Wise Man’s Tonic #SampleSunday #SAGE

Andrin is a Waymaster, a sage of the unguided Way. In this excerpt, he has lied to protect others and, in lying, has lost his clarity. He looks to the memory of his grandmother (or grandmoder, as they say in these books) for help.

Wise Man’s Tonic

Excerpt from SAGE BOOK 1: The Fall of Onagros
by Marian Allen

Andrin thought, How had Grandmoder helped Grandfather? How would she have helped me, now? Andrin let his memory do for him what he could no longer do for himself.

A flash of yellow. A flash of yellow, struck off a bottle by the sun.

Dandelion wine. She would have opened a bottle of dandelion wine, called it a “tonic,” placed it before him, and left him alone. Some time later, she would have come back in and helped him talk out his own answer.

Andrin had a bottle somewhere; the kitchen maid Biddi had given him one last Winter Solstice. He had never opened it; he didn’t need – he hadn’t needed – wine, which dulled the mind. Now that his mind had turned to mud, wine could only enliven it.

Andrin found the wine in the back of a cabinet. Scrupulous cleanliness being part of his discipline, the bottle shone as if it had been on display. How odd, he thought, that he had polished this bottle every day for months, and yet had forgotten where it was and what it was.

He poured some of the wine into his drinking bowl, lifted it to his grandmother’s memory, and drank.

By and by, he was hungry. He went out to his garden, picked some peas and dandelions and took them inside, washed them and ate them. He made up a song about them but when he had finished it he couldn’t remember how it began.

This was the state he was in when a Sword knocked at the temple door, telling him that His Grace demanded Andrin’s presence in the Great Hall of the tower.

“Stay, brother!” Andrin shouted. “Walk along with me!”

When he found his feet and arranged them beneath himself, elevated himself above them and opened the temple door, he was disappointed to find the Sword had gone.

Andrin sighed and arranged the folds of his silken yellow robe. A rich material, but it struck him now that he had never cared for the feel of it against his skin. Some said it felt like water, but Andrin thought it felt like oil. Most unpleasant.

Which reminded him that he was wanted in the tower.

On the way up the boardwalk (a very long and very steep boardwalk; he wished he had gone up the other one, then realized there was no other one), he tried unsuccessfully to imagine what Landry Oliva could possibly want with him today.


Buy THE FALL OF ONAGROS and the other books of the SAGE trilogy:

In print and for Kindle at Amazon
From independent booksellers through IndieBound
In multiple formats through Untreed Reads

A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: A character needs advice from someone not around to provide it.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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