Just Released: United by Drones, book 1 in the Drones series.

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Now available Book 1 in the Drones series on Amazon.

First 3 books in the Llanelyn series also available on Amazon.

Latest Short Story, King Tide Chaos, now available on Amazon.

I see that you are very curious about the world of Llanelyn. Below are the original first three chapters from Star Fall. Two of my editors said this moved too slow for them, and I feared that I would lose my readers before the real excitement started.  However, some of my readers have asked for more insight into the world, and these chapters explain more.

If you enjoyed the story as told, then you need read no further.  However, if you want more detail into the society of Llanelyn and the slower pace that defines their society is more to your liking, please read on.

I welcome any comments back on either this original opening or the new alternate. Or anything about the world of LlanelynContact me anytime.

May you always be allowed to follow your dreams.



Star Fall cover


Chapter 1
The Dream

Fire swirled around her.  Flames leapt from building to building.  The fields burned as the ground shook.  As the flames subsided, the dead lay in the streets.  Iasc floated on the surface of Islet Llanelyn.  Everything was destroyed.  Gone.

Sayenne awoke with a start, still feeling the lick of flame on her arms and face.  Panicked, she rose and wandered through the quiet house.  Everything remained as it had been at bedtime.  She looked out the window into the quiet dark.  The moonlight and starlight glinted off the sandstone buildings, but no fire burned anywhere.

With a sigh, she tried to convince herself that the nightmare had not been real as she headed back to bed.  She plumped her pillow and settled down quietly to sleep again.


Danku,” Luana called over her shoulder as she scurried from the classroom.

Sayenne smiled as she rose from her desk.  Always eager to escape school, the children bolted from the room as quickly as possible, even those who wanted help after school.  Luana was no different from the other children she had taught over her ten years as a member of the Teacher’s Guild.  She straightened up the children’s desks before settling in to check their homework from the night before.

Over an hour later, she headed out into the late afternoon sunshine.  She enjoyed teaching the younger children, when their minds were open to new ideas and every new discovery was something to be treasured, before they became unaccepting of different ideas.  Her father often asked her to teach science, astronomy in particular, to the older students, but she steadfastly refused.  Teenagers, with their set ideals, made her skin crawl.

She pushed aside those bad memories and focused on Luana’s cheerfulness.  Without her troublemaking compatriates, Emmie and Arabeth, Luana was sweet and helpful to everyone in the classroom.  She almost laughed aloud at the trio’s latest antics, accidentally dumping a jar of craft glitter down the ventilation system so that the fan blew the glitter throughout the building.  The sudden arrival of airborne flecks of rainbows had the children immediately energized and had taken the rest of the day to quiet everyone back down to work.  It will also take the teachers many hours to clean up.  Only through Sayenne’s intervention, had the trio been allowed to remain in school, and subsequently split into separate classrooms.  Their punishment included working alongside the teachers to clean the school.

An older woman struggled down the path ahead with a basket of fruit.  Sayenne hurried to help her.  “Goesh taggen.  Let me carry that for you.”

“You should be home with your famiglia,” the old womand insisted as she handed over the basket.

Sayenne smiled to ease her concern.  “And I will be as soon as I help you home.  They can wait a few more minutos.

She chatted with the older woman as they walked to the edge of the village.  The woman opened the door and Sayenne carried the basket inside.

Danku, child.  I very much appreciate your help,” the older woman said as Sayenne set the basket on the table.

“I’m just happy I could help,” she said as she headed for the door.  “Goesh nicht.”   Sayenne let herself out and strode towards home, noting the faint outlines of the two moons on the horizon as she walked.

Her father, Elwyn, and her sister, Alyda, carried bowls to the table as she arrived home.  “Sorry I’m late, mama.  I had to stay after with Luana again.”

Her mother, Mystal, sighed.  “Tis alright.  Come sit and eat.  You spend too much time at the school some days.”

Twill be only a day or so more until the school is clean.”

Over dinner of steef feòil, the family discussed the events of the day.

After dinner, the family rested in the main room for a while reading.  Her father finished checking his students’s homework.  Sayenne looked around at her family.  The quiet, peaceful life suited her well.  She did not yearn for the technology that had encouraged Alyda to join the Data Center Guild, nor did she want to travel to far places and be away from home and family for long stretches like the Apaugallas.  She wanted a family of her own someday, with someone who enjoyed the peace as much as she did.

Goesh nicht, mama, papa.”  She rose before they could see the concern such thoughts brought her.

Her parents called good night to her, not fooled by her sudden retreat.  Mystal looked to Elwyn, her worry evident in her expression.  Elwyn clasped her hand reassuringly, even though he knew the gesture would not alleviate her worry.

Sayenne changed into her nightgown and settled into her bed as Alyda entered the room they shared. 

Alyda changed for sleeping and settled into her bed with a soft good night.

Sayenne sighed softly.  Usually, Alyda chatted with her for awhile, except on the nights when Sayenne’s melancholy rose as it had tonight.  She knew she could start the conversation to distract herself from those sad emotions, but as she yawned, she decided sleep was a better option.  She snuggled into the blankets and drifted off to sleep.

Sayenne awoke in the early hours of the morning from the nightmare again.  The fiery images faded quickly as she rolled over, plumped her pillow and tried to go back to sleep.  She rarely remembered her dreams and she definitely would have remembered such a disturbing, repeated dream, especially one this realistic.

The following day passed as quietly as the previous day.  Luana helped to clean the school alongside her after the other children had left for the day.  She graded their homework, then headed home for dinner with her family.

At bedtime, she eyed her bed trepidiously.  She feared having the nightmare again.  With a yawn, she lay down and settled in.  Alyda entered the room and changed for bed, then turned out the light.  Slowly Sayenne drifted off to sleep.

Less than two hours later, Sayenne bolted upright in her bed, frightened awake by the horrific images in her dream, culminating in a fiery whirlpool.  This dream had been worse than the previous two nights, much worse, as if time was running out.  Soundlessly she rose and left the room, leaving her sister Alyda asleep in her bed.  Quietly she left the sandstone house, striding quickly to the tree shielded dark area she used for stargazing, her nightgown fluttering with each step.

“What are you trying to tell me?” she whispered to the sky, praying for the Gods to hear her.  “What tis coming?”  She scanned the star-filled night sky, searching for the familiar constellations that she had watched most of her life.  But the sky was different.   Extra stars filled the heavens, masking the known groups almost beyond recognition.  Realization swept through her and she shuddered with fear.

A soft rustling behind her caused her to turn quickly, her braid of bright blond hair swinging abruptly with her movement.  Alyda stepped out of the treeline.  “I thought I might find you here.  Can’t sleep?”

Sayenne sighed and returned her gaze skyward.  “I’ve been having the Cerato dream.  It always ends in fire falling from the sky.”

Surprised, Alyda asked breathlessly, “Sayenne, are you sure?”

“As of tonight, aiy.”

“Then you need to go to the Elders.”  Alyda crossed the remaining few feet to stand beside her sister.

“I will tomorrow.”  Sayenne shivered despite the gentle, warm breeze.

“Tell me about the dream.”

“I take the boat out on Islet Llanelyn and ride it down the whirlpool to see the Gods.  But before I see them, fireballs fall from the sky.  Some are huge flaming rocks that crush buildings.  Others are just small rocks that set everything they touch on fire as they bounce around.”

Alyda paled at the images her sister described.  “What can it mean?”

“The stars are different tonight.  I can’t find Canis or Kiri.”  She pointed to the sky where the constellations should have been.  “Tis part of Marc’s Wagon, but the rest is hidden in a mask of extra lights.”

“You already know what this means, don’t you?  You already know the task,” Alyda said softly, more as a statement than a question.

Sayenne nodded.  “Meteorites.”

“A meteorite shower?”

“More like a meteorite storm.”  Sayenne nodded again, pointing out a shooting star.  “I do not know how many, how bad, or how soon.”

Alyda’s gaze followed the path of the shooting star.  “Can you tell how fast they are moving?”

Sayenne shook her head.  “I do not have goesh enough equipment for that.”

Alyda smiled knowingly.  At least this was something she could help with.  “I do.  Come on sis.”  She ran back towards their house.  Curious, Sayenne hurried to catch up to her younger sister.

Alyda burst into the main living area of the sandstone house and hurried to the vidphone.  She accessed the computer in the Data Center and displayed a map of the nighttime sky.  “Where exactly?”

Sayenne indicated the quadrant of the screen where the stars had changed.  “There.”

Alyda drew around the area on the screen with her fingertip, then entered some commands into the vidphone panel.  “I’ll have the computers analyze the changes in the patterns and see if and when any might reach here.”

Danku.  I hope I’m wrong.”

“Analysis will take 6.23 arns,” the computer voice responded.

“We should go back to bed,” Alyda said, hiding a yawn.

Sayenne shuddered.  “You go on.  I’ll be there soon.”

“Are the dreams that bad?”

Tis more like nightmares.”  She could not forget the vividly surreal images of the dream.

“Maybe they will provide more answers?”

“Perhaps.  But I want to think about the images a few minutos before I go back to sleep.”

Alyda hugged her sister and went back to the room they shared.  She did not envy her sister’s position, but hoped Sayenne was wrong.  The choosing of a Cerato to guide the people of Llanelyn only happened just before a crisis.  If Sayenne was correct, their peaceful world would suddenly be disrupted, extremely.

Sayenne settled into the corner of the sofa.  She had studied the stars for as many of her twenty-six years as she could remember.  Her passion for astronomy had drawn her towards the Teacher’s Guild.  She passed her knowledge on to her students, but she had never suspected more would come from her enthrall of the stars.  If the computer could predict how many meteorites would impact the planet and when, she could plan accordingly.  But if the devastation was as bad as in her dreams, the entire population could die.  Her dreams showed the town as crushed or burning.  Everything would be gone.  All buildings.  All crops.  All ainmhi.  Bodies lying in the streets.  And even if the people could survive the storm, they would eventually die of starvation due to the burned crops or from exposure without the buildings for shelter.

A yawn caught her by surprise and she decided to try sleeping again.  Quietly she crept to her triangular bed and settled under the covers.  She fell asleep quickly and the dream began again.  The rowboat, the whirlpool, the fireballs, the dust, the dead bodies, and the devastation all happened just as before.  Over and over the dream repeated.  Just before dawn, Sayenne awoke to a new image.  Water everywhere.

Resolute, she tossed back the covers and headed for the shower.  She quickly showered off the sweat of the nightmares, brushed out her waist length blonde hair before rebraiding it. Alyda awoke and stumbled towards the shower as Sayenne dressed and left the room to assist their mother with breakfast.

ystal was already in the kitchen preparing breakfast for the family.  “Goesh muirnon,” she called as Sayenne entered the area.

Goesh muirnon, mama.  Amourité.  Is papa up yet?”  Sayenne picked up the forks and knives, noting that the plates were already on the table.

Her mother looked at her worn face and red streaked eyes.  “Not yet.  Are you alright?”

“As goesh as can be expected.”

“What tis troubling you?” her mother asked as she crossed to set the plate of steaming crepes on the table.

Sayenne walked around the table adding the utensils to the place settings.  “I would prefer to only explain this once, so I’d like to wait for papa.”

Her father, Elwyn, entered from the hallway.  “I am here.  Explain whatever tis.”

Alyda entered the room and checked on the analysis the computer was running.  Since the vidphone panel continued to scroll numbers down the screen, she sidled into the kitchen to gather the fruit conserves and butter for the table.  She knew Sayenne would want to do this alone.  Independent to a fault, their mother had often remarked of Sayenne.

Sayenne sighed and delivered the bad news as gently as possible.  “I’ve been having the Cerato dream for the past three nights.  Last night twas worse than the previous two, almost as if time tis running out.  I must talk to Elder Élan today.”  She gripped the back of her chair in a white-knuckled grip as she waited for her mother’s reaction.

As Mystal sank down in her chair, Elwyn’s dark brown eyes widened with surprise.  “Are you sure tis the true calling?”

Sayenne shuddered and nodded.  “I’m sure.  The lake twill only prove me right.”

Elwyn nodded decisively.  “Then I shall escort you to Elder Élan.”

Niet!”  Mystal stood, running her hands nervously down her day dress skirts.  “Not til after breakfast.  It has waited three days, so it can wait a few more minutos.”  Sayenne glanced at her mother to confirm the near hysterical state she had heard in her mother’s voice.  Mystal did not like change or being the center of attention.  Once Sayenne accepted the position of Cerato, the family would have to handle both.

Elwyn nodded to Sayenne to sit down, letting Alyda finish serving breakfast.  “Have you told anyone else?”

“Just Alyda.”

Tis goesh.  Then if you are wrong, no harm done.”

Sayenne glanced to her mother again and nodded.  “I hope I am wrong.  About the calling and the images in the dreams.”  She briefly described the images, watching her parents expressions turn from concern for their daughter to fearful of the devastation she described.  Mystal seemed to crumple inward at the descriptions.  Elwyn reached out to take her hand, offering comfort with his usual stoic silence.

The remainder of breakfast passed in silence, each member of the small family lost in thought.  Sayenne was already planning how to help the people survive both the storm and the destruction.  Mystal worried about the changes to their quiet life.  Alyda wondered how she could help her sister without encroaching on her natural independent nature.  Elwyn planned the changes at the school where he would have to temporarily take Sayenne’s place, possibly even permanently.

As soon as her father had finished eating, Sayenne pushed back her plate.  Alyda quickly stood and cleared their plates so that her sister and their father could leave.  Sayenne glanced to Alyda and nodded toward the computer, as if to inquire about the analysis and Alyda shook her head.  Sayenne sighed and rose.

Mystal followed them to the door.  “Be careful,” she whispered.

Sayenne hugged her mother.  “I will.”  She followed her father out the door.

They began the short walk to the Gathering Hall to see Elder Élan, both knowing that Mystal was probably watching for as long as she could see them.

“Do not fret.  Your madret will accept the change, in time.”

“I know.”  She wished she could remember her mother as the carefree person her father often spoke about when they were alone.  Mystal had shouldered more and more burdens through the years, worrying over each until all she had were worries to think about.  Even as Sayenne and Alyda grew older, she continued to worry over everything, unable to let go of the slightest issue.  Becoming the Cerato would only add to her mother’s long list of worries.  Mystal had once joked that each of her gray hairs represented a worry that she had.

As Alyda watched from the kitchen area, Mystal continued to stare out the open door.  Finally, she softly closed the door, then turned to the main living area.  She looked around the room as if memorizing everything in it.  She seemed to collapse inwardly again for a moment, then she stood up straight.  “Niet,” she whispered.  “We shall not lose everything.”  She turned purposefully then, noting Alyda.  “Bring me those storage crates that we need to return.”  As Alyda hurried to collect the requested crates, Mystal said, “We can wrap the dishes in the towels and bedding.  We must pack tightly to squeeze in as much as possible.”


Like most villages on Llanelyn, sand colored bricks formed the single story buildings and sidewalks of Analisse where Sayenne lived.  The Mason Guild formed the bricks from a mixture of sand, sandstone, and mortar from a local hand hewn quarry.  Neatly kept gardens surrounded each house, growing both flowers and vegetables.  Curtains framed the glass windows, some fluttering in the gentle breeze through the open portal.  The heat of the season had dried the grass somewhat, but that would pass soon.

Friends and neighbors chatted as they walked to their daily jobs.  Sayenne and her father greeted everyone they passed, exchanging only the usual pleasantries before continuing on.  They found Elder Élan on the path in front of the Gathering Hall.  Her graying hair had been swept back into a neat bun, her gentle smile lighting her eyes with warmth.

“Elwyn, Sayenne, goesh muirnon.  To what do I owe this surprise visit so early?”

Sayenne spoke before her father could.  “Goesh muirnon, Elder Élan.  May I speak with you inside?”

Aiy.”  The Elder opened her door and led them into her small office.  “What tis on your mind?”  She started to sit behind the small wooden desk, then stopped at Sayenne’s next words.

“For the past three nights, I’ve been having the Cerato dream.”

“Ah.”  The older woman drew out the sound as if on a sigh.  “And what does your dream tell you?”

“There tis a meteorite storm coming that will burn or crush everything.”

Elder Élan looked thoughtful for a moment.  “Elwyn, would you please excuse us.”  She turned, expecting Sayenne to follow as she left her office.

Sayenne glanced at her father then followed the Elder out of the room.

Elder Élan led her through the large gathering area in the center of the building to the protected Tapestry Room behind it and up to an older tapestry.  Sayenne glanced to the intricate pictures, quickly identifying the date by the events depicted.  This was the War with King Tuttor in 487.

Élan studied Sayenne’s expressions.  “I see you recognize this one.  Cerato Tomias led us then.  He spoke to me in my dreams last night.  He said to trust your morning visitor.”

Startled, Sayenne looked from the Elder back to the Tapestry.  “Then my dreams are true.”

Twould appear so.  The question tis, what do you plan to do?”

“I must face the lake and accept this position despite the chaos to follow.  If I do not, everyone will die.”

“Are you so certain of this?”

Images from the dreams floated through Sayenne’s thoughts.  “Aiy.”

Élan studied the girl.  A bit too independent and slightly eccentric were how most people in the village described Sayenne.  But never gullible or prone to exaggeration.  “Tell me about the dreams.”

Sayenne recounted the tale she had told her parents, adding in additional details that she recalled as she glanced to the tapestries.  She mentioned the computer analysis that Alyda had started.

“Do you have any questions for the Gods?”  Élan kept her voice calm despite her rising panic at the situation Sayenne described.  Twas written that the dreams showed the worst of the coming problem, as if to encourage the chosen one to step forward sooner.  Perhaps only one village would be damaged by the storm.

Aiy, I have several.”

“Then you are ready to face the lake?”

Sayenne brought her head up.  “Aiy.”  She spoke with the same quiet conviction that Élan had always heard her use when she knew she was right.

The older woman nodded and turned to leave the room, with Sayenne beside her.  They found Elwyn in the main area.  “Elwyn, please go borrow a hovercraft for us.  I do not feel like a long walk today.”  Élan continued down the hall to her office where she sat down at her desk.  “The way to the Gods tis not always easy.  And you only have this one chance to ask questions.  What do you plan to ask?”

Sayenne began listing off the questions that came to mind about both the storm and recovery afterwards.  The elder suggested a few others and Sayenne repeated them to be sure she would remember them when the time came.  They continued to review the questions until Elwyn returned.

Sayenne’s father helped both women into the waiting hovercraft, Sayenne in the front and Élan in the back, and they headed out of the peaceful sandstone village.  Sayenne kept silent during the drive through the dry grass fields to the lake.  She knew what she had to do, but doubts nagged at her.  What if the calling was not true?  What if she could not find her way to the Gods?  What if they did not know how to help?  Or worse, what if she failed to save her people?

Élan studied the girl.  She had never known Sayenne to be this disturbed by anything and she had known her almost all her young life.  The questions she had already thought to ask covered more than just the basic necessities of survival.  Despite her concern over the images painted in Sayenne’s dreams, she knew the calling to be true.  Now she had to convince the other elders to trust the young girl’s leadership.

Elwyn stopped near the picnic area beside Islet Llanelyn.  The still trees surrounding the lake silently watched as the waters lapped viciously at the shore.  The little wooden boat bobbed beside its dock, banging repeatedly into the thick timber supports below the dock planks.  The normally quiet waters showed flecks of foam.  Iasc jumped out of the agitated waters.  A few high puffy white clouds dotted the windless sky.

Sayenne scanned from the agitated water to the sky.  “The meteorites are too far away to be causing such turmoil in the water,” she said low.

Tis perhaps a sign from the Gods?” Elwyn asked.

“Perhaps.  Twill be a rough journey to the Gods though.”  She studied the water with dismay. 

“As it has always been so shall it be now.  This you must do alone.”  Élan intoned the traditional phrase from where she sat in the hovercraft.  When Sayenne hesitated to move, Élan turned to her.  “You do know what to do?”

Aiy.  I take the boat out on the lake and wait for the whorl to open.  But after that, I don’t know.”  Would the choppy water increase the forces of the whorl?  How could she survive riding the furious water in the funnel of the whirlpool?

“Trust in your dream and follow the images.”

Sayenne just nodded, knowing that the next images were of fireballs and not very helpful.  Resolute she climbed out of the hovercraft before turning to her father.  “Amourité, papa.”

Amourité, Starshine.  Be careful and come back to us.”

Sayenne squared her shoulders and headed out onto the wooden dock.  She undid the boat’s mooring rope, and expertly steadied the small wooden rowboat as she stepped into it, retaining a firm grip on the edge of the dock to keep the boat from bumping into it again.  After settling on the hard seat, she pushed off from the dock using the oar.  “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

Élan waved.  “We will meet you in the village.  We must prepare the people for your arrival.”

Sayenne nodded despite her concern for the walk back after the journey to the Gods.  The trip might take long hours, hours better spent preparing, and she could be exhausted when she returned, if she returned from the whorl at all.  She was committed to this path now and began rowing the small wooden craft through the frothing angry waters of the normally placid lake.

Elwyn waved to his daughter as he turned the hovercraft back towards the village.  Silence reigned as he piloted the vehicle to the village.  He hated leaving her there and feared Mystal’s reaction when he returned home without Sayenne.  “Should I return to get her?” he finally asked as they neared the village.

Tis written that the return trip is the first test of the Cerato’s elevated abilities.  She needs the test.”  Élan smoothed her windblown gray hair back away from her face.

Unsure but knowing better than to argue, Elwyn simply nodded.  He could delay going home, but that would only delay the inevitable.  He piloted the hovercraft around to the village Gathering Hall and stopped at the door to Élan’s office.  Alighting quickly, he helped her out. 

Danku, Elwyn.  She tis safe, but must follow her dream to the logical conclusion.  Trust that.”  When he nodded, she smiled.  “Please return the hovercraft and join me at the end of the village nearest the lake when the call tis raised.”

Aiy.”  Without further comment, Elwyn turned to do as bidden, after which he would attempt to calm Mystal down.

Élan entered her office and accessed the vidphone, quickly calling all the other elders in the village.  Briefly, she informed them that the Gods had chosen a Cerato from the village and the person was at the lake now.  She expected each of them to come to a meeting when the Cerato returned to hear what the Gods knew of the coming task.

Tis not a request and time is critical, if the dreams are correct.  In the between time, prepare to mobilize your guild quickly to pack and move everything.”

“Move to where?” Elder Bendai of the Carpenter’s Guild asked.

Tis a question the Cerato hopes the Gods can answer.”

“Who twas chosen?”

“Sayenne Ciarán.  She came to me this morning with the story of her dreams for three nights now.  I had a message from the Gods last night to trust my morning visitor, so I believe her calling to be true.”

Most agreed to attend the meeting without hesitation and Élan disconnected the call, only to begin a new call.  She vidphoned the Village Elders in the other villages.  Each guild on Llanelyn was led by an Elder, and they chose one among them to be the Village Elder and guide the village.  Most often this was the Elder for the Apaugallas, but they had chosen her from the Teacher’s Guild.  She would hold the position for as long as she desired, the other elders desired, or until she passed on.

She reached all but two other elders, and decided to record the conversation for those absent.  “Goesh muirnon, everyone.  I’m glad so many are available on such short notice.  I will be brief as time tis of the essence.  The Gods have chosen a Cerato to lead us.  She tis at the lake now and should be back with us soon.”  Despite the shocked and worried looks she saw, she continued quickly.  “The images that she has described from her dreams are very troublesome.  She believes there tis a very large and destructive meteorite storm headed our way.  She has seen much destruction and some deaths.  I know no more at this time.”


Élan explained who was chosen and why she believed the calling was true, adding the need to mobilize everyone to pack and move everything.

Before anyone could respond, someone knocked on her door urgently.  A mere second later, the door opened and Alyda entered.  “Is Sayenne here?”

“No child, she tis at the lake.  What do you need?”

Tis what she needs that concerns me.  Would you tell her that the number she tis looking for tis seven.”

“Seven what?  She has told me of the dreams and your analysis.  You can tell me.”

Alyda glanced to the vidphone, noting the elders on the call by their cream colored robes, but not recognizing any of them.  She knew Sayenne would tell them anyway.  “Seven days until the meteorites are here.”

Elder Élan blanched at the number.  “So little time.”  She turned back to the screen.  “We will need to move fast.  The Cerato will know what we need to do when she returns.”

When they all agreed, she stopped the recording and passed it to the ones who had missed the call.  She saved the transponders to call again later as a group, then turned back to Alyda.  “Please explain in detail how you came by this information.”

Alyda explained their midnight excursion to see the stars and the analysis that she had requested the computer to perform.  Once she had been able to retrieve the final number and escape Mystal, who was still packing everything, she had hurried to give that number to Sayenne, knowing that anything needing to be done would need to happen without delay.

Elder Élan considered this new information along with what Sayenne had already told her.  They were seven days away from the total annihilation of everything, if the images were not exaggerated in Sayenne’s dreams to scare her into acting.  But seven days to do what, that was the question.  How could they protect themselves in just seven days?  They could not look to outsiders for help as the Elders would not allow that, nor could anyone reach them in time to effect a full evacuation in that short amount of time, even if she or Sayenne knew who to call.  She did not know who their treaties were with or how to contact them and she highly doubted Sayenne did either.  They would need to find safe shelter on Llanelyn, but where?  Those were the questions that Sayenne had prepared to ask the Gods, provided she remembered by the time she saw them.

Alyda paced the small office as Élan contemplated the news.  She hoped Sayenne had a plan by now to save them all, though she was not sure what they could accomplish in seven days.  Alyda had known better than to question her mother’s packing frenzy and had left as soon as she could to find Sayenne.  If the destruction was as extensive as Sayenne had indicated, her mother’s efforts might be wasted, but at least it gave her something to focus on.

A short while later, they heard the cry in the streets.  A young child burst into Elder Élan’s office.  “Tis a bright light over the lake!” she exclaimed excitedly.

Danku, Emmie,” Élan smiled indulgently at the child.  “Tis time.  Would you both care to join me to welcome the new Cerato?”  She opened her desk drawer and withdrew a small mirror.

“Who tis the Cerato?”

Élan smiled at the little girl.  “Come with me and see.”  She handed the mirror to Alyda.  “Tis for later,” she explained.

Alyda pocketed the mirror and led the way from the room.

The trio left the Gathering Hall and followed the gathering crowd to the edge of the village nearest the lake.  They could see the bright light rapidly approaching the village.  The people formed two lines as the glow approached, leaving Elder Élan, Alyda, and Emmie at the apex of the lines.

Elwyn clasped Alyda’s shoulder reassuringly when he and her mother joined her.

Mystal’s swift intake of breath was not lost on Alyda, though she hoped her sister had not heard their mother’s shocked reaction.  The glowing aura indicated that Sayenne had been right and their future was very dark indeed.  Alyda knelt down in reverence to her sister and noticed that those nearby followed her lead.

Fáilte dhachaigh, Cerato,” Élan called out over the low murmur of voices. 

Chapter 2
The Ascension


As Sayenne rowed the boat she heard the sound of the hovercraft fade in the distance.  The rough waters of the lake foamed white in the morning sunlight.  Never before had she known the waters to be this turbulent.   She glanced skyward, knowing that the incoming meteorites should not be affecting the waters.  If the waters were already this disturbed, either the meteorites were minutes away, or the gravitational field was significant.  That bespoke of the flooding that she had seen in the final dream.

The sky darkened as if night was falling and she saw the constellations whirl around her.  She looked back to the water to see the whorl form.  Resolute, she steered the small boat directly into the churning water at the edge of the whorl.  As the water began to take the boat, she closed her eyes with a quick prayer to the Gods.

“Open your eyes girl.  You are late,” a hurried masculine voice said.

Sayenne opened her eyes to the brightly lit room, blinking to adjust to the brightness.  The light seemed to eminate from everywhere and nowhere in particular.

Aiy, you are in the realm of the Gods now.  I am Cerato Jin.  You should not have waited these two days.”

A feminine laugh interrupted his chastisement.  “Jin, let her get out of the boat so that we may tell her what we know quickly and send her back.”

Aiy, Sephia.”

Jin held his hand out to Sayenne to help her step out of the boat, though she hardly needed it as the flat-bottomed boat was on the dry floor of the room.  She glanced from the white robes worn by Jin to the simple day dress worn by Sephia.  Neither was wet.  Then she realized her own day dress was dry.

“Come,” Sephia said.  “The others wish to meet you.”

“The others?” Sayenne asked inanely.  She recalled Cerato Jin and his esposa Sephia from the time of the big drought that hit Llanelyn some 200 years prior.

Aiy, Tomias, Than, Brouget, Rochaerd, Brakesh, Noack, and the others.  Tis little that we can help with this time though.”

Silently they hurried to a room where the other past Ceratos had gathered.

“We are here to answer your question,” Jin said.

“My dreams showed a meteorite storm and everything destroyed by the rocks, the resulting fires, and flood waters.  How can I save the people?”

“Go underground,” said Jin impatiently.

“Do you mean the food storage rooms and the Data Center?  We cannot fit everything into those small areas.”

Niet.  You must locate the caves we have used before. ”

“Anything you wish to save must be taken to the caves in the mountains.  Anything left behind consider to be burned or crushed,” said Tomias.

“The mountains?  I cannot move the people that far!” Sayenne exclaimed.

Tis not just the people who you need to move.  Tis everything.  Mobilize the people.  We can do much when we work together.  Tis your job to plan and encourage everyone to help all villages and each other,” said Noack.  “We are stronger when we work together.”

“How many days do you think that will take?”

“More than you have.  You will not be able to save everything and everyone.  Some will die,” stated General Rochaerd.  “Your sister will have the time for you when you return.”

“But tis not your job to solve all problems.  Trust in those who can do the job to help you out,” said Tomias.  “Allow others to help when and where they can.  Guide them.”

“There will be much rebuilding once the storm passes, the dust settles, and the flood waters recede.  The more that you can get to the caves, the easier twill be to rebuild,” said Than.

Brouget nodded.  “The rebuilding twill take cyclistas to recover from a storm that will last mere arns.  The lake will flood and the crops will be lost to the flames.  Harvest what you can quickly.  This side of the planet will be the most damaged.”

“Remember the treaties with other worlds,” Sephia said.  “They may be able to help you rebuild.  Though we cannot see what becomes of our friends after the storm has passed.”

“Who do we have treaties with?”

“Tuttenrock and Krandul.  I believe you went to school with a Prince of Krandul.”

Sayenne nodded.  “Can they help us move to the caves?”

Niet.”  Sadly, Sephia shook her head.  “Tis after when they twill be of the most help.  Trust off-worlder help and support for tis necessary to rebuild.”

Sayenne repeated all they had said several times, committing it to memory.  She quickly reviewed the questions she had prepared with Elder Élan, to see if none had been answered yet.  The Gods remained silent, allowing her the time they all remembered needing.

“Time is critical.  Do you have further questions?”  Jin spoke quickly again, as if to hurry her up.

“Just one.  Why me?”

While the others chuckled, Sephia explained.  “You noticed the changing patterns in the stars and you can organize well and sort through options to find the best path.  The people will believe you on the storm and will need to be organized in order to both survive the storm and to rebuild our world.”  She paused, then said, “Never be afraid to accept help, no matter where it comes from.  We are stronger when we work together.”

Sayenne nodded, fully understanding why they would not seek someone better when time was so short.  She faced a battle to get the people to do what Sephia had said she could.  “How do I get home?”

Sephia looked to the others who all nodded.  “Sorry, but tis not enough time to be gentle about this.”   They all raised their hands and clapped once loudly.

Sayenne awoke in the rowboat with the loud clap of thunder still ringing in her ears.  She looked skyward expecting to see a storm cloud but only saw the bright sun.  Confused, she looked back to the shoreline, to see that she had not rowed that far from the wooden dock.  Jin’s voice came again in her mind, “Time is critical.”  She began rowing towards the dock, cutting neatly through the now calm water with the oar.

At the dock, Sayenne fought the long white robes that had appeared over her usual day dress, finally managing to climb out of the boat onto the dock.  After securing the boat with the mooring rope, she began the long walk into town.  She reviewed everything the Gods had said as she walked, then started planning the mass exodus of all villages to the unknown caves.  Some things they could leave behind and rebuild later, like tables and chairs, but they would need the plows, the wagons, the seed, and the ainmhi in order to rebuild.  She looked across the ripening fields wondering just how much they could harvest in whatever time they had.

The walk from the lake took less time than Sayenne thought the drive to the lake had taken.  She knew that she walked fast, but not faster than the hovercraft.  She felt almost as if some unseen force was partially carring her back to the village.

As she neared the village, she noted the people gathered on the edge.  Elder Élan and Alyda waited for her at the top of the two lines of people.  She needed to speak with both immediately so she headed for them, noting when her parents joined Alyda.  As she neared the people, they knelt down to show their respect, a move she had learned about since earliest childhood while listening to the tales of past Ceratos and the tale of the dream that was the calling.  Everyone, including her family, knelt except for Elder Élan and a few other elders.

Fáilte dhachaigh Cerato,” Elder Élan spoke loudly to quiet the murmuring among the people.  She nodded once towards the gathered crowd and Sayenne understood.

She turned to face her people.  “Danku everyone.  I appreciate the welcome you have shown me.  I promise to lead you to the best of my ability.”  She turned back Élan.  “I need to speak with you and the other Elders, please.”

Aiy, they will meet us at the Hall.  Please follow me.”

Sayenne walked beside Élan, with Alyda on her other side towards the Gathering Hall, the other elders falling in behind.  As they met the people who were arriving late, Sayenne acknowledge them but continue walking.  The information she needed to deliver to everyone could not wait for polite conversation.  Other elders fell in behind the slowly growing group, as did the Apaugallas.

They reached the Gathering Hall and entered through the main double doors into the large central chamber.  While Élan accessed the vidphone and called the other Village Elders, the Apaugallas quickly began locating chairs for everyone.  Riochard Caylen, the current head of the Apaugallas placed three chairs at the front center of the chamber and led Elder Élan to the first.  He indicated the middle chair to Sayenne and he sat in the remaining chair.

Once everyone selected a seat and the noise quieted, Élan turned Sayenne.  “Again fáilte dhachaigh.  Please tell us about your visit to the Gods.”

Aiy, for there is much to impart quickly.  But how do you know I was successful?”

Élan smiled, expecting this question.  She motioned for Alyda to approach, indicating the mirror in her pocket.  Alyda withdrew the mirror and handed it to Sayenne .

Sayenne looked at the mirror and noted the glowing aura around her.  Taken back, but accepting the reason, she returned the mirror to her sister.  “Alright.  We can discuss this issue later I guess.  Danku.”  She turned back to Élan, noting the humor lighting the older woman’s eyes.  “Aiy, I did go through the whorl to see the Gods.  They said the images in my dream are what they see of the future.  Tis a meteorite storm coming in a few days.”

“Technically 7.624 days,” Alyda volunteered.

Sayenne nodded and continued.  “At that time we will be pelted with meteorites of many sizes, some on fire from their pass through the atmosphere and others not.  This side of the planet will be towards the storm and will take the brunt of the damage.  They did indicate that some people will die and that cannot be changed by what we do.”

“Did they indicate how to save what we have?”

“They said to go underground.  I asked if the food storage rooms and the Data Centers were sufficient and they indicated no, that we would need to be deeper.  They mentioned some caves in the mountains and said we need to move everything there.”

Aiy Cerato.”  Riochard spoke up.  “I have heard that there is a system of caves in the mountains.  They may be large enough to evacuate the people to.”

Sayenne quickly assessed the meaning of a system of caves.  “I could not get them to explain the caves in any detail.  However, we did discuss the aftermath of the storm.  While they anticipated the storm to last only a few arns, the destruction will take months or even cyclistas to repair.  It’s not just the people we have to protect.  The Gods said tis everything.  Our ainmhi, food stores, tools, literally everything that we need to survive must go to the caves with us.  What the rocks do not destroy on impact, the burning ones will torch.

“Also, the villages nearest the lake will be flooded due to the meteorites landing in the water.  If someone could get a map, we can assess which of the villages those will be.”  Riochard indicated to another man to fetch a map and Sayenne turned back to Alyda.  “The computer analysis that you were running for me provided that more exact number?”  When Alyda nodded, she continued.  “Is that from the start or the completion of the analysis?  It took several arns to complete and I’d like to know by what time we should all be within the caves.”

“I’ll check.”  Alyda headed to the vidphone in Elder Élan’s office.

Sayenne turned to Elder Élan.  “I need to address the entire population of Llanelyn today.  They have a right to know what we are facing and what I am going to ask of them.  Tis no time for the traditional visit to the villages.”

“What do you plan to ask?” Élan asked.

“The people must pack everything in all villages, harvest all crops, and move both to the caves in seven days.  We must take only the essentials and leave behind anything we can build again.  We must travel light and move quickly.”

Sayenne turned to Riochard, ignoring the quiet in the room at her proclamation.  “I need to know the exact location of the caves, their size and depth underground.  Would you send some Apaugallas to locate the caves and quickly explore them?”

Aiy.”  He indicated for four men to join him aside temporarily.

Sayenne turned back to Élan slowly, her gaze sweeping the Elders to assess their frame of mind.  Most faces registered shock.  She needed to get them focused and moving for her plan to work.  “Between now and tonight, I need to speak with the Elder for each guild and formulate the plan for what that guild will do to assist with the evacuation of everyone to the caves as well as support the people from the caves while we rebuild.  The Gods did indicate that we may receive off-worlder help to rebuild from those we have treaties with, but they cannot help us to move now.  It is up to us to save what we can.”

While Sayenne talked, Riochard addressed his men.  “Take the hovercrafts and find the caves.  Find Afif Broccoti and take him with you as I think he has been to the caves before.  Send someone back with the initial coordinates and then scout the cave system to assess its depth and storage capacity.  Go quickly and may the Gods lend you speed.”  The foursome left and he returned to the front of the room.  “Tis done.”

Danku.”  Sayenne noted Alyda’s return.  “Time?”

“Adjusting from the run time to the current time, seven days one arn.”

Danku.”  She turned back to the elders.  “We need everyone inside the caves in exactly seven days, preferably six and a half days.  That will be our target.  We are stronger when we work together.”  She paused for emphasis, hearing Sephia’s calm approval in her thoughts.  “Does anyone have any questions at this time?”

No one moved.

Elder Élan stood, then turned to face Sayenne and knelt down.  The other elders followed her lead, and as one they made the pledge, those on the vidphone chiming in as well.  “Hail Cerato, we will follow where you lead us.”

Tears misted in her eyes and she blinked quickly to dispel them.  “Danku.”  She motioned for them to be seated.  “I’d like to speak with each guild Elder now, starting with the Agricultural and Cooking guilds, then the Physicians, Fauna, Mason, and Carpenters.  Then the rest of the guilds.  I need to know what you have, how many wagons loads you think twill take, and what help you need.  We need to layout an evacuation plan for the all villages and relay to the villages so that they have the full plan by tonight.”

Sayenne turned to the vidphone.  “In the between time, pack and harvest what you can.  Twill be faster for everyone if I work with a small group as time is essential.  I trust you to relay to your own guilds and elders.”  The elders acknowledge and signed off.

Élan gathered the elders Sayenne had asked to see first and discussed lunch, sending Alyda to the dining area to arrange for the lunch.

Riochard and another man pulled up a large table and spread out the map.  Sayenne identified the villages by the lake for him from her dream, then turned her attention to the mountains.  “Tis a far walk.”

Aiy Cerato.  We can use the hovercraft to transport the elderly and infirm.”

She nodded, then accepted the small stack of paper Élan handed her.

Tis wasteful, but tis quicker than the vidphone panel,” Élan said softly as she released her last few sheets.  The Weavers could make more after the storm.

Chapter 3


Sayenne met with Elder Ketan from the Agricultural guild first, to assess the harvest as well as their transport and storage needs.  In addition to room for the people, they would need room for hundreds of bó-ainmhí, the shaggy plow beasts, and their wagons to carry the supplies to the caves.  Not to mention sleeping chambers and food storage areas, along with cooking areas.  They would need to preserve as much as they could to support the rebuilding effort, in case the meteorites destroyed all villages and buildings.

Sayenne created a list on a sheet of paper as they talked, taking notes that she would send to the other villages.

“Not all crops are ready to harvest, Cerato,” he began.

“Then harvest what we can.”

Aiy.  Though we will also need to pack equipment and seed.”

“Focus today, tomorrow, and the day after on the harvest.  I will send others to help with the packing.”

“The larger equipment can be drug to the mountains by the plow beasts.”

“Won’t that take longer than loading several pieces into a wagon.”

Tis heavy to lift and the wagons may not hold more than one of some pieces.”

Sayenne considered this.  They would need the equipment to replant, but the cost to other guilds might be high.  “Take at least one of each piece of the larger equipment to the caves, more if there tis time and space.  The rest can be stored here in the underground food storage area and pray some survives.  How many wagon loads do you think you have?”

He contemplated her question for a minute, then provided a quick estimate.  Thinking fast, Sayenne multiplied that first number by the number of guilds and again by the number of villages and whistled sharply.  The caves needed to be extensive to hold everything.  After a quick inquiry about anything else, she let him go and called for the elder from Cooking.  Sayenne requested an inventory of current food stockpiles, creating a long list as the elder ran down the inventory from memory, along with the dishes, utensils, pots, pans, and assorted cooking and cleaning gear.

“The food must go first,” Sayenne stated.

“We need the cooking gear to prepare the food.  The stoves cannot be moved.”

“We will need to cook without the stoves then.  How many wagon loads do you think you will have?”

The Elder estimated a number similar to the Agriculture guild.  “Tis mostly the food in the storage area.”

“Pack that food first, then the cooking implements and dishes.  Pass word to the individuals like mi madret who cooks at home to pack up their cocinas as well.”

She smiled slightly at Sayenne.  “Tis already been done.  I used the vidphone while you were talking to Elder Ketan.”

Sayenne made a mental note to get the lists out to the others as quickly as possible.

Tis a problem though.  We cannot shutdown the cocina here and will still need to feed everyone for the next few days so not all the food can go.  The cocina will be needed until the last load.”

“Send some each day with each load.  The final pieces may have to remain behind.  Also, you will need to establish a cocina in the caves with the first few loads.”

Twould help if I could see the caves.”

“Go with an early load and let me know what you find.  The Apaugallas can help you locate a suitable area, as they should have investigated the caves by then.  We may need to find multiple areas or at least several large areas where the other villages can cook as well.”

Alyda returned with several people carrying large trays with lunches for everyone.  She noted the growing pile of paper in front of Sayenne and took the first few sheets.  “I’ll start entering these into the computer to send to the other villages,” she said as she handed Sayenne a plate with her favorite sandwich and a selection vegetables and fruits cut into bitsize pieces.  She had already reassured their parents that Sayenne was fine, now she had to keep her that way so that Mystal would have one less worry.

Sayenne talked to the Elder for a few more minutes before neither had any other ideas.  The older woman left, allowing the Elder from the Physicians guild to take a seat.

“We are already packing the medicines and equipment that we can.  We will need help in transporting a few patients.”

“How many wagon loads?”

“That depends on how much you want.  The surgical supplies and beds take up much room.  They are needed, but perhaps not all beds.  I suspect there will be injuries during this mass move as well as during the meteorite fall itself and in the caves.”

Sayenne considered this.  The patients would need to be comfortable, but the beds would take up large amounts of space.  “Take only the mattresses and bedding.  Leave the beds and chairs.”

“Then three maybe four wagons.  Some of the patients should not be jostled in the wagons though.”

“Use the hovercraft.  Riochard and the Apaugallas can help.”

AiyTis all that I have then.”

He left and Elder Paakhi of the Fauna Guild took his place.  “Tis not much that we have except the ainmhi and their feed.”

“We need the bó-ainmhí for the move.  Can they be fed anywhere?”

Aiy, we have some feedbags that we use occasionally.  They will need water though and often with the loads they will be pulling.  And they will need rest periods.”

“What of the herd ainmhi for leche and meat?”

“We can drive them over now, but I do not know if they will go willingly into underground caves.”

“Have some people start that drive today.  It may be best to get the ainmhi in before the wagons block the tunnels.  How many wagon loads of feed and equipment do you have?”

“Perhaps five, maybe six.  Most of the ainmhi feed on the grass.”

“Which is dry and the fire from the meteorites is expected to burn.”

“If we can harvest the grass as we do for invierno that would help.”

Sayenne called Alyda over.  “Relay to Agriculture that we need to harvest grass for the ainmhi.”

“I can send several people to help,” Elder Paakhi offered.

Alyda nodded and hurried to the vidphone.

“Anything else?”

He indicated nothing else and left.

The elders from Masons and Carpenters came together.  Sayenne hid her annoyance at the two, knowing her refusal would slow down this process.

“We work closely together, Cerato on many projects.  Tis best to think of us as a single guild for this effort,” Elder Ankar from Masons explained.

Sayenne nodded understandingly, glad that she had withheld her initial reaction.  “What do you have to transport?”

Elder Ankar glanced to Elder Bendai who indicated for him to continue, then spoke for both of them.  “Tis mostly the tools of the trade, supplies, and unfinished projects.  To rebuild afterwards, we will need the tools and the supplies.  The unfinished projects can always be restarted.  However, some of the quarry tools are too large to move.  They must remain in place.”

“Can we move them to the underground food storage areas for at least some protection?”

Sadly Elder Ankar shook his head.  “Twould take days to dismantle and move.  They are safe from fire in the quarry.  But we will have to take a chance that they survive.”

Sayenne nodded.  “How many wagon loads then?”

Elder Bendai from the Carpenters guild spoke, his voice rougher and deeper than elder Ankar’s.  “That depends.  We suggest a working crew that goes from building to building and removes all the glass windows.  Those will help in the rebuilding.  The buildings will not burn well, but the heat may burn the wood supports, causing the buildings to collapse.  The water however, tis another matter.  Those buildings that flood will need to be torn down and completely rebuilt as the water will weaken the foundation.  To reduce the risk of fire, everything should be removed from the walls and moved away from the walls.”

“Is there enough time to remove the windows?”

“At least some.”

Sayenne nodded decisively.  “Aiy, do it.  I will let the people know the fire concern.”

“Depending upon the number of windows, maybe ten to twelve wagons, but we can share space with the Physicians and homes as we can use the mattresses and bedding to protect the windows.”

“While you wait on wagons to be available, remove what windows you can.  Send what you can with the individual homes and guilds.  Anything else?”

“I recommend talking to the Smiths next.  We will need their skills to repair and sharpen tools during the rebuild,” Elder Ankar suggested.

When Sayenne nodded, they both indicated nothing else and left.  Sayenne called for the elder of the Smiths guild.

“We cannot move the smithy,” he began.

“I did not expect that you could.  Like the stoves in the cocinas, it will need to remain in place.  But the Masons and Carpenters will require your assistance during the rebuild.”

Aiy.  Sharpening tools and supplies I have to move.”

Sayenne again asked for wagon loads and he indicated only one.  “My guild is ready to help others now.”

Danku.  Please help the Masons and Carpenters.  They want to save as many windows as they can.”

Aiy, I overheard all.  Twill be less for us to help remake later as well.”

Recognizing her limited knowledge and that he had overheard the others, Sayenne asked, “Tis there anything that I am missing for the rebuild effort?”

Aiy.  Barrels and buckets of water.  Flood waters are not drinkable and we do not know if the meteorites will poison the water.  We will need water for the people and the ainmhi in the caves.  We will also need wood for cooking fires and warmth in the caves.”

Sayenne took notes even as her confidence faded.  “Take a couple of people and fill all the barrels and buckets that you can.  We can take what firewood we have on hand, but it will be reserved for cooking.  Once the storm passes we can hopefully harvest more along the lake edge as the flood waters may help prevent it from burning.”

Cerato, I suggest dividing the wagons among the Guilds.  That will allow them to move the essential items quicker.”

Sayenne considered the suggestion for a few seconds, then motioned for Riochard to come over.  She repeated the Smiths suggestion and showed him the list she had created so far.  “I think tis best to give each Guild about half of what they require to start with, though Cooking will need to divide up into more frequent loads.  If possible, try to take a barrel of water in each load.  Once each Guild is done, the wagons can move on to the peoples homes.”

Riochard nodded.  “I twill see to this immediately.”  He left the room quickly.

Sayenne hoped that would also keep quarrels over priority to a minimum.  She returned her attention to the Smith.  “Danku.  Anything else?”

He indicated that was all and left.  Alyda came over to pick up some more sheets of paper.  Sayenne pointed to the notes on the fire prevention, windows, firewood, and water.  “Be sure to pass that to everyone.”

Sayenne continued with the remaining guilds.  The Dance Guild had nothing to pack and volunteered to help Cooking.  Musicians had only the instruments and music and much of that was going with the individual households.  Sayenne considered leaving the larger instruments behind, but thought music might cheer up the people if the rebuild took a long time.  Élan indicated that the Teachers were already packing the schools down, including the library of books.  Children had been sent home for the day to help where they could.

The elder of the Weavers guild came in next with several men and took them to the tapestry room to pack the tapestries before meeting with Sayenne.  After providing instructions, she purposefully strode back to Sayenne and launched into her explanation.  “We are already packing the material, thread, and raw materials that we have, which will require several wagons.  Tis the looms that are the problem.  Most are too large to move and will need to be disassembled.”

“Can they at least be moved to the underground food storage area without being disassembled?”

“Some perhaps.  But not the largest few for the tapestries.  They will need to be disassembled and reassembled.  As they are wood, I do not expect them to survive any other way.  I need several men to help disassemble and pack them.”

“The Carpenters suggested moving all wood away from the walls to help prevent fire.”

Aiy that may help, but I would still not expect them to survive and be usable.  If the boards warp, so does the weave.”

“Do the Carpenters have the plans to rebuild them afterwards?”

The Elder nodded.  “They should.”

Sayenne sighed.  “Then we will rebuild them if we must.”

“But until then we cannot make more tapestries.  We should do what we can . . . .”

Tiredness added a bite to Sayenne’s tone as she interrupted the Elder.  “What goesh are tapestries if we have not a building to put them in.  Shelter first, then food and water.  Supplies to survive and tools to rebuild must be considered next.  Everything else is just a help.  Other guilds have to leave things behind that are too large.  Tis the way it must be.”

Aiy, as you wish.”  The Elder rose to go, obviously angered over her lack of concern for her guild’s needs.

Sayenne softened her tone.  “Tis never easy to give up the things you love.  But please consider that we must first protect the people, then the things we need to survive.  The Gods have already said we cannot save all the people.  The villages furthest from the mountains are my biggest worry, for those people have to pack and move a greater distance.  If we can help them, we must.  Perhaps one of the tapestry looms from a village closer can be saved or at least one will survive.  If by some miracle we have time, then perhaps take one in the last loads.”

The Elder looked at her and signed resignedly.  “Aiy.  We can hope and pray at least one survives.”  She left without a backward glance.

Alyda took the final sheet to the vidphone panel.  Only Elder Élan and Riochard, who had returned at some point, remained in the room with the sisters.  Sayenne allowed herself a brief moment to rest her head in her hands.  Her mind was reeling from the marathon of discussions with the various guilds, the volume of equipment and supplies that needed to be transported and stored, and the monumental task of getting all villages to the caves in time.

A door closed quickly and Sayenne looked up.  She recognized Afif Broccoti.

Afif headed for Riochard, then started to kneel at the sight of the Cerato.  Sayenne quickly spoke.  “Can I help you?”

“I have the location of the caves.”

Alyda excused herself and left with the lunch dishes as Sayenne motioned to the map.  The rest gathered at the table as he located the caves.  “Tis there that the main entrance lies.  Tis about 30 miles from here, but twill be a long walk for many.  These villages are closer, but this one,” he said as he indicated the furthest out village, “twill take them much longer.”

“Are the others still scouting the caves?” Riochard asked.

Aiy.  I left them to that task and returned with the coordinates as quickly as I could, per their instructions.”

“Can we setup a beacon near the base of the path to guide the people?”

Aiy Cerato.   Twill be my pleasure to take care of this immediately.”

Danku, Afif.”  Sayenne waited until the man had left before she turned to Élan and Riochard.  “Can we do this?”

“We can do much when we work together.  But I fear for that other village,” Élan said.

“No Cerato.   We cannot.”  Riochard grimly looked from one woman to the next.  “But we will try and succeed in some capacity.  We will need to lighten the load, so to speak.  Review the lists with me and maybe we can cut some of the less essential items.  Perhaps leave them in the underground food storage areas or the Data Centers rather than transport them.  That might leave more wagon space for people to ride in.  The elderly, infirm, and babinos cannot make such a journey on foot.”

“If we work around the clock, in shifts to keep everything moving, would that help?” Élan offered.

“Agreed, that will help.  But some will still need to attend to their normal jobs, the cooks and doctors.”

The door opened behind them and Alyda entered supporting the Elder of the Data Center Guild.  The trio turned to face her and Sayenne wondered about the ashen look on her sister’s face.  She led him to a chair at the table where he settled slowly into the chair as the elderly do.  “Goesh nicht, Cerato.  May I speak with you alone please?”

Sayenne looked at Élan who smiled and nodded.  “Riochard, please come with me.”  Alyda remained behind the Elder.

He waited for their voices to fade in the distance.  “We did not talk earlier as what I must tell you must be done without others present.”  At Sayenne’s nod he continued.  “For the Data Center guild, there is little that we can move to the caves.  The computers and vidphones must remain in place and we have very few spare parts on hand.  Unfortunately, that technology will be a loss with the destruction that you have described.  However, there is something else that you need to be aware of.   The computers do more than monitor everyone’s work.   Orbiting around this planet is a ring of shield generators.  Together they form a shield around the planet.”

Sayenne’s expression lit with hope.  “Will the shield protect us from the meteorites?”

The old man shook his head sadly.  “Unfortunately, niet.  They protect us from energy weapons and unauthorized visitors as the engines of a ship malfunction as they approach the shields.”  He waited for her to comprehend the severity but as she remained calm, he tried again.  “The destruction on the ground will be much less than the destruction outside the atmosphere.  I fear the shield generators will be destroyed beyond repair.”

Sayenne contemplated what he was saying and what he was not saying.  If the shields protected them from energy weapons and they were destroyed … “Then we are vulnerable afterwards to invasion from off-worlders,” she reasoned out loud, fearing her own words as she spoke.  At his confirming nod, she understood her sister’s expression.

Tis information that tis only known to the most senior members of the Guild.  When Alyda confirmed what Elder Kale had heard earlier, I knew that I would need to explain this to you.  However, this information can go no further.  If word of this gets off the planet, we could be conquered for that same technology that protects us.”

Sayenne nodded in understanding.  “After the storm passes, how can we check the system and fix it?”

“At least two operators will remain in the Data Centers during the storm to monitor the system.”  As she shook her head, he continued.  “They will be protected and will be chosen from those who volunteer.  Afterward,” he sighed heavily, “I know not how we will repair them.  Parts will need to be bartered for off-world.  The Apaugallas normally do this for us, but we will have nothing to barter with.  And we have no spacecraft capable of performing the repairs.  Tuttenrock has helped with repairs in the past, per our treaty, but if there is too much damage, we may not be able to contact them.  Normally we vidphone them to let them know that a shipment of food is ready for pickup and they send someone over on a starship.  But the vidphone relays the message through the shield generators.”

Danku for trusting me with this information.  I will need to think on this.”

Alyda helped him to stand up, gently supporting him as he left the area.

Alone for the first time in hours, Sayenne allowed her head to rest in her hands.  There was so much to do and so little time and no matter what, they would be vulnerable afterwards.  Vulnerable to the weather, to starvation, and now from off-worlders.  Life as she had always known it would never be the same again.

Elder Élan entered quietly, staying in the shadows to assess Sayenne.  Never had she seen Sayenne looking as despondent as she did at that moment.  From even the youngest age, Sayenne had been strong of character, smiling and helpful, and would never give in to despair.  Even as she watched, Sayenne brought her head up, shook off the temporary melancholy, and rose from the chair.  Élan stepped out of the shadows, striding out as if she had not been watching quietly.  “Tis almost time to address the people.  Do you know what you will say yet?”

Aiy.  They deserve the truth of our peril and the plan as it pertains to everyone.  I will leave the details up to each Guild to handle and to each village to coordinate among themselves.”

Riochard entered the room.  “Cerato, do you have time to review the lists with me?”

Sayenne nodded and crossed to the vidphone.  “Do the Apaugallas need any wagon space?”

“What little we have can go with my household.  Fret not about us.”

Together they quickly scanned the list for each guild, moving some items to a different section for if they had time and space.  Élan accessed the files for each guild, sending the updated lists to the Elder for each guild in every village.  “Just in time,” she said as Riochard began reconfiguring the vidphone to connect to all vidphones across all villages and transmit Sayenne’s message.

Sayenne pretended that she would be speaking to her family, instead of the whole planet.  At Riochard’s signal, she stepped up to the screen and began her message.  “Goesh nicht, my people.  The Gods have chosen me to lead you through the upcoming struggle.  My name is Sayenne Ciarán, but I do not have time for pleasantries or the traditional visits to the villages.  In less than seven days time, we will be bombarded by a meteorite storm.  Thousands of meteorites, some on fire, will impact our planet.  We cannot stop this from occurring, so we must take shelter and protect ourselves.  The Gods and my dreams have indicated massive destruction to buildings and fields, so we cannot stay in the villages.  The Gods said to go underground and the Apaugallas have found a cave system in the mountains that will provide all of us shelter.  They erected a beacon to guide you to the path to these caves.

“I have discussed what we need to take with us to the caves with all of the local Guilds.  Those lists were sent to the guild Elders in each village as a starting list, along with some other suggestions and notes.  We will need to bring the wagons and the ainmhí with us.  Whatever we leave behind is expected to be broken by the falling rocks or burnt by the ones on fire.

“Once the storm has passed, we will rebuild.  To do that, we need as much as we can get into the caves.  Rebuilding twill take time, so we need to plan to be in the caves for months.  Use the next six days and nights well as we will need to work all arns to save as much as possible.  Coordinate with the Elders.  The Apaugallas will assist anyone.”  She paused to let her next words stand alone and encourage everyone.  “We are stronger when we work together.  May the Gods protect us all.”

Sayenne punched a button to end the transmission.  “Tis done.”

“I have asked the Apaugallas to move among the people guiding and listening.  They will tell me if anything further is needed.”

Danku, Riochard.  Would you take me to these caves early tomorrow?  I need to see them myself.”  She hoped the caves would be large enough to hold everyone and everything.

Aiy Cerato.  I will pick you up at dawn.”

Danku.  I think I need to go home and sleep now.  The next six days twill be long, but not long enough.”

“Tell Mystal to call me if she needs anything,” Elder Élan volunteered, knowing Mystal’s tendency to worry too much.

“I will.  Goesh nicht.”

Elder Élan turned to Riochard, nodding towards Sayenne’s retreating back.  He nodded once and hurried to catch up to her.  “Cerato, would you mind if I accompany you?”

“You may be needed elsewhere.”

“Begging your pardon, but you may need protection.  There could be panic in the streets.”

“Our people are not prone to panicking.”

“Elder Élan wishes it then.  Either way, I will escort you home tonight.”

Sayenne fell silent knowing his protective nature.  As they left the building, she looked around to see the reaction of her people.  Nearby, bó-ainmhí stood patiently, harnessed to two wagons as several people carried empty crates into houses and storage facilities to pack what they could.

“Appears some intend to work through this night,” Riochard observed.

AiyTis for the best as that will allow us to move more in the short time we have.”

They continued in silence to her parent’s house.  “Goesh nicht, Cerato.”

Goesh nicht.”

Sayenne went inside to find her parents busily packing.  They welcomed her home with hugs, but no tears or questions.  As they returned to packing, Alyda pulled Sayenne aside.  “I explained the packing to them earlier today.  Papa and I thought it best to give mama as much time as possible to adjust to the thought of leaving home.”  Alyda smiled slightly.  “Mama has been packing all day, here and at school, giving instructions crisply.  She’s fine.”

Sayenne looked to her normally overreactive mother, but all she saw was a grim determination.  She moved with purpose, yet not pushing Elwyn aside when he was slower than she wanted to be.  The crisis appeared to have focused her mother on the goal – survival of everything they had.  Sayenne pitched in, packing a crate of the remaining kitchenware.  Within the hour, they had completely packed the house minus the furniture.

Elwyn left to find a wagon.  He returned a short while later with a wagon and partial wagonload of books from the school.

Mystal insisted that they load the wagon immediately and invited their neighbors to load their things as well.  Tired as they were, the others obeyed.  Once the wagon was fully loaded and tied down, Mystal climbed to the driver’s seat.

“Mama, you need to rest,” Sayenne began, but stopped at the determined look on her mother’s face.

Mystal climbed down to face her eldest daughter.  “Sayenne, we must do this now, tonight.  The wagon must return for another load and cannot sit idle.  Tis the only way.”

“I have to stay here.  Who will help you unload?”

“I will,” three neighbors said in unison as they clambered aboard the wagon.

“The Apaugallas are already there to assist.  Riochard told your padret earlier.”

“But tis a long journey.  You are already tired.  What if you fall asleep on the way and fall off the wagon?”

Twill not happen.  I have help.  We can take turns driving.  As the family of the Cerato, tis our place to help our people.  I will manage.”  With that she hugged her family and climbed back onto the seat.  Alyda passed up a basket of food for the trip.  Mystal took up the reins and shook them to start the plow beasts forward.  “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

Elwyn watched her go, understanding her more than the girls did.  This was the woman he remembered from their younger days, before the worries of motherhood had stripped her of her confidence.  “Come girls, you go sleep.  I am off to continue helping the school pack.”  He hugged them both.

“We can help too.”

“You will be needed tomorrow to organize those who are sleeping now.  Those who knew from early in the day already organized the night crew.  Our Elders already sent that message along to the other villages earlier in the day.”  He smiled at her.  “You need not think of everything, just guide everyone and watch for goesh ideas to pass to the others.  Let the people help you as much as they can.  We are stronger when we work together.  You were wise to remind everyone of that.”

Sayenne nodded and allowed her sister to lead her into the house. 

“Did you know about the shield?”

Aiy.  I stumbled on the monitor program several months ago.  Tis why I like Data Center.  Our work protects everyone here.”

“Do you know how to contact Tuttenrock?”

Aiy.  I asked the Elder and he showed me how.”

Goesh.  Tomorrow when I get back from visiting the caves, I want to call Tuttenrock and talk to someone in charge there.  Also, do you know where the treaty is kept?  I’ve only heard about it.”

Niet.  I would guess Elder Élan would know.”

“I’ll ask her tomorrow then.”  Sayenne yawned.

“Sleep now.  Twill be a long day tomorrow.  The people need to see you moving among them.”

Sayenne needed no more coaching to sleep.  Exhausted from the emotions of the day and three nights of nightmares, she fell quickly into a dreamless sleep.  Alyda watched her for a few minutes, then went to the vidphone terminal to adjust the settings on her computer analysis.  She programmed the computer to recompute the time based on the movement of the stars continuously over the next six days, synched it with her data pad, then headed for bed.

Sayenne was up before dawn as usual.  She grabbed some fresh fruit from the table and headed outside as she heard the hovercraft approach.  Riochard was punctual as ever.

Impeded by the long robes, she slowly clambered into the hovercraft.  She cursed that he could not help her, but remembered the law against touching the Cerato.  Quickly, they left the village.  In the distance, Sayenne could see the bright light of the beacon. 

As Riochard drove, Sayenne looked around at the fields.  The dry grasses waved gently in the breeze.  Near the village, she noted several people sything the grass despite the low light.  Various ainmhi roamed the fields, grazing on the grass.  Farther afield, she saw a small group of people rounding up the grazing ainmhi to drive them to the caves.  Trees dotted the fields occasionally, giving way to the undergrowth of the rocky mountainside as they approached the beacon.

Riochard headed the hovercraft directly towards the beacon, then onto the path that led to the mouth of the caves.  Sayenne noted that the overgrowth along the path had been recently trimmed, allowing for the hovercraft and wagons to traverse the path.  He parked the hovercraft off to the side of the large entry cave, allowing Sayenne her first glimpse of the underground safe haven.

Using the maps the Apaugallas had hastily drawn the day before, he explained the multiple caverns and smaller niches they had already mapped out.  He showed her the very aged map on the cave wall from the time of Cerato Jin.  The dampness of the caves had blurred several areas on the map.  “We have preserved what we can of the map,” Riochard said.  “The rest is being mapped out now, along with areas large enough for the bó-ainmhí and the wagons.”

Dry rock walls in varying hues of gray and blue formed the naturally occurring cave system.  Small flecks of quartz mixed in with the rock shimmered throughout the tunnels and caverns reflecting any light in the area.  Narrow pathways opened into wider corridors, small rooms, and larger caverns.

Sayenne wandered the first corridors for several minutes assuring herself that the people would be safe here.  Riochard led her down several tunnels into the rooms where he thought they could store essential food items and a nearby large room he thought might work for a makeshift kitchen.  Unsure due to lack of ventilation, Sayenne asked him to check with the Elder for the Cooking guild.

Before she left the cave system, Sayenne met and thanked all the overnight workers who were unloading the most recent load, deep inside one corridor.  They assured her that there was space enough for everyone, including the wagons and ainmhi.

Satisfied with the shelter the caves provided, she climbed into the hovercraft again and allowed Riochard to take her back to Analisse.  While he drove, she recalled every detail of the caves, memorizing what she could.  Eventually her thoughts turned to the next step and she pondered the treaties with both Krandul and Tuttenrock.  She hoped Elan would know where the treaties were kept.  As they neared the village, she asked Riochard to stop first at the Gathering Hall.  She went immediately to Elder Élan’s office.

Goesh muirnon, Cerato.  What can I help with?”

Goesh muirnon.  Do you know where the treaty with Tuttenrock is kept?  Or Krandul?”

“I am not sure, but for Tuttenrock’s I would think it would be in the village of Dörflich as tis where twas written.  I think the treaty with Krandul is here though I’m not sure.  Why do you ask?”

Recalling the restrictions on the knowledge of the shields, she opted for an explanation close to the truth.  “As Tuttenrock is a close neighbor and friend and they have tech, they may be able to help us to rebuild.  I want to contact them as soon as possible and I need to know the specifics of the treaty.”

“A wise decision.  I will find out where the treaty tis and will let you know.”

Danku.  If you cannot find me, let Alyda know.”

Elder Élan nodded and Sayenne left to find her sister. 

Sometime later, she found Alyda at the Data Center.  “Tis the last crate for us,” Alyda said as she handed the crate off to a Smith.

Goesh because the wagon tis full.  I’m headed for the caves now.”  He excused himself and left quickly.

When Alyda turned to her, Sayenne asked quietly, “Can we contact Tuttenrock now?”

Aiy.”  Quickly Alyda followed the instructions to relay the transmission through the shield generators.  Unfortunately, no one answered and the machine indicated they could leave a message.

Sayenne recorded a video message.  “I am Cerato Sayenne Ciarán of Llanelyn.  I wanted to let you know that we are tracking a meteorite storm headed in this direction.    I hope it passes Tuttenrock by and you are unaffected.  However, we may need assistance once the storm has passed.  Tis expected to be very damaging here.  I do not know if I will be able to contact you after the storm.  Goesh suerte and may the Gods protect us all.”

Alyda ended the recording and ensured the connection closed.  “Now what?”

“Now we wait.  Maybe someone will call back before the storm hits.  Or maybe someone will come by after the storm.”

“If anyone contacts us, I will let you know.”

“Come, tis time we helped with the packing at the school.”


The next five days passed in a blur of activity for everyone.  The Guilds organized everyone into Teams to work around the clock, with most sleeping less than four hours a day.  The wagons were not still for long as they were loaded and unloaded by many hands.  People who could walk the distance carried backpacks and pulled small carts behind them full of crates.  Children pitched in carrying what they could and steadying the overfilled carts on the way to the caves.  They slept in the fields overnight and continued the journey the next morning.

While people waited for the wagons to return, they focused on first packing everything they did not need, sleeping in chairs and on the floors, washing plates and utensils frequently so that the rest could be moved.  They dismantled the larger items that could not fit in the wagons and moved them to the underground food storage areas in hopes that it might survive. 


Alyda found an audio message from Tuttenrock the morning after the attempted call.  “We are tracking the meteorites heading this way as well.  The devastation predicted is intense.  We will attempt to contact you after the storm passes.”  She forwarded the message to the vidphone in Sayenne’s office, then hurried to catch Sayenne there.

Sayenne listened to the short message several times.  “I wish they would have indicated how intense the destruction will be there.  Please send another message.”

Alyda made the connection.  Sayenne thanked them, asked about the expected intensity, and then offered the best advice she could.  “Go deep underground.  Tis what we are doing.  Protect yourselves.  Goesh suerte and may the Gods watch over us all.”

Alyda disconnected the call.  “Oh, and Elder Élan said that Elder Kaia from Dörflich will bring the treaty from Tuttenrock to the caves to give to you.”

Danku.  I wonder where the treaty is with Krandul,” Sayenne said, recalling Trey.

Tis at the school,” Alyda said.  “Papa told me that cyclistas ago.”

“Then I will ask him for it as well.  These should be kept together and safe.”  She sighed.  “I need to talk to the other village Elders.”

“Join me for lunch later?”  Knowing her sister, she might skip eating if she became too busy.  At least this way, she would know to find her.

Aiy, I’ll meet you in the lunch area.”

“I’ll go check on Papa at the school.”  Alyda hurried away.

Sayenne turned back to the vidphone and called the next village on her list.


She easily located Alyda in the lunch area, eating with a few friends.  She could just make out their conversation as she neared the table.

“Masons are all packed up.  We are helping Carpenters and Cooking now while we wait on the wagons to return,” said one of Alyda’s friends.

“Smiths are packed and moved.  We shared wagon space with the Data Center and a couple of households.  What little is left will go with the Masons and Carpenters.  We are helping Agriculture harvest the grass now,” said another.

“Physicians have started moving their equipment.  All the patients were moved first,” offered a third.  “They only needed one wagon for now, so the other was sent to help move individual homes.”

Alyda jumped up as Sayenne approached.  “Sorry, I must go.  I’ll catch up with you all later.”

“Please don’t let me interrupt,” Sayenne said smoothly.  She turned to the remaining two friends.  “I would greatly love to know your Guild’s status.”

“Weavers are almost all packed.  The larger looms cannot be transported and some are being moved to the underground food storage facility in hopes of surviving.  Our first load left earlier and included some households as we could not disassemble the looms quickly enough for this first trip.”

“Fauna has packed what we can.  We still need to care for the bó-ainmhí until the last wagonload has left.  Several are already driving the herd beasts to the caves.  We are also helping Agriculture.”

Goesh.  Danku.”  She turned to Alyda.  “When you are done with lunch, please meet me in the Data Center.”

She picked up a lunch tray, only to be immediately joined by Alyda.  “I was finished eating.”

Together the two hurried to the Data Center and Alyda provided the status of several other Guilds as they walked.  “Dance is also helping Agriculture.  What little the Apaugallas and Data Center could pack is already gone with the Smiths.  Carpenters have several loads left, mostly windows.  Teaching has many partial loads left as the books were too heavy to pack all at once.  Papa suggested adding households to fill the loads, much like we did.  I think the Musicians sent everything with the households.  Many of the individual households have been packed and await a wagon, and several have already been taken by the Guilds.  Most looked to the Guilds first as you suggested.  Madret knew you would not be home much so she wanted our house to go early so that she can focus on the school when she returns.”

Aiy, she should be home tomorrow.”


Sayenne watched the stars move each night, seeing them grow brighter as they neared the planet.  By day, she checked with the Elder in each village to ensure they were on schedule.  As the villages closest to the caves were emptied, the wagons headed on to the next village and the next, each village helping the others until the last village was enroute to the caves, many groups of wagons dotting the area between the villages and the cave entrance.  She moved among the people, comforting and encouraging everyone.  The Apaugallas were everywhere as well, using the hovercraft to assist the very old and the infirm to reach the caves.  The hovercrafts and wagons were only still long enough to unload and load; the bó-ainmhí ate using the feedbags while they waited. As the predicted time neared, more and more people remained in the caves.


Alyda finally found Sayenne late in the afternoon on the fourth day.  “Mama returned safely.”

“Is she resting?”

“She napped for a few arns, then went to the school.  She tis changed.  She tis very determined and focused now and is not worrying as much.”

“And papa?”

“Staying by her side.  He slept as well.”

“As soon as they are rested, they need to head back to the caves before they are out of time.”

Aiy.  Papa reminded her of that.  They will go with a wagon load from the school.”

Worry creased Sayenne’s brow.  “You should go with them.”

“As should you,” Alyda replied quietly, though she suspected her independent and duty-bound older sister would refuse until the last wagon had left.

Niet.  I will stay here until the following day.  Riochard has insisted that I go out by hovercraft. He will pick me up at dawn again.  Tis the latest that I could get Élan and Riochard to agree to.”

“Then I will go with you.  I will help Cooking until then.”  To avoid further argument from her sister, Alyda turned and left.  She refused to leave her sister’s side until she was safe in the caves.


Elder Élan and Riochard insisted that Sayenne stay in the caves on day six.  As Sayenne continued to argue, Alyda reminded her of their parents concern for her safety and her leadership of the people afterwards. 

With a resigned nod, Sayenne agreed.  She moved among the people again, offering encouragement and help where needed.  She slept a few arns tucked away in a small dark chamber, then returned to helping with the most recently arrived loads.


All day on the seventh day, Sayenne stood by the mouth of the main cave, watching the remaining stragglers from the most distant village as they slowly moved towards the cave with their groups of wagons.  She saw a shooting star in the distance and almost made a wish, then she realized it was a meteorite that had entered the atmosphere.

© Copyright Michelle Breon. All rights reserved. Believe in your dreams!