Goddess Loowit sits atop Mount St. Helen to watch her people prosper until a young maiden is sacrificed in her name.
Forced into human form, she is at the mercy of her own worshippers as she searches for her way home.
When two clans clash for her grace, the chief's sons fight for her body.
Can they learn to cooperate, or will their opposition be the end of them?
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AN EXCERPT FROM "LADY OF THE FLAMES"
Loowit’s spirit flames dissipated, shrinking her, wrapping her in the cage of squishy flesh before the god Takhoma deposited her halfway down her mountain. She tumbled the rest of the way into the blood spilled from the dark maiden, staining Lootwit’s pale skin and white hair red. Her hands grew wrinkled, lined with blue and spotted with browns. Sagging and knobby bits swayed as she drew to her knees—hard, bony, and restrictive.
The maiden’s heart lay dark against the pale grass at the mountain’s edge—no longer beating, as it had been when the chief of this southern village tore it from her.
Large, rough hands lifted Loowit’s newly gained body, and she wobbled.
“That was a nasty spill, old maid.”
Loowit brewed a sharp look, finding the strong creased lines of the chief’s face. Old Maid.Voice as clear as the River of the Gods, just as it had been when she sat on her mountain to guard it.
He tugged her forward.
Skin moved against the air, and Loowit couldn’t understand how flesh could restrict and expose at once. Gathering herself in her arms, Loowit hobbled with the chief for pure loss at what else to do with her new spongy form.
“What were you doing up there, skyclad?”
Another of her looks scrutinized his face. A relatively young chief, he was old enough for a grown child but not yet for grown grandchildren.
“I was falling.”
He walked her in silence, and her flesh cut open to the rocks and roots underfoot. Beneath, the forest cover grew dark and noisy in the way the open sky and wind cannot be—with crackling, hissing, snapping, and grunting. An eerie sense of danger loomed, gnawing on her heels: the soul of the sacrificed maiden. The same young sunned woman with the midnight hair that danced around her breasts and stomach as she trembled, with the starry eyes telling of true fear.
Hair gathered from her shoulders, the chief drew back her head, sliced into her chest to empty her blood, and removed the maiden’s heart. As purity’s shell fell to the warmed earth, her still beating heart raised in the hands of her keeper, an offering Loowit never wanted. Loowit had cried out in distress, blowing dark smoke out into the air, embers circled her home, and tainted the river with her mourning.
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