Title: The Hiders and the Seekers
Age Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy (own voices)
Word Count: 80,000
Pitch: Nakamura Kaori has until the blood moon to find her emperor’s killer. If she uncovers the truth, she will become empress of all of Saiya. But if she fails, she will join him in death.
First 250 Word of Manuscript:
Today was Kaori’s wedding day.
Today was Kaori’s execution day.
They were one and the same.
“Lady, your inku is ready.”
A handmaiden tapped her on the shoulder, holding a steaming vat of crimson red ink, freshly brewed. Kaori pinched her nose shut, scrunching her face. She had never liked the scent of laji berries, especially when fermented. But rules were rules, and Nakamura Kaori was nothing if not obedient.
With a sigh, she held out her bare arms as the servant girl painted sweeping whorls across her inner arms. The ink was hot to touch, but cooled almost instantly, solidifying like mud against her skin. She knew the smell would permeate all her clothes–following her like a second shadow, lasting for days. But that didn’t matter. She didn’t have days.
The jewels came next. With the care of an artist, the girl began setting pearls into the tips of the painted spirals, so that they dotted her arm like freckles. The pearls were light, but the diamonds not so. Two oval cut diamonds– one on each wrist. The marks of an empress. Kaori tilted her wrists, watching the stones catch the light. Soon, they’d be buried beneath the earth. Soon, there would be no light to catch.
She loosed a breath, trying to keep her limbs from shaking. The end drew near; she could feel it. Every bone in her body screamed for her to run, to flee, to get out of this prison cell of bronze bars and silver chains.