MENTOR: Renee Ahdieh
MENTEE: Alex C. Pierce
TITLE: CROW’S BLOOD
CATEGORY/GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 91,000
Framed for murder, professional thief Ren is hunted by magic-eating Inquisitors and the Captain of the Royal Guard. His life becomes a fight in the shadows to prove his innocence . . . and one last heist to protect the realm.
A sharp crack echoed in the silence. Ren winced. Without special tools or a talent for Fire to heat the lead around the pane, it couldn’t be done quietly. He had neither, and that much heat might set off the binding sigils and raise the alarm. Besides, the sound seemed louder than it actually was. He’d tested.
He lifted the segment of colored glass from a scene depicting the Goddess and her four Scions holding the Adversary at bay, and settled it to one side. No hordes of guards or swarms of librarians boiled out of the hole. So far, so good.
A shaft of the Other’s pale moonlight lit a small circle on the intricate mosaic near the center of the floor far below.
To Ren, it said something about the Praetorian Order. They lavishly decorated their inner sanctum—where select few ever went—while leaving their public libraries grim and barren. Stealing from them was less than they deserved.
What was he thinking? He had a dangerous job to do.
The silken black rope uncoiled into the opening with a whisper. Ren swept his satchel so it hung behind him and sprung into the gap, dropping along the rope’s length.
The butterflies in his stomach flapped in a vain attempt to slow his descent. He ignored them and caught the rope at the last possible moment, guiding it with his hands as he wrapped his legs around it, halting his free-fall.
Ren righted himself and touched down into silence, with a flourish and a bow.