Snick-snick, snick-snick, whoosh. You could hear arrows arcing across a field, Riya had learned. Any sound they might make when they hit – a thunk, perhaps, or a wet splat – was lost in the screams that followed, the howls of pain and rage, the thundering of soldiers racing across a grassy plain, churning the land to mud and blood under their feet, or, if the soldiers were lucky, under their hooves. Once the battle began, the noise was too loud to make sense of, the chaos too deafening; all Riya could do was hang on to her mount with desperate hands, praying it would not fling her off, dash her to the ground. Waiting for the signal that it was her turn to attack, to fling fire down from the heavens and rain terror across the land. Once, twice, thrice– Ezi had given her the signal, and Riya had loosed the power coiled within her belly, her chest. It was, in its own way, glorious. But only if you didn’t look down.
That was when Riya wished she could go back, back to the beginning. To the open field, the ragged armies facing each other, the frozen pause before the arrows were loosed, snick-snick, snick-snick, whoosh. If she could, Riya would go back to the beginning. If only she knew when it was.
NOTE: I'm going to start sending out this YA fantasy novel draft; I'll be sending out chapters weekly to patrons at the $2 / month level, starting tomorrow. (It'll finish in about five months, since it's 20 chapters long.) Would love to hear your thoughts as you read, if you have any crit or other feedback.