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Halls of Law: Book One of the Faraman Prophecy
Publisher: DAW Books, Inc.

Halls of Law: Book One of the Faraman Prophecy by V.M. Escalada, introduces us to the world of the Faraman Polity as seen through the eyes of Kerida Nast, a 17-year-old young woman. The Faraman Polity is a matriarchal society where the highest leader, the Luqs, is female and many of the military leaders are as well. For hundreds of years, the society has been balanced by a blend of the military and the Halls of Law, which houses people called Talents. These people have the ability to know everything about a person or thing, just by touching it and opening their minds, and are trained to do so in the Halls of Law. Talents can settle disputes by simply knowing the truth and so the Halls possess great power, something that not everyone in the Polity agrees with.

Talents' gifts typically surface by the time the person is 10 years old, but Kerida was able to hide her gifts until much later, and she had managed to begin a military career, which is no surprise since she comes from an old military family. Once she is discovered by Talent High Inquisitor Luca Pa'narion, she is sent to one of the Halls to train. Ker is miserable, having had to leave behind her family and entire identity, but she is a quick learner. When a group of military stops by the Hall to warn of an impending attack and to pick up supplies, the Hall leaders don't take it seriously. Fortunately, Kerida meets a tall young soldier named Tel Cursar and the pair form a quick friendship. After the military departs and her Hall is then brutally attacked, she is able to escape using her quick wits and military training and later comes across Tel Cursar once again. The pair form an unlikely alliance in the hopes of surviving and warning other Halls, especially since Ker is a Talent and will definitely be believed.

Unfortunately, the truth is that the Halian Empire is behind these attacks on the Faraman Polity, and what's worse, some members of the Faraman society seem to be complicit. The Halia don't have Talents, but instead have Shekayrin, a shaman of sorts who uses a ruby red stone by placing it on someone's forehead. Sometimes the results are deadly, and other times, they can simply be revealing. The worst of all is when the stone muddles the mind...

As Ker and Tel are trying to make their way to safety, they are forced to enter a series of caves known as The Serpent's Teeth, a well-known no-man's land for many years. What they find inside is not only a mysterious people known as the Feelers, but also a young and somewhat wild griffin. The Feelers are only known through old wives' tales and warnings, and it seems they have a prophecy from the griffins they've been waiting on for many years. Kerida and Tel just might have accidentally waltzed into a part of that prophecy.

With the Faraman government in shambles and the Luqs and her family dead, it seems all could be lost to the Halians and the Faraman traitors, that is, until it is discovered that a secret relative of the Luqs exists, tucked away in the countryside. If the remaining military leaders can get to him and install him as Luqs, the fractured military can rally behind him and Faraman might be saved. But only a Talent will be able to verify his identity for sure and Kerida is pretty much the only one around. It looks like her adventure has only just begun...

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins
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