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Friday, April 6, 2012


(for contest rules visit: CONTEST RULES)

Today's Daily Prize: (2) Prizes: Paperback copies of "Exile" by Scott F. Falkner
from Stonegarden Publishing

Today's Treasure Hunt Challenge
: Go to Amazon.com and find Minnette's book page. Question: How many of Minnette's books are available in Kindle format?  MAKE SURE TO EMAIL YOUR ANSWER TO: mmeador@minnettemeador.com - Good luck!

 Today's Daily Question
(Answer found in Chapter One of Starsight) What kind of creatures are Trenara and Joshan riding and what makes them distinct? EMAIL YOUR ANSWER TO: mmeador@minnettemeador.com - Good luck!

Studying the definitions below, what do you think your life would be like as a Starguider? Leave your answers in the Comments section below.


Below you will find passages from the glossary talking about The Assemblage Starguiders and the origin of their power, including a brief history. The Starguiders each carry a piece of crystal, which it fine tuned to the pitch and resonance of their singing voice. Notes focused into the crystals manifest their feats of "magic." In the first chapter of Starsight, Vol. I you will meet one of the most powerful Guiders in the Imperium as she trains her young charge, the emperor's first son, in their craft. When First Trial takes Joshan at an age younger than any other, only the gods themselves know what terror this child must face.

Crystal of Healing - A stone made of white crystal, which is the source of power for Assemblage. It is from this stone that the starguider's via acquires the power. It rests in the secluded Sanctum on the Isle of Mathisma.

Detachment - A serious depression that affects pre-guiders after first trial. In extreme cases, it can cause delusion, deep depression, and eventually madness. Suicide is very common with the disease. Some symptoms of the disease are manifested in all pre-guiders. This madness is rare in modern times, but was quite common in the beginnings of Assemblage. Guiders are rigorously trained to help the student avoid detachment.

Dispersion - Usually occurs in pre-guiders where they have sporadic control over the power, often causing some very unfortunate and often interesting "accidents" involving the power, but usually not fatally. 

Ethos, The Star - Largest star in the Imperium solar system. The belief is Ethos, the Goddess, inhabits this star and channels power down to the Crystal of Healing on the Isle of Mathisma in Sanctum.

First Trial or Coming to Power - When novice starguiders have their first confrontation with the power. When they can control it, they are capable of the first level of guidance. This is actually the most dangerous of all levels because of the unpredictable nature of the power. Young pre-guiders can easily die at first trial or go mad from the touch of the power.

First, Second, Third and Fourth Trial - The differing levels attained by the guider as he or she progresses through the training. Assemblage discovered the power had varying degrees of strength, and each was denoted by a differing color. White was the simplest and most common and came with first trial or the coming to power. Blue denoted the second trial or the coming to knowledge, which enables one to learn quickly. It is at this stage you begin to develop your sight. Green denotes the coming to nature and gives you power over trees, grass, wind, rain, etc., helping them to be—well, more than they are. There is also a fourth trial, but it is very rare and is thought to be a combination of the first three levels.

Guider or Starguider - A member of Assemblage whose duty it is to teach and guide a young student through First Trial and beyond as necessary.

Guider’s Sense - Not exactly prescience, but rather a guider's ability to “feel” there is something wrong or when there is pending risk. They can sense when someone is in danger, hurt, or even alive, when there is doubt. They can usually also sense someone else's emotions, especially strong emotions like hate, fear, anxiety, or even love. Guider's Sense usually comes only after Second Trial and gets stronger as the guider does.

Locare - A very rare gift among guiders. Those who have mastered the art of locare can find people, things, and places using their vias and this sense. Some with this ability can even pick up an object and gain a very accurate insight into anyone who has held it, similar to psychic readers.

Makhia - A legendary trial by battle fought between the gods to settle matters of great importance. These were usually fought so wars could be avoided and usually ended when one would concede. There are legends that the makhia was also sometimes fought by ancient kings and to the death. The winner would usually inherit the lands of the loser.

Power - That energy which emanates through a series of three points, forming a rough triangle. The belief is it starts from the star Ethos, then through the Crystal of Healing on Mathisma and then into a via held by a starguider. It is amplified by the resonance of musical notes sung by starguiders trained to control the intensity, direction, and wavelength of the power. It is known to incinerate on contact anyone not trained in its use. It is strongest at night when Ethos is high in the sky.

Pre-Guider - A student who has gone through first trial, but has not been ordained as a starguider yet. Many years of education and training are required before a pre-guider receives his or her via and are granted the rank of guider.

Sanctum - The structure that houses the knowledge of mankind in a great library and the Crystal of Healing. It is located on a very small island bridged to Mathisma and is tended by the Provost and the Keeper of the Books.

Starguider or Guider - A member of Assemblage whose duty it is to teach and guide a young student through First Trial and beyond as necessary. All members of Assemblage are commonly called guiders.

Starmoths - Small points of light that are summoned by the power. They “dance” in the air merrily and let off a soft tinkling sound, like suspended glass in the wind, which to most, is quite enjoyable. Their main attribute is that they detect evil that lies in others. The latter can be seen by their reaction to the one being tested. Despite their airy countenance, they can be quite terrifying if aroused by evil thoughts or lies.

Via - An instrument of varying sizes and shapea, which contains a piece of crystal that allows a guider to channel the power. It is usually an object that can be held in the hand such as a scepter or staff. However, many guiders have vias in the shape of a ring or pendant. The original vias were made from the Crystal of Healing, however, another source of crystal was found in the Imperium that worked as well, thus causing a quick early expansion of Assemblage.

Vision or Sight - Precognition experienced by many guiders, usually occurring during one of the trials and sometimes in dreams. Occasionally guiders can experience a vision even when awake. 



As told by Trenara of Mathisma at a lecture for pre-guiders before the coming of Starsight

 “The origin—there are many differing ideas about that. The most popular and certainly the most enduring, is based on the old ballads that were handed down at the time. You have heard the story of Goddess Ethos descending from the heavens and entrusting the Crystal of Healing to us for safekeeping, until she returns to retrieve it and place it back in its rightful place among the stars. To be honest, I think that and all other embellishment of it are a lot of rot, though there are those who would ask my immediate expulsion for saying so. Personally, I’m more of the opinion that the crystal did come from the heavens, but by a much more conventional route, simply falling from the sky when it came close to our world. Many of the scholars are now studying the heavens and have theorized that there are many such stones floating in the heavens. Not perhaps as the crystal is, nor radiating such force, but they have found other plainer stones in odd places that could only have gotten there in that way. But I won’t pursue that. I have never had much interest in rocks from the heavens, except the crystal, so I can’t elaborate.
“But however the stone came here, the fathers found it and discovered its great power, though in rather a hard way. It is said that many people died from its touch the first few seasons it was here—thus the forming of Assemblage by the first Provost, Cessas, nearly a millennium ago. Unbelievably, the crystal was thought by most to be evil, a blight to the world. The first Assemblage guiders were considered demons or madmen. But Cessas had a great curiosity and many think he was a genius for his time.
“Of course, back then the world was quite barbaric, being for the most part several small countries that were in essence no larger than villages that bickered and warred among themselves. Cessas gathered what people he could and took the stone to where Thrain is now. There he began a methodical study of the crystal and its amazing properties.
“It is said that he discovered its healing powers quite by accident—his own, I’m afraid. He had received a great injury and was laid in the same room with the stone. When his servants came to check on him the next morning, he was completely healed. He had gained a great measure of knowledge concerning the stone and Ethos after that. He began to teach its uses to his disciples and sent them out to find others that were special in the way they were; thus the custom of search each season. They grew in numbers rapidly, extending well beyond the borders of Thrain into the other provinces.
“Soon Ethos and the Crystal of Healing were thought of as gifts from the gods. Certainly, crops and people fared better when a starguider was present with his or her vias, which were made of the actual crystal in those days, rather than fabricated from other stones as they are now.
“The land began to have purpose and unity. Some seasons later, Thrain was looked on as the ruling province, and more and more the Assemblage was looked at as being the law. It’s no small wonder Cessas in the last seasons of his life, conceived of the idea of the Imperium, a world governed by two bodies, the empire on the one hand to govern the provinces, and Assemblage on the other to promote the religion of Ethos and provide knowledge to the world. He had always wanted to study and learn, increasing his knowledge and that of Assemblage. He felt that was the purpose of the group. But more and more the people turned to Assemblage for leadership and the guiders became judges, administrators, and the like, until there was little time left for study.
“It wasn’t until after Cessas’ death that the Imperium began, when Felos was blessed as the first emperor. The empire began to run the land, and Assemblage retired into study. However, Felos was killed soon into his reign, assassinated by the king of the north’s guard. This sparked the Great Northern Wars, and the northerners attacked the still embryonic empire, nearly destroying everything Assemblage had built.
“That war lasted nearly sixty seasons, but finally Assemblage succeeded in driving the northerners back to their land on the other side of the mountains and dispersing them. Of course, the war continued for over six hundred seasons after that, but during this brief respite, they built the Keep to protect the young empire from attack, so they could find a more suitable place to continue their work. It is said that many of the corner stones in the Keep were placed there by the starpower, although I half wonder if that is not some fanciful tale spun by minstrels of the time. In any event, the Keep was built, much to the relief of the growing Assemblage. Once the empire could stand alone, they removed themselves to Mathisma, where they finally built their schools and temples. They took the Solemn Vow never to interfere in the affairs of the empire, except as advisors. The Imperium was at last complete.”