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The Pearliad

Part One of the Arca Trilogy

Even us simple folk know how the world works. Each person has an arca, which is set on the earth at the same time as they are and leaves when they depart. Most people don’t see their own arca in their lifetime – they just know that it’s out there somewhere, their biggest vulnerability, the key that unlocks the door to death. Because that one little item – which could be anything, from a mirror to a ribbon to a button on a coat – is your one true lifeline. The Fates have decreed that each and every person can only live as long as their arca goes undamaged.

Which means what, exactly? Well, not much to folk like us. But to the ruthless citizens of the Roman Empire? They know that nothing reaps more power than holding another man’s life in your hands. My Da used to tell stories of the Agitatrexes, tyrants who would seek out men’s arcae and hold them against their will, turning them into slaves. Even moral people hunt the world over for their own arca, to get there before someone with impure intentions does. And there is another benefit to possessing your own arca – if it remains intact, you are immortal.

Now tell me, what would you do if the arca of one of the most feared men of the Empire washed up on the shore by your home? If this pretty pearl caught your eye, and you were bound by custom to protect it? And the man who wants it will stop at nothing, even if it means searching for your arca to kill you first. I can tell you what you would do, what I am doing now:

You would run.

To find out more about Effie’s journey, visit ‘The Pearliad’ board on my Pinterest site.

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