WeWriWa 12/16/18

While I’ve got you here – check out the WeWriWa blog & Snippet Sunday page for a whole batch of amazing authors, willing to share stories with you.

wewriwa

Great!  With the upcoming release of Bloodlines: Book 3 of The Wildblood, I’m rolling it back to grab a snippet from Backlash, the prequel novella.  In this scene, Shannon’s training officer has just asked her what she thinks about the world outside The Vista, knowing full-well, it’s a loaded question.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  “I think there’s more to the world than just us. I think our parents have forgotten that.” Barely seventeen, she had a lot of opinions. Being very smart as well, Shannon was aware not all of those opinions would pan out to be correct. “Someday,” she said, throwing her pack in the back seat and taking the opportunity to stretch. “Some of us should go find out. Unofficially, if we have to.” Tall for a girl, she was lithe and more than pretty; dark hair, fair-skinned with eyes that looked green and occasionally gray. Any day she was on-duty, she carried a pair of Sig Sauer 9mms, left hip and right shoulder.

Are you going to bring that up to Security Command?” Ballentyne wondered, amused.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Of course, things get more and more complicated from there.  I’m expecting a release date the first half of January, unless all my editors & readers get back with me, like tomorrow.  Anyway.  Backlash is free, The Vista & Renegades are 99c each, through the end of the year.  Naturally, I’d love reviews if you’ve read them.  Promo below.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Wildblood Series

Twenty years after civilization stopped, a tiny refuge, a place called The Vista, may be one of the last vestiges of humanity. Isolated, guarded, and hiding a dark secret, the people have survived World War Last, and they are content with that. Their children, however, are not. The search for others will send them out into a land they know nothing about, where the line between enemy and ally is blurred.

The Vista: Book 1 of The Wildblood
What would you do, to protect your home?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00W6R8WNM
Renegades: Book 2 of The Wildblood
Uncontrollable. Unpredictable. Dangerous. The Wildblood.
Now, Team Three know what they are.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LYNY774
Before Team Three, there was The Blackout.
Backlash, prequel to The Wildblood 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0104VMFI4
Bloodlines: Book 3 of The Wildblood coming soon! Catch up on the series now.
Learning the truth about the Altered, and the legacy of The Vista, is the first priority of Team Three. It may earn them exile from their home. They know this. Failure is not an option.

All are available in paperback and eBooks – http://www.topaz08.com

WeWriWa 12/02/18

WeWriWa and Snippet Sunday – check them out if you like books.  You won’t be sorry.

wewriwa

Holy cow, Batman, did that week fly by.  The bad news is – there are parts of Tau Scorpii I won’t share on the blog, and that’s where I am right now.  The good news – it’s moving right along.  So, this week is a snippet from Bloodlines, currently out with an editor.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Wildblood – No one remembers what started the war, the big one. Civilization stopped, and what came next was fueled by rage and fear.

Twenty years on, a tiny refuge, a place called The Vista, may be one of the last vestiges of humanity. Isolated, guarded, and hiding a dark secret, the people have survived World War Last, and they are content with that. Their children, however, are not. The search for others will send them out into a world they know nothing about, where the line between enemy and ally is blurred.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This is Hunter and Shannon, having a conversation.  All hell is about to break loose.  He’s always suspected the secrets of Team Three and the Altered were darker than anyone cared to admit.  The team has gotten themselves exiled from The Vista because of their refusal to cooperate with Council.  Things are about to get even more complicated than they were.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Everyone has goals, it’s not a bad thing,” Hunter said.

I agree, as long as the Altered status in The Vista isn’t at risk.”

Do you think it is?”

You saw how Council was. I wanted to tell them, but I won’t, I can’t. They need to go on thinking . . .” Shan trailed off, never having said it, to anyone.

“Thinking what, tell them what?” Hunter asked.

She shook her head.

You said that you wished everyone knew they were like you – is it true?”

Torn, Shan didn’t want to answer, knowing he wouldn’t give up without one. “Not in the way you think.” 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Yikes!  I really hope I wrap this up as well as I want.  Its been interesting.  I can’t swear I won’t wander back to this world at some point.  For now, Tau Scorpii is next.  Then, who knows?  Gratuitous promo next.  The books are mostly on sale for now.  They won’t be, when I release Bloodlines, FYI.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Backlash, prequel to The Wildblood
Before Team Three, there was The Blackout.

Free in most areas (sorry, Amazon does what it wants).
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
The Vista: Book 1 of The Wildblood
What would you do, to protect your home?

99¢ !!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Renegades: Book 2 of The Wildblood
Uncontrollable. Unpredictable. Dangerous. The Wildblood. Now, Team Three know what they are.

99¢ !!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Bloodlines:Book 3 of The Wildblood
Failure is not an option.
Coming Soon!
http://www.topaz08.com/Bloodlines.html

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Other eBook and paperback retailers – 
http://www.topaz08.com

Holiday Promo – The Wildblood

Happy Holidays to anyone celebrating this week, and to everyone else, have a safe & enjoyable time!  Tau Scorpii is in progress, Bloodlines is in edits.  Wish me luck.  While the covers are done, blurbs and such are not.  Fun times!  

 

The WildbloodNo one remembers what started the war, the big one. Civilization stopped, and what came next was fueled by rage and fear.

Twenty years on, a tiny refuge, a place called The Vista, may be one of the last vestiges of humanity. Isolated, guarded, and hiding a dark secret, the people have survived World War Last, and they are content with that. Their children, however, are not. The search for others will send them out into a world they know nothing about, where the line between enemy and ally is blurred.

The Vista: Book 1 of The Wildblood

What happens, after the end of civilization?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00W6R8WNM

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-vista

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1012282167

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-vista-s-a-hoag/1126903613

https://www.books2read.com/u/3nkaPm

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/686260

http://www.topaz08.com/TheVista.html

Renegades: Book 2 of The Wildblood
Uncontrollable. Unpredictable. Dangerous. The Wildblood.
Now, Team Three know what they are.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LYNY774

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/renegades-15

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1162143226

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/renegades-s-a-hoag/1126903604

https://www.books2read.com/u/bzpepn

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/686275

http://www.topaz08.com/Renegades.html

Bloodlines:Book 3 of The Wildblood

Failure is not an option.

Coming Soon!

http://www.topaz08.com/Bloodlines.html

Asphalt road and dark storm clouds over it

Before Team Three, there was The Blackout.
Backlash, prequel to The Wildblood.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0104VMFI4

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/backlash-39

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1012444527

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/backlash-s-a-hoag/1127070486

https://www.books2read.com/u/3JBdB3

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/686270

http://www.topaz08.com/Backlash.html


All are available in paperback and eBooks www.topaz08.com

Excerpt (Backlash: Prequel to The WIldblood)

“Shannon,” her radio crackled static, snapping her out of a restless sleep. It was Wade on his private channel.

“Go ahead,” she answered groggily. Her watch read 9:30 pm and she was supposed to go on duty at 2:00 am. An hour – she’d been asleep an hour.

“Gear up. I’ll be there in five minutes to get you.”

“What’s going on?” she wondered, rubbing her eyes.

“Don’t ask, just do.”

He didn’t sound like they might be playing wargames. Shan moved.

Her mother was in the kitchen. Deirdre Allen was five foot three, with pale blond hair, hazel eyes, and was one of The Vista’s actual doctors. She’d been twenty-nine when civilization ended. “The hospital just called me in,” she announced. “Are you on-call?”

“I am now. Wade didn’t tell me why.”

“War games?”

“No,” Shan told her. “Not this time. I know you don’t like carrying, but I think this is serious. Take a sidearm, Mom, please.”

Deirdre nodded. “For your peace of mind I will.” She knew how to use it; she’d been forced to in the past and hoped she never would again. “Whatever it is, be careful.”

“I am, and Wade wouldn’t let me get away with anything else.”

She hugged her. “I mean it.”

“I’ll see you in the morning,” Shan said, hearing a car. “That’s Wade. If he tells me it’s practice, I’ll let you know.” She didn’t think it was likely, but he’d fooled her before.

The moment she dropped into the passenger seat, she knew it was real. “Can you tell me now?” She’d dressed in winter camos with body armor, both Sigs and a boot gun, clips in all her pockets, plus an array of knives. Her pack held spare ammo, food rations and various bits of survival equipment.

He glanced sideways at her, heading towards Station Two with a purpose. “We lost a Scout at Wisdom about an hour ago.”

“Lost?” she repeated, not expecting it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

WeWriWa 10/21/18

WeWriWa – check it out.  There’s a great group of authors sharing their snippets and insights into the writing process.  Be afraid!  And Snippet Sunday on Facebook is awesome, too, stop on by.

wewriwa

Blurb – Tau Scorpii

When Taryn rescues another human from a marauding band of Caeruleum, she is reunited with clansmen long believed dead. It puts her at odds with their new chieftan, as well as her own partner, a powerful privateer. They discover, they have a more imminent problem, and must unite to survive.

The weather is changing. They’ll have to fight other species for control as migrations begin, food becomes scarce, and border wars erupt across the territories. Humans are no longer at the top of the food chain.

Tau Scorpii A, a massive red giant star in a binary cluster with Tau Scorpii B, a yellow dwarf. The solar system is populated by more than thirty planets, at least one habitable. Called Sedna by the SolTerrans that live there, named for a planet in their ancestral system. The desert is a dangerous place for alien species – and on Sedna, they’re all alien species.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I hate to reuse a snippet, but I’m writing ‘The Scene’ in Bloodlines, and things have been pretty hectic here this week.  Everything is ok, just crazy busy.   So, I leave you with my favorite scene in Tau Scorpii (so far).  It’s on deck now, due out early next year.  Take a peek.

 Taryn and Skye knew each other when she was a child and he was a warrior in her clan, but than was quite a few years ago.  Things have changed, and they’re both coming to terms with that.  It’s not going to be easy, or simple for them, that’s not how my characters go.  Skye feels guilt over events of the past.  Taryn has other feelings, about current events.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  “Say that again,” he challenged, cutting in front of her to make her stop, leaning close to make it private.

  She didn’t waver,“Let it go, there’s nothing you can do to change it.” Then she fiddled with the collar of his dusty jacket, pretending to brush it off. Neither of them even blinked. Taryn pulled him forward and kissed him, brushing her lips over his for a few lingering moments. “I know you were a good man, show me who you are now.”

  “You might not like who I am now.”

  “I was going to say the same thing. I’m not your princess,” Taryn used a childhood fairy tale to make her point.

  Skye had been read the same stories when he was young, “I’m not your knight in shining armor.”

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

  Yep, they have issues.  Pretty soon, those are going to multiple, but that’s how it goes, right?  Up next, the weekly batch of promos.

Backlash is currently free!

new_Backlash_sm

 

You can find the rest of the series here, and other retailers for Backlash as well.

 

 

 

And a preview of Tau Scorpii Book 1.

TS1_cover2c_small

WeWriWa 10/14/18

Time again for a sneak peek at a WIP – this week is Bloodlines: Book 3 of The Wildblood.  But first – check out the WeWriWa blog for more authors sharing their work, and Snippet Sunday.

wewriwa

The Wildblood Series

A Post-Apocalyptic Action Adventure

No one remembers what started the war, the big one. Civilization stopped, and what came next was fueled by rage and fear.

Twenty years on, a tiny refuge, a place called The Vista, may be one of the last vestiges of humanity. Isolated, guarded, and hiding a dark secret, the people have survived World War Last, and they are content with that. Their children, however, are not. The search for others will send them out into a world they know nothing about, where the line between enemy and ally is blurred.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Alrighty then.  Getting towards the end of this story arc, things are heating up.  This is an encounter between Shannon and Harlan, who really need to be allies, but have many issues to overcome first.  He knows how different the Altered are; she doesn’t trust anyone beyond her teammates.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You tell people Kaden is your son, and they naturally think, biological,” she started off thoughtfully.  “That’s what you want because people don’t know the semantics of the Altered, hell, I don’t. You let them think it, though, they don’t associate one with the other; the Altered didn’t come from families, they came from corporate laboratories.  As long as they believe that, you think you can worry a little less about him.”

Easy enough to figure out.”

When you meet new people, the first thought in your mind isn’t one of trust; usually, you wonder if you’ll have to kill any of them, and then you single out who is in charge.  Just in case.”

Harlan didn’t have an immediate answer, she’d read him, like Kaden warned she could. One of his darkest fears, too, and that worried him – their first encounter beyond The Vista had been with Rafe, and it warped their views.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’ve had Backlash free for a month now, I hope to see some sales start popping up from it.  And reviews are always welcomed!  Promos, of course.  Next week could be some Tau Scorpii!  Please Stand By

 

WeWriWa 10/07/18

If you enjoy snippets, please check out WeWriWa & Snippet Sunday.  I’ve found a great selection of books to keep me entertained.

wewriwa

The Wildblood Series

A Post-Apocalyptic Action Adventure

  No one remembers what started the war, the big one. Civilization stopped, and what came next was fueled by rage and fear.

  Twenty years on, a tiny refuge, a place called The Vista, may be one of the last vestiges of humanity. Isolated, guarded, and hiding a dark secret, the people have survived World War Last, and they are content with that. Their children, however, are not. The search for others will send them out into a world they know nothing about, where the line between enemy and ally is blurred.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Something a little lighter this week.  Everyone is taking a day off, trying to relax.  Green is the subject of current gossip, mostly because he’s not there to defend himself.  Depending on how Bloodlines goes, and depending on my muses, of course, there could be standalone books from The Wildblood world.  Green would be the first,

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’ve seen her beat up Green, and he’s the one that taught her to fight,” Mitch went on.

Maybe he won’t hit a woman,” Cassie offered.

Sure he will,” Shan said. “He’s hit me, hell, he’s knocked me down half a dozen times until I kept my hands up, and stopped giving him a tell when I was about to take a swing.”

“Full-on punches, or this play stuff?” Cassie wondered.

Green has no problem, male or female, if he’s training you.”  She dodged away from Chris – he’d already decided he wasn’t hitting her, no way, no how.

You give as good as you get, if I remember,” Mitch said.

Yeah, now, besides, he likes it when I smack him.”

Chris dropped his hands, “Come on, information I don’t need to hear.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Alrighty then.  Remember, Christmas is coming, books are excellent gifts!  Here are mine.  Backlash is free until November.  Click the pic!

WeWriWa 09/09/18

  Another week, another 50 words.

  Nah, I wrote more than that.  I hope to have the draft of Bloodlines finished next week by this time.  Tau Scorpii is on deck, and yes, there is another one waiting for attention.

  Check out the WeWriWa blog and Snippet Sunday for more excerpts, from some amazing authors.  You won’t be disappointed.

wewriwa

The Wildblood Series

A Post-Apocalyptic Action Adventure

  No one remembers what started the war, the big one. Civilization stopped, and what came next was fueled by rage and fear.

  Twenty years on, a tiny refuge, a place called The Vista, may be one of the last vestiges of humanity. Isolated, guarded, and hiding a dark secret, the people have survived World War Last, and they are content with that. Their children, however, are not. The search for others will send them out into a world they know nothing about, where the line between enemy and ally is blurred.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  This week, Shan & Hunter are out in the world, and they’ve run across some hostile Nomads.  Outside of The Vista, they are on the defensive, and there are civilians close by.  They want to control the situation before it gets out of hand, but you don’t always get what you want.

  They attempt to reason with the intruders, first.  Things get a little intense.  See the previous post here.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

  “Well, the h*** you do,” Shan said quietly, enough that the men hanging back by the doors couldn’t hear her.

  “Little girl, you have no idea,” Ryan sneered.

  Hunter let her go; if they even breathed wrong, he was going to take it on himself, and start that shootout he’d promised to try and avoid.

  “I’ve seen things, with my own eyes, that happened before I was born,” she said, leaning towards him, stoic. “I watched cities die, I’ve killed my own kind for thinking they could threaten me, Nomads that thought they outsmarted me, and I never thought twice about it. If you make us slaughter the entire bunch of you, I won’t remember your face tomorrow.”

  Ryan blinked, thinking of something to say. He had crossed them, and he knew, if they were what they claimed, he was dead.

One tiny bit of advice,” she finished. “It’s not ‘mutant freak’, it’s ‘altered’.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  Edited to make it PG, and to keep it at the 8 – 10.  I’m in the process of getting Backlash switched to free, so I can do some promoting.  Of course, Amazon isn’t cooperating.  You can check out my progress through my website, it’s just easier that way.   

#8Sunday 03/12/17 WeWriWa

OK, here I am again.  Weird, isn’t it?  It looks like WordPress has been doing some work, to, so I hope this works out.  First off, check out the WeWriWa blog for a whole list of amazing authors offering sneak peeks of their books.

shade

This week, a few sentences from Backlash, the prequel novella to The Wildblood.  Here, things are about to happen.  Scary, loud things that they aren’t expecting.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Shannon,” her radio crackled with static, snapping her out of a restless sleep. It was Wade; like most teams, they had a private channel.

Go ahead,” she answered groggily. Her watch read 9:30 pm and she was supposed to go on duty at 2:00 am. An hour – she’d been asleep an hour.

Gear up. I’ll be there in five minutes to get you.”

What’s going on?” she wondered, rubbing her eyes.

Don’t ask, just do.”

He didn’t sound like they might be playing wargames.

 

sahoagbacklash

 ~ ~ ~ ~

The Vista: Book 1 of The Wildblood
What happens, after the end of civilization?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00W6R8WNM


Renegades: Book 2 of The Wildblood
Uncontrollable. Unpredictable. Dangerous. The Wildblood. 
Now, Team Three know what they are.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LYNY774


99¢ always.
Before Team Three, there was The Blackout.
Backlash, prequel to The Wildblood. 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0104VMFI4

All are available in paperback and eBooks – http://www.topaz08.com

~~~~

The Wildblood Series

No one remembers what started the war, the big one. It happened too fast, and there were too many lies, for the truth to be known. Civilization stopped, and what came next was fueled by rage and fear.

Twenty years on, a tiny refuge, a place called The Vista, may be one of the last vestiges of humanity. Isolated, guarded, and hiding a dark secret, the people have survived World War Last, and they are content with that. Their children, however, are not. The search for others will send them out into a world they know nothing about, where the line between enemy and ally is blurred. 

all3_promo_3

#8Sunday 03/05/17 We WriWa

Another Sunday!  Time for some intriguing snippets.  Want to see more?  Check out the WeWriWa blog page.  You won’t be disappointed.


shade

This week, I’m going to wander back to the beginning of The Wildblood series and post a snippet from the prequel novella, Backlash.  This is a group of officers discussing their newest rookie, Shannon.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So are you taking your Scout out tomorrow?” Ballentyne, Mick in his off-duty time, peered down from the second floor loft, making his point to the younger officers.

Is she ready to drive around by herself?” Wade asked.

She’s been ready all summer.”

We haven’t been ready,” Mac said, not joking.

Give her the keys, tell her she’s on regular rotation with us,” Wade told Ballentyne.

Are you sure?” Mac asked quietly, keeping the conversation private.

I should’ve put her on the road the week she turned sixteen, but I’d have had her parents and you to deal with. How she didn’t make Ballentyne crazy over the summer is beyond me,” Wade revealed. “You want to keep her at rookie status another season? She drives you around in the mountains next, starting tomorrow.”

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Backlash is available free on Instafreebie, if you’d like to sign up for my newsletter, or it’s available as a paperback or ebook through my website.

Book 3 of the series is in rough draft, and the first two – The Vista & Renegades, are available now, again, check my website for your choice of format.

PS – The Vista is on sale this week!

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Wildblood Series

No one remembers what started the war, the big one. It happened too fast, and there were too many lies, for the truth to be known. Civilization stopped, and what came next was fueled by rage and fear.

Twenty years on, a tiny refuge, a place called The Vista, may be one of the last vestiges of humanity. Isolated, guarded, and hiding a dark secret, the people have survived World War Last, and they are content with that. Their children, however, are not. The search for others will send them out into a world they know nothing about, where the line between enemy and ally is blurred.

 

Asphalt road and dark storm clouds over it

 

#8Sunday WeWriWa


shade

Check out the blog!

I find books here all the time that I just can’t pass up.

OK, I’m writing a novel and novella of The Wildblood series at the same time.  I don’t see a problem with this.

One of the novellas in the works is going to be centered on personal relationships, one in particular. Yes, romance is involved. I’m writing it as if I’m the only person who will ever read it. This one is for me.

A few words for you.  Shannon and Mac.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We need to talk.”

Shannon hadn’t been entirely asleep, but she hadn’t been expecting a conversation with Cmdr. MacKenzie, in the middle of the night, either.

Now?” she asked, getting her bearings.

Can you think of a better time?”

When we’re home.”

Do you think we’ll ever be home again, together?”

She rolled over and sat up next to him, clutching a pillow to her chest. “I don’t know, Alex, I hope so. Will it change anything, between us?”

That’s what we need to talk about.”

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In all likelihood, this novella will be out before Book 3.  In the meantime, there are 3 already out there.  Promo time.

all3_promo_3

The Wildblood Series

No one remembers what started the war, the big one. It happened too fast, and there were too many lies, for the truth to be known. Civilization stopped, and what came next was fueled by rage and fear.

Twenty years on, a tiny refuge, a place called The Vista, may be one of the last vestiges of humanity. Isolated, guarded, and hiding a dark secret, the people have survived World War Last, and they are content with that. Their children, however, are not. The search for others will send them out into a world they know nothing about, where the line between enemy and ally is blurred. The war may not be over.

 

Before Team Three, there was The Blackout.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0104VMFI4

Backlash, prequel to The Wildblood series. Before Team Three, there was the Blackout. Set on a near-future Earth mostly devoid of humans, this reveals some of the harsh realities facing people of The Vista, and how Team Three began.

When Security faces an unknown adversary that threatens to wreak havoc across what little civilization there is left, they must rely on the unusual abilities of a new team, and hope it’s enough to stop the chaos.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It’s not a dystopia, it’s not a utopia – it’s their home, and they’d do anything to protect it.

The Vista: Book 1 of The Wildblood

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00W6R8WNM

The Vista: Book 1 of The Wildblood introduces Team Three – they’re young, ambitious, and at the forefront of a movement to discover what is beyond The Vista. They also believe they are genetically enhanced, Gen En, a practice outlawed long before they were born. Venturing beyond their valley draws the attention of someone dangerous, someone that shares their past and wants to control their future, or destroy them because of what they might be. The team decide to take the fight away from their home and end up finding new allies – and new enemies.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Renegades: Book 2 of The Wildblood
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LYNY774

Uncontrollable. Unpredictable. Dangerous. The Wildblood.
Now, Team Three know what they are.

Renegades: Book 2 of The Wildblood takes up with Team Three out among clans of the Altered, and cities where civilization has held ground. Their efforts to establish The Vista’s domain create unique conflicts and forge unexpected allies. One of the most pressing obstacle turns out to be their own governing council, a threat as real and dangerous as the nomads of the outlands.