No, I have no idea what the final title will be. It is set at the far eastern end of Colplat XI’s northern landmass, on the other side of the Turkowi’s Grass Sea. It will be the 9th book in the series, and the story of the main character’s great-granddaughter will be the 10th book.
Peter froze, absolutely stiff as Grigory shoved his hands under Peter’s arms and lifted him, clutching the boy so tight he left bruises through the red coat and fine shirt beneath. “See! He lives!” Grigory Leaned forward, holding Peter out over the edge of the balcony rail. Peter wanted to kick, to put his feet on the solid wood, but the old man leaned farther, dangling Peter ten meters above the soldiers milling in the courtyard. Peter imagined he could smell their breath, foul like their motley collection of dirty clothes and weapons, their long, food-stained beards. Grigory shook him and Peter kept his arms stretched out and locked, maybe he’d have a moment to grab Grigory’s arm if his sister’s favorite dropped him.
“See? He lives! The Little Emperor lives!” Grigory shook Peter again and the boy wanted to shriek from fear as the men below waved their halberds and spears, their heavy swords.
“What of the other, the false one?” A voice called from the field of points below.
“He has gone to Godown.”
The roar from below hid Peter’s whimpering, retching cry. His best friend had died in Peter’s own bed chamber, chopped to bits as Sarah pointed at the older boy, ordering, “Kill the wretch.” Blood had spattered everywhere, sizzling on the stove beside Peter, staining the floor and the heavy Turklavi carpet beside the bed. Simple Isaac, Peter’s older brother, wet himself and dodged the men, climbing the two steps to the door of the old cupboard-bed and pulling the heavy door shut, holding it fast with the strength of a terrified animal. Seven year-old Peter barely had time to acknowledge the death before Grigory and Sarah dragged him from the room, rushing him down the empty hallway to the balcony overlooking the great courtyard of the palace in Muskovna,
I’m going to die, Peter thought, they’re going to kill me just like Father Boris said and I’ll go to the cold place forever just like Uncle Rozim and Gookarnov the Black. He’d heard whispers from the servants, whispers about how Sara favored Simple Isaac over clever Peter, about how she liked being Empress-Guardian too much, about what happened in her chamber after the lamps went out. I should be praying, begging Godown to save me from the endless ice, praying for dead Alyx, Peter told himself. But instead he ran, dragged by the adults toward a growing roar, then lifted and held in thin air over the angry nobles of the Skraly Guard.
(C) 2015 Alma T.C. Boykin All Rights Reserved