Stolen Luck began as a short story for a grimdark anthology. It was continued with a second anthology. Now, it stands as a complete novel, telling the story of Hak’kar- before he became the powerful and feared so’har ruler of the later books. It’s been an interesting story to write, to delve into his development and discover what kind of a person he is:)
Look for Stolen Luck at Amazon, February 2020
Hak’kar looked around his room. It was tiny compared to the suite of rooms he had at home. Those rooms had tall ceilings with columns and pillars with gilded designs and expensive furnishings. This reminded him of the time they had stayed at a villa near his grandmother’s house. It was nicely furnished, but very simple. At least his books and clothes had been moved for him. Mikkojj’s room was directly across the hallway and identical to his own. Zuriat’s room was down the hall, with a library between their rooms.
Downstairs was a small kitchen and dining room, living room and bathroom. Like most of the houses in the city, the building was shaped like a giant U, around a courtyard in the back of the house.
Having taken the short tour of the inside, Hak’kar opened the glass doors and stepped into the back courtyard. He noticed a small shrine in the corner and nodded. At least he would have a place to make offerings. He felt relieved. His commitment to the gods was absolute and he was divinely blessed, waiting for them to communicate with him again.
He looked around the small area. A stucco stone wall enclosed in the property, with hedges and shrubbery that was neatly manicured. He could see the roofs of neighboring houses through the greenery but the residence was private.
Zuriat came up beside him. “Does this meet with your approval?” he asked.
“It’s tiny,” Hak’kar said.
Zuriat shrugged. “Well, you don’t need a lot of space. Also,” he added, changing his tone, “your father requested that you live like any other student. This is a bit nicer than many students would have but you won’t stand out here. This is where every top student goes, and not many get the chance to study here.”
So his father had given instructions and Zuriat had taken care of things. He had wondered how this came together so quickly. But he felt a little puff of pride to think he was being included with the best scholars in the region– and two years early.
It’s what my father expects and I need to show him I can do this. He grunted noncommittally.
“While we’re here, there is something else we should discuss,” Zuriat said, looking over his shoulder for a moment, then turning back to face Hak’kar.
Whatever it was, Hak’kar guessed that it was meant just for the two of them.
Zuriat continued talking, explaining the situation. “Every top student and wealthy child is here. Or many of them. You are going to have access to the best teachers, libraries and information.”
Hak’kar perked up, hearing that. “Archives and libraries?” he asked.
Zuriat nodded. “Absolutely,” he said. “I went here, myself. So I know just how good this school is.”
That was something he didn’t know about his tutor and he filed it away in the back of his mind as curious trivia.
“You’ll make important connections here with people who can support you as you get older.”
The gods support me. That’s all that really counts. “I won’t really need support, though. I’ll be so’har.”
“Trust me on this,” Zuriat said, taking a gentle but firm hold on Hak’kar’s arm, turning him to face his tutor. “Connections matter. Even more when you’re high ranking. Priests are people also, and so is the Da’har. They have to like you.”
Hak’kar rolled his eyes.
Zuriat glanced back towards the house again and then turned Hak’kar towards the gardens and nudged him away from the door. Once they were out of hearing range, he stopped, lowering his voice. “Also, we need to talk about your behaviour and expectations.”
Hak’kar pulled his arm away, incensed. He opened his mouth but Zuriat held up his hand before he could argue.
“This family is under a cloud of shame,” he said. “Do you fully understand this?” He stared sharply at Hak’kar as he spoke. “This isn’t about you, as much as it is about your duty to your family, to House Charam. You need to be seen, and to be liked, and not to create any controversy. Your brother had a tragic death, and there will be whispers and rumors about your cousin.” another glance back at the house. “You must have no clouds over your head. Yes, you must please the gods but you must also appease the people.”