How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days

By: Kerrelyn Sparks

Sorcha grabbed onto the table. “What was that?”

Loud shouts and the pounding of feet sounded on the deck overhead.

“Something is amiss,” Gwennore said as she gazed up at the ceiling. “They’re running about.”

Maeve peered out the window. “I believe we made a sudden turn to the south.”

“That would put us off course,” Gwennore murmured.

The door slammed open, and they jumped in their seats.

Mother Ginessa gave them a stern look, while behind her, Sister Fallyn pressed the tips of her fingers against her thumbs, forming two small circles to represent the twin moons.

“May the goddesses protect us,” Sister Fallyn whispered.

“Stay here,” Mother Ginessa ordered, then shut the door.

“What the hell was that?” Sorcha muttered.

A pounding sound reverberated throughout the entire ship. Thump … thump … thump.

“Drums.” Gwennore rose to her feet. “The sailors beat them to set the pace. They must be using the oars.”

“Why?” Sorcha asked. “Is something wrong with the sails?”

Gwennore shrugged. “I suppose we need to go faster. Perhaps we’re trying to outrun another ship, but there’s no way to know unless we go up on deck.”

Sorcha slapped the tabletop with her hand. “Why do we have to stay here? I hate being in the dark.”

Brigitta clenched her fists, gathering handfuls of her skirt in her hands. The prediction was coming true, she knew it. Her stomach roiled again, and her heart thudded loud in her ears, keeping time with the drums.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

The drums pounded faster.

Beads of sweat dotted her brow, and she rubbed her aching stomach as she rose shakily to her feet. “The fate of the Telling Stones has begun.”

“Don’t say that.” Gwennore shook her head. “Ye cannot be sure.”

“I am sure!” Brigitta cried. She’d had eight months to consider this fate. Eight months to prepare herself. “’Tis happening now. And I will not remain hidden in this room, meekly accepting a future I do not want. I’m going on deck to face this.”