Conquest’s 1-Year Anniversary! Celeste Shares Conquest Deleted Scenes + DB Bloopers Comic Strip

It’s Black History month, and today also happens to be the anniversary of Celeste Harte’s Conquest. A year ago today, she debuted with the first book of the Dragon Bones trilogy, and today marks three months left until the release of its sequel, Rising on May 4th.

For those that don’t know, Conquest features Afro-futuristic themes mixed with fantasy and dragons. There’s a lot of political fantasy, rebels, action, and characters that don’t always make the best decisions, but learn a lot on their journey to finding more about themselves and their people. Celeste has made some comments for us about where the trilogy is going, and reveals a deleted scene from Conquest. At the end she’s even shared a little of the comic strip she’s been working on in anticipation for the release of Rising.


Celeste

In Conquest, we spend a lot of time seeing the world from Jashi’s perspective. She doesn’t really have many goals outside of getting through life one day at a time since growing up in an orphanage and never being adopted left her own as soon as she reached adulthood. She doesn’t have time to have much of an opinion on politics, but going for the easy option leaves her feeling incomplete and not really knowing why. I wanted Conquest to really be about Jashi finding herself and learning lessons the hard way.

Rising is going to be Jashi with lessons learned. She’s a lot more mature and better equipped to form better opinions. My favorite part of writing Rising was seeing how far she’d come since the last book, and towards the end, she really blossoms in her role leading K’sundi with Kahmel.

I love Conquest, but I think Rising is going to be really epic. The world of Dragon Bones is a bit complex and takes time to fully flesh out. To tell the truth, so are the characters. But in Rising, we already know everything and everybody, so we get to really get to the action there. We learn a bit more about the assassination that preluded Kahmel’s taking the throne, and get to see Kahmel learn some lessons for himself about the kind of leader his nation needs to see.

I’m excited for you all to see the rest of this trilogy, and I hope you enjoy one of the scenes that got cut out in editing, but I still like it, on its own. It’s very…Jashi.


Ceremonies

Ever since I was little, I’ve hated ceremonies. Sure, I knew they were important and all, but they were just so boring. For the first 15 minutes, maybe half an hour I could maintain my interest. But after that, I was counting how many people in the audience had hats on. Or how many pillars were in the room. Or challenging myself to identify every flower in the bouquets that lined the aisles. The actual ceremony itself would go in one ear and out the other.

I wondered why we still had so many ceremonies nowadays. The rest of the world — even other planets were so modern, and yet we still conducted these long attributes to the Great Spirits.

At the moment, I had verified that there were around 309 hats in the room, 24 pillars, and that the only flower I could successfully identify was a Lomila rose, with absolutely no clue about the rest.

I fussed with the embroidered trimmings on the sleeves of my dress as the ceremony director droned on. The people around me looked to him so solemnly, and I wondered how they could keep it up for 3 hours straight; dressed in elaborate wraps and jeweled from head to toe like we did in the old days, an homage to our heritage that I used to think was fun when I was younger. But now I just hated how itchy the stiff material felt against my skin, and was anxious for it to be over. But then again, normally in ceremonies like these, I was with those people, sitting. Today, I shifted my body weight to one foot at a time to alleviate the aching. I was glad I wasn’t in heels.

As the ceremony director grasped my hand and lifted it, I knew I had to start paying attention again. He then lifted up the hand of the man standing in front of me.

I wondered how he felt about all of these ceremonies. In his position, he must have had to attend a lot of them. I supposed it was just something he got used to, since he didn’t look as bored to death as I felt.

The ceremony director went on to cite more prattle, and I had to stifle a sigh.

Then the feeling of someone staring at me caught my attention, and I glanced over in their direction. Attican nodded his head, reminding me of what I was here for.

He was right. I had to focus on the task at hand. This was nothing more than a mission objective and deserved to be treated as such. Besides, it would all be over soon, anyway.

The ceremony director finally finished his speech, tying my hand to that of the man before me with the ceremonial ribbon of Binding.

He asked the man a question, then asked me the same thing, prompting my only line for this entire proceeding.

“I do.”

“I now pronounce you husband and wife, Faresh and Faresha of K’sundi.”

The man before me pressed his lips against mine, an action that stirred no feeling in me, and for a second, I felt sorry for him.

It only lasted a second, though.


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