Here is the next installment of Chapter 1, The Moon King, from Tears of Min Brock…
“The vapors from the Cauldron of Ebon travel far and hear much!” Areall whispered. “You should respect the Oracles, my daughter!”
Areall did not remove her hand until she was convinced Elabea would humble her tongue. Finally, she dropped her hand and returned nonchalantly to her chores.
Elabea stared at her mother. “Aren’t you the least bit curious?”
“No,” she curtly replied.
“Well–I am,” Elabea snipped, her curiosity piqued. “Nothing happens in Hetherlinn, or all of Allsbruth for that matter.”
Areall spun around. Her eyes narrowed. “‘Nothing’ is good, Elabea. ‘Nothing’ means no more war. ‘Nothing’ is a blessing to life.”
“If this is life,” Elabea said while thumping her spoon, “then life stinks!”
Areall sighed and decided upon a different tactic. Pulling up a chair, she sat across from Elabea, hoping a calm discussion would end this battle of wills.
“Do you remember the stories of your youth?” Areall gently asked.
“Yes!” she bemoaned as her spoon beat a rhythmic cadence on her bowl.
“Then you remember that the Dark War ended the tyranny of the King of Claire. Since that day, the Ebonites and the Cauldron have guarded and guided us. The Cauldron’s drone is a gracious reminder of all we’ve been blessed with.”
Elabea stopped thumping her spoon and listened. She had become so accustomed to the drone’s perpetual nature that she no longer heard it. As she listened, she realized that it was always there, just like the air that she breathed, day and night, winter and spring. Its tone reminded her of the wind howling through the hollow of a dead tree, low in pitch, monotonous. Ominous.
“That’s why,” Areall continued, “we must try our best to obey the Oracles of the Cauldron.”
“And what about their night raids?” Elabea huffed. “What have we done to deserve those?”
“It’s for our own protection. They simply need to tally us to make sure no one has—”
“Listen to you!” Elabea interrupted. “Can’t you see that we’re prisoners in our own village?”
“Oh, Elabea,” her mother answered with a sigh. “I only wish you could see life through my eyes.”
“And I wish you could see through mine!”
“I suppose,” Areall added, “we’ve lost some liberties, but those are but inconveniences compared to the peace and prosperity we now have.”
“Peace and prosperity?” she huffed. “The Oracles decree we can only travel five arrow shots from our village. The Oracles determines what we can talk about. The Oracles forbid you to teach us how to read! The Oracles demand–”
“Enough,” Areall interrupted, her voice almost a whisper. “Such curiosity can lead to a rebellious heart.”