This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
In the waning light of a warm evening, two voices arguing could be heard carrying through the still air, the deep rumbling growl of an angry man and the high-pitched screams of a pleading woman. Across the courtyard of the villa, a two-summers-old child sat on the stone floor of the nursery while her scandalised nurse pressed her ear up against the shutters of the window, listening, with baited breath, to the argument between the master and his wife.
“Four children, I have given you four children. I am your wife and I can give you more...” the woman’s voice was desperate and pleading but the man’s voice, her husband’s voice, was resentful and remorseless.
“No. You have given me four daughters, four worthless and expensive daughters. I need sons, and you, woman, have not given me sons. What good wife would give her husband daughters when he only wanted sons to inherit his name and his business?”
“I will give you sons, we just have to be patient and pray to the gods that they bless us soon.”
“No. You cannot carry any more children. The last three pregnancies slithered from you too soon for any child to live. You can no longer birth living children and what good is a dead son to me?” The man was incensed with rage; a wife’s duty was to provide a male heir and the more the better. Daughters were a costly addition to any family. An intelligent man may be able to marry his daughter into a wealthier or political family, which would give him an opportunity to advance himself and his sons. But to do that, the man had to hope that his daughter would grow up to be pretty, because a plain or ugly daughter would be expensive to endow, to ensure that another family took the responsibility of care out of his hands and his coffers.
As the prying nurse listened she could hear the sobs wracking her mistress’ body and imagined the tears that would be running down her grimacing face, making her look older and more ugly than was good for her. All the servants knew that the master’s eye had been wandering over other, younger, prettier women who had been to visit the villa over the past few months. His desire for a male heir had driven him to consider the costly venture of putting aside his current wife and marrying a younger woman who could give him what he wanted. The master, being a stingy man to the servants, showed how desperate he was for a boy child, that he would spend so much money to acquire a legitimate new wife. There was even gossip that he may already have his eye on a particular young woman.
The mistress began trying to reason with her husband. “But your daughters, they married well. You gained from their marriages to the other families, and Ama will make another good marriage when she is old enough.” The nurse glanced back at the child sitting on the floor. Her face was trusting and uncomprehending of the argument between her parents; an argument that sounded as if she would become a bastard child or stepchild to a new mistress, a new wife, very soon.
“Your daughters,” he corrected, “were as plain and ugly as you are now. I did not benefit from their marriages; it was those families who benefited from marrying into mine! I am the master trader in this city. I am the richest and the most sought-after. What possible advantage could those lesser families bring to me? We are not noble, so they could not marry up and what noble would wed an ugly bride? Why would Ama be any different from the older three? She will be just as ugly, and as expensive, to convince some other man that she should be a wife to his son, and I still have no son of my own! You are done, woman! You must leave my property tomorrow morning with your own belongings, not what I have given you!” His tone was final, the anger and resentment gone, just the sharp tone of the end of nearly twenty-two years of marriage.
The woman’s sobs could still be heard but they were pitiful, quiet and defeated. “Ama. Give me Ama. I will take her away with me.” The silence that followed the request seemed even louder to the nurse than the argument did, but the master’s voice seemed to boom with conviction as he finally ruined the woman who had been his wife for over two decades.
“Ama will stay here. She is my daughter, and you are no longer my wife, and you shall not have what belongs to me. When she is older, she may be the lucky daughter and have the looks you used to have before they withered and died with age.”
The nurse gasped at this final insult to her mistress – her former mistress- she corrected herself. Footsteps slapped across the stone floors. Somebody had left the argument and she guessed it was her master. She turned once more to the child she was hired to care for and studied her features. Whilst only two, she still had the baby chubbiness in her cheeks and plump body; the nurse could see some of the resemblance to her mother. Her skin was smooth and warm with no imperfections. She had a pink, well-sculpted mouth, which was parted slightly as the child watched her nurse with her golden eyes – a rare feature in people who typically had brown eyes and dark hair. Already it looked as if the baby’s hair might turn to a light auburn colour, matching her golden eyes. Yes, the nurse agreed, there is the potential in you to be pretty and that would be an advantage for your master and me if you married up. I might be able to go with you! she thought excitedly, imagining the life of an upper class, or noble’s servant, instead of a rich merchant’s servant. As the nurse dreamed of a future where she was a servant to a noble lady, she picked up the child from off the stone floor and put her into her cot, then tucked her in firmly, before arranging the small pallet and blanket she was given to sleep on while watching over the master’s youngest daughter. She fell asleep quickly, knowing she would have to wake before dawn to start the housework, breakfast and to gossip with the other servants, before the master awoke, about the argument she overheard tonight.
Soft snores broke the silence of the night, but little baby Ama was not sleeping. Too young to comprehend how her life had just changed in one night, she lay there trying to move, trying to reach out for something familiar, something she could hold on to – someone to love her.
Dru83: This is the second or third time I've read this one and I just love it. It has just about everything you could ever want packed into one scifi story. It still has some parts that are a little rough in terms of grammar, punctuation, and word usage, but it's still an awesome story. I love how detai...
Alisha Banks: You have me hooked! I immediately upon finishing the first book had to start the second. It is a captivating story and I can't wait to finish the other two book! I will definitely be recommending this book to others to read!
aaron10905: This is undoubtedly one of the best books written on here. I actually unistalled this app until someone told me about this story. I came back not expecting much, just to be drawn into the story and the characters. I would buy this book in real life, as long as another was promised shortly after.
rudyoxborough46: An action-packed, mystical adventure awaits anyone wishing to read this novel. I’m amazed at how well you’ve managed to flesh out the characters in this book, and I hope to read more of your work.I’ve read books about goblins and elves and all that mumbo-jumbo before, and most accounts of these c...
genlynne2379: I read the other review of this book and I must say that I disagree with it wholeheartedly. I do not believe the author put the apostrophes in the names just to be unique, but because the characters are supposedly of a different race than humans. They are Anmah. They should have different names a...
Jason Phang: I'm pretty new to Inkitt (this is only my 4th book) and I must say I've been thoroughly impressed by the quality of the authors here. Remnants of Chaos is an excellently written book that hooks the reader, and doesn't let go. There are some grammatical and typographical errors, but nothing too se...
Erin Crowley: The concept here is really strong, but the execution is definitely lacking. Tenses, grammar, etc are all off, with at least one or more errors per 'Page' on my phone. The writing style is almost broken- sentences move into each other awkwardly, and are filled with an excess of "filler words", lik...
Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!
Beau Bayot: I like the way the story is told and really engages the reader. In the daily life of a B17 Bomber Pilot that just happens to be a commander of an air-group, along with the hassles of keeping a bomber group running in peak performance during WW2. Banner should also consider himself lucky both at h...
263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...