...It didn’t take Ryann long to find the big meadow that had been turned into a mass burial pit. She smelled it long before she actually saw it, forcing her to tie a cloth around her nose and mouth, just as others who were working nearby had done.
A young man, not much older than her, was digging a hole nearby as she approached. “How many are dead?” Ryann asked.
The young man looked up at Ryann before turning back to continue his work. He shook his head. “Few hundred. Praps ten in twenny each day.”
“How long has this been going on?”
“Dunno,” the young man replied. “Praps a moon. Come all of a sudden. People said it were a visitor what brought it. From the north.”
Ryann nodded. This explained the questioning at the town’s gate, and the general wariness of the townsfolk to strangers. “And there’s no cure?”
The young man stopped digging, and turned to face Ryann. He eyed her up and down. “You looks like a nice girl, miss, and I don’t wanna be rude, but can’t you see I be gotting a job to do?” He nodded his head toward an older man nearby. “Jake over there will be having me beat if I don’t get this done. So if you ain’t minding?” He turned back to his digging, deliberately turning his head away from Ryann.
Ryann watched the young man for a moment before continuing her walk through the meadow. A few people stopped briefly to stare at her as she passed by before returning to their digging. She noticed two men on the far side of the meadow who were throwing bodies into an already finished pit, and she decided to stay well away from them.What was this black death, she asked herself. And how did it attack? She was certainly going to have to take extra precautions now, in case it was something that spread easily from person to person. And all those people with the illness. Did the colors she saw really mean everyone was close to death? There were so many unanswered questions...
Title: Ryann's Brother
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: 84,000 words
Synopsis: Ryann gained her freedom from slavery by winning a wager with the son of her owning lord. Now she is setting out to find her long lost brother who is rumored to live in the country of her birth. But Bramwel Cala, the ruthless and barbaric son of her ex-lord and master, wants his revenge.
A deathly plague is also devastating the land, and there are many people who would as soon have Ryann killed as help her on her quest. In a land of lords and tax-collectors, potion-makers and sclavas, will the young and innocent Ryann survive to fulfill the destiny she was born to?