Title: Persephone's Waltz
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Holy Maiden Ysabel has four months left to live. Then she stops the assassination of Dark Lord Kaine, a trans man leading a rebel army. In gratitude, he rescues her from becoming a human sacrifice—by kidnapping her. Hades X Persephone meets the humor of Terry Pratchett and the world-building of N.K. Jemisin.
I have four months, three weeks, and two days left to live. Yet here I sit, wasting a precious hour in a meeting with the Council of Cardinals. I need a smoke or a stiff drink. Not both; I learned from bitter experience on my knees in the outhouse that redleaf and alcohol do not mix.
While my eyelids droop, Cardinal Rakir finishes, “…As the maid said to the bishop.” All four cardinals laugh.
“What did you think, Holy Ysabel?” Rakir smirks.
I widen my eyes. “Oh, it was dreadfully entertaining, but I fear the Sun God has not blessed me with a wit equal to you gentlemen. Why did the bishop tie up the maid? Did she do something wrong?”
Rakir laughs even harder. I keep a vapid smile on my face. Just tied hands and a blindfold? At least take advantage of the increased reactiveness from sensory deprivation with a bit of hot wax and ice. Amateurs.
When I first dug up a dusty document proving that as a Holy Healer, I was entitled to join the council, the cardinals found the presence of a woman made it awkward for them to brag about their conquests during worktime. So I pretended to be too virginal to understand sexual innuendo if it mugged me in a dark alley. I’m still being excluded from the wheeling-and-dealing in their drinking sessions, but they don’t “forget” to tell me when to show up at the Cardinal’s Chamber to cast my vote.