‘The Sun Will Guide Us,’ An Excerpt
By Kilhah St Fort & Amber Loveless
This is an excerpt from our Cinderella-inspired YA fantasy novel. In this scene, the two protagonists meet for the first time but they each have different motivations for their meeting.
“You don’t look so common to me,” Chynna stepped closer. “Are you from one of the main families or one of the branches? Though, it’s probably a branch since I’m sure I would have noticed you before.”
“Maybe I wasn’t common before, but I am now. My father died several years ago. I doubt you’d remember him. He used to be on one of the king’s councils.” Veera waited for Chynna to get the implication—that her father had displeased the king—and link that to the reason for his death. She inched closer to the ledger book. It looked like it hadn’t been touched in years—surely long enough for her father’s name to be inside.
“Oh…” Chynna pulled at her collar awkwardly. She ran a few possible responses in her head. Saying sorry seemed like a bad call. It was years ago after all. What would a sorry do?
Veera started to feel a little bad. Chynna looked amazing in the tux and it was her Get-Engaged-to-a-Total-Stranger Ball day. She didn’t seem like a bad person herself. Maybe Veera should give her a break.
“You look good in silver,” Chynna blurted out. Veera took a step back and raised her eyebrows. “I mean, it goes well with your hair. Red and silver, fire and steel. Like you’re a warrior goddess or something.”
“Did you take a class in flirting?” Veera asked, ignoring the little flip in her stomach that came from a princess in a kick-ass tuxedo telling her she looked like a goddess. She had to stay on task. She put her hand up before Chynna could answer. “And the real question: did you pass?”
“My tutor says I could work on my attention span, but I think she’s biased. Her favorite topic is bartering laws.”
Veera pulled a face. “I’m so sorry.” She’d moved close enough to put her hand on the ledger. She tried to pull it open with grace and nonchalance, but she was apparently the first person to open it since time began because instead it lurched open with a cracked leather belch and a flurry of dust.
This idea came to us during a world building workshop that took place last year. From there, we spent the summer developing and outlining the story. We co-wrote this scene by alternating who wrote which paragraph. Kilhah spent two weeks creating the digital art shown in the video before we recorded the audio and put it over the footage.
Kilhah St Fort is an outspoken girl, who can often be found listening to either Broadway musicals or lo-fi beats. One of her favorite pastimes is binge-watching cartoons. Kilhah documents her world and the world around her through poetry while creating new ones through prose. She's passionate about a bunch of things but most importantly, advocating for the representation of underrepresented communities in spaces they are historically forgotten about.
Amber Loveless is a librarian, novelist, and parent. She enjoys connecting with teenagers at the library and as a Girls Write Now mentor, table top gaming, writing, and music. Hobbies including learning the piano, reading, spending time with her kid, and exploring her adopted borough of Queens!