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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53. Ch 7: Amongst the Ylan (Part 7 of 8)

Sarashi woke in a muddle of thoughts, hot and sweaty, her tongue thick like grain in her mouth. The sound of men speaking reached her, of horses and the tinkering of metal against metal. She had to get up.

The tree made for good support, as she made her ruined body stand. Her vision was hazy, and she knew, that she would never be able to outrun them.

Can't flee, gotta hide, she thought.

The ylans around her blurred into one. The sounds were getting closer, but she felt like she was far away from everything. She lost track of time, standing there, watching.

Then slowly, she turned to look at her hand. It was on the tree behind her, palm pressed against rough bark, her skin the exact same colour.

The same.

Turning around to face the tree entirely, she climbed. Her body protested, but she continued. Her hands lost grasp and she fell, and continued to crawl, until she was finally up amongst the branches. She found a nook between two larger ones and supported herself by pressing her feet against one and her chest against the other. It would have been easier if she could lean against her back, but it hurt too badly. Once she felt sure she was not going to fall, she held still. Her palms had been folded inwards to cover the lighter areas of skin on her body.

Her eyes closed against her will, and Sarashi became, for all sights, one with the ebony ylan behind her.

When the Empire's men searched the grove, all they found was the raggedy cloth from her sarong floating in the pond.

There was no other trace of their quarry.

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