Hello and welcome to the RED TEAM for Fall 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt!! I’m so excited you’re here and playing along! Today I have the pleasure of hosting the extremely talented Livia Blackburne, author of MIDNIGHT THIEF, DAUGHTER OF DUSK, and more!!
If this is your first stop on the YA Scavenger Hunt, you’ll want to read the rules here or if you know what’s going on then you’ll already know that somewhere on this page I’ve hidden a secret number for the RED TEAM and it will be in RED. After you’ll collected all the authors on the red team’s numbers, add them up, and enter it here. If you’re looking for my exclusive content (the secret Maribelle chapter!!!!), you’ll have to keep looking!! To sweeten the deal and increase your chances of winning something, I’m also hosting a giveaway of a set of my books at the very bottom of this post!!
So without further ado, let me introduce Livia Blackburne!
Livia Blackburne wrote her first novel while she was a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducted research on the neuroscience of reading acquisition in children. Upon graduation, she switched to writing full time. She still blogs about the intersection of literature and neuroscience.
And here’s a little bit about DAUGHTER OF DUSK, the second novel in THE MIDNIGHT THIEF world:
After learning the truth about her bloodlines, Kyra can’t help but feel like a monster.
Though she’s formed a tentative alliance with the Palace, Kyra must keep her identity a secret or risk being hunted like the rest of her Demon Rider kin. Tristam and the imprisoned assassin James are among the few who know about her heritage, but when Tristam reveals a heartbreaking secret of his own, Kyra’s not sure she can trust him. And with James’s fate in the hands of the palace, Kyra fears that he will give her away to save himself.
As tensions rise within Forge’s Council, and vicious Demon Rider attacks continue in surrounding villages, Kyra knows she must do something to save her city. But she walks a dangerous line between opposing armies: will she be able to use her link to the Demon Riders for good, or will her Makvani blood prove to be deadly?
In this spellbinding sequel to Midnight Thief, Kyra and Tristam face their biggest battle yet as they grapple with changing allegiances, shocking deceit, and vengeful opponents.
Sounds awesome, huh! Go RED TEAM!
Now for the deleted chapter she’s chosen to share!!
The journey to Edlan was more tedious than strenuous. The diplomatic caravan was large, and everyone moved at the pace of the riderless servants bringing up the rear. It was easy travel though. The road was well maintained, and teams of servants took care of the meal preparation and camp setup. At night, the Council members and their staff stayed at inns while everyone else made camp nearby. Kyra found time during the travel to tell Malikel of the newDemon Riders clan, though she had to gloss over details about why she’d in the forests. The Defense Minister agreed that this was was troubling news, but without any information beyond Leyus’s cryptic comments, there was not much they could do.
They traveled north through forest for three days. By day four, the road started to slope upward, and on the sixth day, the Aerin mountains came into view—tall, jagged peaks that stretched as far as Kyra could see. They were mostly covered with snow, though gray rock occasionally showed through on the shearer cliffs
“Quite a sight, aren’t they?” said Tristam. She hadn’t seen much of him during the trip, since he’d walked with the Red Shields. Mingling between traveling groups wasn’t forbidden, but it was rare enough that doing so often would have raised eyebrows. Now that they were almost there though, the caravan’s orderly lines were fraying.
Kyra smiled, embarrassed to be caught gaping. “Edlan’s at the base of that?”
“Where the mountains meet the ocean.”
“Have you been to Edlan before?”
“Once,” he said. “A few years ago I accompanied my father on a similar trip. The Council doesn’t encourage young nobles to visit Edlan on their own.”
Tristam took some time to consider. “We’re not at war with Edlan, but we’re never completely at peace with them either. Don’t let the pomp and ceremony of the next few days fool you. We’ll smile at each other, even help each other as a gesture of goodwill. But behind the honeyed words, we’re still trying to get an advantage on the other. The Council worries that if high ranking noblemen from Forge visit the city too often, they may be more vulnerable to influence from Edlan officials.”
“Is Edlan’s Council like ours?”
“They don’t have a Council. They have a Duke, Symon of Edlan. He has his advisers, but they have very little power to overrule his decisions, whereas every decision made in Forge has to pass a two thirds vote.”
“Does that affect the common people?” Asked Kyra.
“Edlan does have its problems. The winters are hard here, and it’s hardest on the poor.”
The ocean itself appeared the seventh day, and Kyra found it just as awe-inspiring. The Aerins came all the way up against the rough waters, and tall cliffs lined the narrow beaches from which the choppy waters stretched to the horizens. A walled city was nestled just in front of the mountains at the base of the foothills.
As they marched closer, the caravan started preparing for arrival. Heralds with trumpets moved to the front, Council members shed their traveling cloaks and replaced them with silks and furs, and mounted knights slowed and fell into parade formation.
Edlan had walls the height of three men and a gate of solid iron that was currently thrown open. Trumpets greeted their entry, and Kyra looked up to see musicians on the walls. The caravan entered the city at a stately pace. After the impressive sight of the mountains and the ocean, the city itself was disappointing. Run down houses (brick, rather than wood like Forge) lined cobblestone streets . The air smelled of wood and coal, and there was also a damp salty feeling to everything to the cold air that cut into Kyra’s bones. The common folk of Edlan lined the streets to watch the caravan roll past. They looked well enough, but Kyra sawa the occasional soldier in their midst. The alleyways also looked cluttered, as if lean-to’s and other street detritus had been hastily pushed in off the streets.
The caravan weaved through the outer roads, finally entering into a Palace compound built of slate gray stone that matched the cliffs. There was bustle and chatter as Edlan staff mingled with the visitors, taking their horses and pointing them to guest quarters. Talk abounded of a diplomatic ball that night. Kyra was standing to the side, having just handed her bags over to a porter whom she hoped wasn’t an enterprising thief in disguise, when a man entered the courtyard whom Kyra guessed immediately to be Duke Symon. He was tall and reed thin, with greying hair. His velvet tunic, a dark Edlan blue, was richly embroidered with silver thread, and three attendents hurried behind him. There was something familiar about that man, but Kyra couldn’t quite place it.
Malikel beckoned to her from across the courtyard.
“Our work starts this afternoon,” he said. “The Edlan Defense minister would like to speak to you about the Demon Riders.”
An official dressed also in Edlan blue, was standing at Malikel’s side, as was Tristam. “This is Lord Alvred,” Malikel said. “Alvred, this is Kyra and Tristam, two under my command who’ve had close contact with the Demon Riders”
Kyra guessed that Alvred had been a formidible soldier in his youth. He was a large man whose hefty limbs gave the impression that they used to be heavily muscled, though now they had softened from a less physically challenging position. In the last war with Edlan twenty years ago, he and Malikel would have been archenemies. In times of peace, they maintained a respectful if careful relationship. Alvred looked at Kyra, peering down at her and squinting at her clothing. Kyra crossed her arms in front of her dusty travel tunic. Finally, the official gestured that they should follow him.
Lord Alvred led them back to the gate, where he summoned a carriage. “We’ve been having raids in our outer farmland,” he said as they rolled back out of the city. The countryside was foggy and covered with green stretches of what Alvred told Kyra was winter rye. Between plots of rye were unplanted fields dotted with sheep who looked a lot warmer than Kyra felt inside the carriage. Kyra spotted the site of the Demon Rider attack as soon as it came into view. The signs were obvious — broken fences, dirt kicked up, a general jumpiness in the movements of the farmhands. She exchanged a glance with Tristam. It definitely looked familiar. The carriage slowed, and the four of them climbed out.
“How many raids have there been?” asked Tristam, looking around the field. The farm itself was nothing out of the ordinary, ne large barn with a smaller farmhouse next to it. Sheep pens, some with broken fences, lined the barn.
“Just a few, but it’s the same pattern each time,” said Alvred. “Men and women, riding giant wildcats. Really brutal, intelligent, beasts.”
A round faced young woman came out of the farmhouse and stood waiting short distance away. She was only a few years older than Kyra, with wide eyes that gave an impression of honesty.
Alvred motioned for her to come closer. “This is Rillie. She witnessed the attacks.”
“Good,” said Malikel. “I’m sorry to make you recall these moments again, Rillie, but anything you can tell us will help us against the invaders.”
The girl’s braids bounced when she nodded. “It was in the morning. I was weeding the fields when I heard people shouting. I turned, and there were… the riders, milord. Three of them, on their beasts. They were rounding up the sheep. One of the shepherds, he was in the way, and he —” she broke off. She took a few deep breath and continued. “He lived, though he probably won’t have the use of his arm again. I’ve never seen anything like those beasts before. They weren’t natural. Their eyes, even, the way they looked at you.” As she talked, the five of them walked toward the sheep pens. Farmhands skirted around the four of them as they toured the area. Kyra caught the fear in their expressions, the skittishness of recent trauma.
She snuck a glance at Tristam. His shoulders were tense and his lips were pressed tightly together. His friend Jack had been killed in circumstances very similar to this one.
Kyra laid a hand on his elbow. “You all right?” she asked softly.
He gave a curt nod and kept his eyes on Rillie. There was a layer of sweat on his forehead despite the cold.
Kyra hadn’t been there when Jack had died, though she’d been close by when the demon riders had killed Martin, a pleasant young red shield under Tristam’s command. Kyra could remember his screams, and she still grieved him. But she didn’t feel the residual horror that she saw etched in every aspect of Tristam’s posture, and she wondered what that meant. The girl’s descriptions about the Demon Riders felt familiar to Kyra, and there was something comforting about that familiarity even as another part of her was properly shocked at Rillie’s tale. Rillie’s voice shook as she spoke, and Kyra certainly didn’t wish her harm. But how hard would she works to keep her safe, when doing so meant betraying her own blood? How important was blood anyways?
“Wait, Rillie,” Tristam’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “Tell me again what the attackers looked like.”
“They were painted, Sir. The riders had patterns painted all over their faces. Stripes, circles in blacks and browns.”
Kyra and Tristam exchanged a look.
“The attackers around Forge never painted themselves,” said Tristam.
CATCH YOUR INTEREST? If so, you can find out more about Livia on Twitter, Facebook, or on her website. Or even better, buy her books here!
Just two more things to do (three, if you want to enter my giveaway) and then you can move on!! My secret number is: 21!!
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