We're Team Hera! Because here on Balancing Act, we're both bad-ass and warm and nurturing, and we'll fight to bring out the best in our crew, um, team. :-)
You can check out other teams on the other hosting blogs: Elsie Elmore (Team Droids), Elizabeth Roderick (Team Leia), Kathleen Ann Palm (Team Darkside), Rena Rocford (Team Rebels), and of course, our organizer and Grand Poobah, Katie Hamstead Teller.
Category and Genre: Adult Fantasy/SciFi
Word Count: (93,000)
The Inhikiod, a winged race living high in their mountain cavern hives, never bother to look down. Their life is flying the skies. As a star competitor in the Inhikiod flying competitions, nineteen-year-old Hikala lives only to fly and win accolades for herself and her Inhikiod family. After an irresponsible challenge resulted in permanent injuries to her flying partner and best friend, Hikala is banished to the planet’s surface for a year, forbidden to fly.
Never having set foot on the surface, Hikala must come to terms with her own race’s millennia old history of enslaving the planet’s indigenous race, the non-winged Dawk. Only knowing the Dawk as servants in her hive, Hikala struggles to enmesh herself in their culture and survive their hatred while dealing with the surface’s bi-annual flooding and predatory creatures.
Tid, a Dawk who sees more in Hikala than just being Inhikiod, helps her navigate the surface challenges. But as their romance grows, so do the rumblings of a revolution. The Dawk want Hikala to become a linchpin in their fight to free themselves from their Inhikiod masters. But if Hikala stays to help, she must give up flying forever, ripping out her soul. If she returns home, she’ll break Tid’s heart and abandon her new friends to the vengeance of the Inhikiod.
First 250 words:
Cradled by wind and sunlight, Hikala spun through the sky, a mirror to her partner’s flight. The air whistled through her wings, sounding a harmonic note to balance the wind-song created with each stroke of Sarwa’s violet wings. A final double flip merged flashes of blue and violet and ended their sky dance to screams of approval from the observers scattered across the sky.
Blue wings cupping the air beneath her, Hikala floated on her back and shouted her exhilaration to the wind. Always more reserved, Sarwa hovered at her side and only laughed in response, a wide lopsided grin spread across his dark brown face. Hikala sighed when the same thought she had after every perfect sky dance crossed her mind—to forget the world and keep flying with Sarwa forever. But they had finished their doubles routine and needed to return inside for their score; a score that would determine the winner of this year’s Inhikiod Games.
There were many competitions throughout the year, but these Games were the pinnacle of them all. Not much interested the Inhikiod other than their flying competitions and socializing, so the Games were highly anticipated and the best races were dissected over dinner tables for the rest of the year.
Sarwa offered his hand and he and Hikala flew back to the King’s landing pad, the staging area for the Games. As they lightly set down on the crescent-shaped entrance platform to the huge cavern carved into the mountainside, raucous cheers erupted.