First Chapters – The Founders by Holly Barbo

Today’s First Chapter is from The Founders, the first book in the Sage Seed Chronicles by my friend Holly Barbo.

The FoundersDESCRIPTION

The Sage Seed Chronicles follows the stories of certain individuals with a psychic gene

There are no monsters on Ose. People can be monstrous enough.

Recruited by an ancient race, a group of people from Earth colonize the lovely planet Ose in a far corner of the galaxy. Thirty-two years after the Founders settle the unanticipated happens. A small asteroid hits on the edge of the continent instantly throwing them into a “nuclear winter” weather pattern. Struggling to survive, the young culture slips ever nearer to a survival of the fittest world.

In this climate of hardship, Marisily comes of age. She flees for her life after watching her mother die. Unexpectedly, she discovers the cave in which she seeks refuge was a hidden Ancient’s shelter and the secrets within it reveal that she is a sage: a small group of seemingly unrelated people with heightened extra senses that are strangely linked to the planet itself.

The conditions reach dangerous levels as more citizens become victims of the outlaw bands. Marisily struggles to stay safe when she is targeted for slavery. A clandestine plan is devised to take back the society and reestablish the founding culture. Can they do it in time?

CHAPTER ONE

Bure glared at the old man, his whole body vibrating with his effort to suppress his frustration and be civil. He wanted answers and would prefer not to beat them out of the coot. The guy was older than him but looked tough. “How do you get out of this place? I’ve been all over this valley and I’ve not found even a crevice of a cave or a finger hold to scale the walls. You’ve been here awhile. Tell me!”

The grey-haired fellow met Bure’s eyes with a calm confidence. “I’ve watched you. I know. We all search this valley when we first arrive until we come to the same conclusion. So son, tell me, what part of ‘Once you’re in Obsidian Island there is no getting out’ don’t you understand?”

He chuckled when he saw the flair of rage in Bure’s eyes. “It’s true. There’s no exit. Look all you want. Let me tell you what you found: The walls of this crater are glass smooth and very hard so you can’t chip any climbing grips. The trees aren’t tall enough to reach the top if you climbed them. The stream that feeds this valley starts as an artesian spring in the small lake over there and exits in a seep at the west end of the basin. If it didn’t, this whole crater would be a lake with an island in the middle.”

Bure’s growl interrupted the recitation. “Yeah, well what about that stone uplift?” He gestured to the huge column of stone rising from the floor of the basin.

The veteran mused, “It’s interesting isn’t it? A former resident of this place had been a geologist. He said that before Obsidian became extinct it was trying to rebuild itself. That huge stone column is just as smooth and unscalable as all the other walls. It’s high enough that birds perched on the edge are beyond bow range and even if you could get up there, you still would be out of reach of the outer walls.”

Bure snarled.

The older man shook his head. “It isn’t so bad a place when you accept the inevitable. You’ll see. There are resources to build a life here. We’ve all tried to escape and take revenge against those that sent us here but there’s no way out.” He studied the fuming young man. “So, what did you do? What laws did you break? My guess would be murder.” He watched as the new man clenched his fists.

Now the seasoned inhabitant threw back his head and laughed deeply. “Thought as much, I know the signs. I’ve been in this extinct volcano for nearly thirty years; killed a witch, I did. Murder is against the law on this world and one of the sure ways to end up here.” The old man’s gravelly voice took on a harder edge. “This crater is the exception, so don’t get ideas, son. I may be older than you but I’m fit and can defend myself. I can still kill you if you push me to it.”

Bure’s scoff of disdain was cut short by an unnervingly strong hand around his throat. The older man laughed with a mad glee, “You’ve heard the phrase, ‘I brought you into this world and I can take you out’? It’s very true, son. I’m Kald…your daddy. So nice of you to provide this little family reunion. Welcome to Obsidian Island.”

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