R-4: THE FALCON QUEEN

Title: THE FALCON QUEEN
Age Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Word Count: 82,000

Pitch: Victory should mean peace, but for asexual knight Lavie it means fighting PTSD and trying to avoid court life. When assassins attack, she must discover who is undermining the new reign before it crumbles.

First 250 Words:
The darkness at the bottom of the dungeon steps ebbs like water. It’s safe, I remind myself. The war is over. He can’t do anything more to us. An itch crawls up my spine as I turn away, memories of the battle skittering through my mind. I turn back. I need to understand why he did what he did.

The steps disappear, eaten up by gloom. My foot slides on their damp surface, slowing my descent to a crawl. Dank air swirls around me. I wrap my arms around my chest to smother my shivers.

“Who goes there?”

Hurried footsteps accompany the voice and a guard emerges. His hand drops from his weapon and he smiles when he sees me.

“Oh, it’s you, Sir.”

As our army grew, what to call me caused some consternation. Lavie was too informal for one so close to the prince, but any man who called me Lady would earn a swift kick for his trouble. So they call me Sir, or sometimes Sir Knight, after Prince Brendan touched my shoulders with his sword following the Battle of the Bloody Waterfall. It’s more than a title. It’s who I am. No longer a girl playing with a blunted tourney sword, but a practiced killer.

The first time I killed a man, the very sound of it made me retch. The second one turned my stomach, but I’d kept down my food. Same with the third and fourth. Somewhere along the way I stopped counting and stopped caring.

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