Render (A story of Aligare) - Kindle ebook by Heidi C. Vlach
Render (A story of Aligare) is a magical fantasy story. It contains scenes of violence, but focuses on positive themes and good-intentioned people — none of whom are humans.
In the Aligare land, the three peoplekinds have smiled at each other since their first legends were spoken. Be they dragon, weasel or insectoid, a new face in town is always welcomed as a friend. This land has no war or treachery. But the peoplekinds still face trials. "Demons" — the unseen monsters of illness and bad fortune — strike without warning and tear villages apart, unless the three races bring their strengths and skills to each other's aid.
In a mountain crevice, people wait for that aid. Aemets, the insectoid folk, have founded Aloftway village and waited years for strong-winged korvi or adaptable ferrin to help them. But there has been no relief for Aloftway. Unknown to the world, waiting on their missing town founder to return, the aemets work their plantcasting magic and pray for good luck. They'll need that good luck — after the poor harvests, forest fire, and now the shocking wolf attacks on aemet villagers. Folk wonder what sort of demons stalk their forests. Worry-charged gossip says that the aemets of Aloftway would be wise to abandon their village and flee, before they all face death.
Rue, an aemet woman coming of age, isn't willing to wonder or wait any longer. She has questioned her race's passive ways since she was a soft-shelled child, and admired the fearlessness of the dragon-like korvi. Promising herself she'll walk a dauntless new path, Rue learns the trade of foraging food — a courageous job for aemets, the race usually frightened to walk alone. She knows there must be a reason Aloftway's fortune is so poor, and a reason predatory animals are mistaking aemet people for prey. If she uses her head and makes a few key allies, Rue can save this village.
Rue's efforts have barely begun when she meets Felixi — a korvi who hunts wild game with a knife and his advantage of flight. Felixi doesn't care for company, but his sharp tongue belies an honourable heart. Rue is convinced that Felixi has what Aloftway village needs. Not just the hunting skill to feed their guard dogs, the faithful bodyguards who worsen Aloftway's famine with their need for meat. Felixi also knows the ebb and flow of the mountain's ecosystem — and he clearly has a terrible secret he is refusing to share with Rue.
While Rue works to flush that secret into the open, the wolves around her grow ever bolder.