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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60. Ch 8: Dream Catcher (Part 6 of 8)

Sarashi limped to the grove behind the temple, Caeryn supporting her on the way there. Still her leg refused to carry her full weight, and the tribe's healer worried that the muscle there might have been permanently damaged. In the small pond, Caeryn helped her wash, and bandaged her wounds in silence. Everyone seemed to be lost in thoughts around her as of late, and it was beginning to nag Sarashi more than it should.

“You're different,” Caeryn broke the silence. “You tell people what to do, where you used to just go out and do it yourself. It's- strange.”

Sarashi found herself rising at that.

“I can still take care of myself,” she snapped.

“That's not what I meant,” Caeryn said. “I meant, you care more. You let people help, and you lead them. You used to only want to kill the imperials because of what they took from you, but now it seems you're fighting them to protect what you have.”

Sarashi bit her lip in thought.

“I got to know them,” she said, meeting Caeryn's eyes. “Like you told me to.”

“I know,” Caeryn said in dismay, avoiding her gaze. “I never wanted you to leave.”

Sarashi tensed, frowning.

“I can't go back,” she said, her voice defensive and yet sorrowful as well. “You can't protect me from this. Not any more.”

Caeryn seemed to fall into herself, shrinking as Sarashi watched her, tears flooding her eyes.

“Mom is sick,” she said, her voice choked. “Dying. Has been for some time, and illness in her back and lungs, the healer thinks. She made the vote a month ago, and the tribe chose Dovan to lead after-”

“I'm sorry,” Sarashi whispered, a lump in her throat. She did not know what to say or do, as a wave of emotion rushed through her.

“I keep thinking what I'm going to do when she's not there,” Caeryn told her. “When I can't seek her council, or how the tribe is going to change, and-” she held her hands out helplessly, words getting lost in a shivering sob. Sarashi grabbed them, almost painfully hard, and drew Caeryn into a tight hug.

She held her there for a long while, her own tears refusing to fall.

“Does it ever get better?” Caeryn mubled through the mucus and wetness.

Sarashi shook her head mutely, but then remembered the dream about her mother and the lullaby, and amended.

“You'll always miss her,” she whispered. “It'll keep coming back, like a punch in the gut, every time you're reminded of her. But sometimes- sometimes that's okay. Sometimes it'll be nice memories, and even though they hurt, they'll help.”

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