Title: Given To The Wind
Genre: YA Fantasy
“Blood tells, Thea and I pray for the day it tells on you!”
Habibi brushes the dirt my boot left on her bodice. It smears. She raises an agonized gaze to me, big brown eyes spilling tears over flushed cheeks.
“Damn you,Thea! How can our a’Shara consider making you Venari? How can he endure you in his Crèche? Everything about you is dark! Your skin, your hair, your heart! Without your birthmark, Pell never would have taken you in!”
Her venom makes my jaw clench.
It started simply enough. Me on Windsong, my beloved mare, body and mind at ease, off to hunt before the storm broke. Selene, my hunting hound, at our side, heading for the grasslands encircling the Sada’s movable city of felted tents. The three of us coursing the Way, for Venari and riders only, not expecting a gaggle of girls to sashay onto the road. A bunch of near-women come to flaunt their finery and flirt with warriors.
Thankfully, we were trotting. Thankfully, I saw them in time.
Habibi, acclaimed as one of the Tribe’s great beauties, had smiled slyly at me, as if sharing some female secret. I knew her by name. I knew her ribs housed a stunningly shallow heart. In a gown giddy with color, she cast a dismissive gaze over my fawn-colored riding brecca and tall boots. “How did this Nomadi bitch get past our Venari?”
Her triumph—vanquishing me with a curse: Nomadi, the dismissive name A’talans call Daharshan warriors.