The Feel Real Fantasy Blog Tour celebrates the completion of the Rys Rising series by Tracy Falbe. Today’s stop introduces you to Demeda, princess of the Sabar’Uto Tribe and Handmaiden to the Goddess.
Age: 16 at beginning of epic
Physical appearance: dark skin, black hair, brown eyes, thin, average height
Special skills: Excellent singing voice, sneaky, willingness to use sex to advance her position
Magical items: Enchanted crystal orb that connects her to the Goddess, Onja.
Growing up in the royal palace of a powerful tribe gave Demeda many luxuries but no privileges. Her society is a strict patriarchy where women have no rights and must keep their faces covered. As a daughter of the King’s first wife, she accepts that her marriage will be arranged and strategically important to her family. But when she learns that she is to be wed to her tribe’s arch enemy as part of a peace deal, she becomes enraged, especially because she is to be the man’s fourth wife. Incensed by that insult, she refuses to cooperate but is beaten and drugged into submission.
During her journey to her wedding an unexpected fate intervenes. The outlaw Amar on a mission to interfere with the peace plan kidnaps Demeda and her brother. Although terrified, Demeda takes her opportunity to break free from her unwanted duties. She throws away her politically precious virginity and embarks upon the outlaw life.
The stakes are always high for Demeda as she tries to maintain the interest of Amar, whose favor is crucial to her survival. She’ll betray her tribe to please him. Eventually she encounters the powerful rys Onja who is asserting herself as the Goddess of all people. Demeda will become the loyal servant of Onja and attain the rank Handmaiden of the Goddess. Despite the prestige of this position, it remains a perilous duty for Demeda.
Author’s feelings about the character:
Demeda is born of my memories of being a teenager. She makes rash life-changing decisions driven by passion. She defies authority, especially parental authority. She constantly tries to escape the limited options open to her, but making a new role for herself is very difficult. She is vulnerable but ambitious. She is also a bit of a natural criminal, but she is not without a heart. As years go by, she gradually begins to accept the constraints of duty for the sake of others. All her transitions are painful but she rarely regrets what she has done.
And now and excerpt double feature:
From Savage Storm: Rys Rising Book II
Demeda prepared a cup of tea for herself. She was comfortable with her lack of remorse about the two villages that the Kelsurs had sacked already. They were out terrorizing a third village as she sipped tea with Amar. Returning to the land of her tribe had summoned few nostalgic feelings. She had grown up so cloistered that the land bore almost no familiarity to her. The rural districts of the Sabar’Uto Domain were as new to her as any other place.
Halfway through his cup, Amar set it aside and reclined with his hands behind his head. “Tell me everything you can about the royal palace in Chadenedra,” he said.
“Are we going there?” Demeda asked.
“I am,” he corrected.
Her disquiet fluttered on sleepy batwings in the back of her mind. “What do you need to know?” she said.
“Everything you can tell me,” Amar insisted.
“It would help if I knew what you mean to do,” Demeda stalled again.
Amar looked at her with the hard gaze of the Kez Overlord. She met those eyes that gleamed with life but guarded his soul. Demeda gathered her courage and said, “Are you going to kill my father?”
“That’s what you want isn’t it?” Amar said.
“I never said that,” Demeda whispered uncomfortably.
To sooth her, Amar said, “My intention is to impress upon him the need to be cooperative.”
Although not really reassured, Demeda accepted that she was going to aid Amar in every way that she could. Her wicked treachery would be no harder to live with than the cruel betrayal dressed up as duty that her family had inflicted on her.
From New Religion: Rys Rising Book III
Demeda reclined on her cushion, striking a sultry pose by second nature. She watched Urlen who was avoiding eye contact.
“What is this about?” she asked and gestured with her cup at the privacy he had drawn down around them.
He sighed as if disappointed and then confessed, “Demeda, I need your help.”
She sat up, excited. She loved it when she could be useful.
He said, “You know how Amar has commanded me to build our fortress, so I have been working to hire an architect.”
Demeda wilted, losing interest because the subject was boring.
Urlen continued, “I have brought a very highly esteemed architect here. His name is Pender Ruke, and I really want him to take on this project.”
“I’m sure he’ll do it,” Demeda said carelessly, trying to be encouraging. “With our Temulanka treasure you can certainly pay him as well as any king.”
“Well, yes, but a man as talented and respected as him can pick his projects. He does not have to design and build for just anyone who can pay, and he seems uninterested in working for the Kezanada,” Urlen explained, irked that his criminal status brought great power but not always respect.
Demeda frowned and said, “He should want to do it for the glory of Onja.”
“Onja has yet to fill the heart of every man with love for her,” Urlen said. “To tell the truth, he even ignored my invitation to work on our project. But he is the man I really want, so I had him brought here.” He twiddled his fingers with nervous guilt.
Demeda giggled, knowing what he meant. She found it amusing that scholarly Urlen had such sinister forces at his disposal. People often regretted underestimating him.
Shaking his head with regret, Urlen said, “So you can imagine that Pender Ruke is hardly in a good mood. I need your help to put him in a better mood.”
Demeda narrowed her eyes suspiciously. “How am I to put him in a better mood?” she demanded.
Urlen groped for an explanation, but she did not wait for his answer. She shook a finger at him and told him that she was not going to perform any common favors. “I am loyal to Amar,” she concluded proudly.
He scrambled to reassure her. “No, no. Not like that. If he wants physical favors, I’ll get other women for that, but I’m sure that your company alone would please him. Use your charms to entertain him, make him feel good about himself. You are a Sabar’Uto Princess and the Handmaiden of the Goddess. You are rare and beautiful. You are extraordinary! Show him that working for us will let him have a life like no one else can offer,” he explained, finding his eloquence.
Despite the flattery, Demeda frowned at him, unconvinced. “Just make him do it, Urlen. Tell him he’ll die if he doesn’t do it,” she suggested. She could not quite see why she needed to be bothered with Urlen’s little issues about hiring help.
Tracy Falbe invites you to give her characters a chance to feel real to you. The Rys Rising fantasy series is driven by magic, passion, bravery, ambition, conquest, and defeat. Rys Rising: Book I is a free ebook and hopefully your gateway to an epic reading experience.