Dearest readers –
I have something wonderful for you today. This project came into my head in a rush, combining orphaned ideas that had been written down on tiny scraps of paper over months and months. Lured by the siren call of this world, I am taking a rather unexpected detour from my current project, and hope to share dribs and drabs as the series takes shape! Today, there is an excerpt from what I believe may be a part of Book 2 (writing a series can be a fairly messy process at times – I apologize if I’m shattering any illusions).
Happy reading, M
“They say everyone just knows when they see it.”
Harmakis snorted. “That’s never true when it comes to power.” He turned one shoulder forward and pushed his way through the crowds of people in the hallways, ice-blue eyes narrowing at the sight of huddled conversations.
“Harmakis. Harmakis! Slow down.” Eiji struggled to keep up, unwilling to shove people aside. He was breathless when he caught up again. “They said she went through the Rite.”
“She didn’t go through the Rite.” Harmakis did not look back.
“They say she did,” his cousin insisted.
“Boy, there’s no way in the seven hells that anyone could survive that. The Old Kings made that lie and the malichi have wisely let it die down for fear someone would ask them to go through it.”
“Well, but what would happen if someone did?” Eiji challenged him.
Harmakis spared a glance over his shoulder. “Did you go in there? Did you see her?”
“No. I waited for you.”
“Then why are you talking about it like that?” The mage stopped, grizzled eyebrows drawing together. “I’d believe it if you saw whatever smoke-and-mirrors show she has set up in there, but you haven’t even had a look.”
“It’s the way people are talking when they come out.” Eiji’s own voice was hushed. “Like they just saw a God or something.”
Harmakis snorted again and started moving. The crowds were growing thinner as they approached the throne room, not thicker. He didn’t like that. He didn’t like the smell of power in the air, either.
“Listen up, boy.” He kept his eyes forward, but he could feel Eiji’s attention on him like a hound on point. “This is an Empress who’s holding her throne by a thread. She needs a miracle.”
“It sounds like she got one,” Eiji said, with a stab at humor. He paled when Harmakis rounded on him.
“You asked what would happen if someone had gone through the Rite. This city would be a smoking crater. That’s how I know.” He leaned forward, his gaze boring into the younger man’s eyes. “This is a lie, another court lie told to help a dying dynasty keep power. Remember that.”
Eiji fixed his eyes on the floor and said nothing. As Harmakis turned away, he followed dutifully. But whatever he wanted to say was so evident that at last the mage looked over at him.
“Out with it.”
“They said she’s glowing,” Eiji said. He looked over warily, as if afraid that Harmakis would cuff him on the ear. “Have you ever seen something like that?”
“I’m a battlemage. I make people glow.”
“No.” Eiji looked faintly queasy. “You set them on fire. That’s different.”
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