Ale Boy's Feast
by Overstreet, Jeffrey







Prologue1(8)
1 The Wayward Mage
9(12)
2 The Ever-Woven World
21(10)
3 The Bird Kite
31(14)
4 Awakenings
45(9)
5 Warney Fights a Woman
54(12)
6 The Secret of Auralia's Caves
66(12)
7 Down to the Deeper River
78(11)
8 Fraughtenwood
89(13)
9 Cesylle's Regret
102(11)
10 Imityri
113(15)
11 Against the Current
128(9)
12 A Song for Thesera
137(10)
13 The One-Eyed Bandit's Greatest Theft
147(12)
14 Raiders of Raak's Casket
159(11)
15 Viscorclaw
170(13)
16 The River Guardians
183(7)
17 Homeless Dreamers
190(12)
18 The First Feast of New Abascar
202(15)
19 The Glassworker Homecoming
217(8)
20 Fire in Fraughtenwood
225(11)
21 Battle in the Fearblind Ravine
236(12)
22 A Fleeting Glimpse of Daylight
248(12)
23 Threshold
260(14)
24 The Foundation
274(21)
25 The Futures of House Bel Arnica
295(8)
26 Setting the Table
303(7)
27 The Ale Boy's Feast
310(10)
28 Breaking Threads
320(15)
29 The Ring of Trust
335(14)
30 The Great Ancestor
349(10)
31 The Falls
359(10)
Epilogue369(7)
A Guide to the Characters376(6)
Acknowledgements382


Book 4 of the Auralia Thread series

The king is missing.
His people are trapped as the woods turn deadly.
Underground, the boy called Rescue has found an escape.

Hopes are failing across The Expanse. The forests, once beautiful, are now haunted and bloodthirsty. House Abascar's persecuted people risk their lives to journey through those predatory trees. They seek a mythic city - Abascar's last, best hope for refuge - where they might find the source of Auralia's colors.
 
They journey without their king. During a calamitous attempt to rescue some of his subjects from slavery, Cal-raven vanished.

But his helper, the ale boy, falling through a crack in the earth, has discovered a slender thread of hope in the dark. He will dare to lead a desperate company up the secret river.

Meanwhile, with a dragon's help, the wandering mage Scharr ben Fray is uncovering history's biggest lie - a deception that only a miracle can repair.

Time is running out for all those entangled in The Auralia Thread. But hope and miracles flicker wherever Auralia’s colors are found.





Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of three previous books in The Auralia Thread fantasy series. Publisher’s Weekly called Auralia’s Colors a story “precise and beautiful… masterfully told,” and it was a dual finalist for a Christy Award. An award-winning film reviewer, he has written a moviegoer’s memoir, Through a Screen Darkly, and contributes regularly to Image and other journals. He lives in Shoreline, Washington and works at Seattle Pacific University.





THEY CALL THE BOY “RESCUE” FOR A REASON…

The ale boy was once an errand runner, almost invisible as he served House Abascar. As he grew up—an orphan raised by House Abascar’s beer brewer and winemaker—his real name remained a secret, even from him.

But what he did know proved useful indeed. As he gathered the harvest fruits beyond Abascar’s walls, worked with brewers below ground, delivered drinks across the city, and served the king his favorite liquor, the ale boy learned the shortcuts and secrets of that oppressed kingdom.

When the ale boy met Auralia, a mysterious and artistic young woman from the wilderness, they formed a friendship that would change the world. Auralia’s artistry shone with colors no one had ever seen, and when she revealed her masterpiece within House Abascar, the kingdom erupted in turmoil that ended in a calamitous collapse. Auralia vanished, as did her enchanting colors. And hundreds of people died.

Brokenhearted but brave, the ale boy sought out survivors in Abascar’s ruins and helped them find their way to a refuge in the Cliffs of Barnashum.There, led by their new king, Cal-raven, the people endured a harsh winter and an attack from the Cent Regus beastmen.

During those hard days, the ale boy became a legendary hero. The people called him “Rescue.”

Afterward, King Cal-raven sought two things: the origins of Auralia’s colors, and the Keeper—the mysterious dream-creature who had inspired Auralia in the first place.

Cal-raven trusted that the Keeper would lead his people out of their desperate circumstances and into a glorious future. And in that belief, he discovered an ancient, legendary city called Inius Throan standing in the shadow of the northern mountains.

But now his hopes of leading Abascar’s remnant have all but collapsed. His people have found protection and provision in the care of House Bel Amica on the western coast. They’ve settled in. Bel Amica’s a dangerous place, even
for its own rulers, who have exposed treachery among Queen Thesera’s advisors, the Seers.

Heightening their peril, the Deathweed—a creature made of roots and branches—has spread across the Expanse, poisoning and killing everything within its reach.

Worst of all, Cal-raven has made a disastrous mistake. Taking the beastman called Jordam with him as a guide, he left House Bel Amica behind to make a risky journey into the heart of beastman territory.There he hoped to rescue some of his people who were imprisoned and enslaved.

But even though Jordam and the ale boy offered Cal-raven help, things have gone terribly wrong. Many are dead. The ale boy has fallen from a bridge into a dark abyss. And Cal-raven’s faith in the Keeper has collapsed in the aftermath of a shocking discovery.

Now, Cal-raven too is lost in the chaos.

Captain Tabor Jan and the people of Abascar wait in desperate hope for their king to return. Their future seems uncertain.

Shall they go on alone toward Inius Throan without Cal-raven to guide them?

Was the promise of Auralia’s colors just an illusion?

Is the Keeper in their dreams just a figment of their imaginations?

Did the ale boy perish in the darkness?

All these questions will be answered in this, the final strand of The Auralia Thread.






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