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Without further ado, let’s take a peek at what many are anxious to get their hands on.
“WHAT IS HIDDEN” EXCERPT:
As Evie cuts through the Square where criminals are branded with scars called Marks on their faces, she discovers that the royal entourage has come to make an important announcement about a particular criminal.
Suddenly the crowd began shushing each other, and people shifted in front of me until I could see the prince as he raised his hands for silence. He didn’t speak, of course.
The only ones to hear a member of the royal family speak were the royal family members themselves and one designated Speaker appointed from court.
The Speaker stood next to the prince. She wore a full mask as well, but her eyes were not shrouded like the prince’s. Pearls and crushed crystal formed a winding design around her dark eyes, and the sheer lavender fabric that secured her mask created a lovely contrast against her inky curls and brown skin.
As the crowd fell silent, the Speaker’s voice rang out strong and clear. This was a voice that possessed the commanding quality that demanded you drop everything and listen—and obey, if you knew what was good for you.
“As you have gathered”—she spoke without introductions, as they were completely unnecessary—“the Crown feels it must make the public aware of a precarious situation. They have chosen this location to announce it, because they feel it will travel quickest by the mouths and ears that pay attention to the execution of our laws, be it for moral reasons or other.” She gave no inflection to indicate that she meant the gossips and busybodies that had nothing better to do than hang about the Square in search of a scandal, but the whispers and giggles that coursed through the crowd made it quite clear that they caught the underlying message.
“The situation is thus: a criminal named the Chameleon is on the loose,” she continued, despite the whispers that sprung up again. “He has many masks to his name and uses them to assume the identities of victims or simple fraudulent characters. I am sure you can imagine the dangers in that alone, but there is more. He is not a mask maker gone rogue—he burns the houses of his victims and steals the masks and anything else of value. His preference leans toward full masks of respected ranks and positions.
He then uses the stolen mask long enough to escape and then destroys it or uses it to plan his next attack.
“And so it is our duty to warn you and to urge you to warn everyone you know. Do not trust the masks alone. If you have any information, please take it to the authorities at once. You will know it is him by the Mark on his face.” She nodded toward the obsidian-faced militia that accompanied her. One man hung a poster on a wall on the east side of the Square filled with other posters and announcements, presumably with a drawing of the Mark and other details for those who could read. The poster was so large that it covered three others. “That is all. Long live the Crown.”