The Smiling Stallion Inn
by Courtney Bowen
Basha, a wistful young man, yearns to marry his girlfriend Jawen. Yet he is self-conscious of their differences and his lack of prospects. He is scorned by Jawen’s father, the wealthy merchant Lapo, as an orphan bastard left on the innkeeper’s doorstep.
Even Basha’s adopted family, especially his brother Oaka, doubt Basha and Jawen belong together. But Basha wants to prove that he is worthy of Jawen’s love by getting a spot on the town’s militia. And he wants to propose to her the next night at the Courtship ritual.
Yet when things go awry at the militia tryouts and Courtship ritual, and Basha seems to be plagued by crows and a mysterious guardian, can he set things right again? Will Basha have to take a drastic step to prove his love to Jawen? And how might that change the course of history and legends in the country of Arria?