A swift, insistent hammering sounds at the bedroom door.
"Come in," I finally grouch to the insistent knocker. It isn't my bedroom—not really. But while Nolan Storm has it in his head to play my guardian, I'll not argue. I have nowhere else to run.
I've made it cozier since officially moving in after my home was destroyed. Now freshly cut grasses sit in a vase on the little table near the window, and I've placed a bright-red throw cushion on the chair across from the bed. Still, I'm not just sitting around on my once-rich thumbs, redecorating.
Coming from the elite Upper Circle, I have access to networks of power that Nolan Storm needs. And, despite the fact that my parents haven't been seen since the night our home was destroyed by magic bombs, the Fox name still carries a certain cachet. My father is chief diplomat of Dominion City and a beacon of influence across Nor-Am, though perhaps no longer serving his city. I use his reputation to help the True Borns' leader. I know how to sashay across a room and dip into the perfect curtsy before foreign dignitaries, after all. I've stood before kings and titans of industry. I've smiled and danced my way into the good graces of many. It was my duty and I did it well. My parents had drilled into me the importance of working on the behalf of the family's interests.
I'm no longer sure I believe in those interests—especially now that my family is gone. But I believe in Nolan Storm. Nolan serves the interests of the True Borns, and that's good enough for me. So now I attend these parties for him. Like a spider, I weave my web, listening for vibrations of power among Dominion's elite. I crawl through their ranks, preying on those members of high society who still feel so entitled, so safe to share their secrets with one of their own. I am small but deadly. I am relentless. I'll not stop until my questions have answers.
Where are my parents? Where is my sister?
In the hush of night, Nolan Storm squires me—or rather, I squire him—around Dominion's Upper Circle supper clubs, its dances, its balls. Together we attend gallery openings, recitals, operas, and ballets, always accompanied by the charismatic Jared Price. As I play my part, Storm plays his: always officious and kind. Gentle, too—yet I've seen him rip a body in two.
One day Dominion will bow to this leader of True Borns, though for now they try to ignore him. They can't yet ignore me. I take great delight in pushing him forward into a society that would like to shun him, despite his influence in their lives. I introduce him to the nebulous power brokers of Dominion, though to me they are as familiar as the toys of childhood. I bring him into the inner sanctum of the Upper Circle, where until now no True Born has tread.
And during the day, though tired from the night's adventures, I hunt my own mysteries. Where are you, Margot?
And yet, in all these months working on behalf of the True Borns, I have made no progress. No one seems to know where my parents, who I am convinced will lead me straight to Margot, have gone. And we're no closer to figuring out why Father Wes and his followers, the Watchers, are so keen to get their hands on Margot and me. In four months, I have learned nothing, I realize with disgust. I am growing restless. While I would have jumped on a boat or into a plane and hared off to Russia anyway, the homeland of Leo Resnikov, Storm manages to convince me to stay a little longer, to give our intel system time to work. You'll find her more quickly if you know where she is, Lucy, he's told me again and again.
He might even be right, but my patience hit its limit some time ago. I've decided to cultivate my own sources of information—which is why I now volunteer to work with Doc Raines at the Prayer Tree.
I tug at that extra sense I was born with, the thin, invisible string that tethers me to my twin. The bond I share with my sister, my lifelong companion, has remained inert since the night she left.
YOU ARE READING
True NorthScience Fiction
I'm giving readers a little "sneak peek" at the latest novel in the True Born Trilogy, True North. It will be officially launched on April 4, 2017 -- but until then, you'll get a chapter a day. Hope you like it! Abandoned by her family in Plague-ri...