TITLE: Seven Gates
GENRE: YA Fantasy
Sechra paused halfway up the last steep slope. She didn’t know what waited in the world on the other side but she knew she’d be foolish to meet it with her heartbeat uneven with climbing and her mind mazed with wishing and fearing. She breathed deeply. The warm sharp smell of late blackberries rose from the bramble thickets. Soon the frost would come, whether or not she was here to know it. She didn’t know how long it took to find the hidden spring or whether, having found it, you could come back.
Well, and she didn’t know if she’d want to come back to her aunt Rena’s house, to the Dunlin villagers who looked with wary curiosity at the outlander’s orphan, to the days of spinning and milking and gardening and small gossip. She had liked it little when she thought she had no other choice. Since she met the old woman yesterday she had been aware of something wild and sweet in the world around her, something she might miss.
Yesterday morning she had climbed into the hill-country blindly, hurrying away from the eyes of her neighbors. When she couldn’t walk any further she curled up in a sun-warmed hollow, closed her eyes and summoned up the dream-world, her native land, where the colors were richer and the shadows deeper, where she was brave and beautiful and beloved. No one was there to call her back into the world where they thought she should be at home.