Auraya has just been named a Priestess of the White, to serve as sword and shield of the gods one of only five so honoured. She finds her unique talents tested to the limit when she travels far from home as an ambassador enlisting others to follow the White.
But Auraya's relationship with a member of an outcast sect of sorcerer-healers risks bringing her into conflict with others of the White ... and possibly destroying her future.
Overshadowing all this is a powerful and mysterious black-clad sorcerer who seems to have a single purpose: annihilation of the White. And he is not alone.
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December 31, 2005
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Excerpt from Priestess of the White by Trudi Canavan
Auraya stepped over a fallen log, taking care that no crinkle of crushed leaves or snapping of twigs betrayed her presence. A tug at her throat warned her to look back. The hem of her tawl had caught on a branch. She tugged it free and carefully chose her next step.
Her quarry moved and she froze.
He can't have heard me, she told herself. I haven't made a sound.
She held her breath as the man rose and looked up into the mossy branches of an old garpa tree. His Dreamweaver vest was dappled with leafy shadows. After a moment he crouched and resumed his examination of the underbrush.
Auraya took three careful steps closer.
'You're early today, Auraya.'
Letting out a sigh of exasperation, Auraya stomped to his side. One day I'm going to surprise him, she vowed. 'Mother took a strong dose last night. She'll sleep late.'
Leiard picked up a piece of bark, then took a short knife from a vest pocket, slid the point into a crack and twisted it to reveal tiny red seeds inside.
'What is it?' she asked, intrigued. Though Leiard had been teaching her about the forest for years there was always something new to learn.
'The seed of this garpa tree.' Leiard tipped out the seeds and spread them in his palm. 'Garpa speeds the heart and prevents sleep. It is used by couriers so they can ride long distances, and by soldiers and scholars to keep awake, and ...'
Falling silent, he straightened and stared into the forest. Auraya heard a distant snap of wood. She looked through the trees. Was it her father, come to fetch her home? Or was it Priest Avorim? He had told her not to speak to Dreamweavers. She liked to secretly defy the priest, but to be found in Leiard's company was another matter. She took a step away.