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Synopsis

Tlinke is a sixteen year old girl who lives in a small enclosed and isolated artificial world. The household of the village/homestead is set up under three guardians who have been tasked with raising her. She is at once the focus of this world and an outsider, separated by the fear that most of the inhabitants have of her strange and deadly abilities.

She is aware of a wider world of Ranadh outside her enclosed one and sees herself as a virtual prisoner, the remnant of some abandoned program whose purpose she has never been told. She knows from the highly edited sources of her education that the wider world is ruled by a nobility that possess the mental powers of hurren like herself. These rule under the overall control of a planetary ruler, the Hurrarch, who is the representative of the god Hrrak. As she has grown she has progressively shed her various childhood fantasies of what role she is being prepared for. Now she is fighting the despairing conviction that she has been judged a failure and abandoned to rot in this enclosure, probably as a result of her crimes as a young child newly come into her powers.

Then, in an accident that makes her instinctively use her hurren in an unusual way, she escapes the enclosed world. She is concerned that those who locked her away will attempt to recapture her and aware that she is seriously ignorant of current conditions and without any contacts to help her make her way in the world. Concealing her hurren and acting as a commoner seems to be the safest option. She makes friends with another girl she meets and begins a journey towards the capital, drawn by some instinctive attraction there. A team of Amalu players travelling that way provides her with a cover while she tries to learn what sort of a place she can make for herself and how she measures up in the hurren stakes that determine rank in this society.

Meanwhile there are events stirring this world that she is quite unaware of. The current Hurrarch is about to be challenged in a planetary assembly by various candidates and the jockeying for position among the hurren nobility is hard and deadly. Offworlders have recently arrived to end centuries of isolation for this world of Ranadh, and there are plots and disturbances growing from their presence. The echoes of the assassination of the previous Hurrarch by offworld technology are still reverberating through the society.

Soon Tlinke is caught up in these events, struggling to understand both the twists and turns of these and her own nature and what role she might be able to define for herself. Other players become aware of her and compete to capture and use her with little understanding of what they are dealing with. This is as much a journey of self discovery as growing understanding of the wider world she has found herself in. The traumas of her childhood return to haunt her decisions and actions as she searches for her identity and a future. Even more uncertain is her relationship with the god Hrrak.

When she finally reaches the capital in time for the assembly she discovers that she is the daughter the previous Hurrach, and the god chosen successor with the task of restoring order in this disturbed society. She finds that there is an even greater challenge awaiting her as the interface between Hrrak and the some of the outworlders and aliens.

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