One of my favorite new characters for my latest novel, Over Burning Cities is Saronia. I wanted to make a POV character out of a drug whore — and make her a “hero” in the classic sense, as opposed to a villain. She’s going to be lots of fun:

Chapter Three: Songan

Saronia Chazhis Anaar stepped off the Shardin Rose and into the tepid heat of an Arnaldian afternoon. She pulled her hat down over her eyes and spit a bloody pulp of sen on the planking at her feet. She squinted up at the sprawl of the reeking harbor, and decided there were far worse places an outcast novice could end up. She could be dead, for instance.

She stood around with a rude cluster of Gift-less Drakes, terrible specimens, all; skinny, spotty, sickly, with the glazed look and hunched posture of sheep.

“Have you seen any Arnaldians before?” one of the twittering nitwits next to Saronia asked, nodding out at the buzz of male bodies plowing around the docks. His eyes were wide.

“Met one,” Saronia said, “never fucked one.” She crammed another pinch of sen leaves into her mouth. Her fingers were numb.

The boy twittered away, just as well. Saronia had done some rumor work at the Wayfarer Inn before she headed out. Her and her sisters had spent the winter sitting out on the pier all day smoking Thordonian cigarettes and plying sailors with free drinks. The sailors would spend more, later, once they’d loosened their tongues and trousers. From what she gathered of Arnaldia, it wouldn’t be much different than any place else. It might be better than Khindarak, even, for someone like her. Women were bartered around a bit like herd animals, but every shepherd had his favorite sheep, as the Coris said, snickering over their beer in the evenings, and she could wear a sheep’s skin for as long as she needed to hide the wolf underneath.

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