A Reluctant Conqueror and an Unruly Servant

Wolf Tower by Tanith Lee

Claidi is definitely NOT a good servant. The ideal maid in the House should be meek and respectful, never looking for more in life than keeping the hundreds of rules and helping in the ever present Rituals, some of which are quite bizarre.

For example, there is the Lighting of the Candles Ritual and the Ritual of the Feeding of the Red Birds. Claidi often infuriates her mistress, the odious and vicious Lady Jade Leaf.

"Why are you always dawdling?" she snapped. We bowed our heads, looking properly ashamed. Daisy edged in close behind me to hide the spill-stain. "You're moronic," decided LJL.
She has a pointy face, rouged all rosy, and now her hair was powdered a kind of a cabbage color.
Her mouth sneered over her sharp little teeth.
"You deserve a slap," she said to me.
I lifted my head and looked at her. She doesn't like that. But then she hates me anyway, even if she would never admit to hating something as low as a maid.
"Don't you stare at me," she rasped. But I'd already bowed my head again. "I'm so tired of you, Claidi. I can't even beat any sense into you. I've asked Mummy, and she says she'll have you properly whipped if you don't pull yourself together."

Before the day is out and the Ritual of the Planting of the Two Thousandth Rose is completed, Lady Jade Leaf will have gone too far. As Claidi awaits a brutal whipping as punishment, she receives a summons to see the eldest royal, Princess Jizania Tiger.

Dengwi guided me to the doorway. "Listen," she said, "I don't know what the Old Lady wants, but everyone says she's all right. Appeal to her mercy. You mustn't be whipped. You do know that, don't you, Claidi? My sister was, and"--Dengwi's face was like smooth black steel--"she nearly died."

Dream-Weaver by Louise Lawrence

The wealthy passengers of Exodus 27 were fleeing the Earth's poisoned lands to settle a new world. The raw materials on the chosen planet, Arbroth, could only make them wealthier still. No matter if the planet was inhabited. The colonists knew that the natives, low-techs that they were, were bound to make excellent servants, only adding to the delightful quality of their lives. The trip would take seven years, but the cryogenic chambers would suspend their life functions, temporarily stopping the aging process.

Troy Morrison, a 17-year-old crew member, first saw the alien in the corridor before take-off. He had just been thinking that he wanted to shout across the universe, to warn the people of Arbroth that they were coming. She was a young girl, a child really, with dark-colored skin and brilliant orange eyes, there one minute and gone the next. A full-scale search of the space station turned up nothing. All the older crew members dismissed her as a hallucination of space sickness.

Across the galaxy, Eth told her family about her strange dream: a blue world, a spinning silver wheel above it, and an odd-looking boy whose skin was as pale as the underbelly of a slime crawler, whose hair was the color of ripe grain, and, oddest of all, whose eyes were unmistakeably blue.

Over a breakfast of porridge and honey, the family decided that the best course of action would be to take counsel of Nemony, the village's dream-weaver. Like all dream-weavers, Nemony could interpret dreams and cure nightmares, but she also entered the subconsciousness of sleepers to shape their dreams into lessons when needed. This dreamwalking, an advanced skill, was something that came easily to Eth, so easily that she could move her mind across the vastness of space.

Eth will train with Nemony to use this wild talent to help the people in her village. Over the course of seven years, Eth will mature into a willful young woman, whose devoted acolyte, Cable, keeps her from harm and becomes her truest friend. Yet Eth can not forget the boy with golden hair and blue eyes whose ship, bearing the doom of her culture, travels ever closer to her world.