Chapter Summaries

Prologue: Inserted

This is the only chapter not told by Wanderer or from a first-person point of view. It begins with a description of Wanderer's first Healer, Fords Deep Waters. He is preparing for Wanderer's insertion within Melanie and, strangely enough for a soul, feels irritated as there is a group of Healing students present to observe the insertion just because the host is an adult female, "a wild human". From small comments, we can infer Melanie had been badly hurt prior to her capture and someone named the Seeker needs some answers from her, someone who is apparently not welcome to Fords.

Meanwhile, the Healing students gossip about Wanderer because she has lived as seven species and began on the Origin, the soul's home planet. Fords tells them to quiet down and the insertion begins.

It's a relatively simple process where the Healer makes an incision in the back of the patient's neck through which the soul will be inserted. The souls are kept in cryotanks until they are to be inserted. The souls themselves look live silver ribbons with almost a thousand thin feathery attachments. The soul is inserted through the small incision and its attachments wind around the body's central processes in order to control it. Then, the incision is closed and the insertion is complete.

However, Fords feels misgivings about this insertion, as "all the horror of this young girls end would be borne by the innocent soul he'd just placed inside her."

Characters Present:
  • Fords Deep Waters
  • Darren

Important Information Learned:
  • Wanderer is exceptional among her kind for the many planets she has lived in
  • What the process of insertion involves
  • Melanie had been badly hurt before the insertion
  • There is someone named the Seeker whose name causes unease

Memorable Quotes:
"Who among us would not volunteer if we were asked to do something for the greater good? But is that really the case? Is the greater good served by this? The question is not her willingness, but what it is right to ask any soul to bear." ~Fords Deep Waters

"Good luck, little wanderer, good luck. How I wish you didn't need it." ~Fords Deep Waters

Summary prepared by: Alcyone

Reprinted with permission from The Host Index