The Cerulean (Untitled Duology, #1)(2)

Sera’s green mother had told her of how dangerous the journey to this planet had been, nearly nine hundred years ago, after the Great Sadness had happened and Cerulean life had changed irrevocably. It had taken so long to find the green-blue-brown orb below, the Estuary had nearly dried up and the moonflower fields had withered and blown away and the seresheep had begun to die.

“How can we be sure the tether is still healthy?” Sera said to Koreen. “My green mother told me that there used to be Cerulean who would look after it and warn the High Priestess when it was time for the City to move again. Our City used to move all the time, didn’t it? And now we’ve been stuck here for almost a millennium.”

“Because Mother Sun gave us a great gift,” Elorin said piously. Elorin would definitely end up as a novice. “This planet has so many resources to share, we need not move at all.”

“But we’re meant to move, aren’t we?” Sera said. “In all the oldest stories, the Cerulean would move from planet to planet, sometimes even twice in one year!”

“I don’t know what your green mother has been teaching you,” Koreen said. “But mine has never said anything about any Cerulean tending to the tether.”

All green mothers were educators, imparting to their daughters the history and stories of the Cerulean people, passed down from generation to generation. The Cerulean had no books or written language, just the symbols on the temple doors, the language of Mother Sun that only the High Priestess could read.

“Maybe that’s because you never asked,” Sera muttered.

“Not to mention the fact that we are safe here,” Koreen continued. “What if we go searching for another planet and can’t find one? What if we move and there is another Great Sadness? Is that what you want, Sera?”

She felt stung. “Of course not.”

The Great Sadness had happened on the last planet the City had been attached to. It was the single worst tragedy in Cerulean history—two hundred Cerulean had been murdered by the humans who lived on the planet, and the City had been forced to move before its time.

Sera would never want that to happen again. She loved her City, she truly did. She just felt a bit . . . bored sometimes. She had become so familiar with the planet beneath them, the shapes of its two countries, Kaolin and Pelago, etched into her brain. She could probably draw them in her sleep—Kaolin was a hulking swath of land shaped like a lopsided star, Pelago a myriad of islands. Besides, she had already gleaned every scrap of information about them that she could from her green mother, who could only tell her what her green mother had taught her, and so on and so on. Sera always wondered what stories might have been lost or changed over the generations. For now, she felt there was nothing left to learn. As long as they were attached to this planet, the tether was the only mystery that remained to her. She could see it from the edges of the City, the fine bluish-silvery-gold line cutting through the darkness of space. She wondered what it looked like where it stuck into the underside of the City, if it attached like a spiderweb, or simply thrust out proudly from the City’s belly.

Koreen smiled smugly and changed the subject. “Anyway, my orange mother told me something in confidence last night. . . .”

The other girls leaned in, eager to hear what Koreen had to say. Leela rolled her eyes and Sera suppressed a giggle.

“There will be a wedding season soon!”

There were squeals of delight and clapping of hands at this proclamation, and Sera couldn’t help joining in—she had not yet lived through a wedding season and had always wanted to see one.


“Are you sure?”

“Oh, this is so exciting!”

“The High Priestess mentioned it at her prayer group,” Koreen said, pushing her hair back again. Every Cerulean had skin as silvery as moonlight and blue hair and blue eyes that matched the color of their blood, but for some reason it all looked better on Koreen than on Sera. Sera didn’t like looking at herself in the one mirror in her house. She felt like her skin was a lie, hiding a secret even Leela didn’t know.

“I’ve been waiting for a wedding season my whole life,” Treena said. “Imagine the dresses!”

“Imagine the food,” Sera said with a grin that Treena returned.

“How many triads will be married, do you think?” Elorin asked.

“How many do you think will form in advance of the season?” Daina said with a mischievous look.

“Come now,” Leela said. “Marriage is sacred. Mother Sun would not allow a triad to marry if they were not truly in love.”

Daina shrugged but did not look convinced.

The girls chattered on about who would be marrying and which in the newly formed triads would be the purple or green or orange mother and what flowers they would use to make garlands for their hair and whether they would finally get their first taste of sweetnectar and feel its heady effects.

As the conversation wore on, Sera turned to her spinning wheel and picked up a clump of unusable thread. “I’m not going to tell Green Mother about this,” she said with a sigh. “She’ll only be disappointed.”

“Your green mother wants you to be happy,” Leela said. “She just has more time on her hands now that you are not pelting her with questions from morning until night.”

Sera laughed. “I was a difficult pupil, wasn’t I?”

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