Chapter 1:


Drowned Gods

They moved about the crags with grace. Her hair, the color of autumn, whipped through the night as she danced away from his attack. Her feet slid as she landed though, and she found herself on one knee. Sure of the win he pressed forward, not noting the silver outline around her brown eyes. A jut of rock that hadn’t been there before caught his foot. He was able to save himself from falling down one of the slits leading to the ocean, but not from her rough grasp. She held him by the back of his hair with a dagger against his throat. With a sigh he raised his hands up in defeat.

“You win.”

“Don’t I always?” she said, sheathing the dagger, but keeping his head pulled back.

He turned his eyes towards her. “Barely, Saleel. The last three times you’ve resorted to magic. You’ve gotten sloppy if anything.”

“Oh,” she said, “Come here.” Instead of giving him the chance to follow, she simply dragged him by the hair to the rock that she had stumbled on. “Look closely.”

“What? I don’t see any water or moss.”

“Of course not. The water doesn’t reach here,” she said frustrated, but her hands finally let go of his hair. “Can’t you see the unnatural decline?” she asked, as she jumped lightly onto the rock, which, did in fact, shift and tilt further down with her weight. “Now what would have happened if your attack landed on such an unstable piece?”

He raised his hands in defeat again before standing up.

“You’re still too anxious with your attacks.”

He pouted slightly as she playfully shook his hair.

They walked side by side now, slowly, watching over the unique dents and marks on the Earth.

“Do you think it’ll make me less anxious?”

“Magic doesn’t change who you are.”


“But nothing, with or without magic you need to take everything in and develop a plan.”

“But aren’t instincts important.”

“Yeah, but it wasn’t instincts pushing you forward. That was greed.”

“Blah, blah, blah, go be a scholar already.”

She gave him a look, but his smile disarmed her, and they both laughed. Once they stopped laughing his tone became more serious.

“What’s it like?” He took her silence as his answer.

“I’m sorry, I know you’re not supposed to talk-“

“That’s not it. It’s just…hard to explain.”

“Oh,” he said, his eyes bearing into her, trusting she would explain if she could find the right words.

After taking a deep breath she began. “You see these eyes, and they hold you.” She paused and looked at him. He didn’t quite understand, but he wasn’t about to interrupt her. “You go into them, and you see the entire world, and then you see Balatier. I felt a slight pinch as a single claw touched upon my forehead, and then I felt like every living thing was in me. That first moment it burned like nothing else, and I could feel my call searing into my skin.” She touched her forearm where her call resided. “It felt like I could tear the moon from the sky.”
They both looked at the moon then, full and dominant at this time of the month.