Page 99 from CHILD OF THE MIST
A Science Fiction Novel
By Kae Cheatham
Reprinted with Permision. Copyright 2010 by Kae Cheatham. All Rights Reserved.
Book Description: Juilan Pranss must overcome cultural ignorance and personal fears as she struggles against adversaries to attain the highest position of a land where memories are paramount.
Beyond a small balcony, buildings of light-blue stone, the architecture spare and direct, intermingled with huge everlasts. She was higher than most of them, and made out various gardens and parks bathed in golden light. Narrow streets spiraled toward a central plaza, leveling out on several tree-lined terraces. At the center of the array she made out the glint of light coming from a vast pool of water. An abaress.
“This is a young town,” Ortaal said. “Only two years old. But years ago, Daren Surlesi lived here.”
Juilan turned to her, wary. “Daren Surlesi. My—my mother?”
The woman frowned and drew a long breath. “There’s a landmark in town—the high house where she lived—kept rather like a shrine.”
Juilan looked back at the town; it revealed nothing but a serene view. I don’t remember my mother, she thought. My father I know with my heart and soul. (Keeping me part of you.) She closed her eyes, realizing her harp had been left at the seep during the fighting. Anguish struck her and tears bloomed hot on her eye rims. I’ve lost my only contact with Papa.
“Um. Valhoqurin Pranss,” the woman said with disapproval. “I’d advise you not to speak about him. Many people are certain that a half-breed shouldn’t be the holder.”
Juilan swallowed a lump of fear and asked. “Do you believe I’m the holder?”
“It doesn’t matter what I believe. The Evincor will determine; it will only allow the touch of the qualified aspirant.”
“Joddrie said someone was about to go through the final ceremony.”
Ortaal stepped closer to her. “You have special ties to that Rudeg?” she asked coldly.
“What do you mean?”
“You were with him for several days and seemed willing enough to do what he wished.”
“What choice did I have? He helped me during the attack on my spaceliner, then inveigled Xis to rout Stoljet and carried me off into the everlasts.”
“We’ve sensed an emotional attachment between you and him. From what does that stem?”
Thoughts came to her of the unpredictable moments she had been struck
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