This post is instead of my usual Reader/Writer Confessions. Enjoy!
You can read excerpt #1 here.
Rhen wished she could have stayed in Stone longer. There was something appealing about the wide, barren lands, the stones that seemed to stretch on endlessly. It was set high amongst the rocks, staring down at the Summoner’s Sea, whose choppy gray waves mimicked the colour of the stone. The city itself was up near the clouds: a thin winding path that ventured too close to the edge on occasion, and left rather a lot to be desired. For three weeks, she lived in the City of Stones, where the buildings were rough and the people were friendly. So long as she didn’t go near them. She wasn’t sure how friendly they would be if they saw her horns. Guards strolled the streets early that morning, just when the sun was a flimsy red disk hovering above the sky. Much unlike most people, Rhen preferred to rise when people were still sleeping. She had been up half the night, stealing into people’s houses and thieving what she could. Yet she seemed to be in a perpetual state of hunger, lately, though the more she thought about it, the less she thought that it was hunger. More like there was something inside of her that was missing.
She couldn’t, however, place what that thing was.
Nevertheless, she stayed out of the guard’s sights. Bothering them—making herself become noticed—was the worst thing she could do, especially when she’d been fleeing from town to town, city to city, for as long as she could remember. So like usual, Rhen clung to the shadows, coming out only at night to feel the cool breeze on her face. During the daytime, she spent the hours sketching with stolen charcoal in an abandoned and crumbling stone house, drawing in a tight breath whenever someone passed. She kept a dagger strapped behind her lower back just in case. She would never dare to go anywhere without a weapon.
The dagger she’d taken from a dead soldier.
As that morning dawned, and Rhen was forced to retreat back to the crumbling old house—located near one of the more dubious-looking edges of the city—she saw a carriage being pulled into the grandest part of town. Not that, Rhen thought, anything in Stone could be called grand, but what passed for it. She couldn’t help but notice with a twinge of anger that the carriage wasn’t drawn by horses. It was drawn by three male Vár. Each had an exquisitely carved metal collar around their neck, chains clinking at their feet. Slaves. They were all clearly Vár: one had horns as Rhen did; the other had great leathery wings tucked at his back; and the other had a fawn’s antler’s sticking out from his darkened hair.
She noticed with a tightening in her stomach that one of the antlers had been cruelly severed.
And as they moved farther down the path, Rhen noticed red scars intertwined across their backs in an intricate pattern; they had been whipped, that was for sure.
Rhen couldn’t help herself. She flung her overlarge cloak over her head to cover her horns, and stepped into the light. She squinted through the brightness, avoiding people’s gazes as he yearned for a better look at the slaves. People were beginning to crowd around the carriage as the three Vár pulled it slowly through the town, their eyes wide—and some fearful. She slunk through the shadows after them, a cold wind biting through her hooded cloak. She wrapped it more tightly around her and picked up her pace, following the carriage as it wound slowly through the town and brought them to a set of grander buildings looking over the sea.