Twelve Kings Tuesdays — The Blooming Fields
From now until the release of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai in early September, I’m going to be posting a new image from the Pinterest board I created for inspiration. I’ll be talking a bit about each image, why I chose it, how it affected the story, and so on. Read on for this week’s installment.
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Twelve Kings in Sharakhai releases in three weeks! I’m really excited for the book to finally come out, but there’s still so much to do! Including this, the latest installment of Twelve Kings Tuesdays!
This week, I thought it would be interesting to talk about the blooming fields.
What are the blooming fields? Well, they’re a ring of tree groves that circle the city of Sharakhai. They’re not a contiguous circle, but rather a collection of groves that dot the landscape a few leagues out from the city. It’s forbidden by the kings’ law to voyage out to the blooming fields.
Most had never seen the adichara up close, for such a thing was forbidden. Venturing into the blooming fields in daylight meant forfeiting one’s eyes—a sentence harsh enough—but venturing there at night would lose one her life. Despite this, Çeda still visited several times a year, as her mother had done, to gather petals and press them for later use, when she needed them most.
As to why it’s forbidden, I’ll leave that secret between the covers of the book. Suffice it to say that very few indeed have even seen the blooming fields, which gives them an almost mystical history in the tea houses and shisha dens of Sharakhai.
The trees themselves are known as adichara. And while I used the word trees, they’re not your typical trees. They have thorny branches.
And they have flowers that bloom only when the twin moons are full.
As alluded to in the passage above, the petals of the flowers grant wondrous abilities but only when collected on the night they bloom, a holy night in Sharakhai. They grant endurance. They give one verve. They sharpen the senses.
But in truth it isn’t this that the kings want hidden from the citizens of Sharakhai. It’s the secrets they buried there. Secrets they desperately want to remain hidden.
I used these ideas and pictures as an art brief for two of the chapter emblems that Adam Paquette created for the book. These show two of the adichara blooms, one more full for Çeda as a woman (the main POV of the book), and one for Çeda as a girl.
Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, Book One of The Song of the Shattered Sands, is available for pre-order in the US via Penguin Random House, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble and in the UK via Amazon UK and Waterstones. Audio versions will also be available via Brilliance Audio and Orion/Gollancz Audio.