TITLE: Age of the Gifted
GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy
With her newfound power, fifteen-year-old Shyla summons rains and saves her desert village. She ages five years overnight. Horrified, she vows never to use her power again. But she can’t keep it a secret. Soon she’s hunted by a king who wants to control her, rebels who plan to use her, and sick and dying people who long to be healed. When war breaks out, Shyla must decide if growing old is too high a price for peace.
Clutching a large water jar to my chest, I raced down Shalot’s dusty streets.
The twin suns’ blazing heat scorched my skin. Sweat soaked my kaftan. But still I ran, skirting people and skidding around corners. Finally, I stumbled out of the last twisty side street into the village’s largest bazaar. Ancient limestone shops surrounded the market. The mingled scents of curry, garlic, and hot pepper clogged the air.
People milled around the bazaar, but the area surrounding Shalot’s only well was empty. A warder in a stained white robe was moving a wooden lid back over the rock-rimmed structure.
I was too late.
“Wait!” I shifted my jar to the crook of my arm, ran forward, and grabbed the lid.
The warder pushed my hand aside. “Come back tomorrow, girl.”
“My family’s out of water.”
“Not my problem.”
“But our camels are dying.”
“If I don’t do my job, people die.” The warder slammed the lid in place.
I felt myself slump. I could still see our camel lying doubled over and twisted, her mouth gaping at the cloudless sky. Above her emaciated body, shadows had seemed to flicker like ominous flames. The odd vision should’ve scared me, but in some strange way, it had compelled me to try to save her. I’d spent the morning dribbling the last of our water down her throat and trying to make her stand.
But nothing had helped. I had to make the warder change his mind.