Cover image for The truest power
The truest power
Neason, Rebecca.
Personal Author:
Warner Books edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Warner Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
462 pages ; 18 cm
Format :


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X Adult Mass Market Paperback Popular Materials-Science Fiction/Fantasy

On Order



In this sequel to "The Thirteenth Scroll, " Aghamore is rulerless and teeters on the brink of civil war, even though the blind seer Lysandra and her companions have found Selia, the young girl who possesses the innate wisdom to save the land. In order to see Selia crowned as the Font of Wisdom and put on the throne to save Aghamore from destruction, the truest power must be discovered. Original.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Aghamore, the setting of Neason's Thirteenth Scroll (2001), is on the brink of a devastating civil war as the nine barons compete for the kingship. The scrolls of Tambryn, long hidden in the bowels of the Church, prophesy that an obscure young woman possessing the requisite inborn wisdom is to rule the land fairly and well. Lysandra, her wolf companion Cloud Dancer, and the priest Renan have found that woman: Selia. Her powers are still dormant, though, and she is just an inexperienced girl, fearful of failing her destiny. Complicating matters are an evil and powerful sorceress determined to bend Aghamore to her service and an ambitious sorcerer-bishop. Lysandra and Renan must prepare Selia for queenship in time to avert the civil war, even though, as Lysandra's visions foresee, the new queen will die at her coronation. This is a terrific fantasy and a bittersweet love story, to which the wisdom and beautiful truths of the spiritually advanced civilization of the Cryf people lend depth and meaning. --Paula Luedtke



Lysandra sat on the stone bench at the center of her garden, enjoying a moment of stillness. This was one of those rare spaces in activity where it felt as if the whole world was holding its breath. No bee buzzed or bird chirped; no creature, human or animal, moved; no tree rustled in the afternoon breeze. There was nothing but warmth and silence and peace. These moments never lasted more than a few heartbeats. Soon, the waiting world would exhale, and the activity of life would begin again. But for this brief instant, Lysandra's spirit basked in the preternatural silence and was refreshed. There, a bird made the first call ... a bee flew to the next flower ... the moment was gone in a soft but unmistakable passing. Lysandra, too, exhaled. From within her cottage, she heard the sound of voices -first Selia's, then Renan's response. Soon, footsteps entered the growing richness of being, ones Lysandra recognized as much with her heart as with her ears. She moved slightly to one side, making room for Renan to join her on the bench. She did not bother to call upon her Sight; although once it was a spurious gift that came and went by a pattern she could neither name nor control, now she had but to need it, and it was there. But she did not need it for Renan. His footsteps, like his presence, were now almost as well-known to her as her own. When they had met, his thoughts and emotions had been completely shielded from her. It had been a unique relief to Lysandra. For the last ten years, the nearness of other humans had been a painful experience in which her mind was bombarded by all the thoughts, all the needs and hopes, fears and sorrows humans unwittingly projected. Most human minds were like a sieve through which all these, and more, ran in a constant, unstoppable flow -and she caught them all. It was a large part of why she chose and protected her solitude. But now, like her Sight , this had changed. Now she could control the thoughts she let touch her -and with that control, she no longer had to fear the presence of people in her life. It was a gift that promised her a freedom she thought she had lost ten years ago, when she lost all the other pieces of the life she had always known. Just as her mind was shielded from unwelcome contact, Renan's was open to her. His thoughts and feelings ran along the current of their deep and mutual feelings for each other, so that Lysandra could feel the inner essence of the man sitting by her side. At the moment he was confused-and a little discouraged. As he sat there quietly in the sunlight, neither of them said a word for a long moment. Then, finally, she felt him beginning to relax. Lysandra turned toward him. "Selia?" she said, asking a number of questions with that single word. "Selia," Renan replied, answering them all. During the last three weeks, as they rested from their long journey past and for the task ahead, Selia had withdrawn more and more into herself. Lysandra, knowing the shock of losing the life one thought to have, had at first given the younger woman supportive silence in which to make her adjustments of mind and heart. But that luxury was past. June was now upon them, and the summer months of dry weather meant the Barons would be on the move. It was time they were moving as well-back to Ballinrigh. Both she and Renan felt a deep certainty that whatever was next on Selia's path to the throne could only be accomplished in the kingdom's capital city. At least this time we know where we're going, Lysandra thought as she stood. Someone needed to point that out - again -to Selia ... and Lysandra knew that this time it had to be her. Renan, kind and solicitous, was a great one to offer comfort. With him, Lysandra did not hesitate to share her worries and fears. But comfort was no longer what Selia needed. She needed to put aside both sentiment and personal choices, and look ahead with a clear, determined eye. There was too much at stake for any of them to let personal preferences interfere with what had to be done. Selia had shown her strength in the Realm of the Cryf, when dealing with Aurya and Giraldus - it was time she did so again. Lysandra only hoped she could emulate the gentle firmness her own mother had so often used with her. The memory of her mother came easily now. The long years in which her heart was dead and cold, buried beneath the crushing weight of her sorrow, were over. Grief was healed, as was the guilt that she had unwittingly carried for so long -guilt that she should still live while those she had loved died trying to save her. The healing had come from many places, had worn many faces -three of whom were with her now. There was Cloud-Dancer, first and always. From the day he had come into her life, an abandoned six-week-old wolf pup with a broken leg, his joyous devotion and loyalty had begun to chip away the hard shell in which she had encased her inner self. Guard, companion, friend -he had been the first and only being she loved in a long, long time. Then Renan came into her life -or she into his. Although, at first, she had hated the compulsion that drove her to leave this cottage, that led her first to Ballinrigh and then to Rathreagh to find Selia, she knew now it had been a gift from the Divine Hand. In Ballinrigh she had met Renan - Father Renan, priest of the little parish in which she had sought refuge only minutes after entering the city. Viewed in hindsight, the events of that long trek to the kingdom's great capital, and of the even longer one that followed, were nothing short of miraculous. True, she had her Sight to guide her and Cloud-Dancer's presence to keep her safe. But she was still a blind woman walking alone, save for the wolf's company. There could have been danger behind every tree or around any bend in the road. Instead, she had encountered only honesty and beauty as she traveled. When she did reach Ballinrigh and faced the one truly dangerous moment of her journey, the place of sanctuary at hand contained the one person she needed to find. If those two men had not tried to attack and rob her - gaining only the protective fury of a wolf for their troubles - she might have wandered the streets of Ballinrigh until, money gone, she was forced to abandon her search without ever finding Renan or discovering why she was there. But she had found Renan. He alone, of all the city's inhabitants, had known what she did not -who she was and the purpose behind her presence there. He revealed to Lysandra the Thirteenth Scroll of Tambryn and explained to her what it meant. But that was not the greatest gift he had brought to her life. Although it seemed so at the time, Lysandra now knew that what Renan had truly given her was love. Somewhere, some when , along their difficult journey, helpful stranger had turned to friend -and friendship had blossomed into that rarest flower of true and everlasting love. The dark wall behind which she had hidden the deepest part of herself, where she had once believed it would and must always remain, had crumbled bit by bit. But the pieces, so long in place, had not come easily down. It was not until she had to battle her way back from the depths of dark magic cast by their enemy, back into the light of life again, that she had finally let the wall around her heart tumble. Within the Light that had become her chosen reality, no Darkness -of magic or of self -could survive. But Renan was still a priest; the love Lysandra felt for and from him would remain unspoken. Lysandra told herself that did not matter. Love existed -and the friendship, which they could share, was all the deeper for it. There were other places and people through whom her healing had come. There was Eiddig, the aged Guide and leader of the Cryf, the forgotten beings who lived in their wondrous Realm beneath Aghamore's mountains and whose souls were as beautiful as their appearance was strange. Their name meant the Strong, and that is what they were - possessed of amazing strength in their compact, haircovered bodies and, above all, strong in their belief of the One whom they called simply the Divine. No one had demonstrated this strength more surely than Talog, the young Cryf Guide-in-Training who had left the underground Realm to travel with Lysandra and Renan as they searched for Selia. While all of the Cryf had impressed Lysandra with the faith and the compassion that created their amazing, harmonious society, none had done more than Talog. Terrified to travel Up-world, as the Cryf called the surface land of Aghamore, and in physical pain from the brightness of the sun he had never before seen, Talog had proved himself invaluable time and again. Lysandra knew they would never have succeeded in finding or getting Selia to safety without him. And there was Selia herself. She, too, had helped heal Lysandra in ways the older woman was still discovering. Both the Thirteenth Scroll of Tambryn and the Holy Words of the Cryf named Selia the Font of Wisdom . When their minds had touched that first time, Selia's own gifts - unrecognized and unwanted by the girl -had served as a catalyst to unlock Lysandra's undiscovered potential. Together, they had been able to banish the Darkness that had so nearly destroyed Lysandra and bring her back into life again. It was then that Lysandra's Sight , that wondrous inner vision that had allowed her to live and function as a healer through all the long years of solitude, had blossomed. But for nearly ten years, her Sight had come and gone of its own accord, and though she had learned to use it, she could find no way to control it. Nor was what the Sight revealed the same as physical vision. There were moments when it would erupt into colors and images, showing her all that her eyes had learned to do without -but most of the time her Sight came in patterns of light and shadow that dwelt within the heart of living auras. It had taken her a long time to perfect her understanding and use. Now, however, her Sight was under her control, coming or going at her summoning. It also came with color now, and gave her true images whenever she needed, images she combined with the auras for even greater healing skills. Along with her Sight , Lysandra now possessed the gift of Far-Seeing, where her inner vision revealed things at a distance. And, as the Scroll of Tambryn had named her, she was also Prophecy's Hand; her Sight now looked into the future as well as the present. Amazing as all this was to her, there was one gift so awe-inspiring that Lysandra hardly dared think on it. Each time she did, she was still stunned that she should have been its instrument. Manifest through both her Sight and touch, it was the gift of true healing, and it had come only once -to heal Eiddig from the wound of Aurya's dagger. Had this been a gift from the great Divine on whom the Cryf called with such unbending faith, a one-time miracle given for the sake of a beloved servant? Or, Lysandra scarcely dared to believe, was this given to her , a supernatural fulfillment of who and what she was meant to be? This question, like so many others, had whirled through her thoughts throughout the three weeks since they had returned to her cottage. As yet, she had no answer, and she was certain there would be none while they remained here. It had been important to stop and rest and to regain their strength, as important as it had once been to leave. But now the time to leave had come again. Lysandra knew it; Renan knew it - it was only Selia who would not accept it. Cloud-Dancer brushed against Lysandra's thigh as she put her hand to the door latch. As always, his presence made her smile, and she automatically reached down, running her fingers into the thick, soft silver-and-white fur that covered his head and neck. Together, they entered the cottage, leaving Renan alone in the sun-washed garden. Lysandra heard the younger woman in the kitchen. This had become a favorite place of Selia's, the kitchen and the medicine pantry beyond where Lysandra set the herbs to dry and stored the prepared unguents and syrups, salves and simples for use. Their production seemed to fascinate Selia. Although Lysandra was grateful for the help and glad to teach both Selia and Renan what she knew, it was not Selia's destiny to spend her coming years as a healer's apprentice. While Cloud-Dancer went to curl up in his favorite spot by the fireplace, Lysandra headed for the kitchen. She summoned up her Sight so that she could watch Selia as they spoke. It was not that she thought the younger woman would try to deceive her -but she might try to deceive herself, and Lysandra needed to be aware and help her accept the truth. It would not be easy. Unlike most humans, Selia possessed the ability to keep her inner self carefully hidden away, even from Lysandra. How much of this was innate and how much had been learned through her pain-filled childhood, Lysandra did not know. But what her empathy might miss, her Sight would not, and Lysandra intended to make full use of it now. Honed through a decade of practice, Lysandra would be able to read Selia's true emotions on her face, and in the changes to the aura that surrounded her. When she entered the kitchen, and Selia turned to greet her, her aura was clear, bright as sunlight reflecting on a mountain lake. But Lysandra knew it would not last, and she was sorry for that, sorry that she must be the one to destroy Selia's happy, contented humor. "The marigold salve is almost finished," she told Lysandra proudly. "I'll be sealing the pots soon, if you want to look at it first." "No," Lysandra replied, heading for the cupboard where she kept her dishes stored. "I'm sure you've done it right. You've learned a great deal in the short time you've been here. But come, let's have some tea. There are things we must say." Cups now in hand, she turned and saw that Selia's aura had already begun to darken, as if a bank of clouds was moving to block her inner sun. She knows what is coming , Lysandra thought. Of course she does ... her own heart is telling her, just as ours are telling Renan and me. How can I get her to listen to what she knows but does not want to hear? Lysandra put the mugs down and opened the cupboard where she kept the herbs she used for tea. She chose her favorite, a blend of wood betony and chamomile she kept already mixed. Betony strengthened both the body and mind, and chamomile relaxed while promoting clear thoughts and insight. A kettle of hot water was always on the back of the stove, ready for use. Lysandra bent her attention to the necessities of the tea, studiously ignoring the continued darkening of Selia's humor. Continues... Excerpted from The Truest Power by Rebecca Neason Copyright © 2002 by Rebecca Neason Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.