TITLE: Land of Sand and Stars
AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult
GENRE: Historical Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 76,000
When her life-absorbing abilities fail on the tyrannical King, Āmitis is caught in the war her dreams show will destroy her people. Falling for Cyrus, his rebellion-leading grandson, jeopardizes her plan, life, and two empires.
Winter: 552 BC
“Humata. Hukhta. Huvarshta,” I whisper into the brilliant afternoon sunlight. Made from the earth itself, the city built of mud and unbaked brick breathes life – the voices of the people rising. I stand out of sight, blending into the deep shadows cast from the columns as I repeat the phrase in self-assurance: Good thoughts. Good words. Good deeds. Everything I’ve done, and will do, is for my people.
“Do you hear them crying out for your death, Father?” I ask the half corpse lying on the bed. A soft moan escapes his lips but I continue staring outside. A warm desert breeze sweeps through, tousling strands of my long dark hair and blows them across my face. I brush them away and wonder how many people have taken to the streets, eagerly awaiting the news they’ve been praying for. It’s impossible to count the Medes dotted with Persians that are the citizens of Issatis. They’re a blur of dingy color washing over the streets.
I approach the bed draped in gold curtains. If not for his paralytic state, one would assume he’s in perfect health – his waist protrudes and the fat in his face fills wrinkles that would otherwise show in a man of lower-class, but never the ruling Satrap. Playing the part of a loving daughter although no one watches is laughable. Sitting beside him, I lay my hand on his forearm. Where red hot life once thrived, it’s now chilled. Stagnant. What little remains seeps into my hand and in moments I’ll have taken it all.