In January, a brand new fantasy thriller began...
In a world where politicians and the wealthy twist and manipulate others, Dirjek, a young apothecary, struggles to care for his family. As the gilded and corrupt empire locks its own people into oppressive poverty, Dirjek realizes that running the family business just isn't enough. Dirjek must step outside the law to put food on the table. But at what cost? It's time for him to unleash a little magic, and a lot of mayhem in The Republic. Get caught up!
Chapter 2 —The Gift—
Mara milled about as she tidied up the kitchen. Dirjek stood a few paces behind her, loading glass vials of herbs into the pockets inside his apothecary box. Once loaded, he folded the doors inward, closing the wooden box and fastening the clasp. Mara turned to face him. Gone were the days of her radiant skin and silken tresses. Her hair was a mess, and stress and hardship had carved deep lines into the hardened face of this once radiant girl. She still had those gentle grey eyes, but they were not without their scars. What was once a sea of mysterious invitation was now a guarded shroud riddled with doubts—and he couldn’t have loved her more. Dirjek smiled and gave her a kiss. Then he walked over and sat on the small wooden bench near the door and began to lace up his tattered boots. Mara asked, “It’s Sunday morning, where are you going?” “I’ve got the coin, it’s time to pay ole Jesse a visit,” said Dirjek. “What do you need to see him for?” “The seasons will turn soon. Samuel and Gregory need boots,” said Dirjek as he stared at the disrepair of his own pair. Mara cocked an eyebrow and said, “Since when is Jesse a cobbler?” “He isn’t, but he is well stocked in good deeds, and by that same virtue—favors too.” “So you’re going to ask him to cash in one of those favors for the boys’ boots?” asked Mara as she set the dirty dishrag down. Dirjek smiled and said, “The boys should have warm feet by the end of the week.” “You didn’t make that much money last night. What makes you so confident?” she asked, her curiosity growing. “It’s quite simple darling, I’ve got something he needs.”