I am participating in The Writer's Voice 2015 Blogfest. You can check out the other entries here.
Seventeen-year-old Sophia de Paula was raised among the foreigners, who wed native women like her mother to recruit their family for the sugarcane fields. Her fair, noble cousin is convinced marriage to Sophia will guarantee the prosperity of his barony, but she’d rather drown like her brother than wed someone who keeps trying to take her by force.
When her native grandmother entreats her to awaken Ig, the Water Goddess, and save the rainforest tribes from the conquering Easterners, Sophia leaps at the chance to flee her arranged marriage. No one has seen Ig since the blond invaders arrived from across the sea, but, disappointingly, the Goddess Sophia awakens is more interested in Easterner fashion than the devastation of the rainforest and the tribes.
Apart from bestowing water-controlling powers on Sophia, Ig’s advice is to seek another deity, a powerful Goddess no one knew existed. Ig’s quest will send Sophia deep into the rainforest the Easterners keep burning, and if she doesn’t succeed, marriage to her cousin will be the least of her worries. If she fails, Sophia’s tribe will perish at the hands of the conquerors who married into her family.
SHROUDED GODDESS is a 71,000 word YA fantasy set in a world that mirrors South America during the Portuguese colonization of the sixteenth century. This story will appeal to fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha series.
Silence settles over the great hall as four men bring forth a spitted manatee like pallbearers at a funeral. The five people seated for dinner occupy less space than the roasted beast. A charred leather stench arrives with the procession, and my stomach recoils as if it were a cornered rat scurrying against a wall.
Uncle Hector stands to inspect his catch then slices a sliver of pink meat from a gash in the thick skin. He chews ceremoniously while clear juices pool on the stone floor and neck muscles twitch on those supporting the beast’s weight. A nod of approval later, the roast is set on the table from which I wish I could flee.
Victor doesn’t ask if I want any meat before he serves me. "Quite the treat, isn’t it, Cousin?”
His childhood habit of stressing our familiarity is only less annoying than his determination to make me his wife. But the thought of wedding him does nothing to entice my appetite.
Grandmother Aryeea huffs from the head of the table opposite to my uncle. “Enough meat to feed two villages and it all got cooked at once. If I’d seen the animal, the cooks would have salted half. You said it was small.”
“There were larger ones in the river.” Uncle Hector, seated where Father should have been, serves his wife as if she were a princess from across the sea instead of a neighboring Baron’s daughter. Aunt Ana isn't allowed a knife either, even if she doesn't want to stab the man who cuts her meat.