Starless by Jacqueline Carey
STARLESS Excerpt –
My training resumed. I squeezed rocks and hopped up and down the staircase, and bit by bit, the muscles of my wrists and forearms and legs acquired new strength. The three-pronged kopar was still too unwieldy for me to use, but I reached the point where Brother Merik deemed me capable of learning the rudiments of the yakhan and began teaching me.
There was a great deal to learn. There was a complicated series of slashing strikes one made with the curved outer edge of the blade and straightforward thrusts with the tip. In close quarters, there were reverse thrusts with the spiked pommel, though one had to be careful to avoid fouling the blade. There were backward blows to be struck with the blunt inner curve of the blade. Brother Merik made me practice each and every one of them over and over, first with my right hand, then with my left. I did so with diligence, working toward the day when I should be allowed to spar like a true warrior-in-training. Brother Hakan, who was the smallest in stature, had promised to give me my first bout as soon as Brother Merik consented.
From Brother Yarit, I learned stealth.
I learned the Shahalim ways of walking: the silent toe-rolling step he had first demonstrated to me, the back-to-the-wall crossing walk, the swift heel-toe glide, the crouching walk, the crouching frog walk with splayed fingers and toes. On Brother Saan’s orders, Brother Hakan and a few of the other young brothers studied with us, so that the skills might be preserved and passed on within the Brotherhood of Pahrkun.
No one trained harder than I did, for the other warriors were already well versed in the usage of a wind- cutter sword. They needed only to keep the edge of their skills honed, while my fledgling skills were like a blade with no edge that must be ground on the wheel. At least that was how Brother Drajan put it, for he was as at home in a smithy as a kitchen, and taught me how to sharpen and maintain a blade.
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Jacqueline Carey is back with an amazing adventure not seen since her New York Times bestselling Kushiel’s Legacy series. Lush and sensual, Starless introduces us to an epic world where exiled gods live among us, and a hero whose journey will resonate long after the last page is turned.
I was nine years old the first time I tried to kill a man…
Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.
In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.
If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine.
About Jacqueline Carey:
JACQUELINE CAREY is the author of the New York Times bestselling Kushiel’s Legacy series of historical fantasy novels, The Sundering epic fantasy duology, postmodern fables “Santa Olivia” and “Saints Astray,” and the Agent of Hel contemporary fantasy series. Carey lives in western Michigan.