Author's Name: Emily Honigsfeld
Stage of Completion: WIP. I’m planning to have a first draft completed in September!
Preferred Critique Style: Somewhere between all the flails and straight to the point. I appreciate brutal honesty, with some tangents and love sprinkled in. It’s what you’ll get from me.
Cat Person or Dog Person: Dog. Although, most of my friends are cat. So, cat-curious?
Tea or Coffee: Iced coffee. Nothing too frou.
Larka is no helpless maiden, she’s a soot-stained heathen raised by convicts. Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, she’s given a bath and an offer: freedom for her enslaved convict brothers if she wins the annual contest of Kingsmaiden, consort to the king for a year. So she slips on her first dress, locks away her heart and makes the decision to win at all costs. During her ladylike training, Larka uncovers a dark, magical truth behind the title and the terrible price each victor pays. Soon, she must decide between freeing her brothers and ending the contest for good.
On the eve of a brutal storm, a cry was heard outside a House of Convicts. Curious men with little left to fear opened the door to find a strange baby girl with dark hair and emerald eyes. She was swaddled in the ghost-white hide of fenrir wolf, sucking on bark carved with the rune of a meadowlark.
The convicts knew no one else would take in such a strange child, so they decided to keep the babe, naming her Larka after the rune. There, in the town of Nifl, in the far reaches of the outer Heath, the men raised the girl in secret, breaking the last law they ever thought they would–they all loved her.
Years passed. The secret held. No one discovered the girl, for the men of the House of Convicts were skilled at breaking laws.
Two identical knives sit before me. One is dull and couldn’t gut a fish, while the other was just hilt-deep in some fool's belly. I almost didn’t get away this time. Almost. My fingers wobble as I snatch up the dull knife, catching a glimpse of my grimey face in the reflective surface near the hilt. The sight is enough to make anyone wince. I smile. Looks matter little on the Heath. I’m only alive because the man attempted to steal my loaf of bread by pressing that dull knife to my neck, never expecting to see a sharpened knife appear next to it, nor a girl trained to spot the difference.