Authors: Heather Brewer
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Love & Romance, #Fantasy & Magic, #Action & Adventure, #General
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Copyright © 2012 by Heather Brewer, LLC.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Soulbound / by Heather Brewer.
p. cm.—(The legacy of Tril; )
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Kaya, a Healer who wants to learn to fight, must attend Shadow Academy where fighting by Healers is outlawed, and so she asks two young men to train her in secret, leading to a choice that will change their lives forever.
[1. Fantasy—Fiction. 2. Healers—Fiction. 3. Soldiers—Fiction. 4.
Boarding schools—Fiction. 5. Schools—Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.B75695Blo 2012 [Fic]—dc23
Designed by Jason Henry
Text set in Itc Berkeley Oldstyle
Printed in the U.S.A.
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
For my daughter, Alexandria—
one of the strongest girls I know.
A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S
Not many authors make it a point to thank Penguins and Minions, but without them—my amazing team at Penguin Young Readers and my incredible Minion Horde—I would not be where I am today. Thank you, all of you, for being so supportive and for believing in me.
There are many people who I owe huge thanks to, Penguins and Minions aside. First off, my editor, Liz Waniewski, who continues to surprise me with her brilliant insight, and my fabulous agent, Michael Bourret, who is always available with excellent advice. I’m beyond thrilled and totally honored to call you both my friends. Here’s to the future, and to many new worlds in the Heather Brewer universe.
I also need to thank my sister, Dawn Vanniman, who makes me feel normal and loved and so, so grateful that I have her in my life. And my amazing mother-in-law, Gwen Kelley, whom I want to be like when I eventually (maybe) grow up. You are the most amazing women I know.
Last, but never least, I want to thank my family. Paul, Jacob, and Alexandria—you guys rock my world in ways that no one else ever has. You get my weirdness. You support my innate love of the macabre. And you put up with my crazy writing schedule. I love you all so much. Thank you for everything that you do.
he sharp edge of the paper sliced into my thumb and I sat up with a jerk. “Fak!”
Blood blossomed from the cut and I tossed my book to the ground, shoving my thumb in my mouth and sucking on it to make the bleeding stop. I should have known that I’d give myself a paper cut. I’d just picked up the book from the bookbinder this morning, so its pages were still crisp, not well worn like those in the books that lined the shelves of my bedroom.
“What would your mother say if she heard you cursing like that, Kaya?” As he ducked under the moss that was draping from the tree branches above and made his way along the water’s edge, my father smiled at me. In his left hand was a net full of freshly caught fish. He held it up proudly. “Dinner. I hope I didn’t scare you.”
Shaking my head at his subtle attempt at humor—he’d always been able to sneak up on me without much
effort, ever since I could remember—I brushed the grass from my leggings and stood, clutching the book in my hand. “Scare me? I actually heard you coming. First time for everything, I suppose.”
“I made certain you did. Walk back with me? I want to talk with you about tonight.” He didn’t wait for an answer. I knew he wouldn’t. My father was a take-charge kind of person. Not cruel or demanding, but a natural leader. When he said something, people were meant to listen, and they did, for the most part. Maybe it was because he was a Barron, and people—even the Unskilled people of Kessler who had no idea what Barrons even were—just sensed that they were supposed to follow his lead. My mother was a Barron as well. Sometimes I wished that I was like them, but then I’d push that wish away. After all, there was no sense in wishing for what one could never possibly have. My parents had been born Barrons, and I…well…I had not.
The walk back to our cabin was filled with light breezes, birdsong, and the occasional animal darting into the woods as my father and I navigated our way down the riverbank. Wet sounds of water lapping against river rock distracted me some from the conversation I knew was coming, but not even nature’s song was enough to drown out the usual argument. My father slowed his steps so that I could keep pace with him, and looked at me from the corner of his eye. I always knew when he was looking at me—especially when he was doing so in
that oppressive parenting kind of way. “Kaya,” he began, his tone ever so calm, “you know your mother and I trust you completely.”
Sighing heavily, I rolled my eyes. “I’m not going to be out late. Besides, I’ll be with Avery. You love Avery.”
The corner of his mouth lifted in a small smile. “I wouldn’t be doing my job as your father if I didn’t lecture you at least a little before such a big night.”
He pulled a large, leafy branch to the side and I stepped through, spotting our cabin right in front of me. My father had built this place when my mother was pregnant with me. They slept under the stars until it was time for me to enter the world. The night my mother went into labor was their—our—first night in the cabin. It was small (sometimes too small) and damp (sometimes too damp), but it was home, and I always felt a wave of comfort wash over me at the sight of it. “It’s not like I’ve spent every Harvest Festival out wreaking havoc. It’s the same thing every year. Avery and I will wander the festival grounds for a few hours, eating everything in sight and playing some of the games of chance. Then Avery will fall madly in love with some boy and we’ll end up stalking him the rest of the night, until I stumble into our cabin the next morning, bored and exhausted.”
“Sounds like a good time.” My mother peeked out from behind one of the wet sheets that was hanging on the clothesline beside our cabin. She was smiling, which
told me that the usual events had transpired. Father had told her he was going to talk to me about how to behave at Harvest Festival, and mother told him not to bother, I’d be fine. By the look in Father’s eyes, he knew that Mother was right, but he still worried, as fathers tend to do. He also knew he’d been defeated.
He shook his head at both of us and wagged a finger in my direction. “No boys.”
Groaning, I said, “I’m not the one stalking boys. It’s Avery.”
But my father was not to be deterred.