GENRE: Epic/High Fantasy
Cora, a young midwife, flees her village to protect the newborn son of an ancient god from a cultist who intends to sacrifice the child in a ritual to summon his demon lord into the material realm. To reach safety, Cora must cross the Feral Wood, a landscape rife with vengeful forest spirits, nightmarish man-eating predators, and gods intent on destroying her.
The bees trembled with nervous energy as Cora placed a hand upon one of the sections of hollow log that hung from the eaves of her cottage. She hummed a soothing tune of beseeching, and the daughters of the hive responded with a welcoming buzz of wings. She touched her blade against the edge of the clay dish that covered one end of the wooden cylinder. As she did so, a wisp of green flowed through the center of the knife, a blessing from Elassa the Benevolent. With a small amount of pressure, Cora cracked the wax seal that held the dish in place. Humming in time with the vibration of a thousand pairs of tiny wings, she reached into the hive and gently worked a comb loose.
The children of Elassa’s Bend gathered around, raising scraps of bread from the loaf Cora had baked that morning, clambering to catch the first drips of honey. She held out the comb and smiled down at the eager faces. “One at a time, my dears. There’s plenty of honey for everyone. Please move aside when you’ve gotten enough.”
The pieces of bread bumped against one another as the children reached out with thin, trembling arms, but not a drop of honey was spilled. They had learned not to let a morsel of food go to waste. Cora gazed down at their sunken cheeks and bony arms, and wished the lesson had not come at such a steep price.