I have finished writing, editing, revising and sending my novel out to friends and am waiting for their feedback. I am posting the first chapter here and there are seven chapters on Authonomy, where I got some good reviews : http://authonomy.com/books/44112/miscegenation/
Now I am going through Literary Agency websites and Agents’ blogs and I can’t tell you how…interesting that is. It is hard, really hard to write a query letter that can convince an agent that your book is worth their giving one minute to…I’ll write about it in another blog post. Any feedback will be very welcome, so tell me what you think. Oh and thanks to Urge to Wander for such a wonderful blog which gave me all sorts of ideas for locations, I had never even heard of Cappadocia before. Her awesome pics and posts have introduced me to so many incredible places in the world.
I tried to think of it as an adventure, moving from Cappadocia, the city I had lived in for ever since I could remember, to somewhere I had never been. I had no idea what Arya would be like, everyday would be something new. I would fall in love with it. My old life would be happy memories that I would tell my grandchildren stories about. I tried to convince myself of all this, but either I was not very convincing or I was too skeptical.
Fei Yan, my mother’s best friend, rushed about her house to collect my things and put them into the best hand bag she had. She looked with dissatisfaction at most of my clothes, which I had found comfortable but she thought were too worn out. So she replaced them with things of her own that she had not used that much. This made me even sadder about leaving, I would miss her so much. Those of my friends who lived close by and found out what was happening, it was hard not to miss a huge aircraft landing in the middle of the park, came over to see me. The four of them came in noisily demanding an explanation and voicing their disagreement but were quickly subdued when they saw the Aryans who had come to escort me.
Two Guards stood near the entrance of Fei Yan’s house while an Administrator who they had accompanied sat on one of the comfortable sofas of her sitting room. He was short, pompous and dressed in blue clothes with a long dark purple robe. He watched us a little disdainfully, his snake-like eyes darting around the room observing everything. It had only been a few minutes but he rudely showed signs of his impatience and let us know what a big sacrifice it had been for him to come down and get me. As if I had wanted to go, or had been expecting them to come and get me.
My friends came and sat with me at the other end of the room and they questioned me in hushed tones while the Administrator looked on with a sour expression. I think it was because he couldn’t make out what we were talking about but it may have been that he was born with it. Fei Yan had brought in a tray of coffee and cake and put it on the table in front of him, she poured out the coffee, kneeling on her knees. I didn’t like the way he looked down at her and I wished she would get up.
“I am so sorry for the delay, Administrator Catigern. Please honor my household by taking something to eat, I will take only a few more moments.” She bowed her head slightly in front of him and I felt she was giving him more respect than he deserved. Then she quickly got up and continued on her task. He sipped on the coffee noisily.
“Mayameen, they can’t do this! Didn’t you tell them you can’t go?” My friend Naomh asked.
“They didn’t ask me, they told me. I don’t have a choice Naomh, I don’t want to go.”
“Why didn’t you tell them you were paired up, that you were to be married? They wouldn’t have insisted then. They only take those who are alone.” Shayne was upset at me, he would have wanted me to say that I was paired up with him. If I had known how much pain this could have saved me from I might have lied and said that I was to be married to him. But I didn’t and he was mistaken, they would have forced me to go either way.
“I didn’t know that Shayne, if I had, I would have lied and told them I was paired up.” I said and hoped he wouldn’t start his favorite argument in front of everyone. But he did.
“It didn’t have to be a lie did it? If you hadn’t been so stubborn…” He started.
“Shayne, please, I don’t want to fight with you. I’m going and I don’t know when I’ll ever see any of you again. I didn’t know what was going on, they just came and the Administrator started firing questions at us. We had no idea they were here to take me away.” Then I lowered my voice even further, “I don’t think he would have really cared if I was paired up or not, my mother’s sister is in the Aryan Council, and now that my mother is dead they say I have to go and live with her.”
“Well this isn’t Arya, they can’t tell us what to do here..” Shayne started as he glared at the Administrator.
“Shayne stop it! They do whatever they want, who is going to stop them? Stop staring at him like that, who knows what they could do. I don’t want any of you to get into trouble. It’s useless, so just leave it alone.”
Naomh held my hand and Akemi put her arm around my shoulders. Shayne continued to stare at me morbidly until Tiernan hit him in the stomach.
“Stop it. Stop making this worse than it already is, listen Mayameen, you have to be careful when you are there in Arya. I don’t know what sort of person your aunt is, but don’t ever trust anyone completely. Don’t give out too much information about Cappadocia, just vague stuff, try to act dumb as much as possible.” Tiernan advised. And I wondered how he knew so much.
“Why? Don’t freak her out like that.” Naomh was getting upset.
“It’s important, she has to know that she has to be careful over there. You will have to accept their beliefs Mayameen, you have to show them that you can follow their rules. No matter how much you hate it, do you understand?” Tiernan was beginning to freak me out.
“Don’t worry, it will be alright, just play along the way they want.” Shayne added. And I wondered how hard it would be to follow their rules and why Tiernan thought I would hate it.
The Administrator had obviously had enough, and rose. “My apologies madam,” he addressed Fei Yan. “But we must leave now, if you don’t mind please make your goodbyes short. And don’t worry about her belongings, I am sure her aunt has taken care of all that.” He looked at the bag with disgust.
“Yes I am sure she has, please forgive us for taking so much time. Let me look at you Mayameen,” Fei Yan turned toward me and pushed me back a little further then whispered to me. “We should have told you more about Arya but we never could have imagined this happening. Please be careful Mayameen, they have different rules and customs, you will find them difficult, but you must follow them!” Then a little louder, “I will miss you, have a safe journey and don’t forget to thank your aunt for being so generous to you.”
They were all making it really difficult for me to think of this journey as the adventure I was trying to convince myself it was. And as I was hugged by Fei Yan and my friends I was having a hard time trying to keep back the tears. They all whispered ‘good-byes’ and ‘be carefuls’ in my ears. Shayne had plenty more to whisper and I wished he hadn’t, he bent his head to kiss me and I swiftly maneuvered my face so that all he got was my cheek. I felt bad but I just didn’t feel the same way as he did. The Administrator watched us with plenty of distaste and I wondered just what kind of customs they had in Arya. Was it bad manners to say good-bye so emotionally to someone you have been with more than half your life? I took the bag Fei Yan held out to me and by now we were both crying. So were Naomh and Akemi, Tiernan just looked down and I suspected there were tears in his eyes too. I couldn’t look at Shayne because I was scared he might get too emotional, but I did turn back to smile at him on the way out the door because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
The Guards fell in right behind the Administrator and me, making it quite clear that my friends were not to follow us to the aircraft that stood across the road from Fei Yan’s house in the park. The neighbors stood and watched with worried expressions, and I tried to smile as I waved to them to let them know I would be alright. They waved back and some of the women were crying. These people had known me most of my life, they had been there for my mother when my father had died. They had been there for me when my mother had gotten sick. And when she died just a few weeks ago. I looked straight ahead trying to swallow the lump in my throat.
A small ramp came down from under the craft which sort of looked like a round flat fish, we walked in and the ramp closed separating me from my home and the people who had become my family. I wondered if I would ever see them again and a few tears escaped down my face again. If the Administrator or the guards noticed they ignored it and moved to the back of the craft where there were seats I followed and started to feel some apprehension at the thought of this thing flying and me being in it. I had never even been close to such a craft and now I was going to be travelling in it.
I started to sit down near the Administrator when he gave me an exasperated look and slapped himself on the forehead.
“You really don’t know anything do you? Oh what brutish philistines they have been producing here!” Catigern said rudely and the Guards snickered. I felt my cheeks turn red. “You are not a Pure Blood! You can’t sit here, at the same level with me! Go sit over there.” He pointed to a carpet spread out on the floor in a corner near the spot where we had gotten on. I turned and went to the spot, sitting down indignantly. I had received my first lesson on Aryan Culture. I looked out the window and tried to ignore the sneering guards.
The aircraft started rising and I ordered my heart to stay calm as I saw first the ground disappear and then the treetops, soon there were just clouds and blue sky. I looked down and saw the houses that were built into the side of the mountains, the little hills and the newer buildings of the village, the beautiful ancient fairy chimneys and the green fields where I used to play as a child. I didn’t feel too good. The Guards were talking quietly to each other but fell silent when the Administrator started speaking.
“It’s very surprising, how much they have advanced. I don’t remember seeing anything about all this development in the reports on Cappadocia. I’ll have to check on who was responsible for this area. It seems someone is not doing their job. Didn’t you find it astounding?”
“Yes, your honor, it was very unexpected. The areas I have been assigned to are all quite undeveloped. This should be reported to the Council.” The Guard agreed with him.
“I think a team needs to be sent in to see just what is going on here, I feel this place may have some potential for us, the atmosphere is clean and the vegetation is quite dense. Tell Marzio I want all the recordings of the atmospheric pollutants to and from Cappadocia as well as the scans of the land and the stratosphere.” He waved him off to hurry.
“Yes, your honor.” The guard got up to go to the front of the craft and disappeared for a while. I didn’t like their conversation, it scared me to think that they could go wherever they wanted and do whatever they wanted.
“I’ll have to make this report my first priority,” he was talking to himself but the other guard nodded in agreement. “How could this have been so overlooked? Too much carelessness, the Council must take a severe approach to proper administration. I must make a separate report on the audacity of Minister Rose Oberon taking an Impure Blood into her home, that mongrel girl should be dumped in the ocean with all the rest of the mongrels.” He was talking about me as if I wasn’t there. I continued to stare out of the window and pretend not to know what he was talking about, but it was impossible and I could feel the hateful stare of the guard. I wished I had married Shayne, nothing could be worse than what living with these people would be like.
I closed my eyes so that my tears wouldn’t give that sickening guard any satisfaction. The trip was long and I fell asleep so I didn’t hear about anything else the Administrator had to make a report on. When I woke up I could see buildings down below and they were like nothing I had ever seen before. Not even the books we read in school showed us anything like this. The buildings were huge and their round polished domes shone in the sunlight. They were white, golden, rust, some were very tall and angular. Others were short and spread out over a large area. There were roads with sleek cars, flat and beautiful. Not like the bulky old things we had. There were other aircraft flying and landing and we hovered over a huge space with many more aircraft on the ground below. We came down slowly and sadness started to creep up over me again. We landed softly but the Administrator who had also been sleeping woke up irritably.
“Finally! I couldn’t stand this much longer.” He started to get up and the two guards rose with him. “Well what are you waiting for? An invitation? Your aunt isn’t going to come inside to get you! Come on hurry up, I can’t wait all day.” He stood looking down at me and then took a step back as I got up as if I would grab his robe to help myself up. I stood and got some satisfaction looking down at him because I was taller. This seemed to annoy him and he huffed as he walked past me to get ahead. I started walking behind him and the guards followed me out.
As we stepped out and joined the flow of people coming out of different crafts people took a step away from me once they saw my face. I wondered if it was dirty, which would have been strange because Fei Yan had checked me a hundred times and kept fussing over me to make sure I was looking neat and clean and that my hair was properly brushed. I didn’t think I looked that different. I looked at the people, they were dressed different. And their hair was different. The women and the men all had short hair. Mine was almost down to my waist. I tried to avoid their stares, and not notice their appalled expressions. I wanted to run and hide but instead I tried to hold my head up high and not show anyone how much I was hurting inside. I didn’t realize it was not just my hair until a woman gave her diagnosis out loud.
“Look at that filthy Mixed Breed! Walking around with her head held high! Does she think she can pass as a Pure Blood?”
The Administrator turned back to smirk at me, “Welcome to Arya, land of the Pure.”
(All images are from Google Images)