Fall Fiction Fest, THE NEEDLES WHICH UNSTITCHED AN EMPIRE, YA Fantasy OV

Title: THE NEEDLES WHICH UNSTITCHED AN EMPIRE

Genre: YA Fantasy Ownvoices

Word Count: 90,000

How Did You Fall for Writing: My mother is a librarian so it’s no surprise that I fell in love with writing. I was a huge bookworm throughout my childhood, after all

Query:

Seventeen-year-old adoptee turned spy Nahri has a simple mission: kill the Empress of North Lang Liêu, whose twenty-year long war between magic and guns split Nahri’s homeland in two.

However, revenge is never simple when said Empress is cloistered away behind three impenetrable walls in the heart of the Imperial City. Any attack requires plowing through thousands of innocents. Any assassination plot requires utmost stealth and the use of magic, which the Empress is hellbent on eradicating.

Further complicating things: Nahri’s adopted homeland is pulling their support from South Lang Liêu and abandoning the capital, prompting its imminent fall and leaving Nahri stranded behind without any means to accomplish her plan. However, the capital’s fall presents an unprecedented opportunity: the Empress, who has not left the Imperial City in decades, will begin her victory march along a “reunited” Lang Liêu, giving Nahri the shot she needs to end the woman who killed her best friend.

Sneaking across the border offers Nahri the best chance to attack the Empress as she leaves the Imperial City. To accomplish this, Nahri enlists the help of five ragtag magicians. Bonded by a mutual hate for the Empress, the magicians understand that if they fail to kill the Empress, her reign of terror will begin unrestrained as the war culminates in a reunification of north and south—and the elimination of all who wield magic.

As the last days of the war wind down, the war for Nahri and the five magicians has just begun, as they combat lies, bullets, and one another. And if they are not careful, they will join the casualty list alongside the millions who have already perished under the Empress’s reign.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

First 250 words:

“Who are you, Nahri Savage?” Matsu’s voice floated in the crowded marketplace but Nahri caught every single word.

I’m the girl who will kill Empress Nguyen.

She shivered despite the humidity—though the thought had been fermenting in her head for some time, she had only begun planning last night.

To not give Matsu insight into her plans before he revealed his, Nahri asked, “Where are we going?”

Nahri’s mentor had roused her from sleep and barely given her enough time to dress before setting out. Matsu shook his head and led her deeper into a sea of bodies. Nahri bit back a sigh: it seemed her mentor would keep their destination secret for the time being.

Normally, Matsu would have stuck out like a sore thumb with his pasty white skin. However, the market crawled with Ambrosian soldiers haggling over items ranging from ripe-red tomatoes to durian, a fruit banned in some places for its notoriously awful smell alongside locals.

In most wars, there were two sides. In this war, there were three: North and South Lang Liêu and the Ambrosian Empire.

Nahri came to a halt as she caught sight of old Ambrosian dog tags hanging off a table, which had most likely been stolen off corpses.

Licking a suddenly parched throat, Nahri ran her fingertips over the dog tags Raelle had pressed to her heart the night before she departed for Lang Liêu. They were the only thing Nahri had left of her best friend; they hadn’t had a body to ship back.

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