During their search for the Ora, the trio has to trek through a canyon in the Barren Lands, which is loosely based on the Grand Canyon. Along the way, they hide out inside a cavern next to a natural pool, and this photo was the inspiration for that setting. It was one of my favorite locations to write about in PHOENIX, not only because it was beautiful, but it was also a great opportunity to get Elijah wet…
Source: Prafulla.net, “Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve”
I walk over to the water’s edge,shading my eyes from the bright shafts of sunlight coming through the hole inthe cavern roof. Elijah’s standing in the middle of the pool, deep inconcentration. He’s taken off his shirt to reveal his lean, tanned torso, whichglistens with water. I feel embarrassed seeing him half dressed like this,which is ridiculous, considering I’ve seen him completely naked before, when hewas being held captive in Sentry headquarters back in Black City.
He’sbulked out a lot since then—which is hardly surprising now that he’s not beingstarved and tortured. His chest and arm muscles are firm and defined, his neckmuscles thicker. The beautiful brown markings on his flanks continue down hisnarrow hips, darting below the waistband of his pants. If memory serves, thosemarkings go all the way to his feet. I flush. Why did I put that image in my head?
He’sstaring at the water with great intensity, his dark russet mane hanging aroundhis face. His tail stirs the water around him in circular motions, coaxing thesilvery fish to form a tight ball in front of him. All of a sudden, he thrustshis hand into the water and plucks out a fish. It flaps wildly in his hand, itsmouth gaping. He bites its head, killing it, then tosses it onto the embankmentby my feet, where another two fish are lying. Elijah wades out of the pool, hisblack pants slick against his thighs.
“What’sthis?” I say, pointing toward the dead fish with the toe of my boot.
-from PHOENIX (A Black CityNovel), page 179-180
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Weeks after his crucifixion and rebirth as Phoenix, Ash Fisher believes his troubles are far behind him. He and Natalie are engaged and life seems good. But his happiness is short-lived when he receives a threatening visit from Purian Rose, who gives Ash an ultimatum: vote in favor of Rose’s Law permanently relegating Darklings to the wrong side of the wall or Natalie will be killed.
The decision seems obvious to Ash; he must save Natalie. But when Ash learns about The Tenth, a new and deadly concentration camp where the Darklings would be sent, the choice doesn’t seem so simple. Unable to ignore his conscience, Ash votes against Rose’s Law, signing Natalie’s death warrant and putting a troubled nation back into the throes of bloody battle.
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