Diplomacy and Death

  Secret Meetings “I don’t like it,” says her elder advisor. “There’s no way we can protect you tomorrow when you visit the emperor on his ship.”

“At the moment, they mean us no harm, elder,” says Keela. “Besides, Berek will be there with me.”

“They are heavily armed, and we don’t know how many […]


  A Call for Help The tower is quiet without Shazira. She sits most of the day at her parent’s house, holding Tzina’s hand, and wonders where hope has gone. Tzina slips toward death, already empty, her spirit gone.

Shazira’s parents are silent around me. They disliked the old Yagrin, and they like me even […]

A Quiet Storm

  Silence Tzina and I approach the Blue Room, the room of art, music, and story. She stops and turns to me. “Ina, your tests are in a few hours.” “Shouldn’t you be practicing?”

“I’m done with practice, Tzina.” “Tell me about your friend Berek.”

“Ina,” she says, “I shouldn’t have mentioned him to you.” […]

Hungry for Lightning

  Storms Breakfast in the kitchen with Tzina. She delights in watching me as I eat food I’ve never tasted before. So I let her choose my food for me.

I look out the large windows at the sky, wondering if another great storm will come today. It’s lightning season.

At night, everyone fears the […]

Sweet Music

  Clear Morning A voice pulls me out of sleep. “Wake up, Yagrin.” “It’s almost time for the greeting.”

The world feels thick and dull as I try to rise. Why am I so tired?

I’m alone a few minutes later when I finally get out of bed, but I hear Shazira and Tzina on […]