This is sort of a cop out post. I swear, I have one post ready and a second jingling around in my head and they will be put up. It's just I've become super dependent on coffee and since it's Ramadhan, no coffee for me. So, I've been walking around in a daze, stumbling through my day until dinner and then alternately passing out from food comas or (the horror!) doing school work. My vacation turned out to not be much of a vacation and I didn't get nearly as much work done as I would have liked - but worry not - things will be back in order soon enough! And don't forget to check out my post at Kirsten's blog, here! In the mean time: ta da!

I have been agonizing over a cover for my work in progress for weeks and months. Usually they come to me fully formed, but this just...refused to produce itself. Until this morning. Now I have a shiney cover for my work in progress (which is a new novel masquerading as a rewrite of The Scion). And with it, I have the first 600 or so words. To read the query, click here.

Behzad had known that he would be hunting her. What she hadn’t known was how fast he would find her. It made sense, though. She had left the castle half drunk more than two weeks ago and the trail she had left behind made it easy to follow. When two days passed, and then three and four, she thought she’d lost him. When the first and then second weeks had passed without any sign of him finding her, she had slowed down.

This morning, he had appeared, his Presence flickering at the edge of her mind like a candle flame; strong enough to let her know he was coming, but weak enough to obscure from where. 

Behzad stuffed her materials into her pack as quickly as she dared. She kicked dirt over what remained of the fire, taking care not to jostle her left side too much. A fall two days ago had cracked her ribs and Soul-sworn or not, it would take another two days to heal. 

It took her five minutes of fast walking to realize that she wouldn’t be able to keep up the pace necessary to stay ahead of Mihar. She had barely left her campsite behind and already there was a layer of sweat on her skin. 

“Move it, girl,” she gritted out and pushed herself off a tree. She had gotten soft in the last six months, too used to lying in a soft bed and drinking good wine. 

The stream was her breaking point. It was too deep and had too many rocks to attempt passage. The water was too cold to even drink, let alone wade through. She let her pack slide off her shoulder and considered dropping to her knees. 

The Presence that flared to life behind her nearly drove her to it. She turned around slowly and there he was, perched like some creature on a tree branch.

Mihar Mahburzin, of the House of the Moon of the territory Sardis, Steward of the De’Aldar Province in the King’s name. He was also her jailer. 

Behzad had seen this spot in her head a thousand times. There were many differences since she had been here last. For one, she had been eleven, not seventeen. Her hair had been braided tightly, not a tangled, dirty mess as it was now. She’d been wearing clean trousers, and a newly embroidered blouse. The trees had been bare and snow had covered the stream banks. 

Most important, however, was that it had been her up on a tree branch, and Mihar down by the stream.
Mihar straightened up from his crouch and stepped off the branch. His descent dislodged orange and red autumn leaves. They swirled around him when he landed and she half expected them to catch fire, his Presence was so bright. 

He watched her through narrowed eyes, his steps measured and slow as he walked towards her. She didn’t bother running; if her ribs didn’t stop her, Mihar would.

His dark skin was clear of dirt, his hair free of leaves and tied neatly at his neck. He didn’t look as if he’d spent the last two and a half weeks trekking through the mountains. Of the two of them, he certainly should have been royalty.

But no. That had been her unfortunate lot. 

“What happened?” he asked. She tried not to flinch away from his eyes. Six months ago she had been good at hiding her injuries. Now she couldn’t even walk around a minor injury. 

She didn’t answer as he picked up her bag and slung it over his shoulder. 

“Are you going to bind my wrists?” she asked.

He snorted. “I’m your caretaker, not your jailer.” 

“That’s the same thing if I can’t come and go as I please.” 

“There’s a difference between coming and going, and running away to Yanokiri.”

Images used to make this cover are credited to Auroradreams, Shinobinaku, Funerium, and Resurgere
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