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The Guadel Chronicles

Frozen Prospects (free)

Thawed Fortunes (free if you sign up for Dean's Mailing List)

Brittle Bonds

Shattered Ties

Chapter 1

Va'del looked up at the tiny violet time sphere that provided the only light to the room and then hunched further down on his sleeping mat. The thin pad of woven gurra wool provided only minimal cushion between him and the cold stone floor of the sleeping chamber.

The chamber was barely three paces to a side, empty but for his one change of clothes and the dim time sphere that almost chased the shadows back to the far wall. There was barely room to stretch out let alone hide.

Even in the rambling caves where the People made their home, a private chamber was usually a sign of status. In his case it was just evidence that nobody was willing to spend any more time in his company than absolutely required. He listened to the slow drip of water somewhere out in the darkness and wished there was a way to disappear. As much as he might desire otherwise, it was inevitable that Pa'chi would eventually show up and try to drag him to weapons practice.

She claims she doesn't want me to get into trouble, but how do I really know? Maybe she actually wants to see me humiliated. Just like everyone else.

The lanky teenager felt a twinge of guilt at the thought, which was very nearly a betrayal of the closest thing he had to a friend in the village. Even that guilt couldn't keep his thoughts from the imminent beating though.

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