Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Author: Maiya Ibrahim
- Language: English
- Formats: PDF / EPUB
- Status: Available For Free Download
- Series: None
- Price: Free
- File Size: 55 MB
We will fight, but first we will have tea.
Not quite the motto of the Shields, but just as apt.
Ordinarily I would be outside Qalia’s walls with my squad,
defending our lands from a never-ending onslaught of monsters: djinn,
ghouls, sand serpents, and whatever other nightmare one can only conjure in
the clutches of a fever dream. But even now, when we are home on mandated
rest, we are facing a hard day of training—and I am certain Taha ibn Bayek
of the Al-Baz clan can’t wait.
Whenever we are in Qalia’s barracks together, Taha’s squadmates
challenge me to spar him. It is a pathetic attempt at settling which of us is the
better Shield, but Taha himself has never commented on the ongoing rivalry.
In fact, for the two years I’ve known him, Taha has acted as if I don’t exist,
apart from the occasional snide comment.
I’ve no doubt his squadmates will
try again after the tea ceremony, but I have rejected their other challenges as
a waste of my time, and I am not about to have a change of heart, even with
him coldly staring at me like that from across the tea room. If one knows his
reputation, and who in Qalia doesn’t—a talented archer and beastseer who
can control the minds of falcons—one would be forgiven imagining a young
man with a keen gaze. But Taha’s eyes are troublingly placid, the washed-out
green of grasslands that have seen too much sun and not enough rain.
Tea ceremony etiquette is to watch the person preparing the Spice, but I
wish he would deviate from tradition just this once and stop tracking my
every move. I untie the drawstring on the silk pouch of misra and remove
ribbons of bark. They have been carefully stripped from the ancient misra
tree standing in Qalia’s Sanctuary a few buildings over, as it has done for a
millennium. I have led tea ceremonies enough times that I could do it with
my eyes closed, but I still marvel over what is in my hands. Magic.
The light of the overhead lanterns winks in the gold-veined bark as I hold
it to my nose and inhale deeply. Every Shield in the room does as well.
Perhaps they too hope to decipher what scent the misra possesses. Once, I
thought it smelled like life itself. Another time, stars and dreams. This
morning, it is as bitter as the old ash of a fire long burned down to dark. Of
someone gone, but not forgotten. It reminds me of Atheer.
It has been a year since I last saw my big brother and best friend. I was
kneeling like this, preparing the misra, but I was at home and the Spice still
smelled pleasant then. He joined me, seeking conversation with that faint,
mystifying air of desperation about him.
“There are things in life greater than duty and rules, Imani,” he said.
“Like what?” I asked. His eyes took on a somber gleam, as dry as dying
light reflecting off a dull blade.
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