Genre: YA Fantasy
The acrid smell of smoke and charred wood assaults my nose before I see the fire.
I turn left, my heels clipping against the worn cobblestones as hatred flames to life inside me. Normally the square swirls with smells of roasting meat and the raw, earthy scent of the tannery. Not today. Nothing fills the air but smoke and ash and destruction.
The square opens before me and sure enough, bright orange flames dance on the other side. No telling what the Royal Guards have set aflame this time. Tugging my cloak tighter around me, I ease into the crowd. People cling together in front of the burning structure, mumbling out of earshot of the guards. Not that it matters. The king has a way of hearing things that haven’t even been spoken.
The smoke pools in the air, the thick November clouds blocking its ascent. Those closest to the flames cough and duck their noses behind sleeves and cloaks. I hang back from the crowd and study the burning building in front of me. A printing shop. Of course. That’s the third one this month. I creep close to the perimeter, the heat from the flames prickling my skin. Twelve of the king’s guards surround the building, making sure no one intervenes as the flames devour yet another business. Another dream.
I eye the guard closest to me. His hair, slick with grease, glistens in the afternoon light. My blood simmers, my fingers itching for a pen.