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Tears Waiting to Be Diamonds: Part One
For our first story of the year, Sarah Rees Brennan brings us news from the Other Lands — ten years after the events of In Other Lands! We hope you will enjoy this free story. ~ Julian and Fran, January 8, 2023
Tears Waiting to Be Diamonds: Part One
An In Other Lands Tale by Sarah Rees Brennan
Mark woke when the wells were full of starlight to his old nurse’s whisper behind the door, saying his sisters were dying.
“Make haste, my prince,” warned Hrim. “Your uncle has risen against your father and usurped the throne. Your father and brothers met axe blades in the dark, wielded by the lovers your uncle placed by their sides. Your sisters’ nurses were bribed, their defenses are breached. You’re the last hope.”
Mark donned chain mail and secured his weapons. As he reached for his axe and the only key that would open his door, he remembered his courtesies.
He promised, “Faithful servant, you will be rewarded.”
The door swung open. Mark saw many things.
He saw the pale face of Hrim, the man who’d tended him since he was born. Mark’s chamber was beside the nurseries, as his small sisters liked to have him near. He saw the blood and heard their silence, and understood his sisters were dead. Murdered long before they sent a liar to Mark’s door, to trick Mark into releasing his wards of his own will.
Home had become a battleground. His uncle’s men blocked the mouths of the cavern, axes at the ready, poised to cut off Mark’s escape attempt.
Mark attempted no escape. He pivoted, embedding the blade of his axe deep into Hrim’s chest. Blood bubbled from the man’s mouth and gushed down his chin.
“Faithful servant,” Mark snarled, “here is your reward.”
The blow struck from behind and rang through Mark’s body as though he were a bit of metal on an anvil, about to be hammered into a new shape. Darkness crashed down like a mine cave-in.
He surfaced briefly to feel rough hands upon him, bundling him onto a cart. He wondered if he was being brought to execution.
“That was a mighty blow for a young warrior,” murmured a voice. “Would I had a son like you!”
“A son such as I will not be born to your treacherous cur line in a thousand years,” mumbled Mark.
A laugh sounded in his ear. “This is all I can do for you. Courage, my prince. You’ll need it where you’re going.”
He woke in chains on the jolting cart. Horror washed over him, vast as the great emptiness over his head. Better by far to perish, to lie safe entombed in the halls of his ancestors, than to suffer the ultimate violation. Mark curled in on himself like a bug found beneath a dislodged rock. He dared not look up again. His eyes were blasted.
Covering this strange land from edge to edge like a shroud made of vacancy, covering Mark, was the terrible sky.
* * *
Once he had recovered from the shock of the sky, Mark planned his escape. He stole keys from the guard, burning with shame as he did so. A true prince would find a way to free his people, not only himself. A sergeant at arms helped Mark unloop the chains from around his chest and a private kicked him roughly off the cart. As though he were a child to be helped, not a royal who owed them protection.
“Run fast, my prince!” shouted the sergeant. “Run far!”
Mark didn’t get far. The humans, obscenely tall with freakish spidery limbs and hair the color of urine, caught and beat him. They beat the sergeant at arms, too. Afterward, Mark lay flat on the jolting wooden bed of the cart, speechless and helpless. He’d been struck harder, in training and in battle, but the lashes of the whip were a rockslide crushing not body but spirit. An irrecoverable cave-in, a home made useless and airless forever. Princes were not beaten.
Night should mean relief, but as the searing sun went down, the sky turned red as heartsblood in water. Mark remembered the blood on his sisters’ doors. Kierra hadn’t lived long enough to see the Great Candle Clock lit once. She couldn’t walk, though her crawl had been very spirited.
Sunset was the worst time. Night was only slightly better than day, the moon the sun’s ghastly pallid mirror and the stars cruel points of light as though Mark were a small helpless creature trapped under a sieve.
At home, light was filtered through the wells above, as water was taken from the wells below, both cooled by stone. That night, as Mark lay clinging to the comfort of imperfect dark, a soldier said, “We’ll stop by Westering fortress.”
“Heard they’re having trouble at Westering.”
“What kind of trouble?”
There was a pause. “Redheaded, I heard.”
“Redheaded trouble? That’s nonsense, Corporal! Who ever heard of redheaded trouble? Westering’s got copper and tin: they’ll pay well for a few dwarves.”
Mark shut his eyes.
The sun always returned. His home, his family, and his kingdom never did.
* * *
It was midday, the sun a yellow tyrant in the sky. The cart rattled to a stop near a crude edifice, stone brutalized to resemble— Frankly, it looked like a male reproductive organ. Humans were disgusting.
“We’re at the tower,” said the leader.
A troop of soldiers met them, wearing the same uniform of crossed leathers and straps and breastplates but no helmets. Humans were stupid: heads must be protected. They were a jostling, strangely anxious bunch. It probably wasn’t about the helmets.
“Arch,” called the leader of the cart soldiers. “Have we got something good for you. A troop of dwarves! Brought up proper in the mines, skilled, and their king wants them to serve life for treason. They can be yours for the low price of—”
“Shhhhh,” said the man addressed as Arch, in an agonized whisper. His eyes darted like insects fearing the torch. “He’ll hear you!”
The leader of the carts blinked. “Who?”
“Anyway, we don’t do that anymore,” mumbled Arch. “It’s unexcel. We’re not unexcel.”
“Unethical,” hissed a private at Arch’s back.
The leader of the carts seemed lost. “What’s ‘unethical’?”
“Among other things, paying criminals an inequitable wage, or acquiring their services for free. It’s a mockery of the justice system, co-opting the notion of punishment to benefit yourselves. If people disapprove of slavery but want to profit from the labor of others, at the expense of others, then they don’t disapprove of slavery. They just dislike accurate descriptions. Wouldn’t you agree, Captain?”
A human male shoved past the soldiers as though accustomed to pushing military personnel about and having them stay pushed. He was a hideous spectacle, taller than most of the already grotesquely tall human crowd, and pale as a fish back home, the proper kind with no eyes. People shouldn’t resemble fish. He was obviously the stupidest human, as he wasn’t wearing armor. In public!
His hair was his crowning horror. He had hair the color of the worst time, sunset, when the ghastly sun imitated a doomed warrior and died writhing in a battlefield of its own blood. He made soldiers afraid with just his voice.
This must be the redheaded trouble.
Arch, despite being captain, cringed as the fiery-headed man approached.
“I agree so much. We don’t need to talk anymore. About anything! Please.”
The red-haired human dismissed this request. “Funnily enough, when systems rely on free labor from prisoners, many get unjustly convicted. That is, say it with me now—”
“Unethical,” murmured the private.
Literally nothing this human said made any sense. Mark would have thought it was a human thing, but the soldiers seemed equally bewildered.
“What do we know about their trial?” the human pursued. “Who has accurate knowledge of the dwarven justice system? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?”
“. . . There’s no soldier by the name Bueller,” Captain Arch whispered.
The human didn’t appear to require input from others to keep talking. Mark had an aunt who could conduct entire one-sided conversations, though her diatribes were generally about reprobate young dwarves sneaking to the surface and cavorting. His aunt was probably dead too.
“Who’s to say they’re even traitors?” asked the redhead.
“Their king,” said the leader of the cart.
Mark spat out the rag they’d stuffed in his mouth when they beat him. “That cowardly cave scorpion is no king!”
There was a pause.
“. . . That does sound a little bit like treason,” Captain Arch ventured in a tiny, hopeful voice.
The redheaded man had a ledger with him, and an extremely peculiar writing implement. The ledger crashed against the side of the cart.
“Is that a child!”
“Uh,” said the leader of the cart. “No?”
Every eye suddenly trained on Mark.
“They’re all a bit short, aren’t they,” sniggered a soldier, then cowered under the horrifying man’s glance. “Please don’t send me to sensitivity training again.”
“You’re doing sensitivity training again.”
“Please be more sensitive about it this time, Professor.”
The horrible professor smiled with cruel satisfaction. “No.”
“He’s just shorter than the others,” offered one of the soldiers manning Mark’s cart. “Look at his beard.”
“You’re as ill-informed as you are unwashed. Dwarves grow beards in the cradle.”
“Even in the cradle,” contributed Mark, “mine was more luxuriant than yours will ever be.”
The soldier fell back, stroking the sad scanty hairs around his mouth as though they were an injured pet. Mark rolled his eyes. His father always said, If you can’t handle the axe, get out of the mines.
The redhead climbed the side of the cart, an easy feat with his freakish legs. He asked urgently, “Are you twelve?”
“How dare you, sirrah!” snapped Mark. “I am practically fourteen.”
He’d seen twelve lightings of the Great Candle Clock. When the king set every candle burning, he would call ‘Light in the dark’ and his people would answer ‘Clear as diamond!’ Another lighting was due soon. Perhaps it had already happened, usurping hands touching the royal tapers, fingers stained by the blood of kinsmen bringing fresh illumination to their world.
Mark would not endure human insult.
He drew himself up in his chains and declaimed, “I, Mark of Diamond Clan, prince of all jewels and heir to all mines—”
“Diamond Clan?” When the flame-haired human’s voice went sharp, everybody winced. It sounded as if he were in the habit of shrieking down excessively large birds. “Any relation to Myra of Diamond Clan? She’s part-human—”
“If you please,” Mark snapped back. “I don’t wish to hear of disgraced and disgraceful relatives.”
A silence followed.
“Myra’s one of my closest friends,” said Professor.
Several soldiers seemed vaguely startled to hear that Professor had any of those.
Mark was startled in a different way. He was startled by hope. He’d heard gossip about a cousin who had run away and married a human. It was revolting to contemplate, but . . . he didn’t have much family left.
This unpleasant individual might be Mark’s last chance. Mark had only one thing left of home, and that was his duty.
“In the name of your friendship,” appealed Mark, “help my men.”
The redhead promised, “I will.”
Encouraged, Mark said, “They must be instantly freed—”
The leader of the carts snorted. “Not so fast. We stopped here to sell a few, but I’ve promised most elsewhere. They’ve a gold mine.”
“Free whoever you can,” Mark begged the redheaded man, who had promised aid and claimed alliance. “I will go with the rest of the men and watch over them.”
“Professor,” said Captain Arch hastily. “Whatever scheme you’re hatching, we can buy the contract of a few traitors. No more than a few. I’m the one who must justify the garrison’s expenditure to my superiors. We indulge your notions, but you’re not a military man nor in any position of command. This fortress is under my jurisdiction. I command you.”
The red-haired human opened his mouth in the way men drew axes. Captain Arch winced, but soldiered on.
“If forced, I will enact physical discipline upon you. Shall we take the dwarves, or no?”
Professor’s gaze moved upon the soldiers, as though memorizing every face. “No,” he answered.
By now Mark should be steeled to betrayal. This creature with his vicious hair and voice could have helped a few, at least. He was too afraid. He was another weak, treacherous liar.
The professor smiled, which appeared to scare Captain Arch. “However,” he said, and Mark couldn’t suppress a last burst of hope. “As you wisely say, I’m not a military man. I’m a tutor. I was trained in our Border camp, and sent to teach the children. That’s a child. I demand to teach him.”
The leader of the cart snorted. “The runt’s nothing but trouble. Take him and welcome.”
“I will not be taken from my men!”
Mark had failed to protect his sisters. Now even the honor of dying alongside his men had been wrenched from him. He fought and clung to his chains, but the soldiers tore them from his grasp. The sergeant at arms turned from Mark, not even sparing him a last glance. Why should he? If Mark abandoned them while he yet lived, he didn’t deserve to be their prince.
He was dumped like a sack of grain at the feet of the red-haired traitor who’d refused to help even a single one of Mark’s men. If only Mark had his axe.
In lieu of his axe, he announced, “I swear vengeance on you and yours, Professor— What clan name do you claim?”
The redheaded horror spoke as if confessing a crime he was proud of. “I’m Elliot Schafer. Call me Mr. Schafer: I’m your teacher now.”
Mark spat on the man’s feet. “I swear vengeance on you and yours, Elliot of Schafer Clan.”
Elliot Schafer murmured, “We’re off to a wonderful start.”
* * *
The fortress was a mean and shabby place, neither well-provisioned nor manned with able soldiers, but there was blessed cool stone above Mark’s head.
“I’ve never seen someone so happy about a ceiling,” remarked Elliot Schafer. “Some find wild freedom in a sky.”
“Would you be overjoyed to find yourself free of the ground beneath your feet?”
Captain Arch snorted. “He’ll fit right in with the misfits cabin.”
Elliot glared at the captain. “Yes, we have an empty place for you, Marcus.”
“My place is with my men,” Mark snarled.
Utterly lost, he had no choice but to follow the terrible fire of Elliot Schafer’s head through a narrow stone passage to a dilapidated servants’ quarters. A human girl about Mark’s age lolled in a threadbare chair by an empty hearth, grinding what Mark supposed must be herbs using a pestle and mortar.
She grinned at their approach. “Oh, hello.”
Another girl darted down the passage, performing passes with a rapier. She tossed her hair back, and Mark controlled his expression with an effort. No need to ask why this girl was kept in the misfits cabin. Even for a human, she was hideous to look upon. It was difficult to contemplate her distorted features with equanimity, but Mark wouldn’t show discourtesy to a lady.
Mr. Schafer gestured to Mark. “Piper, Ilyria, welcome an addition to the class. This is—”
“Marcus of Diamond Clan,” said Mark. “Heir to a kingdom usurped, son to a murdered father, brother to a company of shades. I am rightful ruler of every gem shining in the darkness, and I will have my justice.”
The ugly girl stamped her foot. “Perfect. Another freak.”
She swept down the corridor, hair streaming like an unsightly flag.
Piper waved. “So you’re from the dwarven kingdom underground? I’m from the otherlands, where the phones and cars are.”
She was a stranger like himself. Mark regarded Piper with favor. “You may call me Mark. Were you also abducted from your homeland?”
Piper hummed. “Erm, no. I was asked if I wanted to come and I said sure. There’d been another incident in the latest foster home. Honestly I wasn’t sure where else I could go. After more incidents at the Border camp, I was sent away. Mr. Schafer was exiled here, so it worked out. It’s been four days since the last incident!”
Mr. Schafer had his arms crossed over the baffling insignia on his fragile-looking tunic. It read Born to Rock, which was another lie. Never was anyone less born to an honest life in stone halls.
“Would we call them ‘incidents,’ Piper?” Mr. Schafer asked. “What else might we call them?”
“‘Explosions,’” admitted Piper.
She tilted the contents of her stone bowl so Mark could see them clearly. A white ring ran all around her dark eyes. Her friendly smile was disquieting.
“I love explosions,” said Piper.
* * *
The misfits cabin was ghastly. Ilyria’s manners remained uncouth and Piper kept causing explosions, though Mark repeatedly explained how dangerous they would be underground.
Mr. Schafer, in addition to his many personal failings, was a bad teacher. Mark and the misfits were forced to attend large classes with the soldiers’ children. Miss Applegold was kind and patient, and taught Mark how to use a quill instead of a chisel, listening attentively when Mark explained that this rendered words so ephemeral, they might as well be writ in water. Mr. Schafer used classes as an opportunity to rant about nonsense. During one such rant, Mark put up his hand.
“Is election a form of combat?”
Mr. Schafer frowned. “In a manner of speaking.”
“Is the unsuccessful combatant killed during the trial or put to death after?”
Mr. Schafer gave Mark a look that promised many words. Happily, that promise went unfulfilled, as a private appeared reporting a tally of the grain delivery from the villagers.
Mark and the others leaned from the turreted tower to witness yet another altercation between Mr. Schafer and the captain of the guard.
“Nobody asked you to take over the tallies,” Captain Arch said.
“It’s best if you just accept I’m going to do things,” answered Mr. Schafer serenely.
The captain waved a hand. The tally continued. Mr. Schafer frequently became distracted from lessons to stick his nose in things that were none of his business: grain, armaments. He must have an inventory of the fortress in his head.
“This fortress used to be a peaceful place,” said Giles Bybrook.
Piper blinked her disquieting eyes. “The fortress full of soldiers?”
“You know what I mean!” said Giles. “Certainly more peaceful than before you came with your explosions, and Mr. Schafer was exiled here for treason.”
Mark said, “Surely traitors are executed.”
Giles tried to look clever, which made him appear more stupid than usual. “Mr. Schafer has powerful friends. That’s why the captain lets him get away with so much. They say Commander Woodsinger favors him.”
One of the girls giggled meaningfully. Mark knew of several important human warriors: Woodsinger was almost as famous as the Sunborn Champion. He highly doubted Woodsinger, who had risen to command on a sea of blood despite her sex and otherlands origin, would lower herself to be lovers with Mr. Schafer.
“He’s a bit young for her,” said Piper. “Like . . . thirty years?”
“Power is an aphrodisiac,” Ilyria observed wisely.
All the other boys regarded Ilyria with wide eyes, as they often did. They were so tactless. It was not Ilyria’s fault she was hideous.
Speaking of which.
“Surely Woodsinger would never.” Mark was revolted. “Have you seen Mr. Schafer’s hair?”
Nobody noticed the door opening.
“Children. Don’t be unkind. Mr. Schafer’s hair is eye-catching.” Miss Applegold blushed. “He’s a rather striking man.”
“Ooooh, Miss,” shouted every student in class.
Except Mark. That was beneath Mark’s dignity as a prince.
* * *
War training was worse than council training. Usually they trained with staves under a private’s supervision. Though they were clumsy overlong weapons, Mark managed well enough. Then came the lesson under Captain Arch, in which they were given swords. Mark refused a sword.
“Scared when it gets too real?” jeered Giles Bybrook. “Pining for your axe?”
“Sensitivity training again you say, Giles?” asked Mr. Schafer, popping up as he did when he was least wanted. “Mark doesn’t have to sword fight if he doesn’t want to. I’m a pacifist myself.”
“What’s a pacifist?” asked Mark.
Could Mr. Schafer not acquire an ointment for that?
“I don’t enjoy weapons in other hands or my own,” said Mr. Schafer. “The best way to fight is not to fight.”
This was pure laziness. Given Mr. Schafer’s personality, Mark believed many people must have tried to kill him. Somebody had clearly gone to a great deal of trouble to keep him alive. The mystery was why anyone had bothered.
“What if a troll charged at you with a club?”
“I would attempt to change their mind.”
“What if you didn’t speak troll?”
Mr. Schafer’s smile cut, which didn’t seem right for a pacifist. “Learn.”
“What if,” asked Mark, equally sharp, “you have a bad teacher?”
“Touché,” said Mr. Schafer mystifyingly. “Excuse me, I need a word with the captain about liquor rations.”
Confusion and misdirection were coward’s weapons, for when you were losing a fight. Mark saw right through Mr. Schafer.
When the tutor and the captain were gone, there were only the students. Unsupervised. With their swords.
“Think fast, Your Royal Shortness.” Giles came at him.
“Call for a healer!” Mark commanded Piper.
Mark ducked and rolled in the dust toward the stack of staves, fretting. The nearest healer was leagues away, if the worst happened.
The ring of steel on steel was a bell calling a halt to worry. Ilyria stepped between Mark and Giles, blade bared. Her face was grotesque, but her swordwork was beautiful.
Giles was down, the dust on his cheeks marred by tear tracks, by the time the captain returned and shouted at Ilyria to attend his office. Mr. Schafer followed, until he was escorted out by guards with drawn weapons. Then he sat with Piper and Mark outside the office.
“Why is everyone making such a fuss?” asked Mark.
“Probably because Ilyria killed a boy in her village during a routine spar,” said Piper. “She was meant to be a shining star at the Border camp, but after that she got shipped here. Everyone says she’s a deranged murderer.”
“Are you telling me killing one person is illegal among humans?” Mark demanded. “That’s outrageous!”
“That’s a point of view,” drawled Mr. Schafer.
“Is that why everyone stares at Ilyria in horror?” asked Mark. “I thought it was her face.”
Mr. Schafer’s and Piper’s heads swung toward Mark.
“What?” asked Piper.
Mark had thought this was something they politely didn’t mention. He spoke quietly, in case Ilyria chanced to hear. “The poor girl is a horror to look upon. Her hair is an offensive glaring sun color— No offense, Mr. Schafer—”
“Oh, none taken.”
“Her eyes, shudderingly enormous and the color of the hateful sky,” Mark continued. “Her nose, so narrow that it could be broken with a glancing accidental hammer blow. And, not to be indelicate, but the disproportionately long legs . . . ? I’m not trying to be cruel; it’s just a fact. Nature cursed her.”
Piper was at the edge of her seat. Her eyes had turned enormous, but in a temporary way. Mark patted her hand.
“It speaks to your character that you never taunt her with your superior good looks.”
“Thanks, Mark!” Piper looked gratified, then worried.
Mark understood her concern. This was an inappropriate way to discuss a lady, especially one who’d recently taken Mark’s part.
“. . . Do you understand why people stare at you, Mark?” Piper asked. “Especially when you talk about being a prince.”
Mr. Schafer looked curious about this as well.
“Of course,” Mark said. “I’m aware of my effect on women.”
He sighed. The royal line of Diamond Clan was famously good-looking, even able to withstand a rumored long-ago infusion of elven blood and the subsequent disadvantage of increased height. Plus, as even humans knew, power was an aphrodisiac. During royal processions when he tossed semiprecious stones, fair maidens screamed and fainted and hit one another with hammers for a chance to seize a stone from Prince Marcus’s hand. Beauty, like royalty, was a golden burden. He must bear both.
His father said Mark was too young for a lover, and when the time came, his uncle would find the right person for him. His uncle was well-known as a kindly matchmaker, adept at finding the perfect mate. Mark had been curious to see what his uncle might have in store for him. Mark had believed his uncle was devoted to his family’s happiness. His father was stern, his mother was busy, but as a child, Mark took his little hopes and secrets to tell his kind uncle.
The lovers at his brothers’ sides had been in position to stab them in the back. Beautiful spies, trained to be everything his brothers wanted, and nothing that was real.
He realized Piper and Mr. Schafer were staring in what appeared to be shock. Perhaps he wasn’t being tactful. He had no wish to attend sensitivity training.
Mark cleared his throat. “I apologize for wounding tender hearts, but the truth is, I’m not attracted to human women. They’re not putting in much effort to look well, are they?”
“Mark!” exclaimed Mr. Schafer.
Mark waved a hand. “I know you don’t have standards. You’ve got that hair, and you’re very old.”
“I’m twenty-four,” squawked Mr. Schafer.
“Exactly,” Mark agreed. “You have no lover.”
Mr. Schafer cleared his throat. “No.”
“So old, and nobody married you. You will die alone, with none to roll the stone to close your tomb.”
Mr. Schafer gave a little laugh, though he didn’t sound amused. “Maybe so.”
He stared out the arrow-slit window. Mark returned to his original topic.
“Men prefer flowing silken tresses on a woman. It’s only natural for a man’s fancy to be caught by a long beard. Human women are disadvantaged in that area, but facial wigs can be purchased. My own mother, gems guard her rest, wore several beard extensions and a braided chin-wig for ceremonies.”
Mr. Schafer leaned forward. “Tell me more about these customs!”
Piper’s eyes darted from Mr. Schafer to Mark, seeming increasingly worried.
“I understand you can’t cultivate a beard due to the frequent explosions,” Mark assured her. “And we must be kind to Ilyria. Bitterness over her looks soured her nature.”
The door opened to reveal Ilyria, face pale. What had Captain Arch been saying to her? The poor girl’s appearance couldn’t stand any more blows.
“My lady,” said Mark. “I had the matter in hand, but thank you for your valiant assistance.”
“Sure, you had the matter in hand,” sneered Ilyria. “And you’re totally a lost prince.”
She rolled her eyes, vast expanses of jellylike blue, and stormed off. Piper scurried after her. Mark sat as if struck by a god’s hammer, realizing why the other students snickered and stared. He’d proclaimed his family’s death and his uncle’s crimes. Nobody believed a word.
He was a prince of the blood. His word was diamond. Nobody had ever doubted him before.
“They will face the axe,” Mark vowed. “Starting with Giles Bybrook.”
“Not advised,” said Mr. Schafer.
Mark gave him a look, long and hateful as Mr. Schafer’s legs, encased in coarse alien blue and propped up against the wall.
“Starting with you.”
“You’re not exactly making yourself at home here, Mark.”
“This is not my home,” said Mark. “Have you ever had a home?”
His tutor studied the horizon, the way he did sometimes, as though the sky made him unhappy.
“I did once.” Mr. Schafer’s annoying voice went low. “For a little while.”
“Then you deserved to lose it. I won’t surrender my home.”
“This was difficult for me to understand, growing up,” said Mr. Schafer slowly. “But life teaches us that sometimes we must make compromises.”
Mark turned his face toward the comfort of the blank stone wall. “Just because the world has gone wrong doesn’t mean I have to.”
This human fortress with its misfits cabin wasn’t a home. He wasn’t here to make friends. His path forward was clear. Mark couldn’t reclaim his kingdom alone, and he owed his men rescue. They were the last remnant of his true home. He must lie in wait until he learned where his men had been taken. He’d seize the opportunity to free them, or die in the attempt.
At least he would die a prince, not a failure.
Thank you for joining our journey this week.
Sarah Rees Brennan is an Irish writer of dark fantasy and lighthearted jokes, whose books have been New York Times bestsellers, shortlisted for the Mythopoiec, Locus, and Lodestar awards, and nominated for the Carnegie. Her newest project is a secret.
“Tears Waiting To Be Diamonds,” © Sarah Rees Brennan, 2023.
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