Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Name: Hayley Stone
Mentee Name: T.M. Morgan
Title: IN THE SHADOW OF THE CAULDRON
Genre: Dark Fantasy with Weird West elements
Word Count: 105,000 words
After powerful sister gods tempt Daron and Aubrey into fulfilling a secretive plot and nearly destroy their marriage in the process, the young couple turn to dangerous magic and fetishism to reclaim their lives and punish the scheming goddesses.
I aim to kill Jaklee of Four Steppes, and his murderous brothers and papa, too. It might burn me up with them, so all of us end up wretched and gone, but I’ll ask the bones for help on that. When something this cruel’s inflicted and the same don’t come in return, the heart splits and cracks and never gets no salve. Blood for blood, that’s the only way.
Aubrey, my wife, sneaks on me from behind, deathly quiet, as if she can hear my thoughts. Her breath crawls up the back of my neck.
“Daron, it’s time, my love.”
Outside, two rows of grim folk stretch from the front porch, leaving an aisle for Aubrey and me to walk. Papa and mama’s mama follow last, their faces still hung in shock. At the end of the line, Preacher of Shauster sits atop his tattered funeral wagon with its two caskets, one half as long as the other. I grit my teeth, thinking of Saudra only two days before learning to climb the mount.
Our family rides on the wagon with Preacher, while the others go on wagons behind. At the burying spot, we all tremble out in congregation among the rock piles and dried flowers.
“Times like this,” Preacher shouts, “we ask in defiance, how does this happen? How can Anael allow such things?”
“Anael’s got no mind of us,” I mutter. “She pisses deceit.”
“Hush yourself,” Aubrey whispers.
But it’s the truth, I want to say. She rules us with her pestilence.