One of the most common questions I’ve gotten from those who read Ravages of Honor is, “What are the donai women like?”
Like so much about the donai’s world, the scope of Ravages didn’t really let me address that question. The Ravages universe and its inhabitants are too big, too detailed, too deep to be fully developed in one novel, even a 150,000-word one.
But the story of Lady Yedon did give me the perfect opportunity to answer this question, at least for one donai. Lady Yedon was introduced in Ravages during Galen’s flashback to the first time he met Emperor Thán Kabrin.
If you’ve read Ravages, some of the world-building details are repeated here (for those that have not). If you have not read Ravages, it’s my sincerest hope that you will.
Either way, know that this novella stands alone as its own story. And that, unlike Ravages, it is a dark one.
Valeria stormed through the arched hallways leading from the swordhall to the Sovereign’s Suite as though she were some elemental force of nature. Her blonde hair was darkened by sweat. She swept it out of her eyes and tucked it behind her ear.
Barefoot, she strode across intricate mosaics, cutting through shadows cast by carved, stone titans. Lightning split the sky, hurling blinding flashes of light at a universe gone wrong. The storm brewing outside was nothing compared to the tides of emotions she was caught in. They sent her crashing against unyielding cliffs and then sucked her back only to smash her anew.
Valeria was losing her strength and agility—an unbearable travesty. She’d not only lost the sparring session with her men, but she’d emerged bruised and battered. Healing was taking longer than it should have. Had it been a real fight, her enemies could’ve finished her off despite the nanites that gave her kind—the donai—their incredible healing ability.
The doors slid aside and she entered the ante-chamber. Lanterns floated down from the ceiling, casting a soft glow in the spartan chamber. Intricately carved panels covered the walls, deceptively hiding the ante-chamber’s main function: a kill-box. No enemy could pass through this chamber into the ones beyond where they might catch her unaware. Everything in the room, from the lanterns, to the tiles, to the panels was made of utility fog. Nanites stood ready to change form as needed, depending on the threat level.
A sword rack protruded from the column just inside the main chamber. She shed the killing sword and placed it on the rack, but the short sword remained within reach even as she stepped out of the hakama and shrugged out of the wide-sleeved jacket. They landed on the tiles as she made her way past over-stuffed couches and low tables. She had no attendants—not today, not tomorrow, not as long as she was like this. The fewer people who knew of her growing weakness, the better.
Continue reading “Featherlight Snippet”