The third story in my new collection Tales from Forgotten Days is “Tear of a Sphinx”. I love the show Avatar: The Last Airbender, where some characters can “bend” the elements using martial arts, with different martial art styles corresponding to the different elements. I love the way it was so clearly thought through: that bending air looks like Tai Chi whereas fire needs something more aggressive, earth something more, well, grounded. Somehow I got to pondering what it would look like if the elements corresponded to dance styles. At some point I left the four elements behind to make the dance about something else. Here’s the back of book description:
One day a sphinx came to the city at the center of the world, ate half of the guests at the prince’s wedding, and settled to roost atop the palace.
The cost to free the city of this beast? A single tear from her eye. The cost of failure? She eats you.
Sacmis watches as her mother dances for the sphinx. The beast crushes her under one lion’s paw and leaves her broken in the sand. Her mother, the finest dancer in the known world, failed. The sphinx remains, her stony heart still unmoved, waiting for the next artist to try.
A tale of finding your place in the world even under the most difficult circumstances, “Tear of a Sphinx” brings to life an Egyptian-like city on a river that ties into the “Goddess-Bereft World” series.