Son Of A Pitch #4:
Title: FLESH AND INK
Category and Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 87,600
When the blue stains growing on her stomach are exposed, 17 year-old Lilivan knows she must abandon her dream apprenticeship as a holy inker-of-flesh. Only enemies of the Goddess bear these stains.The church’s soldiers will kill her for her marks and sentence her family, even her favored sister, Naoma, to a life of servitude.
On the run from the church, Lilivan tracks down a hidden sanctuary for those who bear stains like hers. There, she learns the church lied. Her stains are a blessing, marking her as a wielder of non-church magic. The church uses earth magic and seeks to eradicate all who possess magic they can’t control.
Protected in her new home, a nightmarish vision awakens Lilivan—the church has trapped Naoma and is draining her earth magic and her very life. If Lilivan wants to save her sister, she must embrace her new powers and the elemental beings she once shunned as evil spirits. But first, she must win her freedom from a sanctuary that doesn’t think she’s ready to leave.
First 250 Words:
The window above the sink lit the half-subterranean kitchen a little too well. When I raised my arms after dinner to put a plate away, my ill-fitting shirt exposed more than just my light-brown stomach.
I’d grown careless since the blue stains first appeared on my stomach two years ago. The dark-brown dye I used to conceal the marks was currently faded and patchy. I should have permanently inked over them.
“Oh, Holy Goddess!” Papa's face paled as a mug slid from his fingers and splashed into the sink. “Demon-stains, Liligirl?”
I shoved the plate onto the shelf and yanked my hem down.
“Papa, I didn't do anything,” I said, breaking into a cold-sweat, “I swear, by Domina Earth, the Goddess Nelopai Herself!”
Papa had to believe me. No matter what the church said, the stains had arrived like acne right after my fifteenth birthday. They weren't heralding some imaginary deal I’d made with demons. Despite my prayers, the angular cobalt-blue stains spiraling out from my navel had spread. They now brushed my sides, contrasting against my rounded belly when I neglected to cover them in nut dye. Maybe the myths were true, the Goddess couldn’t hear the prayers of the soulless.
My dream apprenticeship as a holy inker-of-flesh had seemed a chance at redemption for whatever I’d done to deserve the stains. How could a soulless one have been allowed to perform such a sacred task? For over a year I’d been doing dye prep and touch-ups on the faithful.