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The Dry Well
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SYNOPSIS The Dry well is the continuing story of Saranna's wanderings over the lands of Akent. After the emotional reunion with her brother Drewin that closed Shadows of the trees, Saranna travels on to the City of Sen-Mar in the hot southern land of IssKor. She is now searching for her son, Raenn, believed to be living in Sen-Mar under the name of Tel-Kor.She moves into the home of Tamnet, younger sister of Kor-Sen, whom Saranna had known in Drelk and on Telan. She soon learns that the regime in IssKor, always repressive and cruel, is growing steadily harsher, and that the land is believed to be under a curse. According to the Priests the God Jaren, always a harsh figure, has withdrawn himself from his people. The already desert land is becoming drier and drier. In fearful response to this, the priestly caste that dominates the city has become more repressive and punitive than ever.Saranna's personal plan of seeking out her son is overtaken by events in Sen-Mar. Her son and the High priest of the Temple, Mal-Den, are taken prisoner by the rebel Priest Callis, and a reign of terror begins. There is widespread panic as people try to escape from the city.The people of IssKor do not know that Saranna is herself of Immortal descent - a child of Iranor, and half-sister to Jaren. She resolves to go out into the desert lands with a small group of companions, to seek the God and turn him away from his anger. Unfortunately the travellers are ill equipped for their journey. When they are overtaken by a sandstorm, one of their number is killed. At length they fall in with the nomadic people who live in the desert regions. Saranna's twin daughters are born in the tents of the nomads.From them she learns that Jaren is imprisoned by one of the ancient forces of the land, the earth-Goddess Naetsan, who is older than the immortals and jealous of their power. Saranna accidentally frees Jaren. This leads to a resurgence of his power, but also of Naetsan's anger. A great battle follows, during which another of Saranna's companions is killed.Eventually the battle ends in the reconciliation of the two forces, bringing new life and hope to IssKor. Saranna is forced to understand that this cosmic resolution is only partly to her credit, as her precipitate actions and hasty decisions have led to two deaths, and her influence upon her brother Jaren has been negligible.Saranna's diminished party returns to the city, where a new age of freedom is dawning and the repressive priestly regime has been destroyed. Sheis reconciled with her son, and settles in Sen-Mar.
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The overriding reaction I have is 'elegant', closely followed by 'absorbing' and 'miraculous'. I like your gods, even Jaren, and the solutions you find for their followers, including Saranna. I also loved the 'not doing magic' aspects, (also the Old One's guardianship of 'bottled' Jaren, which wasn't a 'not magic' thing, but was a goddess thing!). Just letting your mortals (and demi-goddess) walk in miracles is a great cosmic solution, letting you off the grand-standing spell-casting and focusing on searching for liberty and hope. - Jan Hawke

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