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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58. Ch 8: Dream Catcher (Part 4 of 8)

“Do you want something?” Sarashi asked him.

Tallo stood across from her, arms crossed, back leaned against the wall. Though the stance was relaxed, he seemed on edge, his expression uncomfortable. As if he had no business being there, and had missed his chance to leave. He shook his head minutely.

He was only a few years older than her, but Sarashi rarely felt the age differences within the group. The plains made younglings grown fast, as did the war. Yet, the way Tallo looked at her, made her feel insecure.

“Are you all right?” he asked her.

She shook at her core at the quesion. Everybody else had been filling her with information about those who had died, how she had been found, and who was wounded. But even Caeryn, always so adamant about taking care of her, had not asked her that. Her breathing faltered, and she shook her head numbly.

“I don't know.”

Everything still did not seem real. Like it had all just been a nightmare her memories were trying to suppress.

“It takes a while for it to sink in,” Tallo noted, shifting uncomfortably, one hand sliding up to rest against his shoulder. “It helps-” he hesitated, “-it helps to talk about it. When you're ready.”

She held her breath, eyes focused on his hand, and on what she knew his sarong covered.

If any, Tallo would know.

“Thank you,” she whispered, but lacked the energy and willpower to confront the memories of her capture.

He nodded, and pushed off of the wall.

“Don't mention it.”

When Caeryn returned a few moments later, he had gone, and Sarashi kept her tongue about their short exchange.

Sarashi woke up in the middle of the night, her throat closing up in the still air. The torches on the wall were cold and unlit. There were no breeze, and the walls seemed to hover over her, and for a moment, Sarashi felt like she was back in one of the Silver-Bearded Lynx's huts.

Memories built in her chest, like a lump in her throat and a stinging pain behind her eyes. She rubbed away her tears, determined not to wake up Caeryn. Before she lowered her hand, she bit into the soft flesh between her thumb and index finger.

No sleep found her that night. She turned to recollections of the people she had lost through her life. She threw herself into remembering her mother's singing, running through the castle halls, the great parties. Her father's hands, and the great dog that was his favourite hound, and the colour of his hair. She remembered Chehera teaching her to ride. Playing sticks and pebbles with Caeryn.

She hid her face in her hands.

When morning finally came, the rays of the sun fell through glassless windows. It felt warm, but distant.

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