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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55. Ch 8: Dream Catcher (Part 1 of 8)

8

Dream Catcher

The Wild Plains, by the White Breath Mountains

(1250 p. CP)

 

Caeryn pulled the long stems around one hand, twisting them tightly, before using several other straws to weave them together. Already two finished mats laid beside her on the stone floor. She needed to keep her mind occupied, and the weaving always helped.

The temple by the edge of the mountains was by no means large. But it was the biggest, and the only stone building on the Wild Plains, and right now the hall of the Gods housed not only the statues of divinity, but also the wounded Ramas from Sarashi's group. Not to mention the Wild Horses, the Sun Hawks, and several of the Water Deer.

Caeryn sat cross legged on a thick pelt, her straws arranged to one side, the mats to the other. Her hands were busy at work, keeping her from watching Sarashi in the bed across from her.

It had been several days since they took her from the grove, and brought her to Lishka's temple, but she had yet to regain consciousness. She sometimes moved fitfully, and mumbled in her feverish sleep, at times even opening her eyes. But there had been no coherency or thought in them when she did. The wounds on her back had begun to heal, and the fever fits had lessened during the last day or so. Caeryn had kept guard, keeping Sarashi's lips moist and feeding her tiny spoons of soup when possible.

With a frustrated tickle running through her body, Caeryn tore a straw down the middle, and laid aside the weaving she was working on. She rose from her seat, and walked to Sarashi's bedside, where she gently touched her forehead. The Princess was still clammy with fever, and currently quiet. Only mildly comforted that her friend was calm, Caeryn left the chamber for the hall of the Gods.

The temple was cool in the evening, despite the summer heat.

Most of the wounded had moved back outside to their tents, as soon as they were bandaged or stitched. Only a few of them were left within the temple walls, and only those too badly off to move. One of them was, of all impossible people, Janko's heartmate.

Caeryn would have never thought it possible for Janko to limit himself to a single partner, much less make a connection as strong as the one she had seen. He had relied only on his bonded for his mental and emotional being for too long, she had thought.

Helary, the little songstress of the Wild Horses' tribe, was singing in the hall of the temple. She was simply enchanted by the way the sound echoed from wall to wall, and lost itself in the empty space beneath the high ceiling. It was the first time in her entire life, the young girl had been beneath a roof.

Ashael's lullaby sounded freely among the statues of the Gods.

 

Come my children, gather near

Let the night be free of fear

Close your eyes my beloved one

All your doubts shall soon be gone

Fly upon the sun hawk's wings

Dance when no one sings

Swim in oceans deep and pure

Run through forests safe and sure,”

 

There was a serenity in the air, and the purity of the child's voice, that made everyone be quiet.

Caeryn leaned against a stone column, inadvertently joining in the song when Helary got to the next part. Janko's sounded too, and somebody else, whom she thought might be the Priestess, added their voice to the growing choir.

 

Do not stray to shadow-lands

But stay within my guarding hands

Free our people, wild our soul

Sisters, brothers, all a whole

Guide my children on their way

Safe to be and safe to stay

Yes, guide my children on their way

Safe to be and safe to stay.”

 

Hugging herself, Caeryn wished she had never told Sarashi to go. She wished her friend, sister-in-soul, had never sworn that oath. Things would have been better, if she had just stayed with their tribe, instead of straying where Caeryn could never in good conscience follow. The song died on her lips, as Helary finished it on her own.

Tearing herself away from the column, she left the temple behind and strode outside. The lullaby seemed to taunt her, with its promises of safekeeping, and mocked her that she had not done so for Sarashi.

She walked past the camp of her tribe, not in the mood to greet or meet with any of them. Instead she made her way to the horses, seeking their quiet company and warmth. Horses never left their herds behind, unless forced to. They only strayed when hunger or need made them, and usually stayed on their own turf, and that was how Caeryn had been raised. To stay with her own. To follow the old ways.

She could not leave her tribe.

So I failed my heart-sister instead.

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