by Sofia Nedic
Imani Stone has a secret—she possesses an ancestral power to bend starlight.
Having grown up in the lush, magical hills surrounding the ancient city of Lumenor, she is no stranger to star-gazing, potion-making, or tarot-reading. However, in the time of civil war in her city, Imani must hide her power to avoid being recruited by the queen’s legions or killed by the ruthless rebels. But everything changes once the city learns of an incoming army of warriors threatening to destroy Lumenor and steal their starlight crystal. Imani is met with a choice—remain in hiding and help her family or risk everything and join the queen’s legions.
But does she have what it takes to be a legionnaire?
Can she help save Lumenor, or will she be the cause of its demise?
Zana grinned politely, but the smile didn't touch her eyes. “Then it is decided. Imani shall start us off.” She scattered the cards all over the tabletop with one wave of her hand. “You know the rules. Pick one card at a time and let your intuition guide your finger, not the other way around. You get three draws.”
Alright. I closed my eyes, hovering my hand over the pile longer than it was necessary to tickle the crowd’s anticipation.
“That one,” I pointed at last.
Zana flipped the card. A woman with a torso that twisted into a snake’s tail at the bottom was painted on the front, her unnatural golden eyes staring right at me. Even when I looked away, I could feel her piercing gaze like a broken thorn in my foot.
A few of the women gasped, my mother amongst them.
“This is Teysha, a deity of old,” Zana laid out. “Some know her as the Back Stabber. Her poisonous tongue sent kings and queens down a treacherous path, ultimately leading to their demise. Be careful of the women in your life who pose as friends.”
Mother’s deep umber face grew still.
Oh great, as if she needed another reason to nag about me going to the taverns with Summer and Ayla!
I tapped the back of the second card, followed by another synchronized gasp from the crowd, again including my own mother.
“The Midnight Rider,” Zana said. “He destroyed all life on earth once before—may his like never be seen in our lands again. He brings bad luck.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sofia Nedic is a Slavic immigrant living in Austin, Texas with her husband and pup. She is a tech and fantasy nerd, and an avid enjoyer of ancient history, spirituality, and alchemy. When she is not working or crafting stories, she is exploring nature, reading books, visualizing her daydreams through AI art, or immersing herself in tarot and astrology.
Sofia visualizes the scenes and characters from her stories with AI art on her Instagram @starlight_bender.
Sofia Nedic will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.