Authors: Glenda Larke
Tags: #adventure romance, #magic, #fantasy action
The Eight Stabilities are islands of order surrounded by
corrupting, lethal chaos
chaos is encroaching.
All Keris Kaylen ever wanted was to be a mapmaker like her
father. Instead, she finds herself on the run into the realm of
Carasma, the Unmaker Lord of Chaos. When her path crosses that of
the traitorous aristocrat, Davron Storre, she’s way out of her
depth, with no idea that the magic map she’s inherited might make a
difference to the world
Glenda Larke on Smashwords
2012 Glenda Larke
Edition, License Notes:
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respecting the hard work of this author.
Who taught me
how to read
have said about Havenstar:
“This is an
exciting, fast-moving page-turner that draws you in from page one
and holds your attention until the final full-stop.”
Alien Has Landed
example of good fantasy.”
-- Boothbay Register
A note from the
my first published book, and is the only book of mine written under
my married name of Glenda Noramly. The story has not changed one
iota in the intervening years, but this ebook edition has been
re-edited to reflect all I have learned about being a better
writer. The artwork for the map was done for me by Perdita
I have followed
UK/Australian spelling and punctuation conventions, so you will
find humour rather than humor, ploughs rather than plows, and
dishevelled travellers instead of disheveled travelers... Forgive
me, I’m an Australian.
beginning there was only Chaos—but this was displeasing to the
Maker, so He took the matter of Chaos and moulded it to form the
firmament and the stars, which was more pleasing to Him. But the
Unmaker Lord looked on His work and was unhappy, for Chaos is Lord
Carasma’s Realm, and only in the Unstable does he find joy.
I: Passage 1, Phrases 2 & 3
drew rein at the top of the rise and looked across to the horizon.
He sat unmoving in the saddle of his mount, and his emerald eyes
missed nothing as he shifted his gaze away from the distant
mountains and bordering roughs to the tree-spattered plain, and
finally to the stolid buildings of the halt below. Beside him, his
pack-horse—laden with the tools of his profession—shook a dusty
head and then nudged its master’s leg as if to tell him to get
moving again. It was a crossings-horse, with all the habitual
bad-temper and impatience of its breed. Piers Kaylen, however,
Master Mapmaker from Kibbleberry, was not a man to be hurried by
his pack animal’s irascible temperament.
the scene below with careful scrutiny. He saw nothing unstable
although he searched for it, and he had thirty years of experience
at recognising instability. He saw no flicker of colour, no veiled
movement or mirage-ripple that would speak of danger, of change.
The halt, built of uncut and undressed logs, still squatted
toad-like beside a soak, shedding bark from shingles and walls like
scales of unwanted skin, exactly as it had done when he’d passed
this way on his outward journey. The spiked poles of the stockade
surrounding the buildings were still level one with the other,
their tips as even as a ruled compass heading; no signs of Unstable
attack there either.
holds, Pickle my friend,’ he thought. ‘Three years in one spot, and
not a hint of ley. You chose well.’
He knew enough
not to be complacent. There were no paths to and from the halt, no
tracks leading to the building, no trace of the passage of man or
animal. The blue-grey grasses and the scrubby prickle bushes around
the stockade looked as if nothing had disturbed them for a
generation, which was all the indication needed for him to know
that instability was as powerful here as ever. This was no place of
Order, for all that the buildings still stood, untouched and
untainted, three years after they had been built. Here, nothing
could be taken for granted. This was the Unstable after all.
his mount down the gentle slope and the pack-horse followed
obediently. Where the feet of the two beasts had crushed the grass
a moment before, the grey leaves sprang back into shape as the
plants quivered and shook off the effects of their violation the
way an animal shakes water from its coat. Where the weight of the
horses had impacted the soil, sand grains stirred and loosened
themselves, their irritation shivering the ground like a heat
Piers took no
notice. In the Unstable, that was normal.
The jangle of
the bell-pull brought Pickle himself out to swing open the gate of
the stockade. Piers knew the haltkeeper well enough not to be fazed
by the nightmarish personification of a troll rather than a man,
and grinned. ‘Greetings, Pickle. Still here, I see.’
‘How goes it?’
Pickle asked in return, using the ritual words of greeting to all
ley-lit, and he accompanied the phrase with a kinesis of welcome to
a friend: right hand moving from heart to diaphragm, then extended
The words and
gesture may have been ritual, but Piers knew a full answer was
expected. ‘Ah, you’re secure enough this night,’ he said as he rode
into the safety of the enclosed courtyard and swung himself down
from his mount. ‘There’s no change I can see, not within twenty
leagues east, anyway.’
travels east this season. Moving fast, and the emanations from the
Snarled Fist are even nastier than usual with a number of new
off-shoots, all as mean as Chaos, but none of it’s coming this way.
Your halt will stand a little longer, with the Maker’s grace. How’s
Still a little early in the season for much in the way of pilgrims,
but there are one or two small fellowships in, with a
devotions-chantor among ’em too. There’ll be a kinesis session in
the common room after supper.’
grimaced. ‘Thanks for the warning. I’ll stay in my room. You do
have a vacancy?’ He began to unsaddle his mount without even
waiting for an answer; there was always a place for a mapmaker to
lay his bedroll even when the beds were all taken.
‘Oh, aye. No
worries there. You can take the room you had last time.’ Pickle
signalled a reluctant stable boy to come and help unstrap the
bundles from the pack-horse. The horse curled its lip back and
displayed its discoloured teeth in an evil grin.
Piers growled and pulled in warning at the stiff hairs of the
animal’s striped mane.
‘Join me for
supper,’ Pickle said.
his thanks, knowing his meal and his lodging would be free; no
ley-lit mapmaker ever paid a reckoning in a halt. It was their
knowledge that helped haltkeepers stay alive, after all.
off on thickened legs, the heels of his bare feet hitting the
beaten earth of the yard like battering rams. The haltkeeper
weighed three hundred pounds, and every pound was solid flesh and
Pity that his hide is that colour
, Piers reflected,
not for the first time. Green made people think of creatures such
as wart-toads or jowled water monitors, which was a shame, because
Pickle was very much a man for all that he looked like something
that lurked in the dark of age-old slime beneath a bridge.
Keeping an eye
on the snapping teeth of the pack animal, the stable boy led the
two horses away. In the gathering dusk their stripes blended into
the perpendicular lines of the stockade wall behind them. Piers,
staff in his hand, watched for a moment, then headed for his room
and a much-needed wash.
Supper was a
stew, over-laden with yams and onions and heavily spiced in a vain
attempt to hide the stringiness of the dried meat it contained.
Meat in the halts of the Unstable was never fresh.
As usual the
conversation in the common room centred around the latest
peregrinations of ley lines. Pickle was not the only person
interested in what Piers had to say. Two couriers, a guide and a
trader, all ley-lit men, wandered over to exchange a word with the
mapmaker and to learn what they could of the changes. With none of
them was he particularly forthcoming even though he was acquainted
with them all. ‘My information is for sale,’ he told them, ‘as
usual. I have old maps of every area north of the Wide, including
the best Wide crossings. I can sketch in the latest changes now as
well, or you can have properly updated maps within a couple of
weeks from my shop. You all know my place in—’
Kibbleberry on the South Drumlin Road in the First Stab,’ one of
the couriers finished for him, grinning. He turned to the others,
saying, ‘Come on, you load of misbegotten Unstabler carrion-eaters,
you ought to know by now you’ll get nothing out of Piers Kaylen
without paying for it.’