Title: GRIT OF BERTH AND STONE
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 81,000
Sixteen-year-old Grit is set to become a champion warrior until she breaks the first rule of Theshan society: Never approach a stranger without a ready weapon. Overpowered by a frail, old woman and banished for her foolishness, Grit swears to forget her village, including her sparring partner, Coil, who has vowed to repay those who orchestrated her exile.
As Grit distances herself from her past, her resolution to trust only her dagger proves futile against a string of strangers: a rebel leader who knows her name; an elegant girl who overlooks her coarseness; a mangy dog who won’t leave her alone. As a blind pearl diver reveals unseen truths to Grit, she begins to understand that alliances run much deeper than self-preservation. When she discovers the extent to which Coil is taking his vow of vengeance, Grit must fight her way home to stop him or live with the blood of the innocent on her hands.
GRIT OF BERTH AND STONE (81,000 words) is the first in a YA Fantasy trilogy.
First 250 words:
Her brands were smooth and pale, unhardened by the sun’s abuse. She flexed her muscles taut as her left forefinger moved over her bare arm, slowly zigzagging from her right shoulder to elbow, touching each brand in the order in which they had been seared upon her arm. As she pressed her fingertip into her fifteenth brand, a strong arm wrapped around her waist, and a finger not her own dug into the empty space just above her elbow.
“Sizzle!” Coil’s breath was warm on Grit’s ear, and he reeked of damp earth.
Wrenching herself from his grasp, she turned and with her fingertip traced a line from his temple to his chin. “Watch it, Coil of Dara. I might cut you again, and this time, no amount of forest magic will erase your scar.”
He laughed, a mirthless, distracted noise. Following his gaze, Grit turned toward the front of the crowded meetinghouse.
Twelve council members sat in chairs arranged on either side of an expansive hearth in which a blazing fire added discomfort to the warmth of the spring day. Sage Brakken rose from his chair, crossed to the center of the low stage, and struck his staff upon the wooden planks.
“Sixteen brands for sixteen years, and sixteen days to shun one’s fears.” His booming voice cleared the room of chatter. “Grit of Berth and Stone, come forth!”
With a glance at the tables of weapons the elders had set out to aid her in her test, Grit shrugged Coil’s hand from her shoulder.
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