Edit: When I wrote this piece, the novel was still in the planning stages; there were a few different stories I was considering telling. This excerpt reflects the direction I thought the novel would go at the time. However, I would later change my mind about three more times before I made my final choice and stuck with it. In a way, the final manuscript both does and does not follow the same train of thought that this excerpt would have been part of. The two versions examine some of the same points, but they take very different trajectories and end up in very different places. That’s a long way of saying this exceprt is no longer in current drafts of the novel, even though in my mind it still reflects a conversation Nesrin and Ceylan definitely had at some point.
Nesrin and Ceylan walked alone through the ruins of Karatepe, as they often did when they needed to talk together as sisters. Ceylan stopped and looked at the angle of a lion statue in relation to the ocean. “I think this is where we used to watch the leviathan surface in the water.”
Nesrin stopped next to Ceylan. “It’s hard to tell. The wall’s much lower now than back then. If this is the spot then it must also be where we and our siblings diverted that comet away from the earth.”
Ceylan nodded, then pointed to a line of stone monuments. “I know that’s where that colony of jann made their camp and refused to move for a year and a day.”
Nesrin smiled. “Oh yes. Those are the stones Mother stood on to mediate between them and the townspeople.” She tilted her head. “Speaking of which, did Mother ever rule in Bedeea-el-Jamal’s case?”
“Oh yes. The Patron of Liberty officially reinstated the Queen of the Jann yesterday, and I’m sure she will not let Bedeea forget that. Now that there are seven rulers again, they’re all going to claim a day of the week to represent like the Seven Kings used to. Mother’s going to be Mistress of Monday.”
“Because she needed another title.”
For a short time they walked in silence again. Once again the silence was broken by Ceylan.
“Your roommates seem nice.”
Nesrin considered Isabelle and Jason. “I did stumble onto some good ones. They’re the first humans I’ve wanted to reveal my true self to for a long time.”
“Aravis seemed quite impressed, too, but then I suppose there’s a reason for that.”
“Now what does that mean?”
“I’m not sure. Mother’s just been dropping vague hints lately. Probably nothing.”
“Ceylan, if you know something I don’t…”
“I assure you I don’t, not for sure anyway.”