Fantasy, set in Valdyas. 59000 words.
He used the minstrel-gallery door, which he could count on to open and close soundlessly. Turning to the stairs, he started as he almost bumped into someone. She was about his age, gifted, no taller than he was, with hair even redder than his own that flowed loose to her waist and beyond.
Valain put a finger to his lips. The girl nodded. He was completely sure that she’d come up here for the same purpose that he had: to study the currents of power. She didn’t look like the enemy, though she was not clearly of Anshen. Not at all of the Nameless, though. Would someone send a fourteen-year-old girl as a spy? No, he rather thought she was like him: intrigued, without any malicious purpose.
He built a soundproof seal around the two of them, carefully, like Vauri had taught him. “We can talk now,” he said. And then, of course, he didn’t know what to say.
Valain is third in line for the throne, so he thinks he's safe ... until things happen that put him there firmly and not at all gently. Just as he's about to go into the Order of the Sworn and continue learning to be a Guild runner, too. But he finds that the lessons he's had will serve equally well for a reluctant king.
When Valain's enemies move, Vauri, commander of the Order of the Sworn, isn't satisfied with pen-pushing in the capital. She sets out to seek out the disturbance in person and ends up in the enemy's army for a day, completely by mistake.
Lédu is an inquisitive young princess who meets Valain at his brother's wedding. They find out they have a lot in common, but she lets him go to follow his calling -- not knowing that his calling is about to change to include her.
Gates and Passages by Irina Rempt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.