Priestess of the Moon
SERIES: Pawns of the Gods
Tags Fantasy, gods, priestess, saving the world, barbarians, winter, desert, hidden cities, magical objects, Moon Goddess, Sun God, supernatural beings
Release November 8, 2013
Editor Rosalie Skinner
Line Editor Sarah Champoux
Cover Designer Charlotte Volnek
Winter grasps the land and won't let go. With barbarians invading and her brothers off fighting, Kalaide's world is in turmoil. When a mysterious stranger abducts Kalaide, he leads her on a wild chase through a countryside ravaged by the dirty war. Caught between battling gods, the two must overcome their differences in order to survive. How can two enemies find the courage to combine forces, defy the gods, and save their world?
"Prisoner or no, his wounds need tending," she interrupted.
"Your seclusion time―"
"Don’t be ridiculous, Laedor! You know that healer’s duty comes before anything." She sighed. "Do you want him dead if Godraon should speak in his favor? He could bleed to death."
Without waiting for a reply, she walked past him to the door of the cell. With a hint of apology in her smile, she passed the guard at the door, knelt next to the form lying on the damp stone floor, and slowly reached out a hand.
The stranger’s back slid away before she could touch it; he turned in a fluid, snakelike movement and sat up, edging away through the darkness. Behind Kalaide, her serving girl stopped at the door, carrying Kalaide's healer's bag and a torch. Kalaide raised her head and her gaze met the prisoner's.
Seeing the expression in his eyes, she shivered. After the hounds of Godraon, she expected hatred, anger, pain at least. But in the shimmering light of the torch, his eyes remained blank, calm and uninterested as if he sat at a not particularly amusing dinner party, waiting for the next course to be served. Suddenly, she felt pity for the emptiness of his eyes, more than for the bleeding wounds or tied hands. Swallowing hard, she reached behind her to take her bag.
"I'm not going to hurt you," she said softly. "I'm a priestess of Matrielen... I can help you with..." with her head she indicated the bleeding traces of the hounds' teeth, "... these."
The prisoner stared at her, his body tense as if he would run away. Kalaide took a deep breath and closed her eyes, reaching for him as gently as she could. She might as well have tried reaching for a wall. The barrier around his mind was firm and impervious.
She opened her eyes again, her senses sore from the sudden impact. She had never encountered such a barrier on anyone’s touch. For a moment, she wondered what kind of beasts needed to be kept within such walls, but she pushed those thoughts away. She was here to heal him, not to satisfy her own curiosity. She would have to rely on other means of calming the patient, like with the Lamroi, who sometimes came to Matrielenain in search of help. They wouldn’t let themselves be reached for, believing it would damage their souls.
The prisoner still watched her suspiciously, his heels pressed firmly to the floor, ready to push away from her. Softly, Kalaide spoke, pouring all of her meaning into the tone of her voice, unsure if he could understand the language. "Your fate will be decided tomorrow... you’ll need your strength."
He didn’t move and didn’t speak, but his body relaxed. Kalaide decided to take this as a good sign and crawled a bit closer. This time, he stayed put, allowing her a better look at his wounds.
She saw deep gashes on his chest and arms that needed sewing. Kalaide rolled up the sleeves of her tunic. She had probably ruined the underdress forever, kneeling on the damp floor, but she could salvage the tunic. It was warm enough to warrant the effort.
Kalaide smiled at the oh-so-feminine train of her thoughts as she prepared her instruments in automatic movements. Her equipment lined and ready on a piece of clean white cloth from the bag, she turned back to the guard in the hall.
"I’ll have to untie him," she announced.
From the corridor, she heard the clanging of swords being drawn, and then Laedor's voice: "Go on."
He was angry; she knew it by the sharp, soldierly way he spoke. Inside, she shrugged. She never grudged him his duties, and he had no right to grudge her hers.
Still careful, she turned to the prisoner again and gestured at his hands, forcing herself to move with straining slowness, like when she would try to induce wild birds to sit on her hand. Just as slowly, the prisoner turned his back to her and let her touch his bound hands. She started undoing the knots on the thick rope, but soon had to stop: the ropes were soaked with blood and stuck. Without thinking, she took a knife from her cloth and cut through the ropes. In the corridor, Laedor exclaimed, startling her, and the knife slipped from her hands.
The stranger's fingers caught it before it hit the floor. Kalaide felt the acid fist of fear in her stomach, but the stranger turned the knife in his palm and carefully offered it to her, hilt first.