A planet at risk. A Stellarnet obsessed with all things alien brings kidnappers, sex traffickers and environmental exploitation to Glin. Without weapons or communications technology, the planet cannot be defended. Glin will be ravaged and raided until nothing remains.
A struggle for truth. On Earth, Duin discovers a secret that could spur another rebellion, while on Glin, Belloc's true identity could endanger their family and everything they've fought for. Have the Glin found true allies in humanity, or an even more deadly foe?
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They came from rivers, streams, and waterfalls. They came from the distant edge of the Great Ocean. They came to kill the Nidenn, and the fence only strengthened their resolve.
"Even the dark whirlpool of Yaggla has no walls." Owlg's face twisted into a sneer as he eyed the poles and the webs of woven ropes, which extended as far as they could see in each direction. The barrier spanned the rivers, too, allowing nothing but water and small fish to pass.
"Yaggla needs no walls." The oldest among them, Tucloup did not carry a stick for walkinghe carried a stick sharpened to a deadly point, because they pursued a deadly mission. His skin hung in wrinkles from his wiry frame and his shoulders hunched, but his arm remained as sure as his wisdom. "The souls of the dead are trapped in Yaggla by the currents of the Great Ocean."
"Are they trapped forever?" Duin had to know. "Will they never be reborn?"
Tucloup smiled, and his face became a pool of deep emotion. "On the verge of revolt, you stop to ask metaphysical questions?"
Glin emerged from the streams and tall grasses to join them at the fence. Those who came from the west marshes were the color of muddy water, the skin on the back halves of their bodies patterned in brown whorls. Those from the falls bore spotted backs resembling mossy pebbles. A few, like Duin, had the speckled patterns of the watershed Glin.
Glin. The word meant here. It's what they called their world and themselves.
"This is the most important time to ask questions. I must know, if I kill these tyrants, will they return to build fences in the next life?"
The elder's voice flowed smooth and strong as a wide river, propelling them forward on a current of certainty. "The Nidenn will swim in Yaggla until they reach the oblivion of exhaustion, and when they have forgotten their evil ways, only then will they be carried back to life."
"And the young ones. Are they evil?" Several rain seasons older than Duin but not old enough to be an elder, Hup had nursed eight children and that carried its own measure of respect. She also stood taller and wider than Duin, with arms and shoulders made powerful by swimming in the rapids of Tiru Papiru. If she balked now, others might hesitate, as well.
Tucloup bobbed his head. "This is a distasteful thing we do, but the deed must be done, to rid Glin of a plague of kings. They would bring evil to us all, and to generations of our descendants."
"My cousin is there," said Baba, one of the few local Glin not living under the control of the self-appointed royal family. Unmarried and barely old enough to hunt, Baba still had the androgynous look of the young who were yet neither male nor female.
"Your cousin will be set free." Owlg swayed and moved his arms in anxious circles. The mannerism came from living in a swift river, though all Glin had various degrees of restlessness about them. To be still meant sinking, to be stagnant and dead.
"You can't free a fool imprisoned by his own beliefs," Baba said. "He chooses to serve them."
"Give their followers the choice to leave," said Tucloup. "Don't harm them unless they resist. We're here for the Nidenn."
"How will we tell them apart?" asked Hup.
"They are dark blue," said Baba. "Or silver, like the lake. That's why they call themselves Tah Ga'lin. They are like the stars in the sky ocean."