Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Winter Ship by Sarah Ann Watts

Winter Ship is a fantasy novel currently running as a serial at Bewildering Stories 

The Winter Ship is a legend, an old tale. For those who rule overtide and time, who can say this ship does not sail every year?

Kyran Shade is a child of the falcon and a son of the king. Shunned for his birth and feared as a shape shifter and a seer, his father sends him to the temple for education while his half-brother, Majvaz is raised as the heir.

Chapter 1 - Wolf's Paw

Morning in the temple, and a dog is barking. I wake, scrunched up on my pallet, straw tickling my throat. My breath mists in the cold air. There will be ice on the pitcher this morning. I shiver, burrowing beneath my thin blanket but then the bell begins to toll. Already I am late. I slept in my shirt to keep warm and save time.
I reach for my acolyte’s robe, rough as sackcloth and tie the rope around my waist. If I displease my master, he will use the rope to beat me. I am lucky it has only one knot and has no steel weights, a concession to my youth, never my rank.
My feet are grimy — no bath until the purification ceremony and none of us are keen to bathe in the river in any season. The bell tolls, impatient, and I drag open the door to my master’s cell. It is an honour to serve so venerable a priest, to sleep in the bare chamber that borders his anchorite’s cell and wait on him. I know it was also for my own protection that the Hierophant separated me from my fellow acolytes. A penance for my pride and disobedience to his will.
The night torches are burning down. My task is to rise before the sun and open the shutters. I make haste to throw them back, letting in the pale light of a winter’s dawn. The shutters are heavy and powdered snow collapses in. Already I am running out of time.

Read more at Bewildering Stories