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Weaver’s Stone Recaps

WARNING: The following section contains spoilers for Weaver’s Stone book 1 and is only intended to be read by those who have already read the book.

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Nils must escape from Dreygard Manor or he’ll end up either dead or married, and he isn’t sure which is worse.

How did he get into this predicament? He attempted to steal from the most dangerous man in the province, its heavy-handed ruler, Lord Feren Dreygard. What could be worth such a risk? Chrysolin: a black gemstone, the gem of the fallen god Lyare. Each of the five gods has a corresponding precious stone, which people use to pray to them. Lyare’s is forbidden, which is precisely why Nils is trying to find one and steal it. Not because he wants it for himself—he’s completely repulsed by it, as any upright citizen of Branaden would be—but because he wants to expose Lord Dreygard for the corrupt ruler he is. If Dreygard has weaver’s stones—as chrysolin is also known—he could only have gotten them by trading with the enemy, the nation of Galreyva.

And it doesn’t stop there. Chrysolin has its uses, if you’re into black magic. The Galreyvan Empire, ruled by Emperor Suloron Ri’sen, embraces the fallen god’s power. They search for those rare few who have the ability to use the black gem, then hail them as heroes, sending them out to do the emperor’s bidding. Spellweavers, as they are known, pray their desires into the gem, and, if their spell agrees with their individual abilities, they can lay curses upon objects or people—or heal them, in some cases. Generally, misfortune and death follow a spellweaver’s curse. If Lord Dreygard is truly trading with the enemy for weaver’s stones, then he’s likely not only a traitor to the crown, but one of these vile spellweavers. He will surely face execution, once the king of Branaden learns of his crimes.

But Nils fails. He doesn’t find chrysolin, and he’s spotted in the manor. While trying to flee, he runs into Lord Dreygard’s daughter, Raeya. He can’t let her alert the guards. In a desperate attempt to keep her quiet, Nils kisses her. Unbeknownst to him, she bears a curse, and one that should have killed him on the spot: only one man, her true love, can survive her kiss. All others will die. And Nils survives.

That is all the proof Raeya Dreygard needs. She is immediately enamored with him, and set on marrying him. When Lord Dreygard learns of everything that has transpired, however, he is set only on Nils’ execution. Now Nils finds himself trapped at the manor, waiting to see if father or daughter will win out and decide his fate. He finds Raeya insufferable, but she is the only one who can possibly save him from her father, so what is he to do?

Nils thinks he finds the answer in Jarik Sowell, a congenial nobleman staying at the manor. He seems like an excellent choice to take Lord Dreygard’s place as leader of the province, and he’s madly in love with Raeya. He’s willing to help Nils escape with his life, if Nils can get Raeya to fall in love with him instead. It’s a perfect solution, and even seems to be working, but something strange happens: when Raeya’s feelings for Nils begin to wane, Nils’ feelings for her begin to grow. Then, just after Nils has finally found chrysolin on the manor grounds, Jarik Sowell shows himself to be the spellweaver, not Lord Dreygard, and that’s not even the worst of it. Jarik’s true name is Isek Ri’sen, and he’s the nephew of Suloron Ri’sen, Emperor of Galreyva.

Isek captures Raeya and takes her to his uncle, who hopes to use her curse—her deadly kiss—as a weapon, and make Raeya an assassin in his service. Lord Dreygard pleads with Nils to go after them and save her, as he is at the mercy of Emperor Ri’sen and unable to do so. What? Aiding Lord Dreygard? Why would Nils do that? But he can’t stand what’s happened to Raeya. He can’t leave her to this awful fate. So he accepts.

Nils travels to Galreyva with his friends, Taws and Sandri, who have helped him in the background up until now. Nils knew Taws only as the leader of some secret organization—the very one Nils had teamed up with to bring down Lord Dreygard in the first place—but it’s another case of shocking hidden identities: Taws turns out to be Tawson Rafford, once the crown prince of Thrinia, a nation that was previously conquered by the Galreyvans. He keeps it a secret, but he has never stopped fighting back against the ones who took over his homeland.

Once they reach Castle Ri’sen, Nils succeeds in rescuing Raeya, but they find a woman in the dungeon, someone Raeya recognizes. She is Kara’ni, the spellweaver who gave Raeya her curse long ago. Nils demands that she remove the curse—which has long plagued Raeya, even claiming the life of her first love—and Kara’ni agrees, but only if Nils will free her and get her to Emperor Ri’sen so she can kill him. Taws wants to do that, seeking vengeance for his fallen nation, and it becomes a race to see who can get to him first.

In the first clash, the emperor escapes, Taws is fatally wounded by Isek, and Isek is fatally wounded by Sandri. Nils and Raeya share an emotional goodbye with a dying Isek, who confesses regret over what he’s done and bids them to escape. They leave him and find a place to hide with the others, then Kara’ni—convinced that Nils has the power to spellweave—shows him how to use chrysolin to weave a spell to save Taws’ life. He succeeds. He becomes the very thing he hates in order to gain the power to heal his friend. As happens to all spellweavers, the veins at Nils’ wrists turn black, the unmistakable mark of Lyare.

In a final clash, Nils, Raeya, and Kara’ni manage to trap the emperor alone in a chapel inside the castle. Kara’ni curses him, controlling him and forcing him to kiss Raeya so that her true-love’s-kiss curse will end his life. Raeya is terrified, and Nils can’t stand it. He dispatches the emperor himself with a knife Taws gave him. Kara’ni is furious. She refuses to remove Raeya’s curse. Raeya declares that she will keep it, and utilizes the fallen emperor’s sword to ensure that Kara’ni leaves and does them no harm. Raeya declares her love for Nils anew, even though Kara’ni has revealed to them that there is no such thing as a “true love” or a “soulmate.” The reason her curse didn’t kill Nils is because Kara’ni had bound her to the spellweaver closest to her age, then lied, saying it was to her true love, intending it as a cruel trick. Even knowing this, Raeya loves Nils anyway, having seen what kind of person he is. And now he loves her too.

Nils, Raeya, Tawson, and Sandri return home. Nils and Raeya will be allowed to marry, assuming Nils can hide the fact that he’s a spellweaver now. There is one more thing that he has hidden, even from his friends: when he became a spellweaver, he met Lyare, the fallen fifth god. The other four gods watch over the world in turns, each reigning for their seasons, but Lyare’s season was lost long ago, and while the Galreyvans adore him, Nils’ nation of Branaden believes him evil. Nils has some connection with him, and he’s terrified of it, but he can escape it for now, as long as he never has to touch a weaver’s stone ever again.

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WARNING: The following section contains spoilers for Weaver’s Stone book 2: Galreyva’s Heir and is only intended to be read by those who have already read the book.

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A month before Nils and Raeya are to be married, Nils finds out he is going to have to have his wrists inspected by the king, since marrying Raeya will make him Lord Dreygard’s heir. This is a problem: weavers’ veins cannot be hidden, and anyone found to have them will be executed. Nils and Raeya sneak off to meet up with Taws and Sandri, hoping their friends can help them come up with a solution. Then Kara’ni makes everything much worse when she catches Raeya and weaves a second curse on her. She won’t tell them yet what it is, but she coerces Nils into leaving with her, saying he must complete a task for her before she’ll let him go and remove this new curse from Raeya.

Nils complies, disappearing with Kara’ni, and Raeya can’t stand it. She, Taws, and Sandri search everywhere for him, and Raeya refuses to return home until he’s found.

Kara’ni takes Nils to Galreyva, dyeing his hair a dark brown color on the way, and instructing him to speak with an accent. He is to impersonate a Galreyvan, and, with his newfound spellweaving powers, become the healer for the new emperor, Hirik Ri’sen. Hirik is a weak man, cursed with fragility, and he has had no healer since his father died. Kara’ni wants Nils to gain his trust, then kill him by “failing to heal him.” Nils refuses, until Kara’ni tells him what Raeya’s new curse is: she will lose a day of her life anytime she touches someone she loves. Anyone she loves, not just Nils. If Nils won’t end the emperor’s life, then Raeya’s will slowly drain away. Nils has no choice but to move forward.

During their search for Nils, Raeya, Taws, and Sandri attempt to enter an organization that illegally collects spellweavers and sells them to Galreyva, hoping to find news of Nils or Kara’ni there. They pretend that Raeya is a “latent” spellweaver whose powers—and black veins—have not yet been revealed, but it turns out to be true. During the test, Raeya weaves a spell for real, and her veins turn black. Escape seems impossible, but then Isek Ri’sen enters the scene. But he’s dead! Raeya thinks. She’d seen it herself; Sandri stabbed him in the back at Castle Ri’sen. It turns out a spellweaver healed him just in time, and since then he has been out searching for Kara’ni, who is thought to have killed his uncle, Suloron Ri’sen. To say there is bad blood between Isek, Taws, and Sandri is an understatement, but Raeya manages to secure a fragile truce between all of them, since for now, they all have the same goal: find Kara’ni.

At Castle Ri’sen, Nils is tested by an advisor to the emperor named Rodek, who distrusts him from the start, but somehow he manages to secure his position as official healer to the emperor. Emperor Hirik is not what he expected. He is disinterested in spellweaving and chrysolin, and even in rekindling war with Nils’ nation of Branaden. He is not very popular with his own people because of this, but the longer Nils works for him, the more he can see that this strange, sardonic man actually cares for the well-being of his people more than weaver’s stones, and that is something Nils can admire. Somehow, something like a friendship begins to form, which complicates things further; the more Hirik trusts Nils, the easier it will be for Nils to kill him, and the less he can imagine doing so.

Raeya, Taws, Sandri, and Isek travel to Gen Rill, the now abandoned coal mine Nils and Taws were once forced to work in. They retrieve raw chrysolin, which Isek says they will need to get refined, so they head toward Galreyva where they can visit a gemsmith. On the way, they stop in the town of Joega and have a fearful encounter with a masked spellweaver. Isek nearly loses his life to her and her comrades, but is saved by Taws, Sandri, and even Raeya, who uses her newfound spellweaving to send the masked woman flying. During their travels, Raeya asks Isek to teach her Galreyvan so Kara’ni will have a harder time taking advantage of her in the future. During all they experience together, the two of them begin to grow closer.

In Galreyva, Nils meets another healer in the castle, a Thrinian named Meily. She is not allowed to heal the emperor, due to her nation being one conquered by Galreyva in the past. She is not trusted, and she is hurt by that. She wishes she could repay Emperor Hirik for once sparing her sister’s life. Her sister now works in the kitchens of the castle, and Meily pressures Nils into helping her sneak a message down to her, since she never gets to see her anymore and is concerned for her.

Nils also learns from Meily that there is an insurrection going on, and a powerful spellweaver is currently trying to overthrow the emperor’s rule. She has gained great popularity among the people. Nils doesn’t have to ask who that is; it’s Kara’ni, and now Nils realizes this task she’s given him is about far more than just seeing to one man’s death. If he secures Kara’ni’s victory, she will take over Galreyva, and it could mean Branaden’s downfall.

Ever since entering the emperor’s service, Nils has had access to chrysolin, but he has avoided holding it and the other godjewels (which he has from the prayer bracelet Raeya gave him) so that he will not risk hearing Lyare’s voice again. But in the face of the dreadful choices he has to make, he gives in, and reaches out to the fallen fifth god. Lyare speaks gently, reassures him, and supports Nils’ convictions not to kill the emperor, but Nils doesn’t see how he can possibly save Raeya if he follows that path. Against his better judgment, Nils asks him one more question: If Lyare’s power were restored to him, would spellweaving disappear, and all spellweavers’ black veins with it? His answer is yes.

At the manor, Lord Dreygard receives a couple visits from one of the king’s men, who is checking up on Nils and Raeya’s disappearance. On his second visit, the man reports that Raeya was seen at an inn with Jarik Sowell, much to Dreygard’s surprise. Dreygard manages to ward off disaster for now, but the king’s man’s intense interest in Raeya and Jarik is troubling, and Dreygard fears what may come to light.

Raeya’s group arrives at the gemsmith in Galreyva, and as soon as Isek returns with refined chrysolin, another spellweaver named Aizah arrives, and a fight ensues. She has defected to Kara’ni’s side, and when she and her allies get ahold of Taws and Sandri, Raeya is forced to make a very difficult choice. She decides to give her full trust to Isek, and it pays off. Together, they are able to save Taws and Sandri, and Aizah flees from them.

Another difficult choice awaits Raeya soon after. She can no longer deny the bond that has formed between her and Isek. When he confesses his love for her, her heart longs to accept, but she remembers that hearts cannot be trusted. Her devotion to Nils wins out. When Isek says Nils may not accept her now that she’s a spellweaver, Raeya tells him a truth she’s held back, that Nils is in fact a spellweaver too, with the power to heal. Hearing this, Isek quickly figures out what it was Kara’ni wanted with him, and that his cousin, Emperor Hirik, is in grave danger. They hurry on toward the castle, knowing they will find Nils there, and if he truly does kill the emperor, then Isek will become an enemy once more.

Nils has come a long way in gaining the emperor’s trust. So far, in fact, that Hirik intends to make him an advisor, on equal footing with Rodek. It is on the heels of this decision that Kara’ni informs Nils his moment has come: there is about to be a great disturbance in the castle, and his chance to fail to heal the emperor is at hand. With dread, Nils can only watch as events unfold, beginning unexpectedly with Meily’s death.

He finds her in her final moments, and she confesses that she’s been working for Kara’ni all along. She allowed Kara’ni to curse her so that when she healed someone, her target would wither away and die. Her target had been the empress, Hirik’s wife, but for some reason both the empress and Meily are dying. Nils understands; Kara’ni is a liar, fueled by cruelty, and she must have known that Meily would meet the same fate as the empress. With her last words, Meily confesses that she has also poisoned Emperor Hirik with help from her sister in the kitchens. She had lied about admiring him, and had been seeking revenge against him all along for the way he’d treated her and her sister. She’d used a weak poison that would elude the food testers, but Hirik’s curse would leave him plenty vulnerable.

Nils runs straight to the empress’ chambers, looking for the emperor. He finds him mourning, barely alive. Nils doesn’t even think about letting him die. He weaves the healing spell, but…it’s too late. Before he says the final words, Hirik succumbs to the poison and dies.

But not before noting aloud something about Nils’ speech. Nils was too busy spellweaving to catch what he said until after, but Hirik, intrigued, had caught a change in Nils’ accent. Not Galreyvan. Branic. And all the advisors were right there to hear it for themselves. Rodek, furious, hauls Nils from the room, promising he will die for what he’s done. As they reach the hallway, a clamor begins, and Nils knows exactly what it is. Kara’ni’s forces have made their move.

After being interrogated, Nils sits with Rodek’s knife to his throat, on the edge of death when Isek storms into the room, demanding to know what has happened. Nils tells him, and is amazed when Isek not only believes him, but already understands a great deal about the situation. Isek frees him, then they leave to try to track down Kara’ni. Before escaping the castle, Nils is reunited with Raeya, Taws, and Sandri—a joyful meeting, except that until Kara’ni can be made to remove Raeya’s curse, Nils can’t touch her.

They find Kara’ni at a mill where she has previously met with Nils. Nils and Raeya approach her alone, and to Nils’ surprise, she keeps her word. Because the emperor is dead, she removes Raeya’s new curse. Her old curse, she must keep. Nils and Raeya try to get away, but when Isek makes his move to attack, things quickly get messy. Kara’ni tells him that she didn’t kill Isek’s uncle, Nils did, and now Isek’s wrath burns against both of them. Kara’ni’s guards arrive, and Taws, Sandri, and Rodek counter them while Isek is locked in battle with Kara’ni, who begins chanting a curse. Then a group of men arrive, declaring they’ve been sent by King Perem to arrest Raeya Dreygard for spellweaving. They capture her, ready to take her back to Branaden where she’ll face certain execution, and Nils find himself with only one hope left.

He calls on Lyare. The fifth god tells him how his power can be restored, and Nils does it, using all five divine gems and shouting a rite to the sky. It works. Raeya, and all spellweavers in the world, lose their black veins, and their powers with them. Bewildered, the king’s men arrest Raeya, Nils, Taws, and Sandri, and prepare to take them back to Branaden. With a last look behind, Nils spies Isek and Rodek’s backs as they leave the clearing and disappear into the forest. And Kara’ni…

Her eyes stare him down with a gaze more haunting than anything else he’s seen.

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Some notable characters and events:

Nils Tenning: A young townsman who used to work at a school along with his mother. When her health was failing, Nils was taken away by one of Lord Dreygard’s taskers and forced to work in the coal mine of Gen Rill, where he met Taws. After escaping, he returned home, but it was too late; his mother had already passed away.
—Goes by Nils Oakander in book 1, attempting to hide his escape from Gen Rill. He is deathly afraid of the dark after working there.
—Because he grew up in a schoolhouse, he has a persistent habit of correcting people’s grammar.

Raeya Dreygard: Daughter of the domiseer of Chanterey, a province in the country of Branaden. A spellweaver named Kara’ni cursed her when she was a young girl because she had unknowingly picked flowers from a grave. Her curse claimed the life of her first love, Keden.

The Deities and their gems: Pria (diamond), Desna (emerald), Raulen (ruby), Kirit (sapphire), Lyare (chrysolin). Four of the fives gods now reign over the world, each taking their turn during their season. Lyare’s season of Hearthnight was lost long ago, along with his godhood. The Galreyvans believe Pria to be at fault, and Lyare innocent, while the Branadites and most other nations believe Lyare to be a force of evil, finally vanquished by the other gods.

Taws: Truthfully Tawson Rafford, but he hides his identity. He was the crown prince of Thrinia before the country was overrun by Galreyva about a decade earlier during the war. Taws operates a secret organization, tracking down Galreyvan spies.

Sandri: A barmaid from the town of Kent, and a member of Taws’ organization. She impersonates a maid to help Nils when he’s trapped at Dreygard Manor. She and Taws marry before the events of book 2.

Bern: A guard at Dreygard Manor. In book 1, he is suspicious of Lord Dreygard, and helps Nils find chrysolin in Building 5.

Tilda: Raeya’s attendant. She has great disdain for Nils at first, but becomes an ally.

Kara’ni: A powerful and dangerous spellweaver. Known as the Scion of Lyare for the strength of her abilities. She once served Emperor Ri’sen, but became his enemy and eventually his prisoner after he sentenced her lover to death. Nils frees her during the events of book 1.

Anseph: Deceased. Was a Galreyvan priest, and Kara’ni’s lover. He was thought to have gone mad, claiming to hear the voice of Lyare, and was sentenced to death when he preached Pria’s innocence. He and Kara’ni escaped together into Branaden, where he tried to preach Lyare’s innocence, and met his death.

Suloron Ri’sen: Emperor of Galreyva during the events of book 1. A spellweaver with the power of healing. He saved Raeya’s life when she was young, rendering her father in his debt. Raeya and Nils take his sword at the end of book 1 and give it to Tawson.

Isek Ri’sen: A spellweaver with the power to control others. He works as a deadly agent for his uncle. During book 1, he impersonates a Branadite nobleman, going by the name Jarik Sowell and pretending to be a trade manager from another province.

Hirik Ri’sen: Suloron Ri’sen’s son, and Isek’s cousin. Emperor of Galreyva during the events of book 2. Cursed with frailty so that any wound or sickness could be fatal.

Rodek: Hirik’s chief advisor, and a spellweaver.