|Lindsay L. Miller (@LindsPlay)|
It's so exciting for me to see Scheherazade sticking around and expanding! I worked on it in a really hard part of my life, and it helped that whole era be less rough, so it'll always hold a special place in my heart.
|Lindsay L. Miller (@LindsPlay)|
Just as the sun reached its peak behind the swirling darkness of the oncoming storm, a boy fell out of the sky.
Annissa was with the children on the gentle slope leading up to where the Guardian Tree stood, its bark as red as blood and its leaves as bright as Fire. It was her day to watch them as they played, and she’d brought her spinning with her, the familiar rhythm of the drop spindle and the roving a calming influence on what might otherwise be a tiring chore.
She and the other girls who were to be married soon took turns with the children, training themselves up to be good mothers. But it was not one of her favorite chores, and the day had dawned cloudy and unlikable. Still, she was good at spinning, good at weaving what she spun, and the children were content to let her work. So she sat under the fiery leaves while the children called and laughed, and tried not to feel too unhappy about impending wifehood and motherhood, while the clouds gathered and the restless wind made the leaves shiver in unpredictable patterns over her.
She wasn’t ready.
Benni was a good boy, a year older than she and oldest of his eight siblings, a strong almost-man with a good future on a successful farm ahead of him, and she was lucky, she knew, to have him. She who had no father and whose mother was from Away and whose grandmother was a little strange in the head and sometimes brandished her cane like a sword at the children…Benni didn’t care about any of that. He was always good to her, had been since they were children, and she’d known all her life that they were to be married. They’d been promised as youngsters the same year she’d started school, and had gone through the early Rites last year to cement the agreement. He was a good match for her. Everyone agreed.
But still, she wasn’t ready.
She realized she was winding the yarn too tightly and paused to check the children, who had gone quiet in that way that usually meant they were up to something nefarious. But instead of getting into mischief, they were all clustered a little down the slope, their faces tilted up to the sky over the Wall.
No one was supposed to look that way. The world lay inside the Wall and there was nothing to see outside it--or so the Elders said. She’d spent all her life not looking that way, but the children hadn’t yet learned the Ways. She followed their gaze, though it made her skin crawl over her scalp and neck. It felt like talking back to the Elders, but the children had seen something and it was her job to keep them safe. The sky had grown dark while she wound her wool into too-tight yarn and thought her skittish thoughts.
“It’s early in the year for storms, isn’t it, Nissa?” Junny, third oldest of the children said. He’d be going to school and out to herd soon, and wouldn’t have his days to play like this. Soon enough, her chattering group would be down by Junny and the two just older than he, leaving only the quieter children. On her less charitable days, she was glad of that fact. Today, he stood as subdued as the others, and she wished she hadn’t thought such things.
Annissa of Yorra never knew she was to be instrumental in reuniting her kingdom, walled off for centuries, with the rest of the world--until a boy fell from the sky and her whole life changed.