In the Beginning

IMG_0745“The sun faltered in white winter skies, throbbing as a thousand cranes took wing from thawing lotus ponds. Keening cries welled up from the icy waters, erupting across the abandoned orchard. Maizang glanced up through a tangle of gnarled branches at the darkening sky, gripping the hilt of her dao. Fading sunlight rippled across gleaming wings. Drops of water flicked the peach orchard as the cranes flew south beyond the ruined walls.”

What’s happening here?

A mighty khan ruler attacks ancient Chinese border villages, overpowering all their forces in relentless assaults. Realizing there was only one way to restrain him, the Emperor relinquishes an unwanted daughter as an imperial bride, exiling her to the steppes of Mongolia. From their paradoxical union a princess arrives, born to ride the frozen plains as an Arid Rider.

One fateful afternoon Princess Mei rides with her mother to a remote peach orchard, abandoned since the dark evening when a supernatural blast destroyed the famed Little Lotus pagoda. After a deadly assault, a portal opens up in the heavens, allowing an incursion of djinn from their home in Khuré.

In that moment, Mei becomes a Bianjie, one who crosses the boundaries of space and time. She hears what others cannot, and knows what others cannot even begin to conceive. Her enemies want her to see only that which is twisted, darkened. Cosmic events unfold as the sun shifts from its orbits and the moon disappears. Learning that the focal point of the djinn incursion will be in her mother’s capital city, Mei rides hard to face the attack, accompanied by Kunnan, a professional Chinese mourner and concealed sorcerer. They arrive in Jingcai only to learn that the Emperor is dead, and with him, his dynasty. Executions have been ordered for all members of the imperial family.  With enemies closing in on every side, Mei has to find a way to defend her world.

–Kate Calina


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