Hello folks! For those of you anxiously awaiting news on when my book will be available for sale, fear not! The wait will soon be over! (I’m basically waiting on my editor now). So, to tide you over for a bit, here’s an excerpt from Chapter One, The Blessing Ceremony. Enjoy!
Thirteen-year-old Kisara Tenebris danced excitedly around her bedroom, ending in front of the magically shimmering dress that had arrived just moments ago. The Blessing ceremony would be held this evening at the Great Temple, and after tonight, she would finally be considered an adult. She fingered the soft, silken material that glimmered with woven magic, watching as it shifted colors. She still couldn’t quite believe that she would get to wear the traditional fabric, and stand in front of the Elemental Shrines in just a few short hours! Kisara wondered if she might be lucky enough to be Fire Blessed, or favored by one of the other Elements. If she were, she would be able to live in the palaces at city center, relied on and envied by her entire people! She laughed, and started dancing around her room again.
“Kisara, what in the name of the Elements are you doing?”
Whirling around, she saw her mother watching her with an amused smile. “Mother! Look, the Blessing dress came while you were out.” Kisara hurried over to show her mother the gown. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
“Yes, it’s quite lovely, isn’t it?” Her mother smiled indulgently. “I assume you like it? I told the seamstress to make it a little old fashioned, with the flowing skirts and lace sleeves, rather than the short tunic styles so popular with girls these days. I thought you’d look very elegant and grown up in it.”
“Oh yes, mother, it’s absolutely perfect! Oh, I can’t wait for this evening!” This said with yet another little dance. “Do you think it would be okay if I tried it on? Just to make sure it fits. I promise I’ll take it off right away!”
Laughing her mother replied, “Oh, no you won’t, I know you better than that. Once you have it on you’ll make up some excuse that will prevent you from having to take it off again.”
Ruffling Kisara’s hair, she suggested, “No, why don’t you go visit your friends instead? Take your time; have them show you their Blessing clothes. You can even bring them back to show them yours, as long as it stays on the rack. In fact, while you’re out visiting, you should ask if they want to walk to the Temple with you this evening. Oh, and do be sure to visit poor Lucien. I ran into his mother at the market, and she told me he’s rather nervous about tonight.”
Making shooing motions with her hands, her mother corralled Kisara out of the room and down the hall.
“Alright, alright, mother. I’m going, see? I’ll go visit Lucien. I don’t know if he’ll want to visit the others, but I’ll ask, and I’ll ask about walking to the Temple together tonight, too. I’m coming back early though, so that I can try my dress on before the ceremony. It really would be horrible if it didn’t fit, and we didn’t have time to fix it before the Blessing. I want everything to be perfect . . .”
Her mother shook her head in amusement as Kisara headed down the path to Lucien Vesper’s dwelling.
As she headed down the stately, tree-lined drive, Kisara stopped to watch the Harvest Blessed among her people, the Melior, as they worked among the trees and plants lining the dark gravel. Grinning to herself, she thought that by this time tomorrow, she might be the one taking care of the majestic elms.
Kisara took in a deep breath of the fresh, crisp air. It was a gorgeous fall day, the leaves of the elms were just starting to turn, the sky was that clear, cloudless blue that seemed close enough to touch, and there was just a hint of chill in the air. Ducking around one of the few massive trees, she walked up to the neighboring house that belonged to her best friend.
Since Kisara’s mother was a single parent, she and Lucien had been cradle mates growing up, keeping each other entertained when their parents had to attend their chores for the community. Kisara’s father had died from an animal attack in the forest before she was born. She didn’t know much about him, except her mother had mentioned he was Nature Blessed once. She didn’t really mind, ‘Aunt Maera’ and ‘Uncle Garai’ were almost like family, and Lucien felt more like a brother than a neighbor.
Shaking away her memories, Kisara trotted up to the front door and called, “Lucien! Are you home? Mother sent me to find out when you might be going to the ceremony tonight!” Kisara waited a few minutes, tapping her foot impatiently. “Lucien? Aunt Maera?”
The voice came from behind her, and Kisara jumped. “Lucien! By the Elements, don’t sneak up on me like that! Where were you? I didn’t see you when I walked up.”
Lucien smiled, brown eyes twinkling. “It’s a secret.”
“A secret? Were you climbing trees again? You’re going to get into trouble if your mother finds out!”
Shuddering, she remembered Aunt Maera’s angry reaction last year when Kisara had fallen and gashed her arm. Kisara hadn’t climbed a tree since, though she wasn’t sure if Aunt Maera had been upset with the fall resulting in the injury, or because Lucien had tried to convince her they had been attacked by Transeatur. “Well, whatever. It’s your choice, I guess. Hey, when are you going to the ceremony tonight? Would you like to go together? We can head to Eirene’s and Caton’s to see if they want join us . . .”
Seeing the light dwindle in Lucien’s eyes, she added, “What’s wrong? Aren’t you excited? Is your Blessing outfit not finished or something?” Her eyes widened at a sudden thought, and she whispered, “Your parents aren’t making you wear a dress are they?”
“no! No, my outfit is fine. Pretty standard I think. I’m just . . . Kisara, what if we aren’t Blessed? It would be mortifying if I went up to the Shrines, and nothing happened . . . and we don’t even know what we’re supposed to do to get our Blessing!”
“So? Neither does anyone else. Our parents didn’t know, and neither did their parents. That’s what the ceremony is for! It teaches us the ways of the Elements, and allows us to see which is inclined to give us their favor. It’s all a part of becoming an adult. Personally, I think that we’ll just know what to do. Who knows, maybe the Elements themselves will tell us. As for not being Blessed, even though it doesn’t happen too often, it has happened. It’s not mortifying, especially since we’re almost too young to even attend! If I had been born one week later, I wouldn’t be going tonight. You at least have an extra month!”
During her recital, Lucien slowly brightened. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. If I get left behind at least maybe you’ll be standing there with me, right?”
Kisara grinned. “Oh no, because I plan on receiving my Blessing tonight. You’ll just have to be Blessed right along with me!”
“So would you like to walk to the ceremony together? With Eirene and Caton?”
“Of course, my parents are planning on taking the carriage and there’s plenty of room. But Caton is going with his family, he told me so yesterday. Apparently, his grandparents are here from Cajetan. I can go ask Eirene though, what time do you want to meet?”
Kisara frowned. “Don’t bother with Eirene, she only likes to tag along when Caton is around. She likes him, and says we make her feel left out when it’s just the three of us. Did you know she keeps insisting that we’re together?”
Lucien cocked his head in puzzlement. “Aren’t we? I mean you’re standing right there . . .”
Kisara raised an eyebrow.
“Oh. That together. Well, we’ve known each other forever, and I do like you. But only a little. And like a little sister. Ouch!” He rubbed his arm where she pinched him. “See? Just like a little sister.”
“If you say so, big brother. Do you want to come see my Blessing gown? Maybe you can convince my mother to let me try it on, just to make sure it fits. You’re worried about not getting Blessed, I’m worried about tripping over my hem, or looking like a stuffed bear!”
Lucien snorted. “Bear? You’re too small to be a bear, maybe a squirrel. Or a badger.”
“Lucien! You know what I mean!”
“I don’t need to see your Blessing clothes; we’ll be heading to the Temple in a few hours anyway. I’m sure you’ll look fine. Besides, didn’t you know? The magic woven into the fabric ensures the right fit. It’s why we don’t have to go in for measurements or fittings.”
Amethyst eyes blinked slowly at him.
“You didn’t know?”
She shook her head.
“Let me guess. You were pestering your mother to let you try your dress on, and she sent you down here instead.”
Kisara sighed. “Yes. I didn’t know about the magic fitting . . . Even if I did, I probably would have asked to try it on anyway. It’s just so beautiful, and that fabric is so amazing . . . I can’t wait! Although, I guess I’ll have to. Maybe mother will take pity on me, and let me put it on early.”
Lucien ruffled her hair affectionately. “Don’t worry; you won’t have to wait long either way. A few more hours won’t make any difference.”
“I know, I know. I’ll see you tonight?”
“Tonight. We’ll have the carriage ready. Or should we come pick you and your mother up?”
“Oh, no. You’re closer to the Temple; mother would have a fit if you wasted a trip like that. We’ll meet you here. Should mother and I bring a gift for your parents?”
Lucien looked at her thoughtfully. “Hmm, I guess you could. Maybe you could make a cake? Both my parents loved the last one you brought. Plus, it’ll give you something to do so that you don’t drive your mother crazy.” He smirked at her outraged gasp. “Come on, Kisara. We both know you’ll wear her down until she lets you put the dress on.”
“I would not!”
“Sure you wouldn’t. Anyway, do you think your mother would be okay with a bouquet of flowers from the garden? I remember her favorites from your last birthday . . .”
Kisara frowned at him for a few more minutes. “I don’t drive my mother crazy,” she muttered.
“I know, I know. Flowers? Yes? No?”
“Yes. She took last ones after a few days, and had them magically sealed in a shadowbox. She kept saying that they were too pretty to let die.”
“Really?” Lucien looked pleased.
“Yes, really. And I’m still not happy with you.” Kisara gave him a mock glare. “I hope you’re nicer when I come back tonight!”
“I’ll be on my best behavior, I promise. See you later!”
Look forward for another piece of the chapter later in the week, and feel free to let me know what you think so far! 🙂