This week’s teaser comes from Bloodlust: Red Glory, the fourth book in the Domains of the Chosen.
This week I’d like to introduce Melia, a businesswoman who lives in the Capitol with her Husband, Darius, and her Daughter Rose. Melia originated in The Great Games, my short story about a night at the games.
To us Melia seems normal and reasonable. Her attitudes are modern and having been raised in a place with no Arena, she sees the games as violent and degenerate, an attitude that most of us would share. In the Domains, however, Melia’s views on the Games are considered odd and unpatriotic, almost insane.
Melia watched as the miniature Gladiatrix jerked to a halt. The idea of a woman the size of her little girl competing against some of the monstrosities that she had seen today turned her stomach. The Ogress with the filed teeth and the leering man with the shadow tricks were somehow even more disturbing than the two fighters strutting through the streets naked.
And yet Melia was filling her purse to the brim, and more, with gold Krassics, all because of the Great Games. Ancestors curse her, Melia was a hypocrite. She wondered if she had sold some vital part of her spirit today, to secure a better future for her family or even just to watch people enjoying her wares.
“Are you alright, love?” asked Darius from beside the food cart.
“I’m tired from all of the running around, Darius,” said Melia, forcing a smile, skirting the truth. I don’t want to ruin this day for my husband and daughter too, she thought. What is wrong with me?
Darius looked at Melia with knowing eyes, but did not call her out. Melia felt a stab of guilt: Darius was a good man, grounded in the realities of the Empire and not given to railing against what he could not change.
Then she saw Sapphire Kiss talking to Rose while Darius fumbled with a piece of fish. The woman was fully exposed like some brazen whore. Her ‘armour’ was a joke. Anger shot through Melia and she pushed forward.
“Get away from her you skank!” growled Melia, pushing through the crowd, her triumph forgotten.
The Gladiatrix straightened up. Melia was not a small woman, but Sapphire Kiss towered over her. The Gladiatrix’s strange weapons were peace-bonded, but those restraints looked rather pathetic up close. Nonetheless Melia steeled herself and stepped between her and Rose. The crowded street was suddenly silent. Two Grey-Robes were nearby, thank the ancestors.
“How dare you dress like that and talk to my child!” said Melia. “Prostitutes and dancers at least have the decency to cover themselves in public places. Have you no shame?”
“I’m sorry,” said Sapphire Kiss, hanging her head for just a moment.
“Sorry?” said Melia, stepping closer to the woman. “Is it an accident that you are strutting around naked? Did you forget to put on clothes? Did you not notice the breeze between your legs?”
I like the juxtaposition between the two in this obligatory Godiva scene and also between the very moral Melia, and the immoral people she encounters.