Clever Arula

Clever Arula: Epilogue


“Why are we eating cake for dinner, Mama?” Neva asks. Darien chuckles, and I raise my gaze from my plate to see the love shining in his eyes, my fork hovering forgotten above my cake. I smile at my husband as Neva squirms with impatience, the pause of a few moments more than the five-year-old can bear. Before I answer, Isla clarifies for her...

Clever Arula: Chapter Four


As I easily traverse the geometric turns of the dense hedges comprising the maze at the center of the palace gardens, I marvel that a whole year has passed and that somehow, even this early in the season, the manicured maze surrounding me is vibrantly alive with green. I breathe deeply, enjoying the dewy scent of early morning, as I near the heart...

Clever Arula: Chapter Three


I clutch the king’s cloak with both fists in front of me, rubbing the fine cloth between my fingers to ease my nerves. I cannot think of anything to say that will salvage the situation, so I remain silent. After what seems an interminable pause, the king offers me half a smile, one corner of his mouth lifting slightly. “I suppose I deserve that,”...

Clever Arula: Chapter Two


“You will return to the keep tomorrow,” the king says. “Then I shall decide what you owe me in exchange for your father’s freedom.” I sag with relief, the fight instantly draining from my limbs. “Yes, your Majesty,” I agree, trying at once to speak evenly and calm my raging heartbeat. I stand stiffly, knees sore from kneeling on the hard marble...

Clever Arula: Chapter One


The sun barely winks over the snow capped mountaintops when I wake. I am another year older, yet I feel no different. My eyes remain swollen after a night of heavy tears, and my chest still clenches with an ache I cannot appease. Like every morning, I make myself rise from the threadbare blankets, quickly don my clothes in the semi-darkness, and...

Clever Arula: Prologue


My mother named me Arula so that I would grow up to be brilliant and wise. The name came from a far-off land in one of the books she delighted in reading. No one in Rheinhold had ever heard such a unique name until my parents announced my birth. Before me, girls were given conventional names like Lena, Utte, and Mila; but my mother was not a...



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