John Horne

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Welcome! For many years I've enjoyed spending time with a few characters, and over those years a story grew up around them. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll see if you enjoy spending time with them as well. A new chapter will likely be posted each week, so feel free to stop by regularly.

If you'd like to start at the beginning of the book, you'll find all the chapters listed in order on the main page for Another Way Home.

Epilogue: A Reunion of Friends

April 15th, 2008 · Another Way Home · No Comments

The time flew by and no one was more surprised than Garyth when Samir announced one day at breakfast that he and Al-tir would start out the following morning for the mountain city. He said the lame horse was cured and he was naming him Meeta, after a brave horse in one of the clan’s fireside stories. He added that Steven’s horse would be returning with them to Xenar, but the saddle Steven had been using would remain with Meeta. [Read more →]

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XXIV. Journey’s End

April 3rd, 2008 · Another Way Home · 1 Comment

“How do you think Kalon and Sinril will manage on their own?” Steven asked, addressing his question to Samir. They had left the city just before sunrise and were making very good time. The downhill trek was far easier than the uphill climb.

“I worry about them,” Samir admitted, “but it helps to know they spent all of last summer in these mountains by themselves. I’m sure they’ll do fine. I just hope they remember to feed and water their horses. They agreed to have a good blaze burning twelve days from today and I told them we would build an answering fire from a high slope when we spot their fire. We worked out a code so they can signal whether or not all is well.” [Read more →]

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XXIII. Keeping a Secret

March 12th, 2008 · Another Way Home · No Comments

The next morning there was plenty of light in the rooms with east-facing windows, so Kalon, Sinril, and Al-tir began exploring that side of the building. Steven and Garyth rode down the hill to gather dead wood from among the stunted trees and bushes that grew on the hillside. The sun was hot but their labor was rewarded by the view, which seemed to go on forever. They carried cloth bags to fill with the plentiful berries. Samir remained behind so he could use the large cylinder to search the plains for signs of the clan’s summer burning. The east side of the border range was bathed by the morning sunlight and he thought he glimpsed some of the fence lines of the kolsar area. He spotted a herd of antelope, but no bison. [Read more →]

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XXII. Secrets of a Mountaintop City

March 3rd, 2008 · Another Way Home · 1 Comment

That night they carefully looked over the map. “The trail appears to bend northward just a little farther,” Kalon pointed. “It seems to climb toward the wall of northern peaks. I checked the view in that direction from the lookout and spotted an isolated peak this side of the northern range. It could be this spot on the map,” he said, indicating a cluster of symbols to which a northern spur off the western trail seemed to lead. “I believe it will be positioned to sight down the border mountains, and is possibly visible from the plains of Xenar as well as the northeastern regions of Wyeland. It is certainly higher than any place we’ve yet visited.” [Read more →]

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XXI. The Magic Disc from the Past

February 28th, 2008 · Another Way Home · 3 Comments

While they were roasting their supper over the fire, Garyth noticed that Al‑tir and Sinril were huddled together examining an object. Walking over to them Garyth asked what was so interesting. Al‑tir held out a smooth disc of transparent glass.

“Sinril found this in the cave room last night.” Garyth could see that the circle of the disc had a piece broken out of it on one side.

“We were wondering if it was a decoration, or something useful,” Sinril explained as Al‑tir handed it to Garyth for his inspection. It seemed to be glass, similar to that used in Xandar Tahn, except that he had never before seen glass so clear as this specimen. Xenarians seemed to be very fond of colored glass decorations. Some buildings and homes used translucent glass to let in daylight but not allow prying eyes to look inside. The disc he was holding seemed very transparent, like clear water. He could plainly see his fingers through it. Then he gasped. His fingers, seen through the disc, seemed swollen and looked even bigger as he moved them back from the surface of the disc. [Read more →]

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XX. Into the Mountains

February 17th, 2008 · Another Way Home · No Comments

By the end of the week, the Wyelanders were packing up documents, gifts, and clothes for their return journey. The days were still cool, but spring was in the air. Xond and Samir planned to accompany the group as far as the winter encampment of Xond’s clan, where the delegates were invited to spend a few days of rest before moving on. Steven and Garyth would stay at the camp until time to travel north with Samir to meet with Kalon and Sinril at Bron’s Inn, on the first day of the fifth month, for the trip into the mountains. [Read more →]

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XIX. A Xenarian Welcome and New Friends

February 8th, 2008 · Another Way Home · No Comments

The second week after the Golian confrontation, the ragged edge of a winter storm overtook the travelers with cold winds and snow. The weather slowed their progress but did not stop them. Carlten and Garyth were used to cold winters and thought the snow was refreshing rather than hindering.

The worst of it was over in a day and a half. Five days after the storm they came to a settlement on the shore of Lake Sool. The village reminded Garyth of the small community on the Xandar River where he and Xond had stayed in Bron’s inn. Wooden houses and barns were scattered about, separated by fenced corrals. The commercial buildings were clustered close together among trees bordering the lake shore. The trees were a welcome sight to the Wyelanders. [Read more →]

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XVIII. A Confrontation on the Plains

January 28th, 2008 · Another Way Home · 3 Comments

After a strong embrace, Carlten stepped back to look Garyth over from head to toe. “I thought you were finished growing, but look at you. Your mother will hardly know you. She and the rest are fine and in good health. They all send their love, along with a few remembrances that are in my saddlebag. Xond has certainly taken good care of you.”

“There is so much to tell you,” Garyth said, “but we will have a few days in Dryish before we leave.”

Garyth then called out a clan greeting to Samir and added, “The herd can be seen from the other side of the pass!” [Read more →]

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XVII. A Spy and a Birthday

January 21st, 2008 · Another Way Home · No Comments

The first week in Xandar Tahn passed very quickly; each day had its own wonder of fresh discovery. Garyth saw a huge library with countless volumes. He and Al-tir attended a concert given on the plaza in front of the Councilhouse with strangely beautiful music played on instruments he had never seen before. He watched acrobats and jugglers performing in street carnivals long after sunset. It was beyond anything he had ever dreamed.

Xond took Garyth to meet the Council on the first day of the second week. The Councilhouse was the multistory building Garyth had visited when he and Xond first arrived. The Council was in a round of talks about the upcoming border deliberations. Garyth was warmly received, but he could not follow all of the discussion and speeches. He was very impressed with the size and beauty of the Council Chamber, which occupied the center of the building. The ceiling was at least four stories overhead, supported above the top of the building on columns, leaving open spaces on all sides to admit light and air. [Read more →]

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XVI. Bron’s Map and the City on the Lake

January 14th, 2008 · Another Way Home · 4 Comments

Garyth and Xond rode to a building made of hewn plank, the largest structure in the settlement. Leaving the horses tied outside, they entered a wide room with a stone fireplace at one end. There was a long table near the fireplace with wooden benches on either side. Three men sat at the end of the table nearest the hearth and looked up as they came in. One of them got up and shuffled toward the two travelers. He was an old man with gray hair and beard and a hobbling limp. His clothes were threadbare versions of those worn by the merchants Garyth had recently met; loose trousers and a shirt with baggy sleeves.

“Am I seeing Xond, head of the far western clan and shrewdest horse trader in all of Xenar?” he said as he approached. “Where is Samir? He is the one who rides this road if any from Xond’s clan come east. I have seen him three times since I have seen his father.” With that, he grasped Xond’s wrist with a tight grip typical of the greeting Garyth had witnessed between friends meeting again after a long separation. [Read more →]

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