Day 21: Horse-Breaker

Warnings for: referenced underage/predatory/non-consensual sexual situations, abortion

At fourteen, many of Shardae’s graduated sisters could be seen now around the castle. Many of them wiped tears from their faces as they passed. They knew it was the job of a priestess to retain their chastity until given in service to a lord with property, and everyone in the palace knew that, but repelling sexual advances was not easy for young new disciples. The palace’s men knew that, especially.

Plenty of these girls would have children not properly by warriors. They could pretend they hadn’t, and could find ways to erase children while they were still inside them. Depending on what way they had found, they might never have another child again in their life.

Perhaps it would be worse for Shardae—she did not make a good priestess, and so who would keep her for anything but her body?

Fear and jealousy confused each other endlessly as Shardae’s fourteenth year approached. She spent nearly every day banished to the king’s stables, sulking at the legs of prim red geldings that reminded her of lucky Shiori. She wanted everything, but had no means to reach any of it.

And then the horse-breaker came to the palace of the Songbird King.

Her name was Zoya Nia. She was a foreign slave of an aristocrat who had ended the service for her crime a long time ago, and her owners paid her well. They trusted her with tending their babes and selecting the best of Árai’s horses for the warriors they sponsored.

She was the first and only woman to infatuate Shardae completely. She was not, however, the only woman who would ruin her.

-The Stars Went Out

Not the best job, being priestess of the cosmos. Everything in Lumis is terrible, or has a terrible twist. This sample is both long and gnarly, to make up for the shorter, shallower piece “Seller’s Moon” piece. Only 10,000 words left in m Camp Nano goal! In other news, I need some sleep.

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