Amethyst Dirgensa, a village girl living a peaceful, rural life in a distant province under Aure’s rule of the far future, travels to the palatial home of a secluded UP family. The UP are never seen by those of the lower classes and are among the few to fraternize with the Emperor Aure himself. After quite a time getting to the residence called Temmark Osteraith, renovated from an ancient country house, Amethyst finds herself embroiled in the midst of a large crowd. More important, though, is the question of why all these practically innumerable people have been asked here at all to visit a Prince who goes by the absurd name of The Elevated UP Temmark. . .
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Nobody ever talked about what went on in Quirtut. There were things my family never told me. Partly because we don't go visiting the Hill Dwellers in the boondocks. Still I probably should have found out before I went out to the Hills myself. I didn’t plan to go. It was the refugees. There were two of them and they said they’d come a long way to find some derelict old priestess. Who, it turned out, was the only person in the world who wasn’t looking for them.
I am Tessa Bar’Shali. And this is the story of the day my life changed forever.