A little sneak peek into Thread Skein is in order. But, first a little background. I finished correcting a rather interesting series of events leading up to the exploration of the mysterious land of Elraci. However, the current chapter has yet another mention of Rhonia. In all three books, Rhonia is mentioned. A number of fans have asked for more details on exactly what Rhonia is.
To refresh your memory, Rhonia is the source of that rather tasty herb carmine. Carmine is a major export from Rhonia and is highly sought after throughout the realms. It is used mostly to flavor fish or poultry dishes. However, in book one, Thread Slivers, it was also shown to have the unusual property of burning out the nasal receptors causing temporary loss of smell when it is burned directly and the fumes inhaled through the nose.
Rhonia is the name of the largest continent six hundred leagues east of the Duianna Empire’s eastern coastline. The entire continent is controlled by one government called the Rhonian Empire. The name Rhonia also refers to any of the hundred plus islands that are considered part of the Rhonian Empire, by the empire itself. It is worth noting this belief is not entirely shared by many of the small island nations themselves.
The Rhonian Empire is a vast power consisting of eastern islands founded by Rhonias III after 834 p.m. and brought to the height of its power and glory by his daughter Ruth I and her sons Amizin and Eluar from 974 to 1024 p.m. The empire extends over three thousand leagues, and the waterways between the islands are fiercely patrolled. Many of the larger islands have their own government and generally consider themselves protectorates of the Rhonian Empire, except when the Empire starts taxing too much. There are regular civil wars which tend to last a few years before both sides declare victory and the tense political climate returns to normal relations.
For reference here is a map highlighting Rhonia (click on it for a larger version):
There just isn’t enough room in these books to explore all the foreign lands, and Rhonia, not being a part of the Duianna Alliance, is also not represented in the Assembly at Gracia. Nonetheless, Ticca and Lebuin might end up exploring it in future books.
And now for the peek I promised of Thread Skein which again mentions the most enticing Rhonia lands.
Runa-Illa looked around again. The attack had killed her. She was sure of that. The Nhia-Samri had leapt of the horse with both odassi aimed at Illa. Like a pair of lightning bolts, the blades flew at her. She didn’t have time to dodge or parry.
The blades had run through her kidney and heart. Pain had caused her to scream. Except the scream seemed to reverberate and continued far beyond what she thought was her lung capacity. There was a surge of warmth, and she was here, wherever here was.
Around her was a myriad of colors, nothing particularly defined. There was no pain. In fact, she felt very relaxed and comfortable. But, after floating in colors for what seemed like a very long time she began to feel, well, bored.
Should I be bored? I mean, I am dead. Yet I still feel like me. Or at last I think I feel like me.
She tried to feel her body. Nothing really happened. It was as if she didn’t have hands or arms. She tried to kick out. Still no sensations at all.
Looking around more carefully, she was able to see that the colors flowed and changed. There were more colors than she remembered from life. Resting, she decided, was in order.
Time passed, or maybe it didn’t. Illa really couldn’t find anything else to do.
I really expected a little more. I’ve heard lots of ideas about death. They usually involve going someplace interesting at least. Or nothing at all. But, this isn’t nothing. This is something; there are things happening. I must be able to do something here.
She concentrated and tried pushing, pulling, running, swimming, and a dozen other techniques to move herself. Nothing seemed to change the flow of the colors, or anything else.
I’m not dead. This is too annoying to be death! Illa tried to spin and scream into the colors.
A feeling of closeness came to her. The colors had shifted and now flowed around a blob. Illa marveled she could see all sides and the ghostly center of the thing that had come close.
Not dead. That is something.
Very faintly she thought she heard someone. She concentrated on the blob.
‘Did you say something?’
A very soft ‘Yes. Focus on …’
Illa couldn’t make out the rest. But, encouraged by communications, she reached out for the blob. And it moved closer!
Shocked for a moment, she panicked and started to flee. The blob rapidly sped away getting smaller and smaller. Realizing she would be alone, her feelings flipped, and a total desire to be with the blob or creature flooded her being. The blob snapped to being so large it filled her sight as if she was directly on it.
‘Control your emotions. This is difficult. Do you desire help?’
Elation sprang through her; the voice was clear, stead, and female.
‘Oh yes please, where am I? I’m lost. Am I dead?’
She could feel mirth from the blob. ‘No child, you are not dead. You are between.’
That registered. Lebuin had taken her between before. Except that was the place between life and some other place souls went after death. When she had been here before, it had looked like a library. In fact, it had been the Mage’s Guild library in Llino where Lebuin felt the safest.
‘I’m between on my own? How do I control this?’
‘You may with concentration form your experience however you choose. You can interact with others between which if close will manifest in their own way within your chosen perception.’
I’m not dead. I’m between! Okay I can, like a mage, form my own reality. Unable to think of an appropriate reality, she just imagined the grass planes were she grew up. Holding the image in her mind like she had been taught mages did, she tried to open her eyes.
She stood on the top of a hill. Before her were rolling hills of grass dotted with trees and some mountains off in the distance. Before her stood a tall black woman with bright white eyes. She was dressed in a northern flowing fur dress with a red shawl that glistened in the sunlight.
In fact, the sun above was warm on all Illa’s skin. Looking down, she blushed as she realized she was completely naked.
Why didn’t I imagine clothes for me?
The woman smiled. “Good, these are the planes of southern Laeusia. I recognize them.”
Trying to cover herself up, she realized it was her own thoughts that controlled this image. So she added her favorite hunting outfit to the images she was holding in her head.
Looking down, Illa was dressed in hunting leathers, with her knives on her belt. However, there was also a golden thread that seem to float in the air before her that connected to her torso. She tried to grab it, but her hands simply passed through it.
“What is this?” She pointed at the thread.
“That is the way to your God.”
The lady nodded and smiled.
“Who are you?”
“I am not known to you. My name is Lolenda. I am the Goddess of the Rhonian Empire.”
If you enjoyed this you will enjoy the rest of the Golden Threads Trilogy. Why check them out? The series has been a regular bestseller since it came out in early 2013. Trust me, it is best to start with book one Thread Slivers.
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