Tuesday 10 November 2020

Living Sacrifice

Separated, but still joined, they strive for freedom.

Left behind at the sept son’s compound, Zezilia Ilar struggles with the after effects of her prolonged commisceo-link with Hadrian. She devotes herself to caring for the wounded arriving almost daily from the battlefields. Pressed to perform procedures and make decisions far beyond her training, Zez grows in confidence and skill. All the while, she wonders if she'll see Hadrian again, fearing the worst possible news will arrive any day.

Sept Son Hadrian Aleron fights to bring peace to his home nation. Allied with the new high king, he and a small army of Talented struggle to retake the capital city. Elitists, though scattered, continue to pick off the strongest of his men. As he battles the remnants of the commisceo-link and tries to organize the campaign, he begins losing himself to exhaustion. Only a miracle will keep him alive.


  Rachel Rossano is a happily married mother of three children. She spends her days teaching, mothering, and keeping the chaos at bay. After the little ones are in bed, she immerses herself in the fantasy worlds of her books. Tales of romance, adventure, and virtue set in a medieval fantasy world are her preference, but she also writes speculative fantasy and a bit of science fiction.



 I resumed my work, half fearing I had done something wrong. However, by the time my shift was finished, I had convinced myself otherwise. No one had told me not to speak with patients.

When I presented myself before Madame Arnata’s desk, I held myself tall, ready to present an account of myself.

Sit, Defender Ilar.” She waved to a seat off to the side.

Once I was seated, she pinned me with an evaluating look.

“When I told Master Silas that I had pressed you into service in the wards, he informed me that it would be a waste of your skills.”

“I am not above menial tasks.” I felt good, unlike what I had been feeling of late. My teaching sessions with Ariana were long and dreary exercises in frustration for both of us. Lotus hadn’t returned.

Madame Arnata continued. “We have some difficult cases of mind-trauma. Puzzles that require someone skilled in mind-work to unravel.” She sighed and folded her hands before her. “All of our mind-trained healers have been called out to support the troops at the front. Don’t tell anyone this, but the Elitists are still out there, or at least their techniques are still being used. Between the sato cases and the strippings, we are struggling to keep up with the needs. Some of our best healers have returned babbling incomprehensibly or dead. The saboteurs and assassins are working their way through our ranks.” She shivered.

“That man in the small room?” I asked.

“He was one of our best healers.”

“And the name he called?”

She grew pale. “His daughter. They lost her to the Elitists. She is still missing.” She took a deep breath. “He had finally decided that she must be dead right before he left for the front. Now he spends his days calling her name.”

“How can I help?”

Madame Arnata visibly gathered herself before answering. “Comfort them. See if you can help them. Communicate with them if you can.” She frowned. “To be honest, I am not completely sure how you can help them, not being defender-trained as you are, but I would like you to try.”

“I am not trained in mind-healing.” I could trigger a sato, which would cause a patient to harm others or himself. Or worse, I could harm someone without intending to.

Madame nodded. “I know. But you have an advantage above us all. You have training. You can speak to them with your mind. None of us can do that and none of the Talents remaining in the compound are willing to risk touching thoughts with one who has been in contact with an Elitist.”

Unease stirred in my gut. “I need to speak to Master Silas.”

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