Sevara: Dawn of Hope, young adult fantasy excerpt #24

Here’s an except from my young adult fantasy novel Sevara: Dawn of Hope – on Amazon now: http://amzn.com/B0115CWE2S

“Father!” yelled Lief as soon as the Minister entered the door. Jaggat trailed behind him as usual.

“This can wait until after supper.”

“No, no it can’t, Sevara is—”

“This can wait,” the Minister said with such authority that the family hound hid its head under its paw. One of the Minister’s wives helped him take off his heavy coat. Another wife unbuckled his boots and pulled them off. A third took his day case. Then the Minister lumbered to his dressing room and changed out of his suit.

Lief had seen the news of Sevara, the young girl who had stopped the execution in Lyre square. His feelings for her had only grown since he last confronted his father, and he could think of no one else. He cursed himself for being such a fool at the auction. He now realized that in the privacy of the orphanage, he had spoken to Sevara from his own heart, but in the public spectacle of the courtyard, he spoke the way the people expected him to speak, and for that reason only she was lost to him. He was determined not to lose her again. He’d recognized Sevara on the reflector screen immediately, but his father had been in meetings all day, and he hadn’t been able to get any information about where she had been taken. Of course it was his father’s office that would be responsible for her detention, and he had gone almost mad waiting for him to come home.

“Come, dinner’s ready.” Evelyn led Lief to the dining room. She was the youngest and most optimistic of all Alex’s wives, and Lief’s favorite. She had become like an older sister that he could tell his secrets to.

Finally, Alex came down and joined Lief and Lief’s older brothers at the long family hall. The Minister’s wives, looking immaculate in their fresh makeup and best evening dresses, stood along the walls waiting to refill glasses and take empty plates. Lief didn’t touch his food. Jaggat sat in a corner of the kitchen eating a turkey drumstick while the hound slurped up its lamb chuck.

“You’ve got to eat something,” said the Minister, not looking up from his beef stew.

“I’m not hungry,” said Lief.

“Well, I can’t eat with you staring at me,” said the Minister, pushing his bowl away.

“You know what this is about, Father,” said Lief.

“And you know that there’s nothing that I can do, Lief,” he said, staring directly in his son’s eyes.

Lief stared incredulously.

“What do you mean?”

“The trial’s already been held. She disrupted the fulfillment of the Codex and has been sentenced accordingly.”

“Accordingly?”

“As an enemy of the state.”

Lief stood.

“You can stop this, you must—”

“We all follow the Codex, Lief, even me, even you—”

“Father, you must—”

Evelyn rushed into the room and almost knocked one of the other wives over.

“Look, look!” she said, pointing out the window, and Jaggat shimmied over and spread the curtain. Newspapers were zipping down the balloon wires, thousands upon thousands of papers falling to homes and street vendors. They looked like leaves on a windy autumn day. Jaggat pulled the cover off the reflector tube and adjusted the magnifying glass so that the image was clear. The screen showed a large gathering around a stage in the city’s main plaza.

The wives crouched closer and watched the event unfold. On the screen, the Chancellor solemnly made his way upon the stage and began to speak.

“Good Citysins of Plexus, this great empire is again cursed with the bitter tears of grief. This morning, an accomplice disrupted the punishment exhibition. An uncertified and unregistered criminal named Sevara hoped to set the traitor Almos free, so he could continue his evil work. In doing so, she infected the minds of many of the young boys who were there, boys from good families, boys who were seduced by her witchcraft.”

“This crime will not go unpunished, for the Codex is the law, and we live and die by the code. In accordance with the code, a tribunal was held this very afternoon, and the girl was found guilty of immoral influence over others. Her sentence will be determined by her loyalty to the state, overseen by the punitive board.”

With that, the Chancellor made his way back to his sedan and sped off. Evelyn switched off the reflector and covered it back up. The future Chancellor of Plexus could never marry a criminal, and everyone in the room knew it. Lief was engulfed by emotions more powerful than any he’d ever known. Despair, fury, rebellion and longing stormed inside of him until he couldn’t take it anymore. His father’s eyes were on him, and Lief was terrified of losing control of the rage and revealing his true thoughts. So he took a deep breath and pushed the thundering waves of emotions under the surface of his being. The Codex was the absolute ruler of the kingdom, and he knew that no one could change it. They finished their dinner in silence. Overhead, newspaper after newspaper pattered against the rooftops, so many that it sounded like a light summer rain.

You can check out the whole novel on Amazon right now. There’s a paperback and a digital version for your Kindle: http://amzn.com/B0115CWE2S

2 Giveaways – for novel and graphic novel

Hey everyone, you can get a free copy of the Sevara novel and a free copy of the Sevara graphic novel! Just go to Goodreads.

The graphic novel giveaway is here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/155593-sevara

The novel giveaway is here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/155836-sevara-dawn-of-hope

Sevara: Dawn of Hope, young adult fantasy excerpt #24

Here’s an except from my young adult fantasy novel Sevara: Dawn of Hope – on Amazon now: http://amzn.com/B0115CWE2S

“I gave her the address? No, I got the address from a woman at the orphanage. Those crazy custodians were protecting this Bangun girl, all of them, like an army. I couldn’t get near her, honestly. You’ll want to talk to her, Alex.”

The doctor spoke quickly with a raspy, broken voice. He scratched his neck nervously, trying to think of a lie that could save him. Nobody liked to get on the Minister’s bad side. It never ended well. Only a few beams of light made their way into the meat cellar. The smell of raw aging flesh was so heavy in the air it could make you gag. In the far corner there was a boy no older than ten sitting on a wooden box. He stared with wonder at a large beetle that crawled slowly across a metal meat cutter’s counter.

“So you didn’t question her when she gave you an address on embassy row?”

“I didn’t know it was embassy row. I just knew the street name and number, and I gave it to Jacob. He went over to fetch her. What’s my concern with the address anyway? I don’t care who the girl is, I get paid for green- eyed redheads.”

“So you know who she is, right, Doc?”

The doctor was silent. Maybe he knew, maybe he didn’t. He sat there trying to figure out which answer would keep him alive. The beetle had almost made its way to the edge of the counter. The boy picked it up and moved it back to the center. The beetle paused for a little while, then resumed its march forward.

“No, Alex, I told you, I don’t care who she is.”

“How’d the custodians get the address?”

“You’d have to ask them,” said the doctor.

“I’ll just have to do that,” said the Minister.

The boy’s eyes were a pale blue, his hair blonde, and his face peppered with freckles. He put his face just inches from the beetle and watched it as it moved along, as if he hoped to be able to see inside and figure out how it worked. The beetle moved past him, and the boy’s eyes followed it.

“And, by the way, where’s your yellow gopher, Jacob’s his name, right?”

“Good question. Not sure, Alex. He disappeared. He went to get Sevara and then he never showed up again. It turns out the truck was in an accident, so maybe he’s at the hospital.”

“That driver’s at the hospital. Fib’s his name, right? But not Jacob.”

The boy smashed a half a brick down on top of the beetle, flattening it. At the tremendous sound, both men looked over at the child as he stared at the mess of goo and insect pieces on the counter. He stared intently for a long time, as if he expected the beetle to continue to move.

“Oh really, my…” Dr. Karon whimpered.

The doctor watched as the boy pulled a small garden snake out of a sack and held it against the counter. Again, he hunched over so he could stare at the snake from just a few inches away. His grey eyes seemed fixated on the snake’s ability to move all on its own, or perhaps it was the animal’s sense of purpose that fascinated him. The snake stopped writhing and simply lay there breathing and flicking its tongue. The boy raised the brick over his head and waited. The Minister slid his stool closer to the doctor. Their faces were so close they almost met.

“Yes, Doctor Karon, we keep a close eye on our operation. When a truck full of orphans overturns and all the girls go wandering the streets, we take notice.”

The brick came down with a bang, and the snake stopped moving. The boy’s expression never changed.

“Well, I hope you got all the girls,” said the doctor, gasping loudly for breath.

“Yes, we rounded them back up. All but one.”

The Minister stood up and kicked his stool away. The doctor reached both hands up to his neck and clawed at a leather band that pinned him to the storeroom wall. The other end of the long strap lay on the floor. The Minister picked it up and pulled it tight so it constricted around the doctor’s neck. The doctor’s face turned red, and he was unable to scream. The Minister turned toward the boy.

“Boy, come over here.”

The boy came over, wearing the same calm, cold, stone-faced expression as before. The Minister attached the end of the leather strap to one of several wooden levers on the floor. The boy stood and took hold of the lever with both hands while staring at the doctor, who foamed at the mouth and struggled to get free.

“Don’t do this—” was all the doctor could get out before the boy pulled on the lever and constricted his vocal chord. The Minister walked up the steps and opened the door to the cellar. Jack Rapier was there, head down, not willing to look at the Minister.

“The weather’s nice, I think I’ll walk home,” said the Minister, “nice to spend some time with you and your boy.”

Minister Paris took his night coat from a hook and walked through the small boutique meat shop and exited to the street. Jack closed the door to the basement, locked the lock, and held the key tightly in his fist. Below, the boy stood there watching the man writhe until the doctor didn’t struggle anymore.

You can check out the whole novel on Amazon right now. There’s a paperback and a digital version for your Kindle: http://amzn.com/B0115CWE2S