QSFer Louice Svedin has a new queer fantasy book out:
Anne has led a privileged life: she is a weaver, a magic user, in a world ruled by the extraordinary.
Yet one day it all changes. She is deemed too powerful by the aristocracy and is sent to a monastery for life. To avoid this fate she embarks on a journey, driven by a prophecy she doesn’t want to fulfill. But will she have any choice in the end?
The Book of Songs is the first stand-alone novel in The Weaver Trilogy. Written by Louice Svedin, it’s a story about friendship and sacrifice, and how who we are often is shaped by those we meet.
When the realization of my complete loneliness dawned on me, I was deep inside the forest. Even though I really only wanted to lay down on the ground and die, there was something that made me keep going and to keep living. This pained existence continued for months, and I had long since given up on the idea of ever being happy again when I met her.
At first, I thought she was a spirit of the forest, a nymph that had spent its entire life among the mossy stones and decaying tree trunks. The blonde woman was too beautiful to be real, and she moved smoothly over the uneven ground as she walked away from me. I was torn between my longing for company and the fear that she might want to hurt me. Finally, I decided to follow her at a distance in the hope of getting to know her.I watched her closely and to my amazement I understood that this was her life just as much as it was mine. Soon I foolishly started to daydream that she, just as I, was cast out and alone in this world and that if I only took the final step and showed myself to her, she’d welcome me with open arms. This thought consumed my world so completely that I eventually believed it.
Weeks later I finally decided that I was going to introduce myself to her. I meticulously planned the developments of the meeting, and when I awoke that day I washed up in a freezing stream in an attempt to look as good as possible. After hours of waiting I overcame my paralyzing nervousness and walked into her camp.
It felt like a dream to be in a place that I previously had only watched from afar, but the dream was quickly crushed when I saw that she wasn’t there. I sighed deeply, and didn’t react with more than a gasp when an arm was put around my neck and slowly started strangling me.
‘Who are you?’ a female voice asked harshly, and panic stricken I tried to break free. ‘Answer me!’
‘I-I’m Nathania,’ I hissed in pain.
‘Why are you here?’ she demanded to know, and I tried to find the words that so teasingly stayed away from me. Nothing had gone as I’d planned, and dumbfounded I tried to remember how I was supposed to act in that situation.
‘I was alone,’ I whimpered, and cursed my inability to explain the feelings I‘d experienced the entire time I’d been in the forest, the terrible fear that’d filled me since my life had been stolen from me.
‘Are you the one who has been following me?’
I flinched in shock. Was this really the woman I had followed for so long? And had she seen me despite all my efforts?
‘I didn’t mean any harm,’ I ensured her pitifully as tears welled up in my eyes. ‘I just didn’t want to be alone anymore.’
The pressure to my throat eased and the woman slowly let me go. She carefully turned me around and scrutinized my face thoroughly. I tried to look into her brown eyes, but soon gave up and focused on her pale-blonde hair instead. Her gaze was too intense for me to be able to face it.
‘Yes,’ she said after an uncomfortably long silence. ‘I see no ill will in your eyes, and honestly I don’t think you could harm me even if you wanted to. You may come with me, but only if you make yourself useful.’
I looked at the near white-haired woman without comprehending, and then the meaning of her words dawned on me.
‘S-so you forgive me?’ I stuttered.
‘Yes,’ the woman answered soberly. ‘My name is Sam, by the way. What did you say yours was again? Nathania?’
I nodded shyly and she placed one of her incredibly soft hands on my shoulder.
‘Nice to meet you, Nathania,’ Sam said with a warm smile, and I felt my heart swell with joy. After all this time I finally had someone to share my life with.
Weeks passed, and I followed Sam wherever she went. At times I noticed that she was annoyed by my behavior, but after a while she seemed to get used to it. Moreover, she didn’t seem to have it in herself to purposely disappoint me. One night, when I’d finally accepted that Sam wouldn’t get rid of me based on the tiniest mistake, I dared to ask her where we were going. The warm glow of the campfire moved softly over Sam’s face, and she looked at me for a brief moment only to turn her gaze to the tiny piece of dark sky that was visible through the branches that reached over our heads.
‘The place I’m looking for has no name,’ Sam said, and a mysterious longing made her eyes so dark that they were almost black. ‘What I’m searching for is a place where I can live without needing to hide who I am. Where I won’t be killed if they find out I’m different from them. Do you get what I’m saying?’I nodded in astonishment. I understood her completely. It was the same thing I was searching for, and I thanked the gods that we had the same goal. That meant I wouldn’t be left on my own when she finally found what she was looking for.
Louice Svedin is a 23 year old psychology student who lives in Sundsvall, Sweden. She started writing The Book of Songs when she was 13 years old and in 2014 it was released in Swedish by Mörkersdottir förlag. In her spare time Louice practices aikido, a Japanese martial arts (or budo as it’s also called) in which she has a black belt.