TITLE: Clear Cut
GENRE: YA Fantasy
When Nanoken enters the last stage of priestess training, she just expected to exorcise demons and other impossible tasks. She never expects to side with a slave and a mass-murderer against her high priestess.
I'm glad I'm not the only one to giggle when we realize the biggest test of our lives starts with drawing numbers out of a hat.
Our teacher Kitty, High Priestess Kiretel of the Light, holds it high. “I know, girls. Try to still your mirth.”
She nods toward the heavy iron door and my laughter dies in my throat. “Through that door are twenty prisoners sentenced to exile. Seven rapists. An arsonist. A pedophile. Seven murderers. Three mass murderers. And one man who tried to summon demons to possess his enemies.”
A low growl rises from many of my friend's throats. Serenity, the youngest to have completed training, leans close to me. “I'm scared,” she whispers.
I try not to envy the girl. She's twelve. I'm sixteen. It takes most of us six years to complete priestess training. There are five others my age. How'd she get here? “Don't be,” I whisper back, and put my arm around her shoulders. “They won't hurt us. They know better.”
“You do not know which crimes they committed,” continues Kitty. “Their crimes do not matter. Your goal does. They are all irredeemable. They have been brought here, from six countries, to see if one of our priestesses can redeem them.”
She presents the hat, a simple knitted wool cap like most of us have, to one of the seventeen-year-olds. Rosemary reaches in and selects a number.