Good morning all. It’s crazy busy here, but it’s time for a Tuesday Teaser – and we’re still with Taz and Hiro from my soon-to-be-released fantasy novella, Repeat Offence. I’ve been sharing from this story for a little while now. If you’d like to catch up:
- meet Taz and Hiro
- find out about the cover and the story’s background
- watch Taz waking after being sentenced
And after all that, on with this week’s Tuesday Teaser.
First thing this morning, I was listening to a podcast about invisible fences, those beliefs and ideas that hold us back from achieving our desires. Which made me think about Taz and Hiro’s story, where the “fence” is very much invisible, at least for part of the time.
Because they sacrificed themselves to end a war, Taz and Hiro have been punished with eternal life and eternal separation. They are forced to live on different planes, one as a human, the other as a Guardian, switching places when they die. The Guardian, as the watcher, has constant sight of the human. The human, on the other hand, is left wondering whether everything they remember is actually real.
While human, Taz has no way of knowing whether Hiro is actually still alive. There’s nothing to tell him whether Hiro is watching or not, no evidence to indicate whether Hiro is real or a figment of Taz’s imagination. Not an easy way to live.
There’s one way to make sure, of course. The only chance to see a Guardian is in the moment of death – if the Guardian makes the descent in time – so Taz searches for the most drawn out ways to die, in order to give them both a chance.
So, for today’s Tuesday teaser we have a snippet of Taz exploring the idea of dying on a pyre. Whether or not Hiro is happy with that idea… Well, that’s a post for later.
From Repeat Offence
I’d not expected to spend the king’s funeral cold and shivering. I’d come to Hestorand because its laws were explicit: A murderer died on his victim’s pyre. Not that I’d coveted a fiery end, but death on a pyre isn’t swift, and I’d hoped that it would give Hiro enough time to reach me.
If Hiro was still watching over me.
Which I didn’t know for certain.
I saw him when I took my turn as his Guardian. I talked to him often, in either incarnation. But this was my fourth human life and I’d not once sensed his presence in any of them. Maybe Hiro was no longer—
I squashed the thought. Twenty-three years had passed since I’d last woken beside Hiro’s lifeless body after—once again—arriving a few moments too late to witness his passing. Now he lived his life as a Guardian, while I lived mine as a human. I had to trust in that, though it became harder every time.
Harder to accept that I’d be alone until the ends of time.
Harder to imagine that this torment might come to an end.
Harder to believe that we’d ever get another chance to meet face-to-face, to speak with each other.
This was the real reason I’d put an arrow into Jocqulain’s head. I’d staked my life on this chance of a drawn-out death and I’d failed here, too. My life wasn’t ending on the dead king’s pyre. Hestorand’s queen was too honourable for that.
When her guards grabbed my arms and dragged me towards the wide river the locals called Gurut and I knew as Gu-Chian, hope kindled once more. Maybe the queen was just honourable enough to spare me an agonising death by fire. If she entrusted my fate to the fast-flowing ribbon of water, swollen and angry during the rains, she would give me another chance to end our penance.
One could spend as much time drowning as dying on a funeral pyre.
I was sure of it.