Clea is a Princess with a very special gift: she can make anything grow.
When a girl is born with magic, she becomes a ward of the crown. These honorary princesses are taken to live at the Castle, so that they may better serve their people.
Clea’s magic sustains the city of Pyre, encouraging crops from the very harshest of soil. But even Clea can’t coax seedlings out of the black sand lapping at the city limits.
While Clea is content to tend the royal greenhouses, sending seedlings beyond the Castle walls to where they’re needed, her best friend Ava itches to do more.
Ava’s gift allows her to understand anything spoken or — in Clea’s case — signed. With the ability to communicate with anyone, Ava is of the firm opinion that her magic is wasted within the Castle. The city’s boroughs are a melting pot of different cultures and languages – what better place to serve her people than among them?
Clea’s not so sure. But when Ava is finally chosen for a Mission to the outer boroughs, Clea finds her own name on the same summons.
What happens next will change the way the girls view their magic and each other. But that change might be too late coming. The limits of the city grow closer every year and nothing survives the black sand.
The Princess Lottery is an eco-feminist high fantasy novel about a girl who loves her people, her garden, and her best friend – and who’ll need all three if she’s going to save the world.
It’s being published here, chapter by chapter as I write it for free, something only possible because of the support of my squad over on Patreon. If you like what I’m doing here, please consider throwing a few dollars a month my way. These projects are only possible with the support of people like you.
Chapter 1: The Mission
The plant is dying.
Its fuzzy leaves are curled in on themselves, chalky blue colouring giving way to dark brown blotches. When Clea cups her hands around one of the less sun-damaged leaves, there’s only the slightest glow – its iridescent markings are almost completely burnt out.