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Title: SHROUDED GODDESS
Genre: YA fantasy
Word Count: 68,000
When Sophie, a seventeen-year-old of half-tribal descent, awakens the Water Goddess, she needs to use her new water-controlling powers to pacify both sides of her family, before her Easterner uncle kills off the rainforest tribes.
Seventeen-year-old Sophia de Paula sings like a rainforest bird. She yearns for the close-knit families the local tribes enjoyed before the blond Easterners invaded from across the sea. But given her mixed descent, Sophie spends her days disguising her tribal heritage and fending off her noble cousin's groping.
To escape a forced marriage to her cousin, Sophie decides to flee with her childhood friend, even though her uncle rewarded Gavin's marriage aspirations to Sophie by publicly flogging him and executing his father for treason. But before they can leave her family’s sugarcane plantation, Sophie sings awake the Water Goddess who disappeared after the invasion. A Goddess who turns out to be more interested in Easterner fashion than what Sophie’s uncle is doing to the rainforest and the tribes.
Apart from bestowing water-controlling powers on Sophie, the deity’s advice is to seek help elsewhere. Now Sophie can’t just hide from her family and live a peaceful life with Gavin. Either she uses her new powers to confront the Easterners, or she seeks another Goddess, one nobody knew existed, and convinces her to bring peace to a land with more scars than Sophie’s uncle can lash out onto those who oppose him.
SHROUDED GODDESS is a 67,000 word YA fantasy set in a world that mirrors South America during the Portuguese colonization of the sixteenth century. With Avatar waterbending in the rainforest, this story will appeal to fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy.
First 250 words:
I unlock my bedroom door with a hairpin and sneak out as soon as the hallway empties of gossiping maids and Uncle Hector's spies. Harp notes and laughter drift in the air from the festivities downstairs. But mingling with the drunken nobility without my grandmother’s protection will only get me married to my cousin by morning.
At the thought of Victor catching me alone by an alcove, my heartbeats fall off tempo with the secular music coming from the dining hall. I tighten the bows on my dress and try to ease the wild drumming in my chest. All I need is the unfinished tapestry I left in Aryeea’s room, to distract me so I won’t feel like a prisoner in my own home.
Flickering candlelight frames the doorway of my grandmother’s chamber, and I squeeze through the narrow opening to avoid announcing my presence with creaking hinges. Eyes closed and ocher-colored hands folded over her chest, Aryeea seems at peace on the four-poster bed my grandfather brought from across the sea. She’s only half the Baroness I knew in my childhood, but her dark hair is still as black as mine. Tribal blood pumps strong in our veins, no matter what we do to disguise our descent.
She’s so still. My throat constricts. The thought of never seeing my only ally again brings me shivers on this warm winter night. I’ll even miss the snapped orders she flings at me all day long.
“Sophia, stop viewing me. I’m not dead.”