daughter is in danger. We must assemble the elders and plan how to counter this.”

  “Why didn’t you announce this with mind speech?”

  “Because the Xantis Tey listen,” she said.

  He gestured dismissal. “They are just another invasion force, like the Neevee.”

  “No,” she said. “Compared to these new people, the Neevee are no more than an irritant.”

  He stared at her. Nevians had enslaved their people in Sector One. “An irritant?”

  She nodded.

  He jerked his head toward the back. “Marre, send Bessimi to the others. No mind speech. We meet now. We meet here. I will fix us breakfast.”

  Zilla made them tea. She needed something to keep her mind busy, away from her fears. As she pulled her thoughts toward Khaadi, the fear began to dissipate.

  The dream was a warning, she realized, not a vision of the future. Khaadi’s will still prevails. Why must I always remind myself of that?

  By the time all of them arrived, Lafwellen sat them at his family’s low table, filled with enough food for twice their number. After breakfast, he sent his family away, cautioning them to silence. No one wanted these new invaders to know anything at all about the Krindarwee. Everyone understood. Most had lived their lives under the threat of extinction.

  Zilla raised her arms to pray. “Khaadi, we thank you for your gifts, not only for the food you provided, but for the wisdom you will offer as we discuss this issue. We honor you with gratitude. Teach us how to align ourselves with your will, because we know you have already worked out the solution. Our lives are yours.”

  “Our lives are yours,” the Elders replied.

  “I had a dream, a nightmare, rather,” she began. As she shared it with them, she also explained she doubted the nightmare was a true vision, but a warning. They all knew her gift, and that she was never wrong in her predictions.

  But a foreboding vision was something else. She hoped her people would be given the ability to overcome such a horrible future.

  2

  the man in assassin black

 
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