Of Saints and Sinners

A condemned man sits in prison, waiting to die.

The public wants to crucify him.

The warden wants to hang him.

The gaoler wants to beat him.

The priest wants to save his soul.

Owain is no saint, and he would even go so far as to say he's too evil to be called something as redeemable as a sinner.  He's killed six men, and that's just what he's in prison for this time.  He's no stranger to rape, assault, theft, or any number of heinous crimes.  He's spent more nights in a jail cell than his own home, and now it will be the last bed he knows.

But before he goes, he's got a conscience that needs clearing.  The priest probably doesn't really care, he figures. Maybe the priest might use him as an example to get unruly children to behave, but he needs to talk.  He's got the rest of his life to tell his story, after all.

Chasing the White Bear

In the waning days leading up to the long night, fifteen year old Akłaq finds herself alone in the Alaskan wilderness with only the clothes on her back, a bone knife, and a bow with a single arrow.  Her village has been burned to the ground by the Russians, but there is little hope to be found in a land where she is not at the top of the food chain.

Her only hope of survival may come from a strange white grizzly bear that she has seen since she was a child.  Its disposition toward her is uniquely gentle, and even the Russian priest advised her to follow it.  Now, it seems, she has no choice, though why it chose to save her and where it intends to take her are entirely unknown.

With predators closing in faster than the long night, and starvation closing in faster than that, Akłaq must make some perilous  decisions, knowing her life is on the line.