The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
2: The Other Sky
14: The Walking Dead
18: The Oubliette
20: The Arena
21: First Love
22: Such Rage
24: If I Ask
25: A Chance
26: The Ball
27: The Ritual of the Succession
28: Twilight and Dawn
29: The Three
Meet the Author
A Preview of THE BROKEN KINGDOMS
I AM NOT AS I ONCE WAS. They have done this to me, broken me open and torn out my heart. I do not know who I am anymore.
I must try to remember.
* * *
My people tell stories of the night I was born. They say my mother crossed her legs in the middle of labor and fought with all her strength not to release me into the world. I was born anyhow, of course; nature cannot be denied. Yet it does not surprise me that she tried.
* * *
My mother was an heiress of the Arameri. There was a ball for the lesser nobilitythe sort of thing that happens once a decade as a backhanded sop to their self-esteem. My father dared ask my mother to dance; she deigned to consent. I have often wondered what he said and did that night to make her fall in love with him so powerfully, for she eventually abdicated her position to be with him. It is the stuff of great tales, yes? Very romantic. In the tales, such a couple lives happily ever after. The tales do not say what happens when the most powerful family in the world is offended in the process.
* * *
But I forget myself. Who was I, again? Ah, yes.
My name is Yeine. In my peoples way I am Yeine dau she Kinneth tai wer Somem kanna Darre, which means that I am the daughter of Kinneth, and that my tribe within the Darre people is called Somem. Tribes mean little to us these days, though before the Gods War they were more important.
I am nineteen years old. I also am, or was, the chieftain of my people, called ennu. In the Arameri way, which is the way of the Amn race from whom they originated, I am the Baroness Yeine Darr.
One month after my mother died, I received a message from my grandfather Dekarta Arameri, inviting me to visit the family seat. Because one does not refuse an invitation from the Arameri, I set forth. It took the better part of three months to travel from the High North continent to Senm, across the Repentance Sea. Despite Darrs relative poverty, I traveled in style the whole way, first by palanquin and ocean vessel, and finally by chauffeured horse-coach. This was not my choice. The Darre Warriors Council, which rather desperately hoped that I might restore us to the Arameris good graces, thought that this extravagance would help. It is well known that Amn respect displays of wealth.
Thus arrayed, I arrived at my destination on the cusp of the winter solstice. And as the driver stopped the coach on a hill outside the city, ostensibly to water the horses but more likely because he was a local and liked to watch foreigners gawk, I got my first glimpse of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms heart.
There is a rose that is famous in High North. (This is not a digression.) It is called the altarskirt rose. Not only do its petals unfold in a radiance of pearled white, but frequently it grows an incomplete secondary flower about the base of its stem. In its most prized form, the altarskirt grows a layer of overlarge petals that drape the ground. The two