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Two girls from opposite sides fall in love in a world on the brink of war.see full description
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Seri's world is defined by very clear rules. The beasts prowl the forest paths and hunt the People. Warriors kill the beasts and gain strength from the armor they make from them. And they explore the unknown world, to find new homes for the People. That was how it had always been, and how it would always be.
Until the day Seri encounters Tsana.
Tsana is a stranger, someone who is – impossibly – not of the People. She comes from the unknown world, from a strange group that speaks a different language, wears metal, and, strangest of all, communicates with beasts. And Tsana's People find Seri's barbaric. Somehow, with the world at the brink of war, Seri will have to find a way to make peace.
This is a world of heroes, and that is what Seri will become.
The thing in the woods was a carcass. Not a beast carcass—Seri wasn’t sure she could have handle seeing that—but the carcass of a monkey. It was curled around itself, its throat torn out. It looked like it had been there for a few days at least, and it stank. Seri coughed, turning her face away as she felt her gorge rise. Eshai spared her only a glance before walking towards the animal, her other two warriors close behind her. They looked troubled, casting the trees around them a dark look. Their unease was catching. Seri didn’t understand why they were so troubled by a dead animal, but their unease was catching. She stayed close to Eshai, keeping one hand over her nose and mouth.
Eshai used the shaft of her spear to turn the animal over. That let off a wave of noxious gas that made Seri’s eyes water. The wound was infested with maggots. She looked away, unable to watch. The ground squelched as Eshai bent down.
“A natural predator?” Seri heard her ask.
One of the warriors, the one that had approached Eshai, shook his head. “Predator would’ve eaten it, commander.”
“Only a beast kills like this,” the second warrior said. He was a dark-skinned man, his black hair streaked through with gray. Seri assumed that he must be Zani.
“Monkeys usually manage to get away,” Eshai said. “Could this one have been slow? Or stupid?”
Zani shook his head. “Blood on the branches. It was killed in the trees. And fell.”
Eshai’s gaze shifted from the creature to the trees, and with a sudden terrible certainty, Seri understood what the problem was. Beasts didn’t climb. They couldn’t. Shouldn’t. That was why the spreading trees were safe. The teachings echoed in her head.
The beasts roam the forest paths. Be cautious, child of the People.
“Double up patrols for the next three days,” Eshai said, her voice carrying the clear tone of command as she looked back at the other two. “Search for any evidence of this beast. Work in pairs—no one leaves the settlement alone. Inform the settlers of the extra precautions—no one leaves the spreading tree without an escort. If we’re lucky, it’s already decided to pass us by, but I’m not taking any chances.”
“Yes, commander,” the warriors said, touching their hands to their hearts in salute.
“Tons of fast-paced action, stellar world building and immersive storytelling.” —Domolovestea
“Love the drama and the conflict!” —Sheelagh
“I really like the world [the author] has created, it feels very original. I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like this before.” —flissblue
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