Chapter 1

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Disclaimer: I’m writing this story for Nanowrimo 2013. I decided I was going to try publishing chapters as I wrote them. I’m pantsing this whole thing. What you are about to read may be crap of the highest order. You have been warned.

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S’ólh Téméxw, 829 CE

The city and its outlying lands occupied a small portion of the west coast of Erika, the northern continent in the Western Hemisphere. It had been built on rivers and as such was a city of bridges and tunnels. Officially its name was S’ólh Téméxw, but everyone called it S’ólh. Officially, all the land S’ólh Téméxw encompassed had that name, but there were neighborhoods, arbitrary lines drawn across the city because humanity loved to categorize things.

In the north was North S’ólh — the residents of that borough were not known for their creativity — stretching across the banks of the river all the way to Hestesko Bay, where a ferry would take you across the Salish Sea to the city-state of Snuneymuxw on Five-Cities Island. There were four other city-states on the Island; naming it after the number saved constant fighting over which city would get to name the entire landmass.

Far south of Hestesko Bay lay Tsawwassen; it still had its original name from before S’ólh Téméxw had existed. There was a secondary ferry there, mostly populated by commercial traffic. It went to other cities on Five-Cities Island as well as various smaller islands in the Sea. The smaller islands had no city-states — they were governed, if such a term could be used, by Jötnar.

East and north of Tsawwassen was Delta — another creatively-named neighborhood, for that part of the city rested on a river delta — and further north from there was Coquitlam, another place that had kept its original name from before the formation of the City-State in 664 CE.

Between Coquitlam and S’ólh Proper, or Downtown, was the Mountain. It didn’t have a name beyond that, and the bits of city around it were often called Mountainside. On top of the Mountain rested Olaus Rudbeck University — one of the most prestigious institutions in Western Erika.

Julietta ran across campus as if she had wings on her feet. Late for class again. And hadn’t she set her alarms again — seven, this time?

Not that the power outage was her fault but for Hestia’s sake, she had to start getting to bed earlier. Not even Hermes could bless her with the speed she needed to make it to Bio on time today.

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Prologue

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Disclaimer: I’m writing this story for Nanowrimo 2013. I decided I was going to try publishing chapters as I wrote them. I’m pantsing this whole thing. What you are about to read may be crap of the highest order. You have been warned.

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Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
December, 1985

Rain fell like a promise in the darkened city. Streetlights reflected in puddles, small yellow moons guiding her on her path.

She ducked under an awning and studied the paper in her hand. Raindrops — or tears — had smeared the writing, but the address was still legible. She had another two blocks to go.

She sniffed, shoved the paper back into her jeans pocket, and drew her denim jacket tightly around her before continuing on. Why hadn’t she grabbed a rain coat? Damn how clear it had been earlier; the skies of Vancouver were liars.

She’d had to wait to leave the house. Didn’t want Jeffrey asking her where she was going. He’d been so excited with her news.

How could she tell him she had to end it? How could she explain it was wrong? She didn’t even understand it herself. She didn’t understand how it wasn’t his when she’d never been unfaithful. She just knew, deep in her heart, that it wasn’t.

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