Beskrivelse av boka
Every tenth year, a Child of Dawn is chosen by the Order of Balance to set out on a pilgrimage in the service of Mother Light, the sun goddess. This is the story of Aaron Vin Mieroth, the thirty-fifth Dawnchild.
Aaron Vin Mieroth is a disabled, ten-year-old boy whose deepest desire is to go to Mother Light’s spectral realm, a heavenly place where one does not need legs to move.
But as he arrives on the shores of the Land Beyond to begin his final pilgrimage, Aaron learns that the Order of Balance has fed him with lies and Mother Light is not the goddess he’s been brought up to believe in.
“Are you the Collector?” Aaron asked as he shuffled away from the balcony edge.
“That’s what they call me,” the man replied in a hard and indifferent voice.
Aaron frowned. According to the Poise — the Order’s holy book — the Collector was Mother Light’s servant: a giant, immortal, not a common man. The man before him was a lot bigger and scarier than most men Aaron had seen, but he was far from a giant, the way the Poise described him. His predator eyes measured Aaron; resting a while on the Dawnchild’s wrist- and leg bands.
“There you are!” A girl emerged from the stairway, her breath puffing, cheeks red from running. She was about Aaron’s age, with reddish-brown hair messily bound up in thick braids. Her freckled face beamed in delight as she approached. Then she noticed Aaron lying on the ground. “Light,” she exclaimed. “What happened?”
“A lightwraith almost got to him,” said the Collector.
“Oh, dear.” The girl stooped before Aaron and clasped her knees. She was clad in a blue, waist-high poncho, edges rimmed with gilded bands. “Are you all right, Dawnie?” she asked.
Aaron wondered if she could hear his rapid heartbeat above the waves, wind, and screaming seagulls. He’d managed to wipe away the tears at least and hoped she did not notice his red-rimmed eyes. “I’m fine, I guess… What was that wraith-thing?” he asked, looking over the balcony edge. The ocean had completely devoured the creature now. The heavy shield must have dragged it down.
“Just a pathetic scavenger,” the wolfish man muttered in that hardened voice. “Damn miserable beings.” He spat something dark over the edge.
Aaron’s skin crawled thinking of how close that horrible creature had come. Had the wooden mask moved as it talked, or had it been his imagination?
The girl pointed at Aaron. “Lightwraiths seek Mother Light’s power,” she said, knelt beside him and took his hand. “Wow!” Her green eyes widened in surprise. “Your power is immense. Caught me off guard.
Aaron wondered how she could keep touching his skin. “You can stand it?” he asked.
“Of course I can,” she replied and braced herself. Without asking permission, she began probing him, her hands grabbing all over his body. He winched away before her grasping hands reached his chest.
“Hey! What are you doing?” Aaron asked.“Be still!” she ordered and took hold of him again. “I need to see if you’re hurt.”
He let her go on. “I’m fine,” he muttered through gritted teeth, feeling his cheek reddening as she folded his robe to inspect his skinny calves.
“Where is your travel-stone?” she asked and grasped his face, turning it like he was a doll, pulling his hair away from his brow.
“The wraith wanted it, so I threw it in the pool,” Aaron muttered.
“Smart move. But did the lightwraith touch your skin?” The girl reached for his chest again.
“No, it didn’t. Now, please stop!” He caught her probing hands and tore them away before she could open his robe’s neckline.
“Ouch!” she exclaimed and tried wiggling out of his grip.
Realizing that his grip was harder than he had intended, Aaron let go, and the girl fell on her rear. Before he got to apologize, the Collector bent his bulky body down and gripped his collar in a fist the size of Aaron’s head—lifting him up like he was a children’s toy.
“Hurt my daughter again, boy, and I’ll break those little fingers of yours,” he growled, showing dark-stained teeth.