Chapter 2 excerpt
Before I can get too comfortable, there’s a light rap on the door. I jump to my feet and pull it open. Ibu steps in.
“I didn’t expect you to still be here.” I step closer to give her a hug.
“Your Ayah and I will be heading home soon. I thought I’d say good night. We didn’t get to talk much over dinner.”
“Why don’t you stay the night?”
She smiles wryly. “You know why.”
I do. After the decades my mother spent as a hostage and servant in Maha, she’s had enough of palaces and politics. Now that she has a choice, she stays away as much as she can. I see this reflected in the way I refuse to cut my hair—distancing myself from the way we were reminded of our status, our powerlessness, by our closely-cropped hair. Even though it doesn’t make any difference here.
And maybe because I still want to feel the Amok Strength—
The ‘magical’ Strength from Kudus that I’m not supposed to have. I push the thought aside.
“So, why did you come, Ibu?” I gesture toward a seat.
“To see you, of course,” she replies, but doesn’t move to sit.
I raise an eyebrow. “I was at your house yesterday.”
She shrugs. “Does that mean I can’t see you today? There’s no law against that, is there? Garett didn’t mention it.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t around earlier.” I’d come back from the port, drenched to the skin, to find her waiting in my suite. But by the time I showered and changed, it was time to head down for dinner.
“Garett had a meeting with Che Carla, Che Willett, and Che Lyn, so I thought I’d accompany him. He’s worried. He won’t tell you, but I don’t think he’s making much progress on that project of yours.”
Only the three main leaders of the Majlis. “Which project? The one where I want to abolish slavery, or the one where I want to implement an easier, faster, and cheaper way to communicate with our closest allies?”
Besides the Amok Strength in Maha, Terang has priests in Suci with the ability to talk to each other via mirrors across long distances. I don’t need a Temple in Bayangan, but I would like to have a priest stationed here who can set up those Perantaraan calls instead of waiting on letters that take weeks to arrive.
Suci, the third city-state of Terang, is basically the religious hub of the Sultanate. That’s where they train the priesthood, and then send them out to the rest of Terang.
I basically created the hierarchy of the Temple, including the names, from the traditional churches, using Malay translations. So you have the diakon (lay deacons), paderi (ordained priests), and the uskups (bishops). The head of the Temple is the Uskup Agung. (I didn’t use “pope” because that’s a Catholic term, and also because pope = paus and whale = ikan paus and I would just... be snickering too much to edit.)
The Gift that Kudus has given to Suci is the Perantaraan Gift—a form of communication, where the paderi (and above) can use mirrors to contact each other over long distances.
So Yosua really, really wants a paderi in Bayangan, solely for the fact that it would facilitate communications with Terang. Though obviously, having a priest in Bayangan would also make his practice of faith much easier and less lonely.
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The Tale of the Hostage Prince (Absolution 1.5)
But peace doesn’t come easily, not for a twenty-year-old servant playacting at being king.
With his parents brutally murdered and his uncle bent on revenge, Yosua must decide where his loyalties truly lie. With his only remaining relative and the kingdom he has claimed? Or with his best friend Mikal and the sultanate that raised him as a hostage?