TITLE: PRINCESS OF SWANS
GENRE: YA Fantasy
Tavor Castle is beautiful—for a prison. The white stone castle is small but well-kept, and its fields and woods cover almost a square mile. Even the looming, twenty-foot walls enclosing the grounds have an odd charm to them. To protect you, Father says, but I know better. It’s to hide me. The only ugly thing in Tavor Castle is its princess.
I jam my foot into Lulari’s stirrup and glare up at the walls, wishing my hate could melt them. Only a little longer, until the war ends, and I’ll be free. Father promised that much, at least.
I turn away and cluck Lulari to a walk. The warm breeze ruffles my fascinator and fills my nose with the scent of horse. I smile. Outside, there may still be walls, but at least there’s no ceiling. I brush back a lock of hair—and an ashen, black-cloaked woman appears in my path.
I clutch at her mane but grasp nothing. The ground races up to slap me, and pain jars through my shoulder and back. Breathing hard, I stir my arms and legs, then probe my ribs for tenderness. Nothing broken, thank Dal. A stablehand races toward me, calling my name. I sit up and groan.
“I’m fine,” I say. “Is she all right?”
The mysterious woman lies crumpled beneath her cloak, her face unnaturally gray. I crawl toward her, my shoulder throbbing, but the stablehand pulls me back sharply.
The black mass I took for a cloak is a vast, dark wing.