TITLE: RED MADRASSA
GENRE: YA Fantasy
The sun was bright and the wind brisk as she walked along the beach, kicking up tufts of sand in her wake.
The man who stormed toward her was not happy to see her. In the past, when she was younger, he had often tossed her high in the air, her shrieks of delight ringing out like silver bells as he caught her safely in his arms.
Today was not such a day.
"Father…" she began, as he reached her.
He held up a hand to forestall any excuses. "Allorna," he said tightly, "It breaks my soul, but the prince is quite clear. You are not to guard him or his amlah."
She was only 14, but already the responsibilities of the gardis hung heavily on her. She simply nodded.
"I have a good idea of what you did," her father continued through gritted teeth, as they walked side by side in the morning sun.
"But Father," she protested, with the knowledge and fire of youth inspiring her words, "The prince is not worthy of our protection! He's an insolent, self-important whale with no care for his people or the gardis."
"He is our prince, son of the Emperor and your future ruler!" her father shouted. "You have maligned the name of gardis, which our family holds dear!"
He paused long enough to take a cleansing breath. Then he stopped being her father, at least for the moment.