Excerpt – The Book Of Redemption

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This is where I’ll keep you up to date on The Book Of Redemption as it’s being written! Below is an exerpt from 9/1/2019.
In spite of her earlier good intentions, Thetis is on the run from herself again. But this time, she is being followed…

When her foot caught on a loose piece of tin, she startled and stopped. The rattling sound seemed to echo from an opposing, slanted roof, where a carved sand goblin hunched over a few crude windows and a big ledge underneath. Thetis waited. She heard nothing more, but for a second she had thought she’d seen a shadow disengage from the deeper shadows behind the carved figure. Below, she could hear the distant sound of chickens, cackling sleepily, and someone emptying a pail into a gap between the street planks. Around her, everything was still quiet. During the late hours of the night she had encountered several gangs, and a few solitary criminals, patrolling the rooftops, but she had hidden from them, not the other way around.

After a few more moments, she continued on her way, stopping every so often to listen. There was nothing, nobody there. And yet, all of her instincts told her she was not alone. It was almost as if she was listening for her shadow, for someone who mimicked her movements so precisely they stopped being a separate entity altogether. And at that thought, she knew who was following her.

She stopped in the middle of a flat, wooden roof, with a good viewpoint and several exits. “Show yourself, Sister,” she said to the silence. “Neirid first and last.”

Nothing moved, but she waited patiently. The sun broke over the horizon, rays piercing through the clouds. Finally, the Sister appeared. She came, not from the adjacent, higher roof tower, as Thetis had thought, but across one of the foot bridges that joined the roof to the buildings around it. She didn’t hold the hand railing, and made no effort to hide her face in the stark morning light.

“Finally,” she said, once she was within talking distance. “I thought you’d never notice.”

—– 8/10/2019 —–
Thetis has only just been released from Allarys, but already her resolution of leading an honest life is wavering. She is at a low point when her mother Anthe, whom she hasn’t seen in thirty-four years, unexpectedly shows up.

Anthe sighed and leaned back in her chair. “Is it so hard to believe that I would come looking for you, after a gruesome punishment like that? And I sent many messages through The Raven over the years, didn’t I? But you would never respond.”

“Why should I respond to someone who destroyed my life?”

Anthe drank deeply. “You really think I’m out to get you, then. You’ve thought that all those years.” She looked away. “I feared it, but I did not know it was so bad.”

Thetis closed her eyes for a moment. It was too much. Memories and emotions flooded her. She was surprised at how much she remembered, but it was an unwelcome maelstrom of feelings and details, one that overtook her until she felt like she was drowning again. Fourteen hours ago she’d still been on Allarys. Fourteen hours ago, she’d thought she could build a better life. She opened her eyes.

“Prove it to me, then,” she said, very quietly. “Prove that you came here without an ulterior motive.”

Anthe shoved the full plate of food, cooled now, in her direction. She gestured at the open door. “Tokens of my good will.”

Thetis shook her head, ignoring her mother’s attempt at lightheartedness. “You see, I heard something today,” she said. “Ilya Baen is dead. You know, the wife who would only wed you without prior… attachments.” She drove her nails into the palms of her hands. “And now that she is gone, it’s Komis Baen who has the biggest claim on Baelyn. But you could remarry. You have no Lyr children. Except for me.”

She waited for Anthe’s reaction. Her mother stared at her, seemingly unphazed but for one small muscle underneath her left eye, that trembled and betrayed her.

“It’s true, then,” Thetis said. The old fire blazed through her, erasing the uncertainty, the memories, the feeling of stumbling through an unknown landscape. All of a sudden she was back on familiar ground. Here, she knew the way.

“It is not what you think.” Anthe’s cheeks reddened, from siltwine or embarrassment. “For Neirid’s sake, will you just-”

Thetis took a step forward. To her satisfaction, her mother shut up and leaned back. Only a little – but enough.

“I was trained to see through nonsense,” she said. “Don’t try me. And don’t think that just because I am old and weak now, I am without weapons.”

Anthe got up. The wine made her stumble, her cloak caught on the back of her chair. She’s old and weak, too, Thetis thought. Grim satisfaction filled her.

“Let me explain,” Anthe said.

“No. The time for explanations is over. You had your chance. If you have any respect for yourself and me, you will leave now. And take your goon squad with you.”

“But-”

“Go away!” She took another step forward, and Anthe cowered like the wind blew sparks from a fire her way. She retreated, slowly but surely, until she stood in the doorframe, looking deflated.

Thetis did not take her eyes off of her mother. “Not another word,” she warned in a low voice, that sounded strange to her own ears. “Leave now. Leave, and be glad I don’t have a bigger knife.”

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