The first book in Miriam Verbeek’s Si’Empra trilogy tells a compelling tale of Ellen, a feisty young woman battling the predations of her despot half-brother and her own self-doubt. The story is set against the dystopian backdrop of a country riven by corruption and genocide. Ellen is highborn but, nevertheless, an underdog reminiscent of The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen, with just a dash of Robin Hood. The setting is the fragile and beautiful Antarctic island of Si’Empra. Aboveground, the Skyseeker people rule, belowground live the Crystalmaker people, hunted almost to extinction. Alongside them both live the mysterious Cryptals, ancient creatures who hold the key to the survival of Si’Empra.

This is a well imagined world, with strong characters – particularly the females. The fast-paced dialogue propels the story and will carry the reader to the end, wanting to know when the second book will become available.

Juliet Middleton
(copy-editor) Qld, Australia

Extract: Skyseeker Princess, The Si’Empra Series

Ellen washed herself carefully but quickly in the water of a stream that trickled from a thin crevasse. She towelled herself dry, creamed her body and pulled on clean clothes. It would have been good to wash her hair as well, but the water was too cold for that. Using a damp washer with a drop of perfume, she rubbed her curls vigorously.

She inspected her reflection in a small pocket mirror, noting with satisfaction that her skin had entirely lost its puffy, red look.

“Well, that’s the best I can do,” she murmured and packed her toiletries away.

Well before the appointed time, she positioned herself and Rosa slightly up the hill, where she could see Lian Achton’s goat grotto but was herself out of sight.

Lian Achton – his dogs at his heels – and the foreigner  appeared; the stranger was a head taller than the Lian. He walked with the easy gait of a strong, confident man. Lian Achton opened the door to the grotto, and men and dogs disappeared inside.

Ellen waited until the appointed time. “No one else around?” she asked Rosa. The bird stayed relaxed. Ellen rose, tucking a bundle under her arm. “Stay close, Rosa. Tell us if someone comes.”

Fifteen metres from the grotto, the dogs began to bark. The door opened. She expected the dogs to bolt out, but Lian Achton commanded them to sit at his feet. They extended their noses eagerly towards her, tails sweeping the floor.

“Warmth and light, Lian,” Lian Achton greeted.

“Warmth and light, Lian Achton,” she returned. “Thank you for helping me in this way.”

“I am hoping you can return the favour by telling me where the Crystalmaker in my charge, and a rather prized coat, has disappeared to.” There was an edge of ice to his voice.

“Has Lian Isoldé not told you already? As for the coat, here it is.” She passed him the bundle.

Lian Achton took the coat from her, though his ice did not thaw. “She told me the Crystalmaker died and has been taken by the star of light.”

Ellen was unfazed by his annoyance. “Aah. I have been wondering what she saw. She didn’t seem to recognise me. I thought maybe it was because it was so dark.” In acknowledgement of his displeasure, she continued. “Neither the Ülrügh nor you had the right to hold the Crystalmaker, Lian. I have returned him to his people.”

“And by whose authority did you do that?”

“By the authority of decency that I was taught as a child, by you, among other people –”

“Is this a private party, or can anyone join in?” the foreigner interrupted.

Lian Achton stiffened. He moved one of his legs back to turn side-on so that Ellen could see into the room.

The Australian sat at a small table, face turned towards the door, elbows on the table, a steaming mug of tea clasped in his hands. At the sight of Ellen he put down the mug and pushed himself slowly up to his feet, emitting a low whistle: “Will you look at that! They weren’t half wrong when they said you’re a stunner!”

“Norm Tucker, may I present Lian Ellen.” Achton’s tone growled slightly with disapproval.

Norm Tucker bowed in a mocking way. “G’day, milady.”

“How do you do, Mr Tucker. I hope we may do some business.”

“Yea. That’s what I’m here for,” he said, his voice slow and distracted. His deep blue eyes flickered in open admiration. His gaze dropped to her feet and began to slowly travel up the length of her body. She bore his inspection by studying him calmly in turn.

He was a lean man, perhaps in his mid-thirties. Long-limbed. Although his speech was uncultured, even bordering on crude, his appearance spoke of vanity. His sandy brown hair, though short, had been neatly trimmed and recently combed back into place, with a part to the left. His face was smoothly shaven. He had a longish face with creases just under the cheekbones running almost to the sides of a sharply defined chin line. You use cream on your face because you don’t have that dry scaly look that some men get. His clothes were practical: loose fitting but well cut. The long, dark-olive trousers were made from a tightly woven fabric, probably water repellent. There were pocket openings at the hips and two zipped pockets at the sides of the thighs. There was no belt and the shirt, made of a lighter fabric – the colour a lighter shade of olive and matching the trousers – was tucked neatly into the waistline. His rolled-up sleeves exposed brown arms with a dusting of dark hair, and the open shirt collar showed part of a hairy chest. A coat hung over the back of his chair. It was probably reversible: the outside was a dark brown but the inside looked bright yellow. Yellow probably more suitable for wearing out at sea; brown on land so as not to stand out.

Norm Tucker’s eyes met hers. He blinked. His mouth, which had been slightly and loosely open, tightened into a grin, showing carefully aligned teeth – a left eye-tooth capped in gold. For show? Ellen mused.

“Sorry, Princess. Don’t mind me giving you the once-over. I’m just a lowlife sailor. Don’t get to see girls as pretty as you too often. You reckon you got business with me. I’m reckoning you want passage off the island. Gossip’s got it life hasn’t been all roses for you, Princess.”

Gossip? Ellen stepped into the room, not showing any reaction to his words. Interesting. So you have been talking widely, as I guessed you might. She had assessed that Norm Tucker would be a man who aggressively – and probably ruthlessly – sought out opportunity to combine richness with adventure. Let me see how I can use your hunger for my need. The flicker of anticipation that had stimulated her thoughts all morning burned more brightly at the challenge of matching her wits with those of this foreigner.

“Thank you, Mr Tucker, but I am not interested in passage off the island. I believe I have a more interesting proposition to discuss with you.”

He resumed his seat, sitting sideways on the chair, one elbow on the table, the other across the back of the chair and an ankle resting on a knee, as if to say: “I’m all yours – nothing to hide”.

“Interesting proposition, eh? What would that be, Princess?”

“I have Cryptal cloth and crystal, Mr Tucker. What have you got for me?’

“Depends on what you want and how much you got.”

Ellen stepped further into the room, drew several pages from an inside pocket of her coat and handed them to Norm Tucker. Behind her, Lian Achton closed the door.

Norm Tucker flicked through the pages: a list of provisions to last a long winter.

“This isn’t just a bit,” he said finally, placing the pages on the table beside him. “It’s going to cost plenty and I’m going to be stretched getting this together and carting it here. Season for boating’s nearly over so it’ll be November – maybe December – before I can land this. And I’ll want to be paid up front.”

Ellen gave a small shrug. She reached for the list. “Then our potential business partnership is over, Mr Tucker. Those terms are useless to me.”

“Whoa. Whoa.” Norm brought his large, tanned hand over her small, white one. Ellen covered her involuntary flinch by drawing her eyebrows together to intensify her gaze. Firmly, but unhurriedly, she drew her hand and the pages out from under Norm Tucker’s hand.

“Why don’t you sit down,” he said, fingers tightening for a flash at the edge of the withdrawing pages before letting go. “Let’s talk about this man-to-man. It’s sort of hard to think with you standing and me sitting.” He turned to Lian Achton, who still stood at the door. “You sit down, too, Lian Achton. Perhaps you’d like a warm cup of something, Princess. I think there’s still water in the thermos we brought. Why don’t you take off your coat?”

“Thank you for your thoughtfulness, Mr Tucker. I do not need refreshments and my coat is not uncomfortable.” Ah – but perhaps I am beginning to make you a little less certain? Good. Good.

“Well at least sit down. It’s hard for me to think when I have to deal with people standing around.”

Ellen shifted a chair as if to sit opposite him, but she stayed standing, her hand on the back of the chair.

“You’d better tell me what you need and I’ll see what I can do. And Norm’s my name. Just call me Norm.”

“Thank you, Mr Tucker. I believe that you will be quite pleased with what I have for you.” She set the list on the table again, spreading the pages. She knew the list intimately and knew what she could negotiate away and what she could not. “What I want is on this list, Mr Tucker. But before we talk further about what I want, I would be most grateful if you could give me some confidence that you can deliver. I do not want to burden you with the impossible and nor do I want to waste your time. I believe that you are a very experienced sailor and have a lovely boat.”

Norm gave a small dismissive huff. “Oh my boat’s good alright. And I can deliver; no worries. Just got to be realistic.”
Good, thought Ellen. Now tell me all about yourself and what you really can do and what your real limitations are. “Perhaps you could reassure me by telling me a little about how you run your enterprise.”

“Yeah, no problem. I got my boat about seven year ago. Me and a mate. I’ve bought him out since. Always been a sailor, I have. Learnt it from my dad.”

“In your blood,” Ellen remarked, eyes softening to show her understanding.

Norm Tucker grinned. “You could say that: it’s in my blood.”

With these types of small nudges from Ellen, Norm Tucker settled into telling her about his boat, his adventures and how he delivered cargo all over the world. Ellen settled into the chair she had pulled out, leaning slightly towards him as the story of his exploits unfolded. She took note of every detail, sorting elements into an order that would help her negotiate a good outcome, her questions deliberately feigning randomness, but, in fact, quite targeted.

“I can get stuff to places no other ship can get to, see. I can hove to a bit out of the way and drop a good-and-stable inflatable runabout with the cargo to get it to shore,” he told her, his gold tooth flashing as he grinned.

“I specialise in giving people what they need. Like, just a few months back I dropped off a load of stuff to Somalia – you know – Africa. Some governments – they don’t always get it, right. You know yourself, Princess, you just got to look around this island and you can see some people just need things. I don’t know whether you’re going to sell this stuff–” he flicked a finger at the pages on the table “–and make some cash for yourself. Don’t blame you if you are. But I reckon you want it to give this stuff away. That’s how I read you. That’s why I’m interested in working with you, see. I reckon you’ve got a good heart.”

“You do indeed have a very interesting profession, Mr Tucker. But doesn’t sailing in these Antarctic waters cause you concern? I have heard such horrific stories of ships being caught in sea ice and crews freezing to death.”

“Aw,” Norm scoffed. “Them that’s happened to are plain inexperienced. I’ve been down in these waters when they start getting chewy. You have to know how to keep yourself out of trouble.”

“And do you have work colleagues in other countries?”

“Sure I do. I’ve got the best equipment on board my boat and I can get fellows in Australia and New Zealand – even bottom of Argentina – to help me out if I want to. We help each other out all the time.”

“That affords me a great deal of relief, Mr Tucker. Perhaps it could be possible to have them come to your aid to help deliver my needs before the seas become impassable?”

Norm’s eyes widened. He stared at her a second then barked out a laugh. “You’ve got a quick mind, Princess. I can see I’ll need to watch my Ps and Qs.”

And so the negotiations began. Ellen showed Norm small samples of the cloth and crystal she could supply but was firm that she would only pay a deposit, reasoning that she did not have the means to carry the amount of crystal and cloth to do more than pay a deposit at this time, and besides, it would be dangerous for him to carry such a large quantity of crystal and cloth into Si’Em City. They talked about quality of the supplies he needed to deliver, how he might obtain them at such short notice, and how to land the goods. She showed him a map of Si’Empra and told him where she wanted the goods landed: a shoal at the mouth of the North River within a bay enclosed by the Northern and Central Lands. “My observation is that this bay contains ice floes for much of summer but they are small and drift in and out depending on the wind. A freeze at the entrance to the bay generally begins by about May. Thus, it will be necessary to complete the landing before then.”

“Jeez, Princess, that only gives hardly more than a month!”

“I am most grateful that you are willing to consider this timeline, Mr Tucker. I hope that your friends will be suitably impressed by the crystal and Cryptal cloth you can provide them.”

When Ellen was satisfied that she had covered all necessary details, she left the hut to fetch two crystal urns and a bolt of cloth as down payment. Norm took the ornaments from her and inspected them keenly. She guessed that he was comparing them to those Richard had provided, and knew their quality was much higher.

“You don’t have a virigin somewhere, do you?” he said. “I’ll trade the whole cargo for one virigin.”

“No, Mr Tucker. I don’t have a virigin.”

“Norm. You should call me Norm, now that we’re business partners.”

Ellen made a non-committal movement with her head. Turning to Lian Achton, who had seated himself at an opposite corner of the table and been silent throughout the conversation, she said in the language of the Skyseekers: “Thank you, again, Lian, for your help.” To Norm she cautioned in English. “You should know that if any part of this deal becomes public in Si’Empra – including Lian Achton’s involvement – your payment will be forfeit, as is any future business dealing I might have with you.”

“Mum’s the word,” Norm Tucker promised, tapping the side of his nose. “No one’s better than me at keeping secrets.” He grinned again at her, standing when she did and holding out his hand to shake on the deal.

She put her hand in his, forcing herself to return his firm shake, though inwardly she rebelled at the touch. She smiled at him as she took her leave, but her thoughts did not reflect her smile: I do not like you, Norm Tucker. I do not trust you. I would prefer not to deal with you and will cease to do so as soon as I can. Otherwise, I fear, you will do Si’Empra great harm.

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My dearest Pedro,

I hope this note finds you well.

I was in your country scarcely eight months and yet nothing in my life has left such a profound impact. The artistry and music of your people, the way you live your lives on your most forbidding island, and the knowledge that it is also inhabited by unique others, fills my mind constantly.

This note comes to you via a close and trusted friend. I would be most humbly grateful if you would write me a little of the history of Si’Empra. My friend will convey your writings to me. I will not pre-empt your words by asking questions now but hope that you will unfold for me a context into which I can place news from your land.

I promise you that your words will never be read by other than myself, nor will they be repeated by me.

I remain your friend.

Augustine (Fr)

July 2011

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Dear Father Augustine

You are right that it is important for me to guard my words. I will tell you briefly something of Si’Empra’s history and how we have come to our unhappy and deteriorating circumstance.

Our history is complex and must start with ancient songlines that tell of the landing of people on this island. They found the island inhabited by Cryptals – those creatures you have heard rumoured of in your time with us. I know only a little about Cryptals (indeed I doubt anyone knows much about them, they are so other than we are!). Cryptals are able to use scent – perhaps we would characterise such scent as pheromones, though this has never been studied – to manipulate the behaviour of creatures on Si’Empra. We call the scent mylin or Cryptal poison. In general, we talk of mylin as if it has only one characteristic, and that it is highly poisonous; but, in fact, in small doses, it can strengthen Si’Emprans, especially Crystal Makers. I suspect that Cryptals can also produce many forms of mylin.

Cryptals inhabit the deep earth of Si’Empra and travel the underworld through an intricate weave of tunnels. One of the creatures, called the White’One, sings almost constantly. The song appears to coordinate the movement of other Cryptals. There is also talk of a Black’One, but information of this creature is hazy indeed. Remarkable as you may find what I have already told you about the Cryptals, know that they can also manipulate the very earth. You are aware that Si’Empra is on a part of a fault line between Earth’s tectonic plates – I believe it is called the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge. The earth is highly volatile along this line and, perhaps in normal circumstances, the island would not exist at all. However, Cryptals know how to release pressure in rock and the belief of many of us is the island owes its very existence to such Cryptal capacity.

When the first people came to the island there were not only Cryptals but also huge birds, which we call glasaurs. These birds seem to have disappeared soon after the coming of people. I am not sure why, though I suspect that Cryptals created the birds (I think they are mutated versions of a bird that lives beyond the forbidding Barrier Cliffs that are on the very far side of our island) and found no more use for them after people arrived. Recently, another such bird has come among us again – you have heard of this.

Cryptals and the first peoples, over the thousands of years that followed, came to an arrangement. I should tell you also that Cryptals have another feature: they have long and thick fur, which the first people learnt how to weave into cloth. At some stage, the people also discovered that, with sufficient heat and other treatments, they could manipulate the fur to make a sort of glass, which we call crystal. As you will have discerned, this crystal is highly prized – though we have little access to it now. There was something else that the people discovered they could do with the crystal: that is, with further work they could cause the crystal to echo certain sounds. This special crystal is called virigin. But the craft of making virigins is lost.

The first people on Si’Empra we call the Crystal Makers. I believe that at the time of their coming, Si’Empra’s climate was relatively benign but gradually changed to become increasingly hostile and cold. Crystal Makers gradually retreated into the underground world of the Cryptals. It was onto this cold, windswept island that another peoples were shipwrecked. These were my ancestors. Of the origin of these people, I know very little. (As an aside, I think that my ancestors also introduced goats to Si’Empra – though, as you and I have already established, our domesticated chickens are native).

The newcomers were welcomed by the Crystal Makers. Over time, Crystal Makers no longer left their underground dwellings but provided Sky Seekers with cloth and crystal in exchange for food and other aboveground necessities. The homes of Sky Seekers were also kept warm by hot geothermal waters that Cryptals channelled through the flooring – you have seen these structures in Si'Em City though the warming is currently carried out by the use of diesel-fuelled generators.

Sky Seekers and Crystal Makers have different social systems as well as language. Crystal Makers divide their people into guilds. Each guild is headed by a Guild Master. The code by which the Crystal Makers operate is called The Order. It is strictly enforced by the Guild Masters. Sky Seekers, as you have learnt, are governed by a council, called the Lianthem, which is traditionally drawn from a group of ruling families. The head of the Lianthem is our Ülrügh, notionally appointed by the Lianthem. However, it has long been accepted that each Ülrügh chooses one of his or her children to be his or her successor.

You have seen how forbidding our shoreline is and it is, perhaps, why Si’Empra has long been isolated. Nevertheless, a group of seal hunters did land on our island some eight decades ago. This event began a process that fundamentally changed a way of life on Si’Empra that had existed for hundreds of years.

You have remarked on our modernisation achievements. I think I implied, in our conversations, that all Si’Emprans initially did well under the rule of Ülrügh Devi. The Crystal Makers were our allies, providing unique Cryptal cloth and crystal that was much sought-after by foreigners (these things still are!). Such alliance, however, did not last. Crystal Makers do not believe in change and when they perceived that Sky Seekers were changing their lives as a result of association with foreigners, Crystal Makers ceased to provide cloth and crystal. The Lianthem discovered that outsiders were also keen to purchase the gemstones found on this island. With the help of a Chinese family (you have met a member of this family, Cheng Yi), Sky Seekers developed a gemstone business. Unfortunately, mining gemstones did not meet with the approval of Cryptals. The Crystal Makers warned against it and, when the Sky Seekers refused to listen, the Cryptals retaliated by denying Sky Seekers access to the geothermal energy the island has in abundance.

Ülrügh Devi, in spite of his many brilliant insights, was not one to be coerced into a course of action when he had set his mind on another. With confidence that Sky Seekers could continue to fend for themselves without the help of Crystal Makers and Cryptals, he decided to remove our belowground dwellers. Among the Crystal Makers who survived the Ülrügh’s purge, this purge is known as ‘The Destruction’. There were those on the Lianthem who disagreed with Ülrügh Devi. When he turned on them also, they fled. The hunt of Crystal Makers and Cryptals continues even today, the current Ülrügh having set up a special group to do it and with otherwise minimal involvement of others on the Lianthem – though a majority approve or are disinterested.

Ülrügh Devi was succeeded by his son, Briani.

We are now into events that occur in my lifetime.

Ülrügh Briani was much manipulated by some on the Lianthem who profited greatly from modernisation. Ülrügh Devi’s leap of faith that Sky Seekers could manage on Si’Empra without the aid of Crystal Makers and Cryptals is not working as well as planned. Si’Empra constantly struggles to buy and produce all that is needed – or perhaps the shortages many Si’Empran’s suffer is because some of the ruling families have grown used to a lavish lifestyles and the sharing that used to be part of Sky Seeker tradition has thinned.

Ülrügh Briani married Lian Thea, a twin sister of our current Chancellor, Lian Chithra. She bore the Ülrügh a son – you have met Ülrügh Redel. Rumour has it that Lian Thea was unkind to her child. She died when he was but a young boy – perhaps four or five. After fourteen or fifteen years, the Ülrügh took a new wife. A very young bride, only a few years older than the Ülrügh’s son. Nevertheless, there seemed to be real love between Constance – the bride’s name – and Ülrügh Briani. Constance gave birth to Ellen, who became much beloved by her father and many Si’Emprans and all indications were that Ülrügh Devi intended her to be his successor. The Ülrügh’s unexpected death, however, saw Redel become Ülrügh.

Forgive me. What followed after Ülrügh Briani’s death is extremely painful to me. While I have entrusted to you the above version of Si’Empra’s history (not one that is safe to discuss nowadays), I find myself unable to continue. Suffice to say that our new Ülrügh abused his sister but denied the abuse – and Ellen has never confirmed or denied. In an effort to safeguard her daughter, Constance, agreed to become his wife. She bore him a daughter, who is called Chrystal – you have met the child. Constance died soon after childbirth.

Perhaps you understand Si’Empra better now. We have access to the most wonderful things that the outer world can provide – we have Internet access, mobile phones, electric lighting, lifts to save our legs from stairs, access to word class education etc etc. Even cars we have on Si’Empra, (though there are few roads on which to drive them – one to Sinthen and one to the mines, and a minor one up to the Serai). The cars are all but useless but the helicopters potentially more useful – though at present they are put to deadly use. Our access to the ‘wonderful things’ is, however, limited. Indeed, beyond Si’Em City and Baltha, people live in poverty.

I hope you stay well and I look forward to many more years of correspondence with you on philosophical exercises of the mind that need not be burdened by the raw emotion of day-to-day melancholy.

With kind regards,


PS: If I were to tell you a fuller story of how Si’Empra is today, I would begin with an event about two years ago that caused Lian Ellen to flee Si’Em City and not return.


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Glossary of names


Acolyte SythelAcolyte of the Guild of Weaving who helped Sami and Tharnie
adjutantRedel's special guard
AnnePartner of Lian Dane
AuchustGuild Master of Construction: short hair in spikes on his head
BacharWeb Cleaner child with good voice
BrianiGrandfather of Ellen
ChrisWeb Cleaner/harvester/looks after Muther over summer
Cillapregnant Crystal Maker
ConstanceEllen's mother
Cryptalscreatures of the deep
DeviRedel's father
DevoutsRedel's priest aids
Dr Thomas DohertySurgeon that Lian Shivay communicates with to help Ellen
Dr ThrakeOrthopaedic surgeon
EllenDaughter of Briani and Constance
ElthanEllen's grandmother
Ethanson of Sathun
FrancisA huge muscled black man from South Africa
GreciaDoctor at Sinthen and Pedro's old home
GrettaLives beyond the Barrier Cliffs
Heiniepartner of Thyrol
Ian SewellOne of Norm Tucker's crew
Jessorphan girl Sathun found and now wife of José
JoeOne of Norm Tucker's crew: a tall thin man
JonAdministrative aid to Chithra
JoosthinCrystal Guild Master
Joseeldest son of Sathun
JosieWeb Cleaner child with the burnt face
KatherinaEllen's devoted carer
LaraAcolyte in Guild of weaving
Lian AchtonMusic teacher
Lian CecilTax Collector
Lian DaneOwner of most of the hothouses, clear blue eyes, balding pate, and trim fram
Lian DiánnéIn charge of the stores
Lian IsoldeAchton's wife
Lian JulianHas much real estate, arthritis, nephew to Devi, cheerful
Lian PethriePhysician
Lian ShivayDoctor at Baltha hospital
Lian SienneOne of the coup leaders
Lian TheonOne of the coup leaders and father of Thull
Lian ThessaTakes over Marthin's role
Lian ThobiasChief Engineer
LumanA favourite grandson of Lian Julian and good at Chatham
MarthinHusband of Mary
Marypartner of Marthin
MutherSi'Empra Mayal -living with Grecia
PedroElthan's partner, Ellen's grandfather
Phanlives with Grecia
Phietnurse helping Greçia
Rangera section of the adjutants who are involved with the hunt
Redelbrother of Ellen and Ulrugh
Richardson of Muther
Rosaa glasaur - a very large bird, one of a kind, that Ellen rides
SamiAcolyte of Tharnie - who is on crutches
SaraGuild Master of Weaving: small woman, chews her nails, youngest member
SaraGuild Master of Weaving
SathunThe son of Sienne the rebel
SiraAccompanied Thanin to meet Ellen
ThaliaThe child in Fadil Village that Redel murdered
ThamNurse helping Greçia
ThaninGuild Master of Design
TharylWeb Cleaner in charge of one of the food storage areas
The Black OneLarge, dark brown eyes
The Othersthose living beyond the Barrier Cliffs
The OvercomeThose addicted beyond reason to mylin
TheresaSathun's oldest daughter
ThilAcolyte of the Guild of Memory and Gate Master of Illiath
ThimonWeb Cleaner/harvester/Elthan's harvester deputy
ThomaliasDaughter of Thom - the girl in Fadil Village
ThrenFriend of Joosthin now become part of the Overcome
ThrevorGuild Master of Memory: one of the guilds of the Crystal Makers; old, stooped and the most powerful
ThrevorGuild Master of Memory slim male of middle age with pale yellow braided hair
ThullSathun's father, recently deceased
Thyrolpartner of Heinie
White'OneSinging Cryptal
WhypoonMaster who taught Elthan how to clean webs
ZaraAcolyte of Joosthin

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Glossary of words


Brimaldplants on the Chess River ravine
Hawkberry plantplants on the walk: A minty smell with a touch of rose
Jalineplants on the Chess River ravine
Lalloonsleek beast, the size of a small dog. It was a lalloon; a pretty creature with rounded, furry ears, a narrow snout tipped by a black nose and long, soft, reddish-brown fur that was prized by Sky Seekers for lining the hoods of winter coats. The creature was a hunter and scavenger, sneaky, adept at hiding and solitary.
LayamleSi'Em City's vast, communal chamber,
Lianequivalent to 'Lady'
Lianthemequivalent to the ruling council
Lithilian berriesspecial berries for making a kind of wine
Pendleweedplants on the Chess River ravine
samiraa musical instrument
schathemSi'Empran traditional climbing game
Seraiequivalent to 'palace'
Si'Empra MayalSongbird of Si'Empra
Si'Empra TheolelThe Jewel of Si'Empra
solnishunting animal
Sweensbeeplants on the Chess River ravine
Thordilonesa musical instrument

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Glossary of places


Balthaon the other side of the bridge
Barthgunman accompanying Lian Cecil in Fadil Villae
Charn RiverTo the east of the Sith River
Fadil Villagescene of tax collector incident
GhuyHeadman of Fadil Village
IlliathBelowground Crystmaker city
Northern LandsWhere the summer dwelling is for Richard and Muther
Overshot Gorgeseparates the Si'Em bluff from the rest of the island
River OrbEast of Thuls Refuge which has become easier to cross as a result of the earthquake and the route Ellen advised Richard et al to take
Si'Em Bluffinto which Si'Em City is built
Si'Em Citymain city on the island
Si'Empraname of island
Sinthenlinked to Baltha by a road
Sith ChamberA huge cave used by the harvesters
Sith CliffsThe first barrier above the Sith River on the way to the Northern Lands
Sith RiverTo the west of the Charn River
The Barrier Cliffsseparate the place The Others live from the rest of Si'Empra
The Lost Cityon top of the Barrier Cliffs
The Seraipalace - administration centre
The ShoalsRubbish dump and where Sky Seeker dead are left
TrebiathBelowground Crystmaker city

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Bookfunnel is an e-book delivery platform designed to make downloading to any e-reader platform easy. You’ll buy the book from Payhip which will ask for your email address to send the ebook. You’ll be sent an email to download from Payhip but if you wait a few moments, Bookfunnel will also send you an email and will make the download process easier.

Of course, if you would prefer to download the book through the standard options, I’ve provided the links to those platforms on this webpage.

You have Successfully Subscribed!