[Completed] Fire's Promise [Ashes of the Ylan #1] [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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15. Ch 3: Ashes in the Wind (Part 2 of 10)

Lishka was the last of the strangers to speak to Sarashi. After what seemed an endless stream of people, some of which left unsatisfied like Hia, the blue eyed priestess had sought out Sarashi. She had wished her a kind sun, smiling only cryptically and never mentioning Sarashi's decision nor oath, before leaving to head home to her temple. As if she had seen some sign of fate, and knew what humans may not.

It was the last evening before the end of the feast, when Caeryn brought the tribe's healer to change the bandages and check the wounds for infection. Once that was done, the healer left quickly, but Caeryn stayed.

“There are no more guests. The last left today,” she said with a sly smile, because she knew Sarashi would appreciate the news, and as expected, she was met with a deep sigh of relief. Caeryn chuckled.

“You think you'll participate tonight?” she asked.

Sarashi grunted with little commitment. Her legs were itching and she wanted to go running, or spar with hands or spear. Anything that allowed her to move.

Instead she settled for getting to a stand. Caeryn put a steadying hand on her shoulder, when she lost her balance, hit by a spell. Taking a few steps and stretching, helped her body dispel the dizziness and left her standing on her own. Her body was still sore and weak compared to normal, but better than the day before. Carefully she folded her hands behind her back, and took a deep breath bending forward, stretching her entire body from heels to neck.

Caeryn waited patiently, her arms crossed.

“I'm not sure,” Sarashi answered her question from before, straightening herself up again. “Depends how quickly I tire, I suppose.” She hated admitting that she was weakened, even though it was obvious to anyone who saw the bandages wound around her torso and thighs.

“Well, if you plan to participate, you should dress,” the Mahal's daughter said, a demanding tone to her voice.

So Sarashi turned to dig through the woven basket containing her winter clothes and spare sarongs, and warm furs. Her other basket held tools, small containers and the like, not to mention weapons and tokens she had found or been given. Caeryn looked on calmly as Sarashi threw different articles over her shoulder, plucking a purple sarong out of the air. In her hurry, Sarashi had not actually seen what she threw back. The dress with its black embroideries was the finest Sarashi had, a gift from Mirca.

“Put this on,” Caeryn said, and put the garment back into Sarashi's arms. “I'll take care of your hair. It's a mess.”

So Caeryn helped free her hair from the weave and wash it in a small clay basin, leaving it a tangled knot of wiry curls, as coarse as horsehair and nowhere near the waterfall it had been back in the castle. Normally, if it became too tangled, Sarahsi would just tie it back with a scarf. She loved having her hair done, and of gentle hands using a bone comb to untangle the long tresses. It reminded her of her mother, of Mirca and of safe and untroubled times. Her muscles relaxed, her frown disappeared, and she almost fell asleep. She opened her eyes when Caeryn finished tying her hair into a single, long braid and twisted it over her shoulder so it hung decoratively down her front. The sarong was wrapped over one shoulder, and held together at her waist by a knotted cord.

The two girls smiled at each other.

“So?” Sarashi challenged with a grin. “Do I pass?”

“Yes,” Caeryn simply answered. “Now stop fishing for compliments and don't let them go to your head either. With all these people acting like you're the God's Mistress, I fear you'll start believing yourself immortal.”

Sarashi touched the bandages on her shoulder with her fingertips, and shivered. The thought alone made cold sweat spring on the back of her neck.

“I'm pretty sure the lion reminded me that I am not,” she said. This time she stood up completely without help. “I think the musicians have started.”

Caeryn listened for a bit, head crooked.

“Is that Helary singing?” she asked. “That girl's got some pipes on her, I swear. The men will shed blood to get her attention when she's grown.”

“Like they do for you?” Sarashi joked, laughing as they left the tent.

“It doesn't count when I'm the one making them bleed,” Caeryn countered with a snort.

“If you say so,” Sarashi grinned, shaking her head.

“How about you?” Caeryn asked, her eyes curious as she cocked her head to the side. A few strands of her hair fell down over her forehead. “Don't think I haven't noticed how Jain's been hunting that tail of yours, like a kitten at play.”

Sarashi shook her head.

“I'm the God's Mistress, aren't I?” she smirked. “I don't have time for kittens.”

“Don't be disrespectful of the Dark God,” was the growled reply from her friend, though she too cracked a smile.

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