About: here’s a little peak into what I’m currently working on. The world in which the story is set is one filled with inequality, classism, racism and sexism. The mage Alia Tentras, one of the protagonists, finds herself on the receiving end of an unexpected expression of gratitude.
The sun was in the process of descending beyond the outer rim of the city as Alia made her way toward the Temple District. The light of the setting sun was setting the skies ablaze, painting the marbled world in the colours of fire. The beauty of the red and orange hues did not comfort her, however, instead it filled her with dread. It provoked recent memories of blood and she could not shake the foreboding feeling that had set up a rope-twining business in her stomach. In the pocket of her coat she carried a letter of summons signed with the seal of the the High Priestess that should grant her passage, should being the operative word. Her mind was still in a daze over what had happened, she could not quite accept the reality of what the evidence suggested. Evidence could be fabricated, after all, could it not?
Who are you trying to fool? she thought and let out a small, bitter laugh that was barely audible. What could she but doubt the irrefutable when the truth had such dire consequences? The dread had been there from the start, she realised, but she could never have imagined the scale of it all. It had never been about disgruntled dissidents using artifacts to nourish the embers of rebellion and stoke the fires of civil war as they had initially suspected, almost hoped. The knowledge Alia carried with her as she approached the Temple of Amara could set something far worse into motion. She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment and wrangled her emotions back into the cage from which they had escaped. Out of all the people in this city… why her?
Alia would have been furious, had she been able to feel at all. Emotion was a cloud she could not have muddling her judgement right now. It was obvious why they had chosen their targets. Even their precision was alarming. In Alia’s mind it painted a picture far worse than rebellion. The pieces of the puzzle she had were barely enough for her to make out the frame, but from that frame she could tell with absolute certainty that it would be a painting drenched in blood. She was forced to put aside her fears for the time being as the Temple District gates appeared before her. The Paladins standing guard immediately took note of her presence.
“She fits the description,” one said to the other after they had ordered her to stop. “Mage Tentras, was it?”
“I have a summons from the High Priestess,” Alia began and reached for the letter in her coat pocket.
“That will not be necessary,” the other one cut her off.
“The High Priestess has already sent word,” the first one droned. “Can’t for the life of me figure out what business a Mage could possibly have seeing the Divine, though.”
“But then again it is not your job to think,” the other one retorted. He gave Alia a curious look. “Come, I will escort you to the High Priestess.”
When they had walked for a short while and come out of hearing distance of the gates the paladin escorting her said, “When The High Priestess spoke to us about your coming I volunteered to be your escort for the duration of your stay in the district.”
Even though surprised, Alia did not answer him. Instead, she waited. Her intuition told her he had more to say. He looked as if though he was searching for the right words.
“I know we have our differences, your kind and mine, to say that we have never seen eye to eye would be an understatement.” He paused again, hesitating for a moment, as if arguing with himself. “My mother refused to tell me the circumstances surrounding my sister’s death, but I managed to get the details from Liaison Sayeh working with you and the Circle. I want to express my gratitude, thank you, Tentras.”
One of Alia’s eyebrows shot up in a surprised arch, and almost missed a step. Gratitude was the last thing she had expected to ever receive from a Paladin. “Your sister’s murder has not yet been solved,” she replied before she could stop the words rolling off of her tongue.
The Paladin averted his eyes and gazed upward at the fire-lit sky. “Yes, I know, but I was moved by the faith Liaison Sayeh had in your ability. It is faith I have come to share. If anyone can find the monster who murdered my sister it is you. Should you fail, well, then I will search myself and if the Goddess is willing find the answers you could not. Come, we are almost there. The High Priestess awaits you.”