Ashes of the Ylan [A Rama Empire novel]

"I thought you'd kill me," she croaked. "Not much honour if you cannot keep your promises."

Within the world of Convergera, lies the lands of Rama. Though the Rama Empire has long since been disbanded, the Capital still stands as a symbol of prosperity. The Antirian wars are over, but peace is soon disturbed as disaster strikes.

Sarashi is raised on the Wild Plains, but in a culture where freedom is everything, she is tied down by fear and expectations. Her people wants her to embrace her mother's legacy, her own fury screams for vengeance and her heart aches to belong. But when the war between the Sapphire Empire and the people of Rama flares up again, she'll have to make a choice between what she wants, and what is expected of her.

"Both standing on two legs, eyes level, the lion tried to push her into the ground. Her heart beat like never before as it stretched its neck over the spear to reach her face with its teeth. Pain made her dizzy as she growled back, a fiery rage star

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7. Ch 1: Rites of Passage (Part 5 of 5)

Caeryn stepped back into the tent with the steaming clay pot in one hand and a small herbal pouch in the other. She let the tent's hide curtain fall closed behind her, finding Sarashi asleep on the floor. In one hand the Princess held a flint knife, handle wrapped in new leather cords, the other curled protectively in her own hair.

With half a smile, Caeryn set down the tea to one side, and began tidying up around her friend. On the bed lay the newly repaired satchel Sarashi would bring on her hunt, and Caeryn added the herbs to it before placing it aside on the floor. Beside the satchel, she lay the water skin, and the knife from Sarashi's hand. She had brought Sarashi's spear to the tribe's flint knapper and had the tip replaced earlier in the day, and now she set that beside the bag as well. She neatly arranged everything so that Sarashi would have easy access to it in the morning.

After she cleared the bed and floor, she took the bowls from their dinner and went to wash them. Usually that was the work of the young hunter's family the eve before the seven day hunt, but for Sarashi the job would always fall to Caeryn. Her closest friend. Her sister-in-soul. She did it with brisk efficiency.

She returned to Sarashi's tent shortly, and watched the sleeping girl for a moment. In sleep her brow was smooth and without furrows, her face relaxed and her hair as wild a mess as ever. Crouching, Caeryn let her fingertips slide over Sarashi's cheek in a soft caress, her lips pursed in thought.

Caeryn wished with all her heart that Sarashi did not have to grow up. That she had not been born what she was, and that all that anger she harboured would not burn her from the inside. But there was little the Mahal's daughter could do about it, save support and protect.

Careful not to wake her, she slid her arms under Sarashi's body and lifted her onto the sleeping furs, tucking the furs and blankets around her to keep her warm.

The princess had a long week ahead of her.

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