Hi folks. Well, it’s official — as of today, the omnibus edition of the Inheritance Trilogy, and “The Awakened Kingdom” novella, both go on sale.
The omnibus is available at all major retailers, print and ebook, and includes the novella. If you’ve already got the trilogy in separate-book form, however, don’t worry — you can buy just the novella as a standalone ebook for $2.99.
As for the omnibus, here’s KING OZZYMANDIAS (or Ozzy, for short) to demonstrate just what a whopper it is:
…Might wanna have it delivered. Just sayin’.
I usually post sample chapters of my novels, but since this is just a novella (about 1/3 the size of most of my books), and it doesn’t have chapters, I’m going to post a shorter segment, below. This is from the pre-copyedited version, note, and from a few pages in.
The Awakened Kingdom
I decided maybe I was doing mischief wrong. I tried again, this time sneaking into Elhodi’s Infinite Garden and switching things around so they bloomed out of season and grew next to things that would eat them and making all the flowers be polka-dot. And then I waited nearby to see what would happen when Elhodi found it. I thought he would get angry, and then I would laugh, and it would be okay because I hadn’t met Elhodi at all and he hadn’t been either mean or nice.
But when Elhodi came in, he started to cry. Really! I felt bad then. I realized his garden had been beautiful, and I’d made it ugly, and… and… being mischievous wasn’t any fun at all.
I came out of hiding and said I was sorry. He let me help him put everything back, which made us both feel better. Then he said, “Why?” Or rather, he rustled a little, because Elhodi only speaks in plant, but I figured it out.
“I thought I could make me be Sieh,” I said. “This is what he would do. Isn’t it?”
Elhodi just stared at me for a moment, then shook his head in a bobbing, windblown sort of way. That’s when he touched me and took me back to the center of the gods’ realm, where the Three were just finishing whatever they had been doing before. When he spoke to them and left me there I thought I would be in trouble, so I stood before them and bowed my head and waited to be punished for being bad.
They sort of looked at each other and then all of them sort of sighed and then Naha and Yeine vanished and Itempas took my hand and sat me down.
“You do not understand your purpose,” he said, which I thought was silly because duh, I knew that, it was kind of the whole point.
He shook his head. “Not nature. Purpose. Why, not what. You misunderstand the reason for your creation.”
I frowned. “To be Sieh,” I said. “I mean, to be what he was.”
Now I was very confused. “Why did you make me, then?”
I was even more confused! “I’m alive, but I’m not what you want me to be.”
“There is nothing that we want you to be, besides yourself. You are everything we desired of you.”
I really, really, really didn’t understand, so I shut up and tried to think about it and still didn’t understand. Itempas sighed and conjured an image of Sieh in his favorite mortal shape: tiny, mammalian, wavering a little between big-headed boy and spindly old man and sleek black cat. Shapes, plural; I had heard that mortals did not blur themselves the way we did. As if to emphasize this, Itempas fixed the image on the boy, who stared back at us with Yeine’s lively, deadly eyes. And because this was Itempas and he liked to be precise, I did more than see Sieh; I felt him, as he must have seemed to everyone who met him in life. There was so much of him! He’d been nothing like I thought. His soul was so heavy that everything was pulled toward him, everyone thought about him, every event involved him to at least a tiny degree. Wow! He didn’t feel like a godling at all.
I got really ashamed, then, because that was when I knew it wasn’t that I’d done my tricks wrong; it was that I was not enough to do them right.
“What you detect from us is something called grief,” Itempas said, speaking very softly for a moment. “That is the wound left behind when a part of the self is taken away.”
I gasped, finally understanding. “The hole! I didn’t fit it!”
Itempas is good at words, and he knew what I meant even if I didn’t know how to say it right. “It is a kind of void, yes. No one can fit the one left by a specific soul, however. Such a void is unique.”
I fidgeted. “Wounds get better. What makes grief get better?”
“Nothing. Time can ease it, but nothing ends it.”
That sounded awful! “Grief sounds like a bad thing,” I said, frowning. “Why don’t you and Naha and Mama get rid of it?”
“Because that would require removing love from existence. Do you believe that would be a good thing?”
I thought hard. I loved Mama and Papa and Naha. I loved some of my siblings. I loved the wall of torn stars and the tiny glowing flowers in Elhodi’s garden that I’d helped him replant. I did not want to stop loving things. “No.”
He inclined his head, which made me feel very grown up. “Such things are better endured than avoided.”
I tried to imagine having a wound that would never heal. I couldn’t. I knew what pain was — I had felt lots of that when I was born — and it was a terrible, scary thing, but it went away. “How do you endure something that never ends?”
“That is something many of us are still learning. Gods are particularly bad at it.” He sighed and let Sieh’s image vanish into the swirls of aether. “Our grief suppurates unchecked and unfading for eternities. We invariably inflict new pain in an effort to ease the old. That tendency has caused so much harm to existence that we now understand we can no longer do things as gods do.”
“Oh? What do you do instead?”
He conjured another image: a planet, smaller than most, wet, green not with copper but life. “We learn from mortals. They are small and weak creatures in so many ways — but in love, they are our equals. In grief, they are stronger.”
“Stronger!” Everything everyone had told me about mortals made them sound like funny little pets.
“Yes. They were made to endure death on a scale we cannot imagine.” Abruptly Itempas made a funny face. I had never seen his face be like this. “So lately, we have… attempted to… change. It is a mortal technique to… to counter death with life.”
Life. Me. Oh! Finally I understood, which was good because Papa Tempa was hurting himself to make me understand. (It’s hard for him to change. But not as hard as being alone, my siblings had told me, so we tried always to make sure he was not.) He was trying, though, because sometimes it is better to change than to do bad things. And that was what he was trying to tell me!
But I squirmed, because something he had said bothered me. “You made me so you wouldn’t do more bad things?” Siblings had told me about the Gods’ War, and more bad things that had happened. Lots and lots of bad things, really.
“No,” Itempas said, and now he sounded strong again. “We made you because you are a good thing.”
This made me curl up and want to go back to the wall of torn stars. “I don’t know what that means, though.”
He inclined his head. “Your confusion and frustration are normal. This is part of life.”
“Well, I don’t like life, then!”
Itempas’ eyes sort of crinkled and his mouth sort of curved and he touched me for a moment, all proudwarm and firm. “Don’t let your mother hear you say that.” He considered. “Or Nahadoth, if she is bored.” Then he pulled away and gathered himself to leave.
I jumped up. “Wait! Papa — ” If there was a Proper Way to be alive, he would know how to get started, at least. “I don’t know what to do next!”
Itempas paused, considering, and then he lowered his sun-colored gaze. “Perhaps it was the right choice for you to study Sieh’s life,” he said. “He lived better than most of us.” Abruptly he leveled a hard look at me. “Do not emulate him, however. That is easy, and foolish. Learn from him — his mistakes as well as his accomplishments. Then become yourself.”
He went away then. I still didn’t understand, but at least I felt better! That is why I like Papa Tempa best.
So I made myself some feet and kicked them for awhile, and thought and thought and thought. And finally I decided what you probably know I decided because I have already done it and if I hadn’t I wouldn’t be here talking to you. I decided to go to the mortal realm.
This was really bad, because Naha had said the mortal realm was a terrible place where bad things happened to gods. Then she’d held me for a long time without talking at all, which I understood better now that Papa Tempa had told me about GRIEF. I didn’t really want to go to a place that was full of grief! But Sieh had spent a lot of time there, and the things that had happened to him there were really, really important. Everyone said he’d gotten stronger there. And Mama Yeine had come from there, and she was terrible but also really amazing, so obviously the mortal realm was not all bad. So I decided I would go there too, and maybe get stronger, and try not to die. I did not want to make more GRIEF.
In the mortal realm there is a world that is very special! This was the planet Papa Tempa had shown me. It is special for bad reasons, mostly, like killing a lot of us. But it is also the world most of us go to when we visit the mortal realm, so I packed myself up and wrapped myself in skin and some bones and stuff. I picked stuff that was different from Sieh’s, just like Itempas had said, which meant that when I became a big-headed human I made myself smaller and browner and girlier, and I gave myself pretty gold eyes like Papa’s instead of green ones like Mama’s. Then I took a deep breath with my brand-new lungs, and I went! There!