TITLE: The Black Flower
GENRE: YA Fantasy
A little girl and her mother stood beneath the burning desert sun. Sand-filled winds battered their skin and eyes. Breaths had to be taken slowly to tolerate the shimmering air rising from the ground. A grey rock formation nearby was the only landmark in the miles of hot, dry lakebed surrounding them.
The girl’s name was Amiria. At the age of five, she could almost disappear into the mass of tangled blonde hair spiraling down her back. The many strands of gold weaved into it sparkled as the wind blew through them. The emerald eyes she shared with her mother gleamed wildly beneath her pale eyebrows. Her clothing was little more than scraps of cloth sewn together crudely. Her tiny feet had no protection from the scalding ground.
After three days beneath that awful sun, Amiria was beyond thirsty. Her lips were cracked and bleeding. She couldn’t even spit to remove the sand coating the inside of her mouth. But since they’d arrived, she hadn’t complained, cried, or even whimpered. And didn’t intend to start.
Her raven-haired mother was dressed in regal battle attire—a silver breastplate over a lacy red shirt, with boots and pants of dark brown. A band of polished stone encircled her head. She shielded her eyes, looking out across the lakebed. Then, after wiping the sweat from her brow, she took a long drink from the leather flask she’d been holding.
“I will let you die out here,” her mother said.