Three Turns of the Sun

Work in Progress

THREE TURNS OF THE SUN, part 1 of a four-book series The Circle World.

Gosial is a palace jemuse—the daughter of royal musicians with the rare ability to 'see' lying, hear from a great distance, and enter the consciousness of others through song. When she is orphaned, her inherited powers allow her to find purpose as a healer in the imperial wars; guiding battered soldiers back to consciousness—or, to peaceful death—all while struggling with synesthesia, the 'joyful madness' that haunts her kind. When a last-ditch effort to save a soldier means using a magical lover's song, she finds herself unintentionally bound to him, and struggling to reconcile if what she feels is real, or magic.

Forced to navigate a future-medieval, patriarchal society ruled by a strict foreign religion, her adopted sisters are her only allies as she seeks to balance love and magic—and to use her gifts as a healing force in a violent war. There is the eldest, the philosophical, irresistible Dinathe, whose beauty is treated as a mere commodity for a status marriage; and the youngest, the reckless and romantic Erscella, whose indiscretions nearly destroy her. All three young women struggle to find love and purpose amid wartime, and each must make a terrible sacrifice in order to protect her sisters.

Landscapes of The Circle World:

Bluewood trees of Gedyptin Trail to Mt. Apio Long Sea View Leaving Gedyptin The Nadus Jenam Coast Trail to Yexa


"Up, up!"
Nereif opened his eyes; nothing changed, the room was black. He rolled his feet to the ice-cold floor, pulled his blankets around himself, and shuffled to where the door would be.
"Up," came her muffled voice.
Nereif found the door's edges where the rags were wedged in tight and began stripping them out with his fingers. He pulled the door open with a cracking sound, bringing in fresh, penetrating cold air, and revealing the silhouette of Heyensca, bundled head to foot against the elements, standing on a foot's depth of hardened snow.
"Why're you here? It's still Winterend...," said Nereif, scanning the featureless, charcoal sky.
"Dawn's coming. There," answered his aunt, pointing off. "Y'said you'd help me. Come, come."
Heyensca stepped in and shut the door. Nereif did not light a candle, but dressed by feel in the dark while she stood by, beating herself to keep warm.
"I'm hungry."
"Of course you are," she said. "So am I. Bring some drycake with you, or beetles if you have them. We'll feast once we're paid in Aisdis--not 'til then."
Nereif had on every scrap of clothing now, but the chill was inside him. He tried to stretch but his feet, hands and joints were tight and painful; he hadn't moved in many turns of the stars. "Can't they wait—"
"Get your pack. It's sturdy, no? They're heavy when you dig them out. That's why I need you—I'm getting too old to carry them down." She felt for the pack in his hand. "Plenty of straw in there? Come."
They emerged from his dwelling, a one-room square box of stone built propped against a boulder. The snow and ice glowed just enough to illuminate the contours of the land about them. Mount Apio loomed ghostly white in the near distance. To the left was an undulating high ridge; to the right the land fell away into impenetrable mist. The two began walking in the direction of the ridge, leather shoes tightly strung underneath with sharp rocks for traction on the snow.
They walked for half a league in silence, up and over a pass, around a small frozen lake, then began bouldering up Mount Apio's flank. They stopped once or twice to rest, drink frigid water from a canteen, and chew bland drycake to calm their bellies. The low moon revealed herself and lit the scene in high contrast, before the stars followed her out and glimmered like they too were shivering with cold.
"How far?" asked Nereif, despondent.
"Almost there. Remember, you must never tell the place. It's been mine these two-score years, and I'm keeping it."
They reached a tiny frozen lake at the foot of a rock cliff wall. Surrounding the lake lay small ponds and irregular puddles amid the boulders, soil, and shale. Nereif followed as Heyensca crept carefully around these iced-over ponds, looking intently into each. She stopped and pointed down.
"Ha," she whispered.