PUBLICATION: JANUARY 9, 2018 BY PAGE STREET!
Can't you hear it, Tali?
Can't you hear the waves singing?
Sixteen-year-old Talia was born to a life of certainty and luxury, destined to become Empress of half the world. But when an ambitious rival seizes power, she and her mother are banished to a nowhere province on the far edge of the Northern Sea. It is here, in the drafty halls of the Ruen-Dahr, that Talia discovers family secrets, a melancholy boy with a troubling vision of her future, and a relic that holds the power of an ancient Star. On these shores, the eerie melody of the sea is stronger than ever, revealing long-forgotten tales of the Goddess Rahn. The more dark truths that Talia unravels about the gods' history--and her own--the more the waves call to her, and it may be her destiny to answer.
CHAPTER 7 EXCERPT
The fever latched tight onto her mother, and wouldn’t let go. One week. Two. She slept poorly; she woke frantically. Captain Oblaine’s opium supply dwindled—it was the only thing that made her easy again. At the beginning of the third week, Talia got his permission to bring her mother to his private quarters, a small chamber adjoining the great cabin. There, at least, she could sit in bed and look out the windows to the sea. Oblaine’s willingness to do so would have surprised Talia, if not for the marked pity in his eyes when he looked at them. He felt sorry for the woman driven mad by her banishment. He felt sorry for the girl clinging desperately to the idea that her mother would soon be perfectly well again. His pity made Talia angry, but she accepted it anyway. Her mother was lucid, sometimes. She would wake in a quiet confusion, scoot up against her pillows and take Talia’s hands in hers. She’d say she was sorry for bringing this upon them, but they would build a new life together in Ryn, take care of each other. She would smile at Talia, and then her eyes would slide over to the windows, a wild panic seizing her. “I need to watch the sea! I need to protect the ship! If I’m not watching she will come—she will break us—she will drag our souls into the depths and there will be no rest—” “Hush, Mama,” Talia whispered into her ear, trying to soothe her even through her own fear. “All is well. There isn’t any danger. Don’t worry.” But her mother wept and wouldn’t listen. Sometimes she wrested her way out of bed, stumbling through the Captain’s quarters and out onto the deck toward the rail, toward the sea. Once, she made it all the way, and Talia was terrified she meant to throw herself overboard. But she didn’t, just stared into the water and crumpled to her knees. “She’s so angry,” she sobbed. “So angry.” Hanid and Captain Oblaine both appeared at Talia’s elbow, and helped half carry her mother back to bed. Her mother’s wrist didn’t heal. She was forever knocking it on something in her ravings, and Oblaine could do nothing but continue to bandage it, continue to knot a sling around her neck. It was easiest when her mother slept. Those were the only times Talia left her, to wander listlessly about the deck, or climb up into the riggings and tuck herself against the main mast. She clung to the ropes and cried, shuddering in the icy wind. She ached with homesickness, and worry for her mother ate her from the inside. She couldn’t fix her mother, couldn’t help her. She couldn’t do anything, and she hated it. One night, when her mother had been ill an entire month, Talia left her sleeping quietly in the captain’s cabin and shimmied up the riggings to the crow’s nest, her favorite spot. She wrapped herself in the blanket she’d brought and stared out at the stars as they burned white and cold in the vast sky. They seemed close enough to touch, as if she could step from the mast and pluck one like an orange from the heavens. The moon rose, round and silver, from out of the sea, and her mind jumped back to the night of her arrest, where moonlight had flooded into the ballroom. For a moment, she let herself long for the life Eda had stolen from her. Hanid was right: this was outside of her control. She could no more crown herself Empress of Enduena, or shake the shadows from her mother’s mind, than she could take a star from the sky. But that didn’t mean she was helpless, either. Her mother would get better, when they landed in Ryn—Talia just needed to get her away from the sea. And they didn’t have to stay with Eda’s wretched baron, they could scrape out a living of their own. Talia would find work somewhere, make enough money to give her mother all the comforts she deserved. They didn’t need a grand life in Eddenahr to be happy. The moon blurred a little before her eyes. My mother is still here, she told herself fiercely. That hasn’t changed. She sensed movement below her and peered down to see a lantern bobbing on the deck. “Your mother is asking for you, Miss Dahl-Saida!” came Hanid’s voice. She blinked the tears away and scrambled down in a hurry.
About the Author
Joanna Ruth Meyer is a writer of Young Adult fantasy. She lives with her dear husband and son in Arizona, where it never rains (or at least not often enough for her!). When she's not writing, she can be found teaching piano lessons, drinking copious amounts of tea, reading thick books, and dreaming of winter.
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