Scarlet Odyssey by C. T. Rwizi
English | 2020| Fantasy | ePUB | 3.6 MB
Magic is women’s work; war is men’s. But in the coming battle, none of that will matter.
Men do not become mystics. They become warriors. But eighteen-year-old Salo has never been good at conforming to his tribe’s expectations. For as long as he can remember, he has loved books and magic in a culture where such things are considered unmanly. Despite it being sacrilege, Salo has worked on a magical device in secret that will awaken his latent magical powers. And when his village is attacked by a cruel enchantress, Salo knows that it is time to take action.
Salo’s queen is surprisingly accepting of his desire to be a mystic, but she will not allow him to stay in the tribe. Instead, she sends Salo on a quest. The quest will take him thousands of miles north to the Jungle City, the political heart of the continent. There he must gather information on a growing threat to his tribe.
On the way to the city, he is joined by three fellow outcasts: a shunned female warrior, a mysterious nomad, and a deadly assassin. But they’re being hunted by the same enchantress who attacked Salo’s village. She may hold the key to Salo’s awakening—and his redemption.
“Maybe we should head back.”
Near a gushing brook in the central lowvelds of the Yerezi Plains, Salo keeps picking his way through a curtain of tall grasses. The binary suns are high points of light in a clear midmorning sky. Two New Year’s Comets have blazed across the heavens since the incident with the uroko bull.
“Did you hear me, Bra Salo?” Monti says as he straggles a few paces behind. “I’m tired, and my aba says there are hyenas this far south of the kraal. What if they find us?”
A rebuke briefly stirs Salo’s tongue, but he suppresses it, reminding himself that Monti is still just a child. Exceedingly wise for his age and annoyingly curious at times, but still a child. His fear is understandable. “That’s why I brought my bow,” Salo says, “and lucky for you, I know how to use it.”
The brook comes into view as they emerge from the grasses. Salo leaps across to the other side and keeps going without waiting to see if Monti follows.
“What if it’s a tronic hyena?” Monti says behind him. “What would you do then?”
“I’m a fast runner.”
“But what about me? I can’t run as fast as you.”
“You brought your bow, too, didn’t you? So you can defend yourself.”
“But what if it’s a whole pack of them?” Monti says. “Or worse, what if a redhawk comes down and sees us?”
Salo keeps walking, his footfalls silent beneath his worn leather sandals. “Then you should have thought of that before you followed me here.”
He left the kraal alone, or so he thought, and by the time he noticed he’d grown a tail in the form of a precocious nine-year-old boy, he’d already gone too far to turn back.
“Please, Bra Salo,” Monti whines. “I want to go home.”
Salo keeps walking.
Salo sighs deeply and finally stops, pushing his copper-rimmed spectacles farther up his nose. He turns around, intending to scold the boy, but the instant he sees his face, a laugh barrels out of his chest.
Monti’s sunset eyes, normally aglow with mischief, blink up at him with betrayal. “What’s so funny?”
“The look on your face,” Salo says. “Next time, don’t follow people around unless you can keep up.”
Monti pouts and looks away. “I thought you’d be hunting for mind stones.”
“Well, not quite,” Salo says. “And you’d have known that had you bothered to ask.”
“You came back with a mind stone last time you went out,” Monti says with a scowl.
“A happy coincidence. I almost literally stumbled across it.”
Deciding he has tormented the boy enough, Salo crouches to bring himself level with Monti’s small frame and places a gentle hand around his nape. “Cheer up, little man. I have a secret I’m about to let you in on, but you have to promise not to tell anyone. Can you do that for me?”